MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies
I was hands on with primary sources from day one. The professors are always happy to chat. Working around the Castle and Cathedral really brings history to life on a daily basis.Callum, Postgraduate Student
The Taught MA MEMS is a highly diverse, interdisciplinary programme associated with the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS). It covers a wide and exciting range of topics from Late Antiquity to the late eighteenth century, with a global range from the Silk Road to the Viking North.
At IMEMS, we provide a lively environment in which students can participate in a multifaceted approach to the period 300AD-1800 and its legacy, with workshops, seminars, and other activities ranging from fieldwork to research-led performance practice.
World-Class Research in a UNESCO World Heritage Site
We encourage our MA MEMS students to explore Durham's world-class Libraries and Collections, as well as the tangible and intangible heritage of its UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Durham Cathedral possess the finest collection of medieval manuscripts of any of its English peers. At the Renaissance architectural complex on Palace Green you will find a fully preserved seventeenth-century library, established by Bishop John Cosin. Ushaw College holds thousands of medieval and early modern books, manuscripts, and artefacts, including the cope worn at the coronation of King Richard III in 1483. Durham University’s Museum of Archaeology invites the study of early leatherwork, textiles, bones, wood and pottery. The Oriental Museum is devoted to art and archaeology from the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia to Japan; its Chinese and Egyptian collections are among the finest in Britain. At Auckland Castle, the University sponsors the Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art.
Be Part of over 1000 Years of Learning and Intellectual Exchange
IMEMS rallies one of the largest groups of medieval and early modern specialists anywhere in the world. Our MA MEMS students thus work with experts across the Arts and Humanities, and Social and Physical Sciences, as well as with industry professionals in our libraries and museums.
We provide a lively environment in which students can participate in a multifaceted approach to the period 300AD-1800 and its legacy, with workshops, seminars, and other activities ranging from fieldwork to research-led performance practice.
Join our bustling Medieval and Early Modern Student Association
Our MA students become members of the Durham Medieval and Early Modern Student association (MEMSA), which organises a range of seminars, community outreach activities, social activities, and an annual conference.
MEMSA is fully supported by IMEMS and provides opportunities to present papers on your research, devise small-scale courses for non-specialist members of the public, or gain experience by working with larger research projects currently running in the University in the area or medieval and early modern studies.
As an MA MEMS student, you will
- Take two core modules to hone your research skills and explore key historical and critical questions. These modules are team-taught; they consider developments over the longue durée from the end of the classical world, through the Middle Ages and into the early modern era. The first, Reading the Medieval and Early Modern Past, takes one key item or body of material (e.g. a text, a site, an archive) as a lens through which to explore different approaches to the period 300-1700. You write a 5000-word essay on a topic of your choice connected with the themes of the module. The second module, Writing the Medieval and Early Modern Past, focuses on major themes, movements and institutions across the whole medieval and early modern period. You will write a 4000-word essay and give a 15-min. presentation.
- You then follow up your own interests by choosing two further optional modules from a broad range of disciplines. Taught by subject specialists, these usually take the shape of seminars, such as: Latin for Research; Old Norse; Archaeology of the Book; England’s Religious Revolution 1640-62; Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic; Palaeography: Scribes, Script and History from Antiquity to the Renaissance; Warrior Poets in Heroic Societies; Renaissance Tragedy. Options on larger multi-taught modules include, for example, Cultural Landscapes of Eurasia, or War Lords, Holy Men, and Tyrants in North-East England. (All are subject to staff availability.)
- You will write a 15,000-word dissertation of original research, supervised by one of Durham’s specialists, on a topic of your choice in the period AD300-1700.
The St Hild and St Bede International Scholarship
About the scholarship
The St Hild and St Bede International Scholarship is worth £1000 and is awarded to international students of outstanding academic ability and potential starting their programme in 2020.
How can I apply?
All International (non-EU) applicants to the MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies programme will be automatically considered for The St Hild and St Bede International Scholarship; applicants do not need to make a separate scholarship application.
What are the criteria?
Applicants will be assessed on the basis of their prior academic performance and potential for academic achievement during their programme of study.
Are there any deadlines?
Applications received before 15 July 2020 will be eligible, and successful candidates will be notified shortly thereafter.
What are the other benefits?
As well as a £1000 reduction in tuition fees, The St Hild and St Bede International Scholars will benefit from:
- a personal invitation to a reception event at the College of St Hild and St Bede*;
- membership of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS);
- access to the world-class research collections that Durham and the surrounding area has to offer;
- a personal tour of an aspect of Durham’s heritage collections*;
- the opportunity to meet heritage professionals, commissioning editors, and other collaborators through our extensive network of contacts;
- the opportunity to present their research at the Medieval and Early Modern Students Association (MEMSA) regular seminar series.
*please note that in 2020/21 it may not be possible to offer in-person hospitality events due to the ongoing public health crisis.
Terms and Conditions
1. To be considered for one of The St Hild and St Bede International Scholarships applicants must:
- Have applied for the MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies programme by 15 July 2020;
- Have received an offer for study;
- Take up your programme place in the 2020/21 academic year
- Be willing to participate and cooperate in public marketing activities which the University may organise for the scholarship winners;
- Be paying the international (non-EU) tuition fee rate for your programme of study.
2. Scholarships are not transferable and not deferrable. They are valid only for use by scholarship winners in the academic year for which the Scholarship has been awarded.
3. To secure the Scholarship award applicants must:
- confirm acceptance of the award by the date stated on the scholarship offer email;
- Failure to meet these conditions may result in the applicant’s right to the Scholarship being removed and the Scholarship being awarded to another applicant.
3. The Scholarship award will be deducted from your tuition fee, and pro-rated across instalments. Scholarships are only valid for one year.
4. If you choose to withdraw from the programme before completion, you will be responsible for the full cost of the Programme up to the point withdrawal and your Scholarship will no longer be valid.
R9K807 Medieval and Early Modern Studies MA Postgraduate Taught 2020
For the latest information on our plans for teaching in academic year 2020/21 in light of Covid-19, please see www.durham.ac.uk/coronavirus
The MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies is an interdisciplinary MA run by Durham's Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS), with support from the History Department. The programme is suitable for students whose undergraduate training is in Archaeology, Classics, History, Literature/Languages, Philosophy, Theology, or other related disciplines. The main aim of the programme is to prepare students for doctoral research in the study of the medieval and early modern past by offering outstanding interdisciplinary training to equip students with the skills they need for their future careers. It is taught by specialists who are members of IMEMS, primarily from the departments of Archaeology, Classics, English, History, Modern Languages and Cultures, Philosophy and Theology.
Students become part of the vibrant research communities both within departments and IMEMS. In particular students become members of the Medieval and Early Modern Student Association (MEMSA), which organises regular seminars, conferences and social events. Situated in the historic setting of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes Durham Cathedral, Durham Castle, and the surrounding area, IMEMS has one of the largest gatherings of medieval and early modern scholars in the world. Students benefit from the rich archival and manuscript resources in the collections of the University and Cathedral, the world-class Oriental Museum collections, as well as highly significant wider regional resources for study of the period.
All students on the MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies take two core modules, Reading the Medieval and Early Modern Past, and Writing the Medieval and Early Modern Past (30 credits each). Students also write a 15,000-word dissertation (60 credits), supervised by one of Durham's specialists, which allows them to focus on a specialist topic of their choice in the period AD c.300-c.1800, which may be interdisciplinary or focused primarily on one of the individual disciplines which make up the programme. They also take two optional modules (30 credits each). These may be content, language or skills modules, and are drawn from the seven participating departments as well as Durham’s other centres and programmes. All elements of the programme have embedded within them a range of content, subject-specific skills, and key skills.
Our two core modules, Reading the Medieval and Early Modern Past, and Writing the Medieval and Early Modern Past, develop advanced skills in interpreting and using a range of different kinds of source-material, including textual material and visual culture.
Optional Modules available in previous years include: Palaeography, Latin for Research, Old Norse, Warrior Poets, Archaeology of the Book, England's Religious Revolution 1640-62, Cultural Exchange in Seventeenth-Century Europe.
Learning and Teaching
Course Learning and Teaching
The MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies is delivered through a range of tutorials, seminars and practical hands-on workshops with subject experts. Students also receive one-to-one supervision through focussing in detail on a particular aspect of medieval and early modern history, literature, society or culture in their dissertation.
Subject requirements, level and grade
- A 2:1 or equivalent
- A 500-word personal statement which should include the following:
- An outline of your interest in an interdisciplinary MA programme in medieval and early modern studies
- What skills and knowledge you would bring to the course
- What skills and knowledge you would hope to acquire
- An indication of your planned area of research
- Two academic references from people who are familiar with your work, commenting on your suitability for the programme
- A 2000-word sample of your written work, which could be an essay, an extract from your dissertation, or something you have written in pursuit of your further studies, preferably on a topic linked to medieval or early modern studies.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Fees and Funding
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£9,000.00 per year|
|Home Student||£9,000.00 per year|
|Island Student||£9,000.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£20,000.00 per year|
Part Time Fees
|EU Student||£5,000.00 per year|
|Home Student||£5,000.00 per year|
|Island Student||£5,000.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£11,000.00 per year|
The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.