Medieval History and Archaeology MA (Honours) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

The MA (Hons) in Medieval History and Archaeology blends aspects of archaeology and material culture with a wide variety of medieval historical issues and geographic locations to suit different interests, whether that be in early Islamic Iran, the Britons and Saxons, medieval political thought, or queenship.  

This course is predominantly concerned with the culture and society of medieval Europe and the Middle East, rather than with archaeological science. 

UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2028
Four years full time
School of History

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject-specific entry requirements as outlined on their pages.

  • Standard entry grades:
    AAAAB, including A in History.
    Minimum entry grades:
    AABB, including B in History.
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • Standard entry grades:
    AAA, including A in History.
    Minimum entry grades:
    ABB, including B in History.
  • Standard entry grades:
    38 (HL 6,6,6), including HL6 in History.
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL5 in History.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Applications of Mathematics
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

You do not need previous knowledge of archaeology to apply, but you must have studied History at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.

Alternative study options

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the following:

Study abroad

Medieval History and Archaeology students can apply to participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad site.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MA (Hons) in Medieval History and Archaeology is a four-year course run primarily by the School of History, though training in archaeological principles and analysis is primarily given by archaeologists working in the School of Classics. The course focuses on the broad applications of archaeology to history and culture, and the physical remains of past societies, rather than formal or professional training in archaeological science. 

During your first two years of study, you will typically take the modules offered by the Medieval History MA single Honours degree. Aspects of archaeology and material culture are integrated into these sub-honours modules; some modules include specific archaeological segments and topics and offer the choice to conduct assessed work on archaeological themes. The emphasis during this time is in learning to use archaeological and historical sources together.  

In the first year of your studies, you will be required to study three subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised

At Honours level, you undertake advanced training in archaeological principles and analysis and choose from a wide range of modules that are largely or entirely archaeological in content.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours), there are no separate modules in archaeology at this level; instead, archaeology is taught as an integral part of approaches to understanding ancient and medieval societies.

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules: 

  • The Fall of Rome and the Origins of Europe (400-1000): examines how political, cultural and social life changed in the Byzantine, British and ‘barbarian’ worlds in response to major upheavals.
  • The Kingdom of the Scots, c.900-1707: explores Scotland's long history as an independent kingdom between the tenth and the early eighteenth century. It places particular emphasis on the use of museum collections and built heritage as historical evidence. 

Students take the following compulsory second-year module: 

  • Medieval Europe (11th - 15th c.): examines key themes that helped to shape continental Western Europe from the aftermath of the Carolingian Empire and beginning of the Crusades to the Black Death and the Hundred Years War. 

You will also choose at least one from the following: 

  • History as a Discipline: Development and Key Concepts: provides an introduction to key theoretical and methodological approaches which have characterised the emergence of history as a discipline since medieval times. 
  • Introduction to Middle Eastern History: provides an introduction to Middle Eastern history from the dramatic reconfiguration of the Middle East in late antiquity to its contested and contentious recent past. 
  • Narratives of antiquity: examines influential narratives from the ancient world and their reinterpretations in later periods, from the nineteenth century to the present day, and how they continue to shape the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves for better or for worse.
  • Scotland, Britain and Empire (c. 1700-2000): provides an introduction to how and why the British nation-state evolved from the separate kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland and how and why it has survived over the last three centuries. 

You can also take this interdisciplinary second-year module:  

  • Introduction to Archaeology: provides a grounding in the main concepts, methodologies, and techniques of investigating the past through material evidence and physical environments. Topics will include methods of identifying and investigating archaeological sites and materials, and how archaeologists and cultural heritage practitioners disseminate, preserve, and curate the past for professional and public audiences.

If you choose to take Medieval History & Archaeology in your third and fourth years, you will take the following compulsory third-year modules: 

  • Archaeological Methods: explains modern archaeological methods, introducing the techniques available to researchers for investigating archaeological sites. 
  • Principles and Techniques in Archaeology: provides an advanced induction to the practical conduct of archaeology and how it affects the results of excavations and surveys, and an in-depth introduction to key archaeological topics and theories. 

You will then choose from a variety of advanced options which incorporate archaeology into the study of ancient and medieval civilisations and cultures, focusing on topics such as castles, cities and urbanisation, networks, ancient art and sculpture, and the Bronze Age civilisations of the Aegean. 

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years: 

  • Art of the Roman Empire  
  • Early English Society, c.600-850 
  • In the Footsteps of the Ancients: Exploring the Archaeology and Topography of Greece 
  • Legal Cultures in Late Antiquity 
  • The Ancient City of Rome 
  • The History and Archaeology of Medieval Monasticism 
  • The Roman Army. 

In fourth year, students have the option of undertaking a dissertation of about 10,000 words on an approved topic in archaeology. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees. 

The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (120 to 200 students) and small group tutorials (6 to 9 students). Lectures are given by all members of the School of History, enabling students to hear active researchers in each field talk about their specialism. Tutorials are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop their thinking in a small and friendly atmosphere, guided by a professional expert.  

Teaching at Honours level moves away from large group lecturing. Students meet in groups of about 10 to 16 students for longer classes in which they are expected to participate fully. 
When not attending lectures and tutorials you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve: 

  • working on individual and group projects 
  • undertaking research in the library 
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations 
  • preparing for examinations. 

During your Medieval History and Archaeology degree, you will be assessed by a combination of coursework and examinations. Coursework includes: 

  • research essays 
  • class presentations 
  • source analyses. 

Classroom examinations often incorporate essays and source exercises. In addition, many modules include an examination held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand. 

The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within two weeks to help you improve on future assessments. 

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of medieval history. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader. 

Find contact information for all  medieval history staff  on the School of History website. 

The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.



England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Channel Islands, Isle of Man

EU and overseas

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.


Archaeology courses at St Andrews do not provide the full training in British archaeology appropriate for someone set on working in professional or commercial archaeology in the UK. Nevertheless, recent graduates have gone on to work as professional archaeologists while others have taken professional qualifications in museum studies. 

Popular career areas for students who have taken Medieval History & Archaeology include: 

  • academia 
  • journalism 
  • libraries and information 
  • museums and galleries 
  • publishing. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2900
School of History
St Katharine's Lodge
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9BA

School of History website

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