Students take two core modules designed to introduce them to key themes in Medieval Studies, scholarly approaches to sources, and essential research skills. All students also work on a dissertation on a subject of their choice, under the guidance of an academic supervisor. Then students are free to choose from a wide range of options. Typical offerings include courses on Introductory Latin, Old English, Old Irish; Palaeography and Manuscript Studies; Early Medieval Ireland, Early Irish Sagas; Vikings, Medieval Florence, Women in the Middle Ages; Castles and Cathedrals, Renaissance Art, Medieval Historical Writing; Other Worlds in the Middle Ages, the Middle Ages in Cinema. All of these are small-group classes, involving lectures and seminars, and interaction with other students.
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MA in Medieval Studies
Tuesday, 1 February, 2022
This MA in Medieval Studies is for students who are interested in any aspect of the medieval world and who wish to take those interests further. Whether those interests lie in Irish or European history, literature or archaeology, art history or music, languages and manuscript studies or modern interpretations of the medieval, this programme offers students the opportunity to choose modules from such areas and combine them as they wish. While emphasizing choice and drawing on the wide range of expertise in medieval disciplines across the University, the MA also ensures that students gain a strong training in scholarly approaches to the medieval past and its people, as well as an opportunity to pursue in-depth research on a specialist dissertation topic. As Ireland’s first interdisciplinary programme in Medieval Studies, situated in a city with a strong medieval heritage, the MA in Medieval Studies at UCD is an ideal place to explore the medieval world.
The study of the Middle Ages has flourished at UCD for over a century. Today we have a large and international group of experts working in different aspects of Medieval Studies across the University, in Archaeology, Art History, Classics, English, History, Languages, and Music. UCD’s archives hold some of Ireland’s most important medieval manuscripts, and the library’s resources include the source collections and databases essential for medieval scholarship. Students can take advantage of UCD’s location in Dublin, a city founded by the Vikings and developed by the Normans, and may avail of resources nearby, including the National Library and research seminars across the city. Dublin is an ideal base from which to explore Ireland’s medieval sites, and allows easy access to medieval centres across Europe.
Students take the Medieval Studies MA for different reasons. Some aim to go on to further advanced graduate research, such as a PhD degree; others simply want to deepen their understanding of a subject that fascinates them. But many choose this MA because of the opportunities it affords for careers and employability beyond academia. Our graduates have progressed to a wide range of careers. Many of our alumni work in international business, foreign affairs, the tech sector, the media and NGOs, and Medieval Studies is an especially strong foundation for work in such areas as the Arts, heritage, tourism, and education. The skills learned in this programme - mastery of complex information, critical thinking, verbal and written expression, and group work - are those especially valued by employers.
Today we have a large and international group of experts working in different aspects of Medieval Studies across the University, in Archaeology, Art History, Classics, English, History, Languages, and Music and students come to the MA in Medieval Studies from all over the College of Arts and Humanities. You can see a list of relevant faculty and their areas of expertise here:
Course Director: Professor Michael Staunton
School of History
Marie Gallagher, MA Medieval Studies, part-time, 2020-2022
As a mature student, I came to the MA in Medieval Studies after completing the UCD Higher Diploma in Arts which had allowed me to add History to a much earlier BA degree. With a life-long interest in all things medieval, this Masters programme was ideal, allowing me to pursue post-graduate studies on a part-time basis over two years, and to read broadly and deeply enough to confirm what I already knew: that the ‘Dark Ages’ were anything but dark. As I discovered through dissertation research and a range of modules taught by leading medievalists, the historical record is vast and reveals people who are very different from us, yet just like us: grappling with upheavals, migrations and pandemics, but led onwards in a spirit of optimism and daring. With the expertise and unfailing support of the academic staff, this programme has given me a rigorous grounding in historical research, analysis, interpretation, writing, and presenting, all skills which are highly valued, whether in academic or professional settings. As I approach the completion of my studies, I intend to put those skills to work through further post-graduate research.
Krystal Carmichael, from Maine, USA, currently doing a PhD at UCD:
I knew very little about UCD before applying for a masters. What drew me here was the Medieval Studies MA, especially the interdisciplinary nature of the program. This gave me the opportunity to pick and choose modules according to my own interests, in subjects such as art history, palaeography, languages, and of course history. Having this all-around approach allowed me to develop a better understand of the Middle Ages, as well as providing essential skills for future research. On top of the academic advantages of this masters, I fully enjoyed the atmosphere and friendliness of everyone at UCD as a whole, but especially within the School of History, so much so that I decided to stay at UCD to complete a PhD.
For information on fees and how to apply please follow this link.
What You Will Need for Your Application
Applicants are required to provide the following in their applications:
- An academic writing sample, eg. an essay (there is no word limit)
- A most recent transcript
- Contact details of two academic referees (professors who taught you)
- Two written academic references outlining your academic history, interest and performance in class.
- A letter of motivation/personal statement
- An application fee
- An English language test score (if English is not your first language). Please follow this link for more information.