Master in Mediaeval Studies


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

This interdisciplinary course equips students with the knowledge of different theoretical approaches and current debates in the fields of history, art history, divinity, languages and literature. Students can work on topics suited to their own interests while also expanding their horizons beyond a single discipline.

The MLitt in Mediaeval Studies is an interdisciplinary programme run by the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies (SAIMS).


  • Draws on the long-established and recognised strengths in Mediaeval Studies available from the participating disciplines – Art History, Divinity, English, History, Modern Languages and Philosophy.
  • Gives students the opportunity to work closely with colleagues covering a vast range of expertise from Late Antiquity to the 15th century and across the mediaeval world, from the Middle East and the Mediterranean to the British Isles and Scandinavia.
  • Introduces different theoretical approaches, current debates and the nature of cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary work in the fields of history, art history, languages and literature.
  • Offers an opportunity to combine training in Manuscript Studies and Palaeography with interdisciplinary work or single discipline modules.
  • Includes weekly seminars and regular workshops, bringing students into direct contact with visiting academics.

Teaching format

The course comprises two semesters of taught modules followed by a three-month focused period for writing a dissertation of not more than 15,000 words.

Teaching methods include seminars, language classes and fortnightly tutorials, with class sizes ranging from individual supervision up to around 12 students. The modules are assessed entirely through coursework; the Core Language and Text Skills modules are assessed on a pass/fail basis.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment.


  • Approaches to Mediaeval Studies 1: covers a range of themes essential to understanding multi-disciplinary approaches to the Middle Ages.
  • Approaches to Mediaeval Studies 2: explores a broad issue from a variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, using selected texts, images and artefacts to anchor discussion.


Students choose three to five optional modules depending on module credits (students have 60 credits for optional choices from both 10 and 20 credit modules).

  • An Introduction to Palaeography with Codicological and Manuscript Studies (1 and 2): equips students to tackle the reading, transcription and editing of manuscripts up to 1500.
  • Core Language and Text Skills (Greek Italian or Arabic): provides an introduction to one of the core languages for studying the Middle Ages.
  • Directed Reading in Mediaeval Studies: a detailed study of a mediaeval topic of the student's own choice taught via tutorials with one or more colleagues in the participating Schools.
  • Discipline Skills: introduces students to one particular discipline within mediaeval studies: mediaeval art history, mediaeval English literature, mediaeval French language and literature, mediaeval German language and literature, mediaeval history, or mediaeval Italian literature.
  • Latin for Mediaeval Studies (1 and 2): classes are offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced level, so students take the class most appropriate to their needs.
  • Mediaeval Language: provides an introduction to one mediaeval language. The languages normally available include Old Norse, Old English, Middle English, Mediaeval French, Middle High German, Mediaeval Italian, Mediaeval Occitan and Middle Scots.
  • Sources and Source Criticism: addresses interpretation and criticism of mediaeval historical sources.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students.


Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in mid-August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry.


As well as pursuing study at a PhD level, other graduates of the course have gone on to pursue careers in a range of sectors including journalism, publishing, archives, government, law, management and teaching.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree.
  • If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency.

The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV.
  • personal statement (optional).
  • a sample of academic written work (2,000 words).
  • two original signed academic references.
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).


Recent Graduate Discount

The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete Uni ... Read More

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete University Guide 2019, and 2nd overall in the UK (Guardian Good University Guide 2019). Read less
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