Medieval History MA (Honours) 2023 entry

The MA (Hons) in Medieval History will teach you to engage with sophisticated modes of thought and expression across medieval Europe and the Middle East. You will grapple with complex issues and gain a clear understanding of the historical background which underlies the present day. 

Students who study medieval history will engage with a wide variety of 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.  

The Department of Medieval History at St Andrews is one of the biggest in the UK, and medieval history has been taught at St Andrews for over 50 years. 

UCAS code
V130
Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2027
Duration
Four years full time
School
School of History
“The teaching here is fantastic. Medieval history is all about interpreting scanty, challenging sources, so it is a surprisingly creative discipline, and the adventurous research interests of the staff, from ancient legal systems to the history of death, mean you are always exploring the creative outer limits of traditional history.”
William
- West Sussex, England

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
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • 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?

Students 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 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 is a four-year course run by the School of History. In the first two years, you will be introduced to the medieval world by studying the societies of Britain, continental Europe, and the Middle East from around 500 to 1500 AD. You will gain a firm grounding in the major themes and developments of history as a scholarly discipline, and will be able to examine primary sources critically.  

Alongside medieval history, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two 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

In third and fourth year, you will be able to choose from a wide range of specialist studies within the history of the medieval world. You will also be encouraged to dive deeper into a specialist topic of your choice. 

Graduates in medieval history from St Andrews can expect to have developed a wide breadth knowledge in history, and to be able to collect and evaluate information as well as construct powerful arguments, both verbal and written. 

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.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours), you will take the required modules in medieval history alongside modules in at least one other subject. 

Typically, you will take one medieval history module per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours).  

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. 
  • Scotland and the English Empire 1070 - 1500: compares and relates the societies of the English crown and the kingdom of Scotland in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest of England.

Students will 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. 
  • Mediterranean Communities: examines the history and archaeology of human settlement in the Mediterranean world throughout the whole of classical antiquity. In the course of the first millennium BCE and the first half of the first millennium CE (ca. 1000 BCE to 500 CE), the Mediterranean was transformed from a world of tiny peasant and tribal communities to a world of complexly connected cities, states and empires. This module brings together themes of ecology, economy, urbanism, networks and the state to ask big questions about how and why classical civilisation emerged when and where it did. 
  • Scotland, Britain and Empire (c. 1500 - 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. 

If you decide to take medieval history in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, with topics ranging from the fall of the Roman Empire to the dawn of the modern age, and from Britain to the Eastern Mediterranean. 

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

  • Death and the Afterlife in Later Medieval Europe 
  • Holy Lives in Late Antiquity 
  • Queens and Queenship in Early Medieval Europe 
  • Sex and Gender in Medieval Europe 
  • The Mamluks and the Mamluk Sultanate. 

Some modules at Honours level are intended to build your portfolio and provide you with career experience. For example, the 'Recording the Past' module allows you to submit a multimedia historical project in the form of a radio programme, video documentary, website or another appropriate medium. 

In fourth year, students also undertake a dissertation of around 12,000 words on a topic of their choice. 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

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, 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 15 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 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 a written 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 three 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. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the 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. 

In addition to your studies in the School of History, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University. 

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.

Fees

Scotland
Tuition fees have yet to be set.

England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
£9,250

Channel Islands, Isle of Man
£9,250

EU and overseas
£28,190

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.

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Medieval History as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

Course name UCAS code
Master of Arts (Honours) Ancient History and Medieval HistoryV1V1
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and Medieval HistoryTVP1
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and Medieval History (With Integrated Year Abroad)TV76
Master of Arts (Honours) Art History and Medieval HistoryVV13
Master of Arts (Honours) Biblical Studies and Medieval HistoryVVP1
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Medieval HistoryQV81
Master of Arts (Honours) Comparative Literature and Medieval HistoryQV21
Master of Arts (Honours) Economics and Medieval HistoryLVC1
Master of Arts (Honours) English and Medieval HistoryQVH1
Master of Arts (Honours) French and Medieval HistoryRVC1
Master of Arts (Honours) French and Medieval History (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVCC
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Medieval HistoryLVR1
Master of Arts (Honours) German and Medieval HistoryRV2C
Master of Arts (Honours) German and Medieval History (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVFC
Master of Arts (Honours) International Relations and Medieval HistoryLV21
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Medieval HistoryRVJ1
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Medieval History (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVH1
Master of Arts (Honours) Latin and Medieval HistoryQVP1
Master of Arts (Honours) Mathematics and Medieval HistoryGV11
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and Middle East StudiesVTC6
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and PersianV1T6
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and PhilosophyVVC5
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and PsychologyCV81
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and RussianRVT1
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and Russian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVR1
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and Social AnthropologyLV61
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and SpanishRV4C
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and Spanish (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVLC
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and Theological StudiesVVD6
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History with Bible and CultureMB02

"With" degrees

You can take Medieval History as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first name subject. St Andrews offers the following "with" degrees in Medieval History:

  • Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History with Bible and Culture - UCAS code MB02
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History with Persian - UCAS code 96T2

Careers

History students at St Andrews have traditionally moved into a very wide range of careers on graduating. Some continue their academic careers via a postgraduate training degree to doctoral study either in St Andrews or at another university. Other students have often progressed to postgraduate qualifications in teaching, law or accountancy. 

Recent medieval history graduates have found careers as: 
development officer for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland 
inspector of taxes for HMRC. 

A degree in history will provide you with transferable skills that will equip you for a future career in many sectors. These skills include: 

  • focused research and critical analysis 
  • group work 
  • oral and written expression 
  • project planning 
  • time management.

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

Phone
+44 (0)1334 46 2900
Email
history@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address
School of History
St Katharine's Lodge
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9BA

School of History website

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