Medieval Studies

Key Information


MPhil: 1.5-3 years. PhD: 2-4 years


MPhil: 2-4 years. PhD: 3-8 years

Entry Requirements

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Brayford Pool

Start Dates in October and February

Programme Overview

MPhil/PhD Medieval Studies offers you the opportunity to undertake an intensive study of a topic of your choice in the history, literature, and/or culture of the medieval period, and to make an original contribution to scholarly understandings of your chosen subject area. As a medieval city, Lincoln provides an ideal backdrop to undertake your research. You will have access to a wealth of local resources, including our established Medieval Studies Research Group.

While the emphasis is on your independent research, you will receive guidance from academic supervisors whose broad range of expertise includes Roman and medieval history of the British Isles, Western Europe, and the Mediterranean (with a focus on the Iberian Peninsula); along with gender and literary studies; social, political, economic, legal, religious and cultural history; archaeology; medievalism; and the history of emotions.

Key Features

Conduct independent, original, and academically significant research

Benefit from training courses to develop key research skills

Supervision and support from expert academic staff

Present at talks and seminars to showcase your work

Enrol in February or October each year

A student reading in the Wren Library

How You Study

Over the course of your studies, you will be expected to complete an original piece of research that makes a contribution to the existing scholarship on, and knowledge of, the subject under scrutiny. You will be guided throughout this process by expert and well-published supervisors, from whom you will receive feedback and advice. Your PhD project might cross disciplinary boundaries and focus on multiple subject areas; in such cases, we will endeavour to support you through the allocation of supervisors in relevant fields.

Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, a significant amount of time will be spent in independent study and research. You will need to take considerable responsibility for your studies, including time management, project planning and writing drafts of your work. You are expected to submit appropriate written work regularly to your supervisors and to act on the feedback received. Students will have regular meetings with their academic supervisor(s) who will discuss the development of the research, comment on written drafts, and agree the next stage of work.

Students have access to support and training to develop the practical and critical skills necessary for investigation and study at doctoral level, and for interpreting a wide range of evidence.

The School of Humanities and Heritage provides a stimulating research environment within which our postgraduate community plays a central role. Research seminars and staff-student reading groups foster cross-disciplinary debates and collaboration, as well as providing opportunities for career development.


Our MPhil/PhD programme relies on the research expertise and collaboration of members of our Medieval Studies Research Group.

Strong links exist within other areas of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, especially with the Lincoln School of Film, Media and Journalism. An interdisciplinary research culture facilitates collaboration with colleagues across a wide range of topics. We also collaborate with the Global and Transregional Studies Research Group and with the EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Committee of the School of History and Heritage.

Current and Recent PhD projects include:

  • Merovingian queenship
  • Gregory the Great’s exegesis of the Song of Songs
  • Christians in medieval Muslim Spain
  • The last Earls of Surrey
  • Royal step-mothers in C13-C14 Europe
  • Animal representations in Lincoln Cathedral

Medieval Studies Research Group

Our MPhil/PhD students are encouraged to participate in the 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

Industry Links

We have a strong relationship with the wider scholarly and professional community including Lincoln Cathedral Library and Archives, with whom we collaborate in our teaching and research. We also collaborate closely with:

  • The Society for the Medieval Mediterranean
  • The Lincoln Record Society
  • Royal Historical Society
  • The Noblewomen Network
  • The Historical Association
  • International Arthurian Society (British Branch)
  • Pipe Roll Society
  • British Archaeological Association
  • Society for Medieval Archaeology
  • Medieval Settlement Research Group
  • International Association for Robin Hood Studies
  • International Society for the Study of Medievalism
  • The Middle Ages in the Modern World (MAMO)

How you are assessed

The assessment at this level of study takes the form of thesis of 80,000 words (PhD) or 40,000 words (MPhil), which is deemed to make an original contribution to knowledge, and to be suitable for publication (in whole or in part).

You will normally need to defend your thesis in an oral examination (viva), where you are expected to demonstrate an expert understanding of your subject, and to show how your research findings contribute to knowledge or build on existing understandings of the subject.

How to Apply

To support your experience within the postgraduate research community, new students are encouraged to enrol in October or February, although alternative dates may be agreed with your supervisors on an individual basis. When writing your research proposal, please take note of the following guidance:

Writing a Research Proposal
  • A research proposal will only be considered if there are academics in the subject with an interest in your field. Please study the staff profiles closely to make sure there is at least one member of staff whose interests intersect broadly with your own.
  • The research proposal should be 2,000-2,500 words in length.
  • Clearly define the topic you are interested in, and demonstrate understanding of the relevant research area.
  • Include two or three research questions that you will explore in your research.
  • Outline the research methodologies/approaches you will use to undertake the research.
  • Include a provisional bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
  • You might include a brief literature review of the key works that relate to your topic, particularly if this helps to exemplify the point below.
  • Explain clearly how your research makes an original contribution to existing scholarship in the area; what gaps will it fill? How will it further knowledge of the area?
  • Sketch out a provisional plan of work that includes research/archival visits and a timetable for the writing of chapters.
  • Make sure the proposal is well presented with sections and subheadings and is free of errors.

Applicants with appropriate projects will be offered an interview with the programme leader and one or more subject specialists where the application can be discussed in more detail.


Applicants with appropriate proposals will be offered an interview with the programme leader and one or more subject specialists, who will discuss with you in more detail the research proposal and your suitability to undertake it.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Research Application Support

Find out more about the application process for research degrees and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page, which also features contact details for dedicated support with your application.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

Relevant Master's degree.

Vitally, you will need to submit a research proposal along with your application form. This must demonstrate a suitable scope and focus, and an understanding of how your project makes an original contribution to the field of study.

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 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page:

For further advice on IELTS and the support available, please contact the International College by email at

Programme 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. Research students may be required to pay additional fees in addition to cover the cost of specialist resources, equipment and access to any specialist collections that may be required to support their research project. These will be informed by your research proposal and will be calculated on an individual basis.

Programme Fees

Funding Your Research

Loans and Studentships

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate research, from Master's and Doctoral Loans, to research studentship 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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Career Development

A doctoral qualification may be regarded as the capstone of academic achievement and may mark the beginning of a career in academia. Our School’s former students have also taken up careers in research, research administration, publishing, arts and heritage, and teaching in various contexts.

The University’s Doctoral School provides a focal point for Lincoln’s community of researchers, where ideas and experiences can be developed and shared across disciplines. It also offers support and training to help equip you for both academic and non-academic careers.

Doctoral School

Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact:

Dr Rebecca Styler

Research at Lincoln

Through our research, we are striving to change society for the better. Working with regional, national, and international partners, our academics are engaged in groundbreaking studies that are challenging the status quo. We also understand the importance of providing the best possible environment for pursuing research that can support our communities and make a tangible difference to the world around us.

Explore Our Research
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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.