Course Overview

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.


Dr Dermot Burns

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.


Michael Shields 
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.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

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.

Additional Requirements


1 year, full-time
2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2022

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

You are advised to apply early, which may result in an early offer; see the offer round dates

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code

To be advised

Course Outline

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.

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Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

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

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,716 p.a. FT; €3,400 p.a. PT 2021/22

Fees: Tuition

€6,576 p.a. FT; €3,295 p.a. PT 2021/22

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. FT; €105 p.a. PT 2021/22

Fees: Non EU

€16,216 p.a. 2021/22

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 €3,500 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 €140.

Find out More

Dr Catherine Emerson | Dr Frances McCormack 
T: +353 91 493 801 
E: catherine.emerson@ | frances.mccormack@ 
Medieval Studies website

Quick Links


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

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  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2022

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2022 PDF (14.3MB)