Durham's MA in Medieval History is a broad-ranging Master's programme which seeks to equip students with historical research techniques and approaches, advanced skills in critical analysis and independent study, as well as strong and effective communication skills. The MA programme is designed to enable students with different career ambitions to succeed in their chosen area, and it caters for students of different backgrounds, previous training, and areas of specialisation. The breadth of research interests of the medievalists at Durham allows the department to offer supervision in topics about the medieval world from Late Antiquity through to the sixteenth century. The programme seeks to enable students to build an awareness of the contemporary boundaries of medieval scholarship, to master advanced understanding of historical concepts and methods, and ultimately to make their own contributions to the field.
Durham's History Department is an international centre for the study of the Middle Ages, and is situated in the historic setting of the World Heritage Site, which includes Durham Cathedral, Durham Castle and the surrounding area. Students of medieval history at Durham benefit from the rich archival and manuscript resources in the collections of the University (at Palace Green Library and at Ushaw College) and in the Cathedral Library, while the wider regional resources for study of the period are also highly significant: these include the landscape of Viking invasion, of Bede, of high medieval monasticism, of centuries of border warfare with their rich and distinctive legacy of castles, and of early industry and proto-capitalism.
The programme is delivered primarily through small group seminar teaching with some larger classes, and lecture-style sessions. Termly division of contact hours between terms depends on student choice. Issues in Medieval History has 16 contact hours, all classroom-based; this module is team-taught and exposes students to a wide variety of staff support and expertise. Archives and Sources has 8 contact hours, split between lectures, classes and seminars. Skills modules are taught through seminars or classes and are usually more contact-hour-intensive. In previous years, optional modules were taught in seminars and provided a total of 16 contact hours. Critical Practice involves lectures, a drama workshop, and oral presentation to a group (at a 'mini-conference'). Dissertation supervision involves 8 hours of directed supervision, individually with a dedicated supervisor.
The MA in Medieval History is a one-year full-time programme (or two-years part-time). All students are allocated a supervisor at the beginning of the first term, and s/he guides each student through the year. The programme is structured as follows:
This module is designed to introduce you to advanced interpretation and analysis of primary sources, and has two elements. The first is based on archives, and will be led by specialist staff in the Library's Special Collections, as well as by members of the department. The second element is commentary on particular sources, chosen by you in consultation with your supervisor and the module convenors.
This module introduces students to some of the major problems, issues and debates in medieval history, by focusing on major medieval historians and their works, approaches and methodologies. It covers the period from the transformation of the Roman Empire through to the early sixteenth century, though students will be able to specialise on a particular area/approach in their assessed work.
Students may choose to take a skills module: these are mainly medieval/ancient languages (e.g. Old English, Old Norse, Latin, Greek), modern languages for reading (e.g. Academic French, Academic German), or research skills (e.g. palaeography). Students who take a skills module write a 60-credit dissertation instead of a 90-credit dissertation.
This module will develop and test your ability to offer a critical intellectual argument in an oral presentation, and your ability to participate effectively in critical discussions arising out of oral presentations. The training for this module involves lectures, seminars, one-to-one sessions with your supervisor, and a drama workshop. This module will encourage you to think critically about questions of structure and balance of content, timing and delivery in presentations through observing the work of others, and developing your own presentation.
Option modules allow students the opportunity to learn about a particular topic or issue in medieval history in depth, and to consider different historical approaches to this topic over a full term's study. In previous years, options for medieval history included: The Anglo-Saxon World, AD 400-1100 (an interdisciplinary module taught by academic staff in History, Archaeology and English), Power and Society in the Late Middle Ages, and The Wealth of Nations (a full list of MA option modules is available here). Option modules are taught in weekly two-hour seminars for a full term's study.
Students meet with their supervisors on an individual basis and will discuss the topic, direction and content of their dissertation, as well as the relevant medieval evidence and scholarship which they should explore. The dissertation is a substantial, independent piece of research: the 90-credit dissertation is 20,000 words, while the 60-credit dissertation is 15,000 words. You are not required to write your dissertation on a topic which is in the same period and area as your optional modules, but it is recommended that students discuss their individual programmes of work with their supervisors and/or with the Director of Taught Postgraduate Programmes.
The formal requirements and structure of the programme can be found here; a full list of optional modules is available here.
The MA can be taken part-time, over two years. In the first year the module combination consists of Archives and Sources, Critical Practice, Issues and in addition a Skills module OR Optional module. In the second year your work will consist of either a 90 credit, 20,000 word dissertation (if you took an Optional module in the first year) OR a 60 credit, 15,000 word dissertation, AND an Optional module (if you took a Skills module in the first year).
Additional courses can be taken on an audit-basis (not for credit), and can include language modules as well as optional modules. You will need to ask and receive the permission of the module leader before auditing a class. If the class is outside the department you will also need to inform the Director of Taught Postgraduates.
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
a. IELTS: 6.5 (no component under 6.0)
b. TOEFL iBT (internet based test): 92 (no component under 23)
c. Cambridge Proficiency (CPE): Grade C
d. Cambridge Advanced (CAE): Grade A
e. Cambridge IGCSE First Language English at Grade C or above [not normally acceptable for students who require a Tier 4 student visa]
f. Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language at Grade B or above [not normally acceptable for students who require a Tier 4 student visa]
g. GCSE English Language at grade C or above
h. Pearson Test of English (overall score 62 (with no score less than 56 in each component))
i. Certificate of Attainment (Edexcel)
j. GCE A-levels (AQA, CIE, Edexcel, CCEA, OCR, WJEC) at grade C or above in an essay based, humanities or social science subject from the following list: History, Philosophy, Government and Politics, English Language, English Literature, Geography, Religious Studies, Economics, Business Studies, Law and Sociology. Modern or Classical Languages are not acceptable in meeting this requirement.
k. International Baccalaureate with a minimum of grade 5 in Standard Level English or a minimum of grade 5 if taken at Higher Level.
l. NEAB (JMB) Test in English (Overseas)
m. Singapore Integrated Programme (SIPCAL) at grade C or above in an essay based, humanities or social science subject from the following list: History, Philosophy, Government and Politics, English Language, English Literature, Geography, Religious Studies, Economics, Business Studies, Law and Sociology. Modern or Classical Languages are not acceptable in meeting this requirement.
n. Singapore Polytechnic Diploma and Advanced Diplomas at GPA 3.0 or above
o. WAEC and NECO Grade B3 or above from Nigeria and Ghana