MA
2021 start

Medieval History

Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

We have a distinguished tradition in teaching and researching Medieval History and have recently expanded to encompass ancient history. Learn from our internationally-renowned teachers and deepen your understanding of the medieval and ancient worlds.
Image of three postgraduate history students sitting around table

Course description

We have a long and distinguished tradition in teaching and researching the history of the Middle Ages, and have recently expanded to encompass ancient history, establishing a unique concentration of expertise in setting the medieval period in context.

You’ll work with our internationally-renowned scholars to deepen your understanding of the medieval and ancient worlds.

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Modules

The taught component of the MA is designed to develop your understanding of key historiographical and methodological approaches. You will take a core module, which examines the essential workings of your chosen area of expertise and develops your skills in using relevant sources.

Optional modules allow you to undertake the technical training best suited to your research needs and study major historical themes in closer detail.

The dissertation provides you the opportunity to further develop your skills and apply your historical knowledge to an independent research project.

You will take three core modules.

See the Teaching section for information about staff working on medieval history topics including their expected availability for dissertation supervision.

Approaching the Middle Ages

This module provides students with a grounding in key themes and debates in current medieval research. Classes will focus on historiographical developments and new methodological approaches to familiar problems, covering topics such as the problems of studying pre-industrial societies, the interpretation of material culture, methods for studying the medieval economy, and the examination of power structures and political culture. Students will also be introduced to technical and methodological problems associated with the effective use and interpretation of pre-modern sources, such as court records, tax records and accounts, chronicles and pamphlets, paintings, drawings and artefacts.

30 credits
Dissertation in Historical Research

You will undertake an individual research project, based on an identifiable collection of primary sources and present your findings in a dissertation of 15,000 words. The dissertation provides you with the opportunity to further develop the skills and methods that you have learnt during the first part of your MA degree and to apply this historical knowledge to your investigation. It represents an original piece of independent research and should be based on a substantial primary source base and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the secondary literature. Through the dissertation you will demonstrate your practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret historical knowledge. You will work under the supervision of an expert member of staff who will provide guidance and regular tutorial support. There will also be milestones in place throughout the year to make sure that you are on track with your progress.

60 credits
Research Presentation for Historians

This core module is 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. The subject of the presentation will be your dissertation topic and so this module will also contribute towards the successful completion of your dissertation.
In this module, you will identify the specific research questions driving your dissertation and learn how to discuss the sources and approaches you are using to answer them. You will develop your ability to present your research data and findings in an accessible form to an audience, and you will enhance your ability to use presentational aids such as PowerPoint, data projection, and visual aids. The module also aims to improve your skill and confidence in speaking to an audience and responding to questions; this gives you the opportunity to develop the presentational skills demanded by employers as well as by a career in academic research.

15 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Assessment

Assessment is through written papers, oral presentation, and a dissertation.

Duration

  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time

Your career

An MA in history will further develop the range of transferable skills at your disposal. You will have the freedom to tailor your research and focus on the skills that are most important to you. We offer modules that are specifically designed to provide you with skills in public history - modules such as Presenting the Past and the work placement, give you real hand-on experience.

These kinds of skills are why our graduates are successful in both further study and a wide range of careers - from lecturing and working in the museum and tourist industry to business management, marketing, law and working in the media.

Supporting PhD progression

We offer tailored support for students planning to progress to PhD study following their MA degree.

Workshops

In Autumn, there will be workshops to help you prepare for writing funding applications. 

These sessions provide you with information about the funding opportunities available at Sheffield and give you the opportunity to discuss and receive feedback on your draft research proposal.

You can also speak to current PhD students who have been successful in applying for funding and to review successful applications.

This will enable you to tailor your research proposal to the criteria of major funding bodies and ensure that you are presenting your research, suitability and fit in the strongest way possible.

One-to-one support

You will be encouraged to engage in one-to-one sessions with your proposed supervisor. They will be able to offer tailored support in devising and developing your research project and identifying appropriate research material.

Your supervisor will also offer guidance on how to best present the originality; intellectual purpose and research context of your proposal ensuring that you are framing your approach and rationale for undertaking your project and successfully identifying why your suitability for undertaking the project and why your proposed supervisor - and Sheffield more generally - are a strong fit for your research.

You will be encouraged to begin speaking to your proposed supervisor early to ensure that you have plenty of time to work with them and develop a strong project and well written proposal.

Student profiles

Group of three postgraduate history students

The University of Sheffield has a unique relationship with the public. The MA in Medieval History reflects that in its structure, and that reflects on my own desire for a better relationship between history and the public outside of heritage sites and museums. A postgraduate degree from the University of Sheffield puts me on the front line of that ambition.

Martin Smith

MA Medieval History

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in history or another humanities or social science discipline.

You may be asked to supply examples of previous written work.

Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Contact

history.admissions@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 2552

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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