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Study information

Medieval Masterclass

Module titleMedieval Masterclass
Module codeHISM045
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Gregory Lippiatt ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module gives you the opportunity to engage closely with the research currently being conducted in the Centre for Medieval Studies at Exeter. You can choose one from a range of research pathways, which may include some or all of the following: Late Anglo-Saxon England; Ottonian Germany; feudalism; church and society in Europe, c.800-c.1200; British and Irish monastic culture; the cult of saints; medieval archaeology; magic, infertility and medicine; learning, literature and book culture in Late Medieval England; the Pre-Reformation Church; the Crusades; medieval music; the political and social history of the Iberian Peninsula; English and/or French literature and society; and Italian Renaissance Humanism. Through a series of regular research workshops, you will engage with current debates and controversies in your tutor’s area of expertise and develop the conceptual understanding, source awareness and methodological skills you will need in order to pursue your own project of research. Through attendance at seminars organised by the Centre for Medieval Studies, you will also learn to communicate that research – its aims, methods and discoveries – which is an essential part of your development as a postgraduate researcher. The module will provide hands-on training to help you to develop key skills which are required for the MA dissertation and PhD research and are also transferable to other careers: planning and organisation of a project; research; detailed and critical analysis; and writing in a variety of formats

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aims of the module are fourfold:

  • To introduce you to current debates within the field of Medieval Studies
  • To engage with the active research culture of Exeter’s Centre for Medieval Studies
  • To provide training in formulating a research project
  • To develop your own skills in the practice of research communication

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Display an advanced knowledge of your chosen subject within the remit of the module
  • 2. Critically analyse arguments by reading and discussing key primary and secondary texts
  • 3. Present sophisticated arguments concisely, explain difficult points; and identify key aspects of a debate

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Assimilate and critically analyse data from an appropriate range of sources
  • 5. Develop a cogent argument
  • 6. Communicate complex information and ideas effectively in writing

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Undertake an individual research project in a structured, time-effective fashion
  • 8. Locate and use literature effectively
  • 9. Construct and evaluate ideas; formulate and express ideas at different levels of abstraction
  • 10. Assess and criticise the views of others; write at the level required for ongoing and future research

Syllabus plan

While the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

During the course of the module, you will take part in a series of research workshops led by a member of the academic staff of the Centre for Medieval Studies. The group will meet with the tutor fortnightly for six scheduled meetings. The first meeting will discuss the group’s interests and possible areas for research projects, as well as providing an introduction to some of the key sources, conceptual and critical issues, and areas of current debate in the tutor’s particular area of expertise. For subsequent meetings, you will prepare a series of set tasks which build up to writing the review essay and research project. These may include:

  • Reading key primary sources or secondary works set by the tutor to discuss at the meeting.
  • Compiling a specialised bibliography on their chosen area of specialism.
  • Preparing an analysis of a primary or secondary source for presentation to the group.
  • Writing and presenting a research proposal for their long essay for presentation to the group.
  • Presenting their work in progress and giving feedback on others’ work.

Tutors will provide specialised advice and an introductory reading list.

You will attend at least four research seminars organised by the Centre for Medieval Studies, as well as the annual Postgraduate Research Symposium. In the research workshops, there will be an opportunity to discuss the papers delivered, which will help you develop their training in formulating a research project and communicating its findings.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching 9Group meetings between students and supervisor
Scheduled learning and teaching 4Attendance at student conference
Scheduled learning and teaching 9Attendance at four Centre for Medieval Studies research seminars (or equivalent medieval seminar). Seminars last approximately 1 ½ hours. Attendance at Postgraduate Medieval Research Symposium (3 hours)
Guided independent study 278Research and writing of review essay and research project; preparation for group meetings

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation of work in progress to group and supervisor20 mins1-5, 7-10Oral in student conference

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Review Essay302000 words1-10Oral and written
Research Project705000 words1-10Oral and written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Review EssayReview Essay1-10Referral/deferral period
Research ProjectResearch Project1-10Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment. 

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The reading will vary depending on the options chosen from the potential list in the module description.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Key words search

medieval studies, medieval history, medieval literature, medieval archaeology

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date