Welcome to the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies

St Andrews Cathedral

The study of the Middle Ages has long been a major research and teaching interest at the University of St Andrews. The Department of Mediaeval History was founded in 1955, expanding to be the largest of its kind in the world, with a long and illustrious history of excellence in the field. The inter-disciplinary Institute of Mediaeval Studies brings together over thirty full-time academic staff of international standing and a number of research associates. Subjects taught include History (political, religious, social, cultural, legal), Mediaeval languages and Literatures (Arabic, French, Old and Middle English, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, Old Norse and Welsh), Art History and Theology. Students can also take modern language classes as needed for their research.

On Wednesday 13 February 2008 the Institute was formally launched with a lecture given by Prof Gerd Althoff of the University of Münster: Forms and Functions of Irony in Medieval Politics. Building on a long tradition of research and teaching on the Middle Ages at St Andrews, the new  inter-disciplinary Institute of Mediaeval Studies brings together over thirty full-time academic staff of international standing and a number of research associates. 

View Pictures from the launch of the Institute of Mediaeval Studies



2014 - 2015 Donald Bullough Fellowship

View further information here

2013-2014 Donald Bullough Fellowship

UCD School of History, staff portraits - Edward Coleman

The 2013-14 Donald Bullough Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Edward Coleman of the School of History & Archives at University College Dublin.

Dr Coleman’s research and teaching focuses on the history of medieval and Renaissance Italy. His publications have investigated various aspects of the society, politics and culture of the city-state in northern Italy during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in particular civic identity and civic patriotism, historical consciousness and sense of the past, aristocratic power, representative assemblies, ritual space, factionalism and conflict resolution, landholding and property relations. He has written extensively on the city of Cremona as well as on other cities such as Milan and Alessandria. His research has also looked at how perceptions of the medieval city-states in art, music and literature have been influential at key moments in the nineteenth and twentieth-century history of Italy, such as the Risorgimento. He is the author of ‘Cities and Communes’, in The Shorter Oxford History of Italy, vol. II (2003) and has also contributed to collections of translated primary sources for undergraduates such as Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation (2009). His current research projects are concerned with the contribution of Italy and Ireland to the Crusading movement.

Dr Coleman will be in St Andrews in semester 2 of academic year 2013-14 and will be working on a book on the Italian Communes.

Annual Lecture

This years’ SAIMS annual lecture took place on 14 March, when a large audience came to hear Professor John Lowden speak on the subject of ‘The Gothic Ivories Project’.  Professor Lowden, of the Courtauld Institute in London, is a renowned expert on Early Christian and Mediaeval art, particularly that of the Byzantine Empire.  His current project, the subject of his lecture, involves the production of a highly ambitious database of Western European ivory sculptures made in the period c1200-c1530.  Professor Lowden demonstrated the great potential of the database as a resource for comparing and analysing these objects and the links between them.  The Gothic Ivories Project can be accessed freely online here.

View picture here


Scholarship Award

Bryn Jones, a part-time PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Alex Woolf, has been awarded a Saunders Lewis Memorial Scholarship.
The Saunders Lewis Memorial Fund was established in 1989 to acknowledge Saunders Lewis’s contribution to the literary and cultural life of Wales. The biannual scholarship is offered in three fields, representing the interests of Saunders Lewis himself: politics, literature and drama. The aim of the scholarship is to enable young people from Wales to visit another European country to study their chosen field. At the completion of the scholarship period recipients of the award are expected to present a work in the Welsh language which is suitable for publication.
Bryn’s research is concentrated on the relationship between the medieval Welsh and the Papacy prior to the Edwardian conquest. The grant will allow him to spend time compiling a handlist of the documents relevant to medieval Wales in the Vatican archives.
Saunders Lewis was born in 1893 in Wallesey, Cheshire, and read English and French at Liverpool University. He was a literary critic, a prolific playwright and a political activist. A founder member of Plaid Cymru in 1925, his radio lecture “Tynged yr Iaith” (“The Fate of the Language”) is credited as being the catalyst for Welsh language activism since the 1960s. He held academic positions at both Swansea University and Cardiff University.


Bursaries for M Litt in Mediaeval Studies

Applicants are eligible for the above if History is a major component of their degree.

View further information

SAIMS 2011 Annual Newsletter

View here




Forthcoming Events

Mediaeval Studies Seminar Series


Monday 28th April 2014

Professor David Rabban (Texas)

Making Law Scientific: The Founding generation of American Legal Scholars on Mediaeval English Law.

5.15pm, Old Class Library, St John's House

All welcome

View full Candlemas Seminar Series here













Institute of Mediaeval Studies,
University of St Andrews
71 South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9QW

Location Map

For all enquiries, please write to

tel: +44 (0)1334 463332

For Postgraduate Admissions information please visit the University Postgraduate Admissions website