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MAMedieval Studies

University of Birmingham
United Kingdom, Birmingham
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Serious study of the Middle Ages must be interdisciplinary, and accordingly our programme allows you to gain interdisciplinary skills while studying a discipline-specific pathway at an advanced level, providing you with a solid grounding for your further studies or future career. We offer pathways in history, literature, Byzantine Studies and archaeology, and can offer additional expertise in art history, music and numismatics, all taught by scholars enjoying international recognition in their fields.

Collective interests are uniquely wide ranging, covering the whole medieval period from c. 300 to c. 1500, and all the countries of western Europe, Scandinavia, the eastern Mediterranean, Central Asia and China, with thematic interests including religious cultures, socio-economic history, the Crusades, gender, manuscript studies, drama, regional literatures and history (West Midlands, Scotland, Spain, Iceland, Byzantium, Bactria, northern Eurasia), material culture, comparative history and the ‘global Middle Ages’. Accordingly we can supervise a wide range of dissertation topics. We encourage students to take language options relevant to their interests, with offerings that include Latin, Greek, Old and Middle English, modern European languages, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Our programme thus also provides a strong foundation for those who wish to go on to doctoral research.

Programme structure

The First World War, or Great War, has been described as ‘the seminal event of the twentieth century.’ In Britain the war is often regarded as the worst event in our history. The dominant perception is still captured by A.J.P.Taylor’s famous phrase: ‘brave, helpless soldiers; blundering, obstinate generals; nothing achieved.’

The purpose, conduct and outcome of the First World War are inevitably compared to its disadvantage with those of the Second World War, what Studs Terkel called ‘the good war’, the inevitable and heroic struggle against evil and tyranny, a morality tale with a happy ending. At the root of these perceptions are, of course, the scale of the First World War’s casualties, which were unprecedented and – happily – remain unique in British history. It is the casualties that make the war so fascinating and appalling. Even before the guns ceased firing, there were attempts to explain how such a human catastrophe came about and why the scale of loss was so great. Popular explanations have often seemed content with blaming the quality of military leadership – especially British military leadership. This MA programme rests on the belief that a tragedy as great as the First World War deserves less superficial analysis.

To gain a masters degree you will need to complete 180 credits. You will study six core modules (descriptions below).

Brass Hats and Frock Coats: British Strategy in the Great War
Operational Development in the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front, 1914-1918
Training, Tactics and Technology in the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front, 1914-1918
Bullets and Billets: The British Experience of the First World War
Research Skills: Methodology and Sources
Research Skills: Dissertation Preparation
Each module is worth 20 credits and assessed by an essay of not more than 4,000 words. You will also complete a supervised 15,000-word dissertation, worth 60 credits.

If you become unable to complete the full programme, you may be eligible for an interim award: a Postgraduate Certificate (after successful completion of 60 credits); or a Postgraduate Diploma (after successful completion of 120 credits).

Career opportunities

Over the past five years, over 92% of History postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museum or archivist work. Others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance to civil service to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Alcester Heritage Network; HSBC; KPMG; Ministry of Defence; and the National Trust.

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
Application period has ended

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
Application period has ended

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States