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At NUI Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Medieval Studies (MA)
This cross-disciplinary programme, unique in Ireland, provides students with a firm foundation in the study of European —including Irish—cultures, languages, and societies from Late Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. Through small-group teaching by a team of international academics, it aims to equip students with the tools required to undertake innovative research using primary texts, images, manuscripts and other material objects from the period.
The course’s interdisciplinary requirements encourage students to view the past, across Europe as well as in Ireland, in a multi-dimensional way while they learn core linguistic and other technical skills necessary for academic research in the Late Antique and Medieval worlds.
Applications and Selections
Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System. Selection is based on an applicant’s academic record, academic references stating her or his potential for completing a research project, as well as samples of the applicant’s written work.
Who Teaches this Course
Dr Elizabeth FitzPatrick
Gaelic and Colonial Ireland 1300–1650, royal assembly culture in medieval Europe, urban settlement in traditional societies, and churches and their landscapes.
Mr Conor Newman
Ireland and the Roman world, Irish 'royal' landscapes from prehistory to the early middle ages, Irish art and iconography c. AD 300–700 and the Life and Legacy of Columbanus.
Dr Kieran O'Conor
Gaelic and Anglo-Norman Ireland 1100–1350, castles in their landscape and rural settlement across medieval Europe.
Dr Jacopo Bisagni
Indo-European, Celtic and Latin linguistics; early medieval Irish monastic literature.
Prof. Michael Clarke
Historical linguistics; epic poetry; medieval Irish heroic literature.
Dr Pádraic Moran
Didactic literature (in Latin and Irish), classroom texts and scholia; the study of Greek and Hebrew in the early medieval West; historical linguistics, manuscript studies.
Dr Mark Stansbury
Manuscript studies; Medieval Latin; Insular Christian culture; transmission of Classical texts.
Middle English, Arthurian Literature, Medieval Epic and Romance Literature, Religious Writing, Robert Henryson, Medieval Aesthetics, Chivalric Literature.
Dr Clíodhna Carney
Old and Middle English; Chaucer; medieval poetics; medieval literary theory; Spenser; rhetoric, poetics.
Dr Frances McCormack
Old and Middle English Literature; in particular the works of Chaucer, religious and devotinal literature, and heresy.
Dr Catherine Emerson
Teaching: French language and literature, medieval literature (Romance, historiography), Historiographical literature, Islam in medieval French literature, Enlightment thought. Research: Fifteenth-century Burgundian literature, particularly historical literature; Memoires; Olivier de La March; Manneken Pis as regional symbol.
Comparative medieval studies (Germanic and Romanic literatures); medieval German language and literature (Middle High German, Old High German); literature/music and performance of identity; late medieval musical performance (song, tuning of stringed instruments).
Dr Kimberly LoPrete
Continental Medieval Europe, most notably, society and culture in the 11th - 13th centuries, with special interests in lordship and society; aristocratic women, gender and power; the first crusade; the writing of historical narratives; cross-cultural exchanges with the mid-east & Asia; the transmission of texts; diplomatic, palaeography & manuscript studies.
Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín
Ireland, Britain and Europe during the Early Middle Ages; computistics; medieval latin palaeography; Irish traditional music and song.
Irish/Old and Middle Irish and Celtic Studies
Dr Clodagh Downey
Celtic Studies, Old and Middle Irish language and literature, culture and society of early medieval Ireland.
Dr Graham Isaac
The contemporary linguistics of the Celtic and Indo-European languages, the ancient Celtic languages of Europe, literature of the Old- and Middle-Welsh.
An tOllamh Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha
Medieval and Early Modern Irish language and literature early Irish law; aspects of early Irish history.
Requirements and Assessment
Assessment varies according to each module and includes essays, projects, presentations and exams. A dissertation (15,000 words) must be submitted in August.
A Second Class Honours, Grade 1 BA, or a GPA of 3.3, or equivalent international undergraduate degree (at NFQ Level 8) in a relevant subject. Selection is based on an applicant’s academic record, academic references stating her or his potential for completing a research project, as well as samples of the applicant’s written work.
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
Next start date
A Level Grades ()
You are advised to apply early, which may result in an early offer; see the offer round dates
Mode of study
1MVS1, full-time; 1MVS2, part-time
Students take a year-long seminar (Sources & Resources) focusing on palaeography and manuscript studies; it also introduces students to auxiliary sciences such as diplomatic, heraldry and philology and includes a team-work, web-based project on a medieval scriptorium. All students take Latin and one other language (of their choice). No prior knowledge of these languages is required. To round out the year, students choose modules in Archaeology, Classics and History, and English, French, German or Irish Literature.
By Semester 2, students will have identified a supervisor with whom they develop a dissertation topic through intensive bibliographical investigation, before completing their research and writing over the summer.
There are some scholarship opportunities available for this programme. Please visit the MA (Humanities) Scholarships website for more information.
Curriculum InformationCurriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.
Glossary of Terms
- You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
- An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
- Some courses allow you to choose subjects, where related modules are grouped together. Subjects have their own required number of credits, so you must take all that subject's required modules and may also need to obtain the remainder of the subject's total credits by choosing from its available optional modules.
- A module you may choose to study.
- A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
- Required Core Subject
- A subject you must study because it's integral to that course.
- Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year, so a three-year course will have six semesters in total. For clarity, this page will refer to the first semester of year 2 as 'Semester 3'.
Year 1 (90 Credits)Optional MV532: Aspects of Old & Middle Irish Literature 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV537: Aspects of Late Antiquity 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV539: Aspects of Old Norse & Icelandic Languages & Literature 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV520: Aspects of Medieval History 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV522: Aspects of medieval Archaeology 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV524: Aspects of Medieval & Middle French Literature 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV526: Aspects of Old & Middle English Literature 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV528: Aspects of Old & Middle High German Literature 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV530: Aspects of Medieval Italian Literature 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV6112: Medieval Latin for Beginners - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV6113: Intermediate Medieval Latin A - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Required MV6116: Sources & Resources for Medieval Studies - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required MV6111: Palaeography - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV6101: Supervised Dissertation Research (Archaeology) - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6103: Supervised Dissertation Research (Old and Middle Welsh) - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6104: Supervised Dissertation Research (Old and Middle Irish) - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6105: Supervised Dissertation Research (Italian) - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6106: Supervised Dissertation Research (History) - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6107: Supervised Dissertation Research (German) - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6108: Supervised Dissertation Research (French) - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6109: Supervised Dissertation Research (English) - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6102: Supervised Dissertation Research (Late Antiquity) - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV560: Dissertation (History) - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV562: Dissertation (French) - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV503: Medieval Italian - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV561: Dissertation (Archaeology) - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV508: Old & Middle Welsh - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV565: Dissertation (Italian) - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV540: Aspects of Old Norse & Icelandic Languages & Literature 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV506: Grammar of Old & Middle Irish 2 - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV563: Dissertation (English) - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV569: Dissertation (Classics & Late Antiquity) - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV515: Sources of Early Irish History - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV505: Old High & Middle High German - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV509: Medieval & Middle French - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV564: Dissertation (German) - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV567: Dissertation (Old & Medieval Welsh) - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MV538: Aspects of Late Antiquity 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV504: Old & Middle English - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV507: Grammar of Old & Middle Irish I - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV521: Aspects of Medieval History 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV525: Aspects of Medieval & Middle French Literature 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV527: Aspects of Old & Middle English Literature 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV529: Aspects of Old & Middle High German Literature 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV531: Aspects of Medieval Italian Literature 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV533: Aspects of Old & Middle Irish Literature 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6114: Intermedate Medieval Latin B - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV6115: Advanced Medieval Latin B - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV523: Aspects of Medieval Archaeology 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional MV566: Dissertation (Old & Middle Irish) - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Why Choose This Course?
Graduates in Medieval Studies who do not proceed to PhD research at universities like NUI Galway, TCD, Oxford, Durham, Leeds, or the universities of Toronto or Southern California have a reasonable expectation of finding employment in many walks of life, outside of academia. These include cultural and heritage development, library and museum studies, publishing and the book trade, print journalism, research consultancies, financial services, the civil service, teaching and administration.
Who’s Suited to This Course
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
Please note: The fee payable by EU students is listed under "Fees: EU". This field is the sum of the student levy + tuition. Fees are payable each year and are subject to change year-on year.
Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your full-time tuition. You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee. An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay full-time TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270. SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.
What Our Students Say
Julia Warnes | MA Medieval Studies
Medieval Studies is ideal because of its interdisciplinary nature...One of it's most encouraging aspects is that the faculty have been so supportive and they really take an interest in the students. Galway is a great city to meet new people and make lifelong friends. Probably the number one word I would use to describe the place is "welcoming". NUI Galway is a great place to study, with it's high academic standards and supportive student environment.
Kenneth Coyne | Hardiman PhD Fellow in History, NUIG
It is a wonderful course because one can study a wide range of disciplines on an introductory level and proceed quickly onto a higher level. . . . [Although] my main focus was History and Latin . . . I learned so much from the modules I took in Palaeography, Old French and Archaeology [that] is a constant benefit to me in the course of my current research