MPhil/PhD Medieval Studies

Duration MPhil: Full time 2-3 years; Part time 4-5 years
PhD: Full time 3-4 years; Part time 6-7 years
Distance Learning available
  • History
LocationCornwall (Penryn), Exeter (Streatham)
Start date September, January or April


The Centre for Medieval Studies provides a lively focal point for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and teaching and brings together a dynamic community of medievalist staff and students from across the university. Staff expertise is especially strong in the areas of medieval music, French literature, Spanish literature, Italian literature, history, English, law, archaeology, and Arab and Islamic studies.

The PhD in Medieval Studies is designed for students wishing to specialise either in the area of medieval music, or in inter- or multidisciplinary research combining one or more of the specialisms offered by members of the Centre. Joint supervision will be arranged where possible.

The collaborative spirit that characterises this medievalist community is expressed both in teaching and in research activities. We especially encourage interdisciplinary projects at postgraduate level and beyond.

Visit the Centre for Medieval Studies website for more comprehensive details about current research projects. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the Centre's staff profile pages.

Research areas

Staff members of the Centre for Medieval Studies are engaged in a wide range of research projects, singly or in collaboration with scholars from other institutions. Listed below are our major funded projects currently in progress.

Recent PhD titles

Here are some examples of PhD theses undertaken by students in Medieval Studies at the University of Exeter.

  • Courtly contacts between England and France in the late 14 century
  • Monastic Wellbeing and Healthcare in 13th and 14th Century England: analysis of patients, spaces used and care available
  • Rural Piety: Medieval Religious Houses and the cura animarum in Parochial Somerset


The University library maintains extensive holdings in all our disciplines, extensive audio-visual collections and a number of medieval manuscripts in our Heritage Collections, while Exeter Cathedral Library and Archives and the Devon Heritage Centre contain further significant medieval manuscripts, documents and early printed books. Thanks to the help of a substantial grant from the Leverhulme Trust, The Exeter Local Maritime Archives Project (ELMAP) has created a searchable online database of references to records with maritime and naval significance that are held in local record offices and other archives across England and Wales.


We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career.

Postgraduate students have access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.

Graduate destinations

Below are some examples of initial jobs undertaken by History postgraduates who studied with us in recent years.

Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job titlesOrganisations
Bid Project Manager
Business Development Intern
Chief Operations Officer
Customer Communications Coordinator
Data Analyst
Freelance Journalist
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Information Analyst
Learning Development Specialist
Library Facilitator
Marketing Assistant
Parliamentary Assistant to MP
Project Officer
Research Assistant
Cormorant Media
Cornwall Council
Green Gaia Films
Kaplan University
Kent County Council
Leeds City College
News Associates
Romax Marketing and Distribution
Somerset County Council
Strode College
University of Aberystwyth
University of Exeter
University of York
WhipTail Technologies

Entry requirements 2018

Students applying to enter directly into the MPhil/PhD programme would normally be expected to have a Masters degree with Merit or equivalent in History, or other relevant qualifications such as a doctorate in another subject.

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

Research topic and proposal

If you are considering studying for an MPhil or PhD, you will need to pinpoint the topic in which you wish to undertake your research and identify members of academic staff who specialise in this area and can offer you supervision. Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests.

Once you have identified your research area, you will need to prepare a research proposal which outlines the specific area you wish to study and submit this with your application.

Guidelines on submitting an MPhil/PhD application, including guidelines on writing a research proposal, can be found on our application process page.

Deadline for applications

For September 2015 entry

Advisory deadline for International students: 8 May 2015 (due to visa processing requirements).

Advisory deadline for Home/EU students: 24 July 2015.

If there are places available the College will consider applications for September 2015 received by 14 August 2015. Applications that are received or incomplete after this date will be considered for September 2016 entry.

Please note that deadlines for applying to our funding awards are earlier than those for applying for a place to study. Please refer to our funding opportunities list for details of funding application deadlines.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.


Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £16,400 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

Funding opportunities

Find out about funding opportunities available to students on our research degree programmes in History.

Current available funding

Contact us

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306
Web: Enquire online

Supervision and support


All students have a primary and a secondary supervisor who provide regular, high quality advice, support and direction in their academic endeavours. You will work closely with your supervisors over three to four years (full time PhD) or six to seven (part-time PhD) to develop, investigate and write-up a project at the cutting edge of historical research.

Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests or use the search box on the right of this page to find a supervisor.


Each student will also be assigned a mentor who will take on a pastoral role and mediate on any problems that arise during the period of study. Your mentor will keep in regular contact and will provide background stability and support.

Graduate School Office

The College of Humanities has a dedicated Graduate School Office that supports our postgraduate research students during their study with us. The Office promotes intellectual and social contact between research students in all our disciplines to foster a vibrant research community within the College.

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History PhD student Miguel Hernandez tells us about his research and why he loves his PhD. View full size.