Medieval Studies

Key Information


1 year


2-3 years

Start Date

September 2024

Typical Offer

See More


Brayford Pool

Academic Year

Course Overview

Lincoln has a long and fascinating history. With its medieval royal castle, world-renowned Gothic cathedral, and some of the finest surviving examples of medieval domestic architecture in the UK and Western Europe, the city is home to a wealth of resources, making it the ideal location in which to undertake an advanced study of the Middle Ages.

Our world-leading experts can support you to develop and enhance your knowledge of several academic disciplines, including medieval history and literature, languages, art and architectural history, and medievalism. You will also have the opportunity to read and work with fascinating textual, visual, and material sources.

You'll be able to work closely with a vibrant academic team of scholars and teachers who are also authors, editors, contributors to international research projects, broadcasters, conservators, and experts in heritage.

As a medievalist in the Lincoln School of Humanities and Heritage, you can join our thriving postgraduate community, where you can participate in a wide a range of research events, such as seminars on current projects, our Annual Medieval Lecture, a 'Medieval Week' with international contributors, and reading groups in which you can meet and learn from PhD students and postdoctoral researchers in the School.

Key Features

Collaborate in a scholarly and professional community

Hear from expert academic speakers

Links with the Medieval Studies Research Group

Complete a dissertation in a specialist area

Choose from a range of optional modules

Participate in a range of extracurricular research activities

YouTube video for Key Features

How You Study

Full-time students on this course should expect four to six hours of contact time per week. Postgraduate study involves a significant proportion of independent research, reading, and writing, to explore the material covered in taught sessions.

Modules are mostly taught in two-hour small-group seminars. Your core modules are essential to the development of your research skills. They can include a year-long introduction to medieval Latin language and literature from the very basics, a hands-on primer in medieval palaeography (handwriting) which will involve handling books and documents, and a survey of research methods and approaches in the field of Medieval Studies. You may have the chance to learn, for example, how to utilise historical archives and how to understand medieval manuscripts and their materiality.

Alongside core modules, you can choose options to create your own pathway through the degree. You'll be able to select from a range of optional modules that currently cover British, European, and Mediterranean history from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives, including History, Art History, and Literary Studies. Our teaching team has strengths in Socio-Political, Religious and Cultural History, Archaeology, Art History, Women's History, Queenship Studies, the History of Emotions, Literary Studies, and Medievalism, with a focus on England, Europe and the wider Mediterranean world, with a special interest in the Iberian Peninsula.

Many of our modules include off-site sessions in which students encounter and experience medieval sites and artefacts, with expert guidance. These include Lincoln Cathedral Library and its wealth of literary manuscripts, such as one of only 50 full copies of the Canterbury Tales, as well as the Thornton Romances, which contain the earliest known account of King Arthur's death. We also regularly arrange site visits to Lincoln Castle and to the Lincolnshire Archives, one of the UK's largest regional archives.


† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Sources and Methods for Medieval Studies 2024-25HST9017MLevel 72024-25This module is designed to help you develop and enhance the essential skills for an advanced study of historical and literary texts, visual, material, and archaeological sources, while also familiarising you with a wide range of research methods used within Medieval Studies. You may have the opportunity to use medieval manuscripts from the Lincoln Cathedral Library and handle documents available at the Lincolnshire Archives’ unrivalled collections of medieval records. You are able to engage with fundamental research processes, such as gathering, evaluating, and analysing data of various sorts, reflecting on both quantitative and qualitative information. This module includes field trips to visit some of the exciting sites and sources under scrutiny.CoreElementary Medieval Latin 2024-25HST9058MLevel 72024-25In this module, you can learn the basics of how medieval people expressed themselves in Latin, and trace how that expression developed over time from the Classical language of Cicero and Virgil to the Romance languages of Western Europe. You are also able to read some of the writings of a wide range of medieval people, from the fourth-century nun Egeria, who left us an account of her pilgrimage from Spain across the Mediterranean to the Holy Land, to the thirteenth-century philosopher Roger Bacon, who formulated the scientific method and argued for a universal grammar underlying all language. This module is runs over two semesters, and aims to give you the tools to interpret medieval Latin texts and documents for yourself in the original, and to read English translations with a critical eye.CoreMedieval Palaeography and Diplomatic 2024-25HST9084MLevel 72024-25The module is designed to provide an introduction to the practical techniques of reading medieval documents, including the use of standard abbreviation forms in documents, the use of standard phrasing in administrative documents, and the development of this practice in large administrations (including royal and ecclesiastical chanceries). This module introduces an essential skill for medievalists and gives students the opportunity to engage with medieval sources in their original form.CoreMedieval Studies Dissertation 2024-25HST9024MLevel 72024-25CoreChivalry in Medieval Europe MA 2024-25HST9088Level 72024-25This module examines both the birth and development of the concept of chivalry in the Middle Ages. Students can use a wide range of primary sources, as well as medieval and contemporary historiography, to explore how the role, image and function of medieval knights evolved over time.OptionalEarly Modern Manhood 2024-25HST9028MLevel 72024-25This module introduces key issues and concepts in gender history, with particular reference to early modern masculinity. An introduction to key ideas and scholars is provided, focussing particularly on the ways in which scholars of the history of masculinity use a variety of texts – from journals and letters to visual material and published works – in order to elucidate the ideals and experiences of both early modern men and women. The module offers students the opportunity to engage in sustained analysis of developments in scholarship relating to masculinity in the period c.1500-1750. This is designed to enable them to demonstrate their understanding and ability to structure their own research, utilising primary and secondary sources, including works from cognate disciplines such as gender theory and other theoretically-informed approaches.OptionalHow the West was won: Bishops, barbarians and the transformation of the Roman world, 300-600 2024-25HST9080MLevel 72024-25This module focuses on the ‘fall’ of the Roman Empire in Western Europe in the late fifth century and the emergence of the post-Roman kingdoms. You can examine the central place of ‘barbarian’ peoples, from the Huns and the Goths to the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons in this period, also paying particular attention to the role of churchmen, as spiritual leaders and local powerbrokers, in managing the transition from Roman rule. You are able to read a wide range of written sources, including histories, chronicles, and laws, also engaging with the extensive archaeological record for the period.OptionalMedieval Iberia: People, Power and Place 2024-25HST9052MLevel 72024-25Few places in Europe experienced as culturally diverse and politically complex a medieval past as did the Iberian Peninsula. Indeed, as Janna Bianchini has pointed out, the study of medieval Spain and Portugal obliges us to confront ‘the rich and sometimes violent interchange of (at least) three cultures and religions.’ This module allows students the opportunity to explore multiple aspects of the history of Spain and Portugal from 500 to 1300. This module is team taught, making use of Lincoln's research cluster in medieval Iberian studies, with the aim of ensuring that students are at the forefront of the discipline.OptionalMedieval Lincoln 2024-25HST9075MLevel 72024-25This module aims to explores the city as a central element in the study of medieval history and culture. You are able to investigate Lincoln as both “urbs” (physical space) and “civitas” (people and communities). Starting with the analysis of the urban fabric (“urbs”), you can explore the transformations of the city from the Roman era through the Viking and Anglo-Saxon periods to the later Middle Ages. You can also focus on the memory of its inhabitants, exploring topics such as commemoration, domestic spaces, identities, and legends. The final part of the module considers the activity of institutions in the city, focusing on education, urban government, and the law (including Magna Carta), and exploring the significance of Lincoln’s royal castle and the Cathedral in times of peace and war. This module may include field trips to some of the historical sites under scrutiny.OptionalMediterranean Encounters: 1000-1500 2024-25HST9078MLevel 72024-25‘The Mediterranean is not merely geography’ (Matvejević, 1999). Spanning History, Art History, Architecture, and Literature, this module offers an insight into the complexities of a medieval Mediterranean world defined by both local and global dynamics, cross-cultural encounters, exchanges, and communication. Focusing on the period 1000-1500, you can explore how people, goods, practices, and ideas circulated and interacted in times of war and peace: from Norman Sicily and the Latin East, through Italy and Iberia, to the Spanish territories in the Americas. This module will also help you discover how religion, gender, race, and social status had an impact on Mediterranean networks of power and communication.OptionalNorth by Northwest: Comparative Perspectives on Northern Europe from 750 to 1000 2024-25HST9081MLevel 72024-25This module looks at some of the major developments of medieval northern European history – developments that are too often studied in isolation. Frequently divided into either the Age of Charlemagne and his successors, or the period which saw the emergence of an English Kingdom (and perhaps, people), or an era of violence and trade given its primary impulse by Viking activity, the period from 750 to 1000 is best understood in all its complexity by means of a comparative approach. The module’s comparative framework will also provide the opportunity to develop a crucial contextual knowledge for students looking to go on to PhD level. Equipped with this knowledge, students can realise that no single interpretative paradigm of the period can do justice to the plethora of social, political, economic and cultural changes that took root in the period in question.OptionalPlaying fast and loose with history: Repackaging the past in medieval and modern culture 2024-25HST9054MLevel 72024-25OptionalPolitics and Political Culture in Tudor and Stuart Britain, 1485-1714 2024-25HST9079MLevel 72024-25The Tudor and Stuart periods were times of riot, rebellion, and revolution. Monarchy was challenged, abolished, and restored; parliaments grew in authority and regularity; England and Scotland became a United Kingdom. It was also a time of rapid change in the depth and quality of political engagement and activity for people across all levels of society: it was an age of mob demonstrations, mass petitioning, printed satires, and armed rebellions. While historical studies have long recognised the constitutional and political significance of this period, the approaches taken by historians have evolved substantially in recent decades. The module allows students to investigate the history of monarchy, parliaments, and the state, as well as the issue of ‘popular politics’, and the ways in which men and women outside of the political elite engaged with those in authority. It offers the chance to develop skills in locating, accessing, and reading early modern printed and manuscript sources and to engage with Lincoln’s rich early modern archives.OptionalPublic and Private Emotions in the Middle Ages 2024-25HST9082MLevel 72024-25Why does the study of emotions matter? How shall we approach it? This module brings together social and cultural history, alongside the histories of emotions and the senses, to study how emotions, along with their embodiment and rhetoric, were conceived, manipulated, and adopted, by whom and in what contexts. Love, anger, hatred, and fear are some of the themes that will be discussed in the context of Western Europe and the Mediterranean between 1000 and 1400, a period when their meanings and values were often astonishingly different from our modern conceptions. Primary sources under examination can include letters, philosophical and medical treaties, narrative and literary sources, ecclesiastical writings, as well as visual art and material culture.OptionalRobin Hood and the Outlaw Tradition 2024-25ENL9041MLevel 72024-25OptionalRobin Hood and the Outlaw Tradition 2024-25ENL9042MLevel 72024-25This module examines what outlaw figures, and especially Robin Hood, meant to the people of Britain in the Middle Ages, as well as how he was, and still is, connected to history and myth in literature. You can consider the glorification of crime associated with outlaw narratives and the associated resistance of primarily clerical and state authority, as well as the underlying homosocial bonds present in outlaw communities. You are also able to examine other prevalent themes, including human relations with the natural world, gender, religion, disguise and trickery, class, warfare, and weaponry. Finally, you can explore how outlawry and outlaw figures (especially Robin Hood) have been reimagined in post-medieval periods and in modern media. Materials studied range from medieval chronicles, ballads, and dramatic texts to Victorian poetry, children’s literature, film, and televisionOptionalSaints and Scholars: History and Hagiography in the Middle Ages 2024-25HST9055MLevel 72024-25This module examines the relationship between saints and the societies from which they emerged. Through a series of case studies, it explores the evolution of Christian concepts and practices of sanctity in late antiquity and the early medieval period, before exploring a range of case studies from across later medieval Europe, including some examples from Lincoln and Lincolnshire. You will be encouraged to engage with a range of different sources, including hagiography, material culture, liturgy, and theology in order to understand the phenomenon of the cult of the saints. In the process, we open a fascinating window onto the thought world and social experiences of medieval men and women.OptionalSlavery in Late Antiquity (MA) 2024-25HST9087Level 72024-25Slavery was fundamental to the society and economy of Late Antiquity, as it was throughout much of the ancient world. This module explores the different ways in which slavery and dependency structured how the people of the late ancient world lived, as far as possible focusing on the experiences of the enslaved themselves. Drawing on laws, literary texts, religious writings and material and visual culture, students can gain a deep understanding of the complexities of slavery, develop their vocabulary for talking about enslavement as social and cultural praxes, and learn how to use a range of research resources for examining the social worlds of Late Antiquity. The module will be assessed through the production of a series of blog posts, so that students will also learn the valuable skills of writing for the web and creating interesting and engaging digital content.OptionalThe Death of Chivalry? Monarchy, Revolution and War in England, 1216-72 2024-25HST9083MLevel 72024-25King Henry III’s reign (1216-72) was tremendously significant for the English monarchy. The 9-year-old Henry inherited the throne during a bitter civil war. Although the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich (1217) secured Henry’s position, the following years were eventful. Henry’s marriage to Eleanor of Provence (1236) and his favouritism towards his half-siblings led to court factionalism, with his unpopular policies culminating in England's first revolution. During baronial rebellion in 1258-65, Henry III was reduced to a cipher, the queen spent time in exile, and a baronial council led by Henry's brother-in-law, Simon de Montfort, took control. Yet the baronial movement ultimately collapsed, following de Montfort's brutal death at Evesham. Employing chronicles, letters, and other records, you can explore the relationship between the king, queen, and aristocracy through contemporary eyes.OptionalViolence and Virgins: Conquests and Reconciliations, c.1066-1167 2024-25HST9015MLevel 72024-25Optional

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. In addition to the information provided on this course page, our What You Need to Know page offers explanations on key topics including programme validation/revalidation, additional costs, contact hours, and our return to face-to-face teaching.

How you are assessed

Most modules are assessed by written work, normally source analyses, essays, and other research projects. Latin and Palaeography involve a mix of in-class tests and portfolio work. Many modules also have a participation mark to reward attendance and engagement.

To obtain your MA, you must complete a dissertation project of 12-15,000 words, for which you will be supervised by one of the academics teaching on this programme. Past students have written dissertations on subjects such as queenship and patronage, narratives of conflict and violence, religious dissent, spiritual health and emotions, Arthurian literature, slavery and hierarches of power, the natural and the built environments, among others.

Following the University of Lincoln's policy on assessment, we will ensure that you receive your feedback promptly, usually within 15 or 20 working days of the submission date (unless stated differently). This will allow you to build on our comments and suggestions to improve your subsequent assessments.


On this programme you are invited to become an active member of our postgraduate cohort. We encourage you to attend our regular research seminars and lectures delivered by both internal and external speakers, including the University’s Annual Medieval Studies Lecture. We also organise a ‘Medieval Week’, which includes a range of public events and lectures delivered by internationally recognised scholars in Medieval Studies. You are also invited to join reading groups, which allow you to discuss ideas and share knowledge with your peers, as well as with PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, academic staff, and visiting external speakers.

Medieval Studies Research Group

Our School benefits from its own Medieval Studies Research Group, which provides a stimulating and inclusive environment for discussion and debate with fellow students, scholars, and visiting academics, through various research events and activities.

Explore the Research Group
Lincoln Cathedral and the Bailgate area


We have strong working relationships with the wider scholarly and professional community, including Lincoln Cathedral Library and Lincolnshire Archives, with whom we collaborate in our teaching and research. We also work closely with external organisations such as:

How to Apply

Postgraduate Application Support

Applying for a postgraduate programme at Lincoln is easy. Find out more about the application process and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page. Here, you'll also be able to find out more about the entry requirements we accept and how to contact us for dedicated support during the process.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

First or second class honours degree in a relevant subject.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages: for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page:

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses:

These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

Course Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below.

Course Fees

The University offers a range of merit-based, subject-specific, and country-focused scholarships for UK and international students. To help support students from outside of the UK, we offer a number of international scholarships which range from £1,000 up to the value of 50 per cent of tuition fees. For full details and information about eligibility, visit our scholarships and bursaries pages.

Funding Your Study

Postgraduate Funding Options

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate study, from Master's Loans to scholarship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the University of Lincoln. The range of module options allowed me to tailor my course to complement my research interests. Having the chance to develop skills in Latin and palaeography, as well as learning how to use archives at Lincoln Cathedral, proved invaluable

Career Development

This course will enhance your employability by helping you to develop your critical thinking and analytical skills. These may be particularly beneficial to careers in the heritage sector, museums, communication, and teaching, among others. After completing their MA Medieval Studies, some of our graduates have also continued their research at the doctoral level, securing external PhD funding to support their studies.

Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact the Programme Leader.

Dr Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo

Postgraduate Events

To get a real feel for what it is like to study at the University of Lincoln, we hold a number of dedicated postgraduate events and activities throughout the year for you to take part in.

Upcoming Postgraduate Events
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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.