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MA Medieval History


Course code: HSTT43 (full-time) | HSTT57 (part-time)
Duration: 1 year (full-time) | 2 years (part-time)

Entry requirements and applying

Aspects of the medieval past exert a continuing fascination in the popular imagination: medieval castles, abbeys and churches are among the most frequently-visited heritage sites in Britain; exhibitions at museums like the V&A attract huge crowds; and there is a seemingly constant audience for representations of the more blood-thirsty aspects of the medieval past on television.

Sheffield's long and distinguished tradition in medieval history - and our more recent addition of ancient history - continues with a group of internationally-renowned scholars working at the cutting-edge of their fields. The MA in Medieval History draws on this expertise to provide a fascinating examination of the medieval and ancient world. The flexibility of the programme allows you to carry out specialist research under expert supervision, and develop your understanding of the medieval and ancient world and skills in using relevant sources, while focusing on the particular skills that are most important to you through our optional modules.

A vibrant research community

The Department is a thriving research community and we actively encourage our MA students to make the most of their time at Sheffield by getting involved in our research activities and events, as well as organising their own through the Postgraduate Forum. This vibrant research culture and postgraduate community helps to disseminate research-led findings and facilitate lively and exhaustive historical debate.

The Department has its own research seminar series, which runs regularly during semester-time and covers a huge range of topics. There is also an active medieval and ancient research community including the Medieval and Ancient Research Centre (MARCUS), which has its own research seminar series MARS, as well as regular events run through Researchers in Early and Late Medieval Studies (REALMS), an active postgraduate discussion group.

Research culture Postgraduate community

Our staff

Staff interests range from antiquity to the eve of the Reformation and across Western Europe, both north and south.

Particular areas of expertise include urban history; trade and exchange; transnational currents of thought and belief; household, family and the cultural setting of political authority; and identity and the linkages between Britain, Europe and the wider world.

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How it works


The taught component of the MA is designed to both develop your understanding of key historiographical and methodological approaches though a core module, which examines the essential workings of the medieval world and develops your skills in using relevant sources. You can also undertake the language and technical training best suited to your research needs and elect to study major themes in medieval and ancient history in closer detail. The dissertation will provide you with the opportunity to further develop the skills and methods that you learn during your taught modules and to apply this historical knowledge to your independent investigation.


You will choose modules totalling 180 credits over the full year of study - this includes 120 credits of taught modules plus a Dissertation worth 60 credits.

You will take three core modules worth 105 credits and your remaining 75 credits will be made up of a selection of option modules. 


You will choose modules totalling 180 credits over the two years of study - this includes 120 credits of taught modules plus a Dissertation worth 60 credits.

You will take three core modules worth 105 credits - an approaches module (year one) and both the Research Presentation and the Dissertation (year two). Your remaining 75 credits will be made up of a selection of option modules. We recommend spreading your overall credits evenly across both years of study to create a balanced workload. 

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Core modules

You will take three core modules




Year (Part-time students)

HST6601: Approaching the Middle Ages

Will provide you with a grounding in key themes and debates in current medieval research. Seminars will focus on historiographical developments and new methodological approaches to familiar problems. You will also be introduced to technical and methodological problems associated with the effective use and interpretation of pre-modern sources.

30 1 1

HST6560: Dissertation

Provides you with the opportunity to further develop the skills and methods that you learn during your taught modules and to apply this historical knowledge to your investigation. You will work under the supervision of an expert member of staff to complete an original 15,000 word piece of independent research.

60 1 + 2 2

HST6802: Research Presentation

Designed to equip you with the skills and experience that you need to present and communicate a defined historical research project to an academic audience.

15 2 2
Option modules

You will choose 75 credits of option modules

This 75 credit selection can include up to 30 credits of unrestricted modules. Unrestricted modules can include non-history modules cross-listed from other departments (see Non-history modules) and/or modules from the broader range of history MA options, where the relevant module(s) will complement your core studies i.e. allowing further exploration of a particular theme across time and geographical boundaries (see MA in Historical Research options).

The modules listed below are those that we are planning to offer in 2018-19. Please note that module availability may still change at this stage i.e. due to student uptake at registration.*




Year (Part-time students)

HST681: Work Placement 15 1 and 2 1 or 2
HST6031: The Dawn of Modernity in the Late Middle Ages 15 1 1 or 2
HST6042: Presenting the Past: Making History Public 15 2 1 or 2
HST6055: Microhistory and the History of Everyday Life 15 1 1 or 2
HST6073: Medical Humanity? Medicine and Identity 15 1 1 or 2
HST6074: Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses 15 2 1 or 2
HST6079: Early Medieval Clerical Exemption in a Digital Age 15 2 1 or 2
HST6084: Writing Late Antique Lives 15 1 1 or 2
HST6801: Research Skills for Historians 15 1 1 or 2
HST6087: Before Facebook: Social Networks in History 15 2 1 or 2
Non-history modules

Please note that teaching and assessment methods may vary for non-History modules. You can request to take a module not listed below (subject to availability) as part of provisional module choice, any requested modules should be relevant to your programme of study. Information about other available language modules is available here. 

The modules listed below are those that our partner departments within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities are planning to offer in 2018-19. Please note that module availability may still change at this stage i.e. due to student uptake at registration. Please note that the IPA modules in particular may be withdrawn - more information will be available on these modules by the end of July. *




Year (Part-time students)

AAP637: Heritage, Place and Community 15 2 1 or 2
AAP6068: Greeks, Romans and 'Others' in the Ancient World 15 1 1 or 2
AAP6102: Heritage, History and Identity 15 1 1 or 2
AAP6107: Roman Italy and its Hinterland 15 1 1 or 2
AAP6133: Ethnicity and Identity in the Early Middle Ages 15 1 1 or 2
AAP6135: Society and Culture in the Later Middle Ages 15 1 1 or 2
AAP6219: Digital Cultural Heritage: Theory and Practice 15 2 1 or 2
IPA650: Language in Use: an introduction to corpus-based linguistic analysis 15 1 1 or 2
IPA651: Language in Use: an introduction to corpus-based linguistic analysis 15 1 1 or 2
IPA665: Cities and Culture in Medieval Europe, 1250-1550 15 2 1 or 2
LIT636: Love, Death, and Destiny: The Ancient Novel 30 1 1 or 2
MLT116A: Latin Beginners 1 & MLT6061 Enhanced Languages Project 15 1 1 or 2
MLT116B: Latin Beginners 2 & MLT6062 Enhanced Languages Project
(pre-requisite: you must take MLT116A & MLT6061 above)
15 2 1 or 2
MLT2116: Latin Post-Beginners 1 & MLT6061 Enhanced Languages Project 15 1 1 or 2
MLT2117: Latin Post-Beginners 2 & MLT6062 Enhanced Languages Project
(pre-requisite: you must take MLT2116 & MLT6061 above)
15 2 1 or 2
Our staff

Below is information about staff working in your area of interest and their availability for the 2018-19 academic year. Please note that this information could still change at this stage in the academic year.

Photo of Eliza Hartrich.Dr Eliza Hartrich

Eliza’s research concentrates on urban and political history in the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century British Isles. She explores the relationship between urban governing institutions and the larger ‘state’ in later medieval England and its subject territories of Ireland, Wales, and France. Her work focuses, in particular, on the ways in which residents of different towns communicated with one another and exerted collective influence on royal policy and political discourse. In addition to her specialist research on the later medieval British Isles, Eliza is interested in interdisciplinary, transnational, and cross-period approaches to urbanism, political language, rebellion, networks, and empire.

Photo of Julia HillnerProfessor Julia Hillner

Julia's research focusses on late Roman and early medieval social history (c.300-900). She has a particular interest in the transformations of the family and the household in this period and how these are reflected in legal sources and in the late antique city of Rome, where she has investigated issues ranging from settlement, property transmission and patronage, to issues of authority, hierarchy and discipline within the household.

Photo of Daniele Miano.Dr Daniele Miano

Daniele will be on research leavein 2018-19. Dr Chris Mowat will be providing cover.

Research interests: Daniele’s research focusses on the history and the historiography of Republican Rome and Italy. He has devoted much of his work to ancient religion in Italy, and ancient gods and goddesses in particular. He has also done extensive work on the way in which ancient Romans thought about their past and represented the early history of their city in monuments and in written historical works, looking at the connection between memorial practices, exemplarity, and myth.

Chris MowatDr Chris Mowat

Chris' research focuses on the topics of religion and gender in the Roman Republic, and particularly the intersection between the two. They are also interested in the construction of gender and sexuality in the ancient world more broadly, and how it relates to modern categories of identification.

Danica Summerlin Profile PictureDr Danica Summerlin

Danica will be on research leave in spring semester 2018-19.

Danica’s research centres on the history of Europe in the central middle ages, around 1000 to 1300. Her particular focus is the development and use of law at the time, and particularly ecclesiastical, or canon, law. That interest expands to both the social and institutional aspects of religious and legal history, and she is currently starting a new project looking at the relationship between law and government in the period, in both the Church and amongst secular rulers.

Photo of Martial StaubProfessor Martial Staub

Martial Staub is by training a historian of the late Middle Ages with specialism in the history of the Church and the history of German and Italian cities. His publications and interests cover a range of other topics and include the history of exile, history of ideas and history of the discipline of history. Of late, his research has focused on the history of late medieval and early modern citizenship in a global context and on the history of European migration and the role of perceptions and the state in this context.

Charles West Profile PictureDr Charles West

Charles works on the history of Western Europe, including the British Isles, between the eighth and the twelfth centuries, with a particular interest in the transition from the early to the central Middle Ages in politics, society and culture. He's published research on a range of topics, from microhistories of local priests in ninth-century Francia through to the role of English sailors in the Second Crusade. His current research investigates the notion of the secular in the early medieval Western world.

Teaching and assessment

Our MA teaching focusses on small group seminars and masterclasses complimented by individual tutorials and supervision sessions. Seminars are usually two hours long and range from around 5-15 students in size. Teaching takes place between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. 30 credit core modules run for 10 weeks and most 15 credit modules run for 5 weeks.

Assessment focusses on essays and a dissertation complimented by oral assessment in the Research Presentation module. Essays usually look to explore the key themes of the module and engage with current historical debate through a question of your choosing. Our public history modules offer the opportunity to undertake group work and/or develop writing styles appropriate for different academic and non-academic audiences.

Timetable and deadlines

Tailor your degree

Our MA degrees are carefully designed to allow you to build a programme that suits your needs: whether you want to progress to PhD research, aid your career development or simply expand your knowledge in your chosen area of history.

In addition to the skills and knowledge that you will develop through your core modules, you can use the option modules to focus on the areas most relevant to you including the option to gain experience in public history. For those interested in PhD progression, we offer both individual and group support to help you develop your ideas and write a strong research proposal suitable for funding applications.

Skills development Public history PhD progression

Entry requirements

Students wishing to take this programme should normally have a 2.1 or equivalent in a Bachelors degree in history or a related subject (i.e. English, languages, politics, philosophy, archaeology or journalism) from a recognised UK or overseas university.

If you are an international student, you need to provide proof of English Language proficiency with a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).


You can apply for one of our MA programmes using our online application form. There is no formal deadline for applying and we can usually accept applications until mid-August for entry that September.

You'll find the answer to many common questions such as what supporting documents to provide and what to include in your statement on our Common questions page. 

English qualifications English support

Apply now Common questions

If you have a question about applying, or would like to discuss your individual qualifications, just get in touch.

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* Please note that the course details set out here may change before you start, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the course start date. The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.