Skip to main content

Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

MA Medieval Studies

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMA Medieval Studies Programme codePTA1SMLSML02
Study mode(s)Full Time
Part Time
Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

The MA Medieval Studies is taught in association with the Centre for Medieval Studies, one of the largest research centres at the University of Exeter and which hosts staff from a wide range of disciplines. The university has a long and distinguished history in Medieval Studies and our expertise is especially strong in the areas of medieval history, archaeology, French literature, English literature, and Arab and Islamic studies. Our wide range of modules draws on this expertise to introduce you to source materials and approaches from across Medieval Studies and to provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to pursue research in this field at an advanced level.. In addition to a range of thematic optional modules offered by the Centre and associated disciplines, we also provide training in key skills needed to study medieval material, including Latin, palaeography, and a suite of archaeological approaches. As well as the university library (which currently holds on loan the late medieval manuscript holdings of Syon Abbey), nearby the holdings of Exeter Cathedral Library and Archives include the unique collection of Old English verse, the Exeter Book, and a detailed record of late eleventh-century landholding in the South West, the Exon Domesday. Also located in Exeter are the archives of the Devon Heritage Centre, which contain detailed records of medieval landholdings and towns across Devon and the South West.

Advice and guidance on your programme can be sought from your personal tutor and programme director. All staff offer regular office hours and can be contacted to arrange appointments.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The programme aims:

  • To provide you with a sophisticated understanding of Medieval Studies, together with the opportunity to study in depth those aspects which particularly appeal to you.
  • To produce graduates who will be useful, productive and questioning members of society; who have an advanced conception of the main themes of the Medieval Studiesand who understand the methods which scholars use to study the past; and who can conduct advanced analysis of past societies.
  • To combine advanced training for postgraduate research in Medieval Studies with the development of the particular interests of the students.
  • To provide research-led teaching, primarily through seminar-based learning.
  • To assess your abilities and achievements through a variety of methods, including (but not limited to) essays, presentations, and a dissertation.
  • To produce graduates who are highly competent in core academic, personal and professional skills, capable of continuing to an advanced research degree in the subject or entering other professions.
  • To encourage specific skills through activities such as student presentations, public history or work placements that will enable you to stand out from those graduating from other institutions.

4. Programme Structure

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows, and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Subject to approval by the Programme Director, you may take up to 30 credits of elective modules from outside of the programme (for example, from English, Modern Languages, or Theology and Religion) providing that the modules focus is wholly or partly on the medieval period (400-1500)), as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows, and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Stage 1

105 credits of compulsory modules and 75 credits of optional or Skills modules.

a Skills modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
HASM004 Let's Get Medieval 15Yes
HISM042 Working with Medieval Manuscripts and Documents 30Yes
HISM180 Dissertation in Medieval Studies 60Yes

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
HISS MA Medieval Studies skills modules 2023-4 [See note a above]
HASM008 Introduction to Old English 15 No
ARCM200 Field Study 15 No
ARCM407 Zooarchaeology 15 No
ARCM501 Researching the Historic Environment Online 15 No
ARCM111 Approaches to Pottery: Archaeology, Archaeometry, and Experimental Archaeology 15 No
CLAM090 Classical Language and Texts: Latin I (A) 15 No
CLAM091 Classical Language and Texts: Latin I (B) 15 No
CLAM252 Classical Language and Texts: Latin II 30 No
CLAM254 Latin III 30 No
CLAM255 Latin IV 30 No
CLAM012A Latin Epic 30 No
HISM040 Introduction to Digital Humanities 30 No
HISS MA Medieval Studies optional modules 2023-4
HASM005 The Legend of King Arthur 15 No
HASM006 The Legend of King Arthur 30 No
HASM007 Supervised Medieval Study 15 No
ARCM225 Landscape Archaeology: Understanding the Historic Environment 15 No
ARCM415 The Archaeology of Humans and Other Animals 15 No
ARCM108 Experimental Archaeology: Research and Public Engagement 15 No
CLAM104 Cultural Transformations in Late Antiquity 15 No
EASM174 Writing Women in the English Middle Ages 30 No
EASM180 Crossing Medieval Boundaries 30 No
HISM039 History in Public: A Workplace Project 30 No
HISM483 European Empires and Proto-Globalisation 1200-1800 30 No
SMLM238 French Language and Culture in Medieval Britain 30 No
THEM310 The First Tourists? Helena, Egeria and the Rise of Christian Pilgrimage 15 No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Closely understand the patterns of evidence survival and record-keeping practices in the UK and elsewhere.
2. Have an awareness of the ethical, copyright, archival and ownership issues impacting upon access to primary sources, and of how to identify and locate likely source material.
3. Show a sophisticated understanding of the development of Medieval Studies as a field and of its relationship to other disciplines.
4. Show a critical appreciation of the evolving nature of scholarly understanding, of the limits to scholarly knowledge, and of the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to academic research and writing.
5. Compare and contrast in detail different approaches and their source materials, eliciting the value and limitations of each.
6. Define a suitable topic for advanced research and pursue it to completion.
7. Make sophisticated use of different types of medieval source material, evaluate different and complex types of primary sources, and use them in a professional manner.
8. Present work in the format expected of academic work this area, including footnoting and bibliographical references.
9. Show an appreciation of how quantitative data can be used in medieval research.
10. Analyse particular aspects of Medieval Studies through detailed study of the complex subjects covered in the optional modules.

The programme uses a variety of learning and teaching methods. The precise method of teaching varies according to module. At MA level seminar discussion is the primary method, supported by web and IT resources through the University’s virtual learning platform, ELE. In seminars your contribution is essential and you must prepare for class by reading the recommended texts. There is also opportunity for individual discussion and feedback on ideas and, for the dissertation, draft materials before work is assessed. You are expected to meet regular deadlines and to produce well-presented work for each seminar. Many modules include group or individual presentations as part of the assessment.


1-4 are developed through the Let’s Get Medieval! and optional modules, through seminar discussions and assignments.
5-9 are developed through essay and seminar work on all modules, and particularly in the compulsory dissertation.
10 is developed through the optional modules.

1-4 are assessed through assignments on the Let’s Get Medieval! and optional modules.
5-9 form part of the criteria of assessment for all modules, but particularly that of the compulsory dissertation.
10 is assessed in the assignments on the optional modules. 

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

11. Work independently with primary sources at an advanced level.
12. Approach medieval material critically through their context.
13. Identify, analyse, understand, and synthesise widely different and problematic types of medieval material and evidence.
14. Have a critical understanding of key concepts, discourses and debates related to Medieval Studies.
15. Research for themselves and present independent accounts and interpretations of different and complex issues in Medieval Studies.
16. Gather and deploy evidence for an independent and advanced research project.
17. Make effective use of libraries and the internet to find information.
18. Reference sources in written work accurately and to a professional standard.

See above.


11-15, 17-18 are developed through Let’s Get Medieval!, skills modules and optional modules.

11-16 are specially developed in the dissertation.


All these skills are assessed informally through seminar preparation for core, skills and optional modules, and formally through assessed assignments and the dissertation.


11-15, 17-18 are specially developed through the assessment for the Let’s Get Medieval!, skills and optional modules.

11-18 are specially developed in the dissertation.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

19. Think independently at an advanced level.
20. Construct and defend a sustained argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials.
21. Work as an individual on challenging material.
22. Work as part of a team in a constructive and responsive way.

See above.


19 is a requirement of all modules, and especially the dissertation. 20 and 21 are core requirements of all modules, especially the dissertation.

22 is developed through seminar and group work on the taught modules.

19-21 are assessed in all modules by all work, especially essays and the dissertation.

22 is reflected in seminar work and presentations.

7. Programme Regulations


Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

All PGT students have a personal tutor for their entire programme of study and who are available at advertised ‘office hours’ (staff changes are likely due to Research Leave etc.). There are induction sessions to orientate students at the start of their programme. Academic support will be also be provided by module leaders. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Programme handbooks and other useful information can be accessed via the student intranet:

Other useful information and student resources can be accessed via the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE): , which has specific information on library skills, essay writing and research skills.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

MA Medieval Studies

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision