MA Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Master of Arts (MA)
1 year
Entry requirements

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Pursue your interest in the literatures, histories and cultures of the European Middle Ages and Early Modern periods.
  • Benefit from our lively research culture, with talks, seminars and conferences that you will be able to attend alongside your taught courses.
  • Enjoy unparalleled access to the expert staff and Special Collections of The John Rylands Research Institute and Library.
Study MA Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our open days .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £12,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £27,500
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £6,250
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £13,750

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of School awards and Subject-specific bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a First within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

The Manchester Master's Bursary is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

English language

An overall grade of IELTS 7.0 with 7.0 in writing and no skill below 6.5 is required or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25 and no skill below 22.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

You should include a personal statement (no more than 500 words) that demonstrates your understanding of the subject and your motivation for wanting to study the programme.

If your academic background is not directly related to the programme, you should supply an academic-standard writing sample on a subject related to the programme.

If English is not your native language, then you should provide an academic-standard writing sample in English directly related to the subject.

For more advice on the application process, please visit our  Applying  page.

How your application is considered

Applications are mainly considered on the basis of an assessment of past and predicted academic achievements, the academic reference(s) and any other supplementary evidence that supports the application. Once we have an application that is ready for a decision, the admissions tutor (often the Programme Director) will relay the decision to the admissions team, who will send you this decision.

Please note that your application is usually received by the School 24 to 48 hours after the time you submit it. If you have not provided documentation that allows the admissions tutor to make a decision, we will contact you.

Course details

Course description

Our MA Medieval and Early Modern Studies master's course will give you the opportunity to pursue your interest in the literatures, histories and cultures of the European Middle Ages and Early Modern periods.

Research in this area has a long and distinguished history at The University of Manchester. We have a lively research culture, which takes place with the support of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies  (CMEMS).

All MA students are members of MEMS for the duration of their studies, and are welcome to attend talks, seminars and conferences, in addition to taught courses.

You will also be able to draw on the expertise of scholars engaged in cutting-edge research at the John Rylands Research Institute, where the course is based.

The John Rylands Library houses exceptional medieval and early-modern treasures and offers many exciting research and study opportunities.

Staff teaching on this MA represent the disciplines of History, Art History and Visual Studies, English, Religions and Theology, Classics, and European Languages.

Two pathways are available for students who wish to extend their knowledge in a particular chronological direction: Medieval, and Early Modern.

Learn more about studying Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Manchester on the MEMS website  or contact the Programme Director, Professor David Matthews

Teaching and learning

Depending on the units you take, you will learn through a variety of teaching methods, including seminars, lectures, workshops and e-learning.

The Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies teaches the MA in conjunction with the John Rylands Research Institute.

Coursework and assessment

Summative assessment is primarily via extended pieces of written work: the dissertation of around 15,000 words, long essays of around 4,000-6,000 words, and a variety of shorter pieces for palaeography or language classes.

There is a pass mark of 50% for all assignments. Marks over 60% are given as merit and over 70% as distinction.

In addition, depending on the units selected, formative assessment may be based on oral presentation, class discussion, and feedback on written draft material.

Assessment varies from course unit to course unit; full details of the assessment procedure for individual units can be obtained from the course director.

Those who only attain 120 credits (out of 180) will be awarded a PGDip in Medieval Studies.

Course unit details

Compulsory units

These include the compulsory core course units and research training units, and are taken by students on all pathways.

These units (details below in the course unit list) are designed to introduce you to the basics of interdisciplinary analysis, and to research training skills appropriate to the scope of the course.

'From Papyrus to Print: The History of the Book' and 'Reading the Middle Ages and Early Modern period: Palaeography, Codicology and Sources' are taught in the magnificent surroundings of the John Rylands Library, with the support of specialist library staff.

You will get the opportunity to view and handle rare books and manuscripts from across the entire period. The aim is to consider all aspects of book production, from the roll to the codex and from script to print, as well as the uses (practical and symbolic) of texts in medieval culture.

You will be introduced to a range of medieval sources and recent theoretical approaches to archival research, and learn methodological skills, such as palaeography and codicology.

'Perspectives in Medieval and Early Modern Studies' aims to explore the methodological, historiographical and analytical choices that shape our study of the medieval and early modern periods.

Highlighting the variety of disciplinary approaches that are in use in current scholarship, this unit will investigate a series of relevant themes within the field, and will be taught by specialists in a range of fields.

You will be encouraged to question issues of historical periodisation, the benefits of interdisciplinarity, and how an intellectual framework for the study of the medieval and early modern periods may be conceptualised.

Optional units

You will be able to take 60 credits of optional units. These options range widely over the history, literature, art and material culture of the medieval and early modern world.

You may also take Latin or Old/Middle English (15-30 credits) - appropriate level taken to be discussed with the Programme Director, in consultation with the relevant department.

Options to take other languages, such as Hebrew, Arabic, or Greek can be considered, in consultation with the Programme Director. You can take no more than 30 language credits.

Medieval Pathway:

Of the optional units selected, 15 credits must clearly be of relevance to the medieval period.

Early Modern Pathway:

Of the optional units selected, 15 credits must clearly be of relevance to the early modern period.

You may choose other relevant options from other subject areas, subject to approval by the relevant course directors. Details of new available options will appear here. Please check again in June, or contact the course director.


The dissertation allows you to research a topic of your choice (60 credits). Students on all pathways must complete a dissertation.

Medieval Pathway:

The dissertation topic selected must lie within the medieval period.

Early Modern Pathway:

The dissertation topic selected must lie within the early modern period.

If you have any further academic queries, please email Professor David Matthews ( ).

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Perspectives on Medieval and Renaissance Studies SALC70031 30 Mandatory
Reading the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Palaeography, Codicology, and Sources SALC70040 15 Mandatory
Medieval and Early Modern Studies Dissertation SALC70050 60 Mandatory
From Papyrus to Print: The History of the Book SALC72110 15 Mandatory
Art of Medieval Manuscripts AHCP61642 30 Optional
Intensive Latin 1 CAHE70171 15 Optional
Intensive Latin 2 CAHE70182 15 Optional
Shakespeare: Theory and the Archive ENGL60492 15 Optional
Wondrous Transformations: Translating the Medieval Past ENGL60872 15 Optional
Old English: Writing the Unreadable Past ENGL61162 15 Optional
Vital Matters ENGL64111 15 Optional
Approaches to Literary Studies: Historicism and the Archive ENGL71822 30 Optional
Wonders, Miracles & Supernatural Landscapes in Medieval & Early Modern Europe HIST63192 15 Optional
Jews among Christians and Muslims RELT71152 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 14 course units

Additional fee information

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.


Manchester is home to a wealth of archives, libraries, museums and research institutions to help with your studies and research, including the John Rylands Library and Chetham's Library.

Learn more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

This course is designed to equip you with the critical skills and tools necessary for research in the history, literatures, and art of the Middle Ages and Early Modern periods.

Many of these theoretical and methodological skills are highly transferable, making our graduates popular with a wide range of employers.

Having the opportunity to work in close contact with the collections of the John Rylands Library makes our course particularly suitable if you are considering a future in heritage management, library, archive, or museum work, art business, or education.

In addition to these professional career paths, other students go on to study for a PhD, with the degree proving an excellent basis for an academic career.

The University has an award-winning Careers Service that provides ample opportunities for career development, whether through attending courses, or acquiring specific individual guidance.

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .