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 Medieval History department at St Andrews is one of the biggest in the UK, and Medieval History has been taught at St Andrews for over 50 years.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Mediaeval History MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. 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.
Standard entry grades: AAAAB, including A in History
Minimum entry grades: AABB, including B in History
Gateway entry grades: BBBB, including B in History
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
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
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 entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.
St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.
The School of History at St Andrews has an international reputation for the diversity of teaching programmes offered. The School has expertise in medieval and modern history, from Scotland to Byzantium, and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students were satisfied with the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
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 webpage.
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 (1000-1400): 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.
And 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: deals with the human settlement and material culture of the entire Mediterranean World throughout classical antiquity.
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
Italian City States: from Communes to Signorie c.1000 - c.1350
Queens and Queenship in Early Medieval Europe
The Mamluks and the Mamluk Sultanate (1250-1382)
Death and the Afterlife in Later Medieval Europe.
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 available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (120 to 200 students) and small group tutorials (5 to 7 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.
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.
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.
During your Medieval History degree, you will be assessed by a combination of coursework and examinations. Coursework includes:
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 Honoursand 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 visit the common reporting scale web page.
Visit St Andrews
If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.
In taking a joint degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.
You can take Medieval History as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first named subject. St Andrews offers the following "with" degree in Medieval History:
In taking a "with" degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.
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
oral and written expression
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.
Medieval History students may 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.
From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
Students of Medieval History may be interested in joining the following student society:
History Society hosts talks with guest speakers on a variety of topics as well as social events including pub nights, garden parties and trips abroad.
The School of History occupies three sites all within a few minutes’ walk of each other at the heart of the historic town of St Andrews. Students will attend tutorials, seminars and individual meetings with tutors in these buildings, while larger lectures are located in nearby buildings. The School of History sites are:
St Katharine’s Lodge, a 19th-century former school near the seafront
New Arts Building, a modern building with lecture classrooms and study spaces
St John’s House, located on South Street.
The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh makes it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).