Medieval Literature & Culture

The Medieval strand of the MA in Literature & Culture is for those students who wish to take advantage of the rich resources that Dublin and UCD have to offer for the study of Early English literature. Not only does UCD have a rich tradition of Medieval literary scholarship and excellent library resources, the city has a number of manuscript repositories as well. This MA will enable students to prepare for further PhD studies or to pursue a career in arts and culture and/or the heritage industry. In addition, it also provides broad transferable skills valued across a number of professions like publishing, editing, and project management, to name a few.

At UCD, students have the opportunity to avail of a number of modules from discipline-specific modules including: Old English language and literature; Middle English canonical writers such as Chaucer, the Gawain-Poet, Langland; Fifteenth-century writers; as well choosing an elective from a broader range of thematic modules, including Renaissance modules. Modules on offer on this MA will reflect staff interests:  gender, scientific writings, religious vernacular writings from the early to late period, and the production and reception of late medieval manuscripts.

Through a variety of learning environments – workshops, seminars, language classes, visits to libraries, post-graduate symposiums - students will work in the spirit of enquiry and to challenge assumptions about the Middle Ages and to formulate new interpretations of texts grounded in the latest scholarship. We aim to provide a supportive environment in which students have the opportunity to work closely with staff members, particularly in the production of a research-based thesis. We also encourage peer learning and links with other graduate programmes in Ireland through research seminars and post-graduate study days.

In order to facilitate a variety of learning styles, each module offers a slightly different style of assessment such as end-of-semester exam, research-essay, in-class presentations, worksheets, projects and on-line exercises.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of ‘medieval’ e.g. how is this period defined? Who defined this period? Is the understanding of ‘Medieval’ a fixed and stable concept?
  • Identify, read and engage with key vernacular writers and texts in Old and Middle English.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the literary forms and genres, aesthetic trends, socio-political, historical and religious influences, as well as the cultural context in which texts, both literary and non-literary, were produced in the Middle Ages.
  • Understand the key concepts of book production of this Medieval period, including having insight into the editorial challenges involved in transmitting written work from one culture to another.
  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge of key palaeographical features of various Early English scripts.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of, and an ability to evaluate and select, the resources, scholarly approaches, and methodologies involved in researching and writing on a variety of topics connected to vernacular Early English writings.
  • Be able to engage with and contribute to current critical debate on a number of topics related to the vernacular Early English literature in formal academic essays, in oral presentations and through social media.
  • Work independently to identify and research a suitable topic for development as a research-based thesis.


As well as the MA core Research Methods and Dissertation modules, students on this strand choose from the following specialist modules in Medieval literature and culture: 

Core modules include (subject to change):

ENG41060 Chaucer and the Fourteenth Century                     

ENG41000 Old English A: Unlocking the Hoard 

ENG41950 Medieval Manuscrip Fragments                              

ARCV41300 Introduction to Palaeography


More information and online applications HERE 

For further information, contact the Medieval Literature & Culture MA strand coordinator, Dr Niamh Pattwell (