We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.


Q3K407 Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies MA Postgraduate Taught 2015


UCAS code Q3K407
Degree MA
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time)
Start Date 06-10-2015
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 2500

Course Content


Our taught MA pathway in Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise within this field. You can learn from the rich variety of research expertise in the Department and you also have the chance to concentrate on a particular area of literary study within the fields of medieval and Renaissance studies. Our commitment to research-led teaching means that students are able to explore the cutting edge of the discipline - from Old Norse to Renaissance humanism, from medieval manuscripts to critical theory. The Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies pathway is especially strong in offering interdisciplinary modules taught in collaboration with specialists from other departments including History and Archaeology. We provide an intimate, dynamic and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds and nationalities.

Our programme offers up-to-date training in research methods and skills. You choose three modules, at least two of which are from within the pathway, and you will write a dissertation on a subject related to medieval and/or Renaissance studies.

An MA in Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies is often the platform for further research at PhD level, as well as providing an excellent grounding for jobs in education, the arts and the media.

If you choose to take this named pathway, you will be expected to select at least two modules from those available within the pathway and to write your dissertation in an area related to it. Your third optional module may, if you wish, be chosen from the full list of modules on offer in the Department. Students may, with permission, take one module from other modules on offer in the Arts Faculty. All students must take the core Research Methods and Resources module and the dissertation.

Core Modules

  • Research Methods and Resources
  • Dissertation

Optional Modules

Typical modules might include:

  • The Anglo-Saxon World, AD 400-1100
  • Old Norse
  • Warrior Poets in Heroic Societies
  • The Anglo-Norman World
  • Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic
  • Middle English Manuscripts and Texts
  • Issues in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Renaissance Tragedy
  • Renaissance Humanism
  • John Milton: Life, Works and Influence
  • Old English
  • Shakespeare in Context.

Modules are subject to staff availability and may alter.

Please use the 'additional comments' section of the application form to indicate your choice of modules.

Learning and Teaching

One of the distinctive features of the Durham MA in Literary Studies is that it permits both a broad-based, eclectic study of literary topics from the earliest periods of literature to the present and the possibility of specialisation through designated pathways in such areas as Medieval and Renaissance Studies or Twentieth-Century Studies. All students take 3 modules, taught in small seminar groups of up to 10, with each module generating twenty hours of contact time (10 seminars x 2 hours) over the academic year. A strong emphasis is placed on independent research, and seminars usually involve a considerable amount of preparation, including short presentations and workshops.

All students register for the Research Methods and Resources module, which generates an additional 20 hours over the academic year. Again, a strong emphasis is given to independent research. Both pieces of written work for the RMR module involve significant preparation for the MA dissertation (and in some cases for doctoral study later on). The MA dissertation is supported by three hours of dedicated individual supervision time. Drafts of the dissertation are read and commented upon by the supervisor.

Throughout the taught MA degree programme, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in a lively series of staff-postgraduate research seminars, usually involving invited guest speakers from UK (and occasionally) overseas universities. 

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

You will normally require an English or English-related Honours degree (at least a 2:1) or equivalent from a recognised university.

In addition to your three module choices, you will also need to include a piece of written work of approximately 1,200 words in length on a literary subject. This can be any piece of literary-critical work you have completed recently and may be emailed direct to the Department if you wish.

Should you also wish to be considered for the 'Writing Poetry' module, you will also need to send samples of your own poetic compositions.

We welcome applications from holders of international qualifications. For advice on the equivalency of international qualifications, please contact our International Office.

English Language requirements

IELTS score of at least 7.0 in the IELTS test (with no element below 6.5) or at least 102 in the TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test) (with no element below 25).

Requirements and Admissions

The University accepts the following alternative English language tests and scores.

Fees and Funding

Fees shown are for one year. Total fee will depend on the length of your programme. All fees are subject to annual increases. For more information please visit the Tuition Fees page

EU student fees


Home student fees


Islands student fees


International non-EU student fees


Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

English Studies

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our web pages

Open days and visits

Campus tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits

Department Information

English Studies


Students in English Studies can choose specialised topics across the whole range of the subject area from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. The Department provides an intimate, dynamic and supportive environment in which to undertake a postgraduate degree and offers the most up-to-date training in methods and skills. It consists at present of 34 permanent members of academic staff, who produce research of the highest international calibre. We strive to connect with both the local community and a global network of students, scholars, artists and professionals.

The Department is consistently rated as one of the top UK English departments by The Times Good University Guide. The Department's work ethos is that teaching and research should complement one another at all levels of academic enquiry. A postgraduate degree in English Studies, therefore enables students to consolidate their existing skills and interests, whilst at the same time exploring the cutting edge of the discipline.


Teaching Staff

Prof Elizabeth Archibald, Professor

Dr David Ashurst, Lecturer

Dr Neil Cartlidge, Reader

Dr Robert Carver, Senior Lecturer

Professor Timothy Clark, Professor

Professor Pamela Clemit, Professor

Dr Julie Crane, Teaching Fellow

Dr Peter Garratt, Lecturer

Dr Daniel Grausam, Lecturer

Dr Mandy Green, Lecturer

Dr Simon Grimble, Lecturer

Dr Jason Harding, Reader

Prof David Herman, Professor

Professor Simon James, Senior Lecturer

Dr Michael Mack, Reader

Dr Marina MacKay, Senior Lecturer

Dr John Nash, Senior Lecturer

Dr Helen O'Connell, Lecturer

Professor Michael O'Neill, Professor

Dr Barbara Ravelhofer, Reader

Professor Stephen Regan, Professor

Dr Mark Sandy, Senior Lecturer

Professor Corinne Saunders, Head of Department and Chair of the Board of Studies

Dr Gillian Skinner, Lecturer

Dr James Smith, Lecturer

Dr Richard Sugg, Lecturer

Dr Jennifer Terry, Lecturer

Dr Samuel Thomas, Lecturer

Professor Patricia Waugh, Professor

Dr Sarah Wootton, Senior Lecturer

NB: Information contained on the website or in the literature with respect to the fee is correct at the time of publication but the University reserves the right to change the course information or fee at a later date.

Browse Courses