Medieval Studies Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Medieval Studies?

The Middle Ages was the period in European history from the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century CE to the period of the Renaissance,

Medieval Studies is the study of history, art, music, archaeology, politics and literature of the Middle Ages.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Medieval Studies in the following subject areas.

  • Medieval Studies (M.Phil.) – The study of the critical skills needed for in-depth work on medieval texts, sources, and artefacts, and an introduction to what different disciplinary methods offer the medievalist.
  • Exploring History: Medieval to Modern 1400-1900 – A wide-ranging introduction to the study of European and Atlantic history.
  • MA in History – Gain a deeper understanding of Ireland’s social, cultural, economic and political history from the Middle Ages to the present day.
  • Religion in History: Conflict, Conversion and Coexistence – Gain a better understanding of contemporary problems through a historical perspective.
  • Pre-University: Arts, Culture and History – Gain solid background knowledge and skills for progression to third level in an Arts or Media Degree.

Studying Medieval Studies 

There are many courses in Medieval Studies that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Look for volunteering or work experience opportunities within the area in which you’re interested. For example, if you’d like a career in curatorship, try to get experience working with museum collections. If you’re looking for a career in a different area, such as banking or law, internships offer the chance for more structured work experience and are usually well advertised, making them easier to find.

Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Medieval Studies course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the Middle Ages.

History graduates are valued by a wide range of employers and organisations including heritage organisations, museums and libraries. Other typical employers can include accountancy firms, archive and records offices, banks, charities, higher education institutions, international development organisations, law firms, management consultancies, publishing companies, retailers, schools or even television and radio broadcasters.

You will develop excellent critical thinking and analytical skills that many employers find desirable. You may choose to go into an area that involves work with artefacts or become a museum director or curator. You could become an archivist or a historian.

Those interested in education could easily become history teachers or continue their education to become a college professor, or you may decide to go into law, politics, research, writing or government work.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies.

Related jobs include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Archivist
  • Heritage manager
  • Historic buildings inspector/conservation officer
  • Museum education officer
  • Museum/gallery curator
  • Museum/gallery exhibitions officer
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Academic librarian
  • Archaeologist
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Civil Service administrator
  • Editorial assistant
  • Human resources officer
  • Information officer
  • Marketing executive
  • Policy officer
  • Politician’s assistant
  • Solicitor

Further study

After completing a course in Medieval Studies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as accountancy, journalism, law, librarianship, museum studies or teaching.


What is the importance of Medieval Studies?

Medieval Studies is the study of Medieval Europe and the foundations of Western Civilisation. Understanding the Middle Ages helps us to understand where many of the governments, economies, institutions and cultures of current day societies originated and evolved from.

Studying history is a significant and necessary task because knowing one’s history is important to know how the world came to be the way that it is today.

What skills will I learn from taking a course in Medieval Studies?

A degree in history develops your critical reasoning and analytical skills, including the capacity for solving problems and thinking creatively. It also develops intellectual rigour and independence, including the ability to conduct detailed research and the ability to construct an argument and communicate findings in a clear and persuasive manner, both orally and in writing.

It teaches you the capability to work without direct supervision and manage your time and priorities effectively and the ability to discuss ideas in groups, and to negotiate, question and summarise.

You will also gain a capacity to think objectively and approach problems and new situations with an open mind and an appreciation of the different factors that influence the activities of groups and individuals in society.

Where can I study Medieval Studies?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Eels were sometimes used as currency. A record survives showing someone once rented land in the fenlands for 26,275 eels.
  • From about the 1330s onwards, people began wearing shoes with ridiculously long toes. The longer they could be, the better. They were called Cracow shoes, named after where they originated from Krakow in Poland.
  • Animals could be tried and convicted for crimes in the Middle Ages, and if found guilty sentenced to death. In Savigny, France, 1457, a sow was charged with murder, found guilty and hanged.
  • The population of London went up 500% between the 12th and 14th centuries. By the start of the 14th century, London had grown from 17,000 people to a bustling city of c.100,000. This caused great squalor for the inhabitants, hemmed in between the Roman walls and the River Thames.
  • Peasants in the Middle Age worked where they lived. Their trade was passed down from father to son and thus it remained in the family business. If your dad was a cobbler, you would most likely be a cobbler.

Mariza Halliday

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