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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

Medieval History is no longer accepting new applications.

Teaching

The MPhil in Medieval History is a nine-month full-time programme which combines elements of formal teaching with independent research. Students on the MPhil will join a group of researchers of all levels within the field of medieval history, allowing them to integrate into the research culture of medieval history at Cambridge.

The MPhil involves three assessed components:

  • two core courses (eight two-hour classes for each option, four hours per week) on 'Concepts and Methods' and 'Latin and Palaeography' respectively. The former is assessed with a historiographical essay and the latter with a written transcription exam, each worth ten per cent of the overall mark;
  • one option course (see representative list below; eight two-hour classes) assessed through an examined essay of 3,000-4,000 words, worth ten per cent of the overall mark; and 

a dissertation (15,000–20,000 words) worth 70 per cent of the overall mark.

In addition to the above, students will attend the weekly Medieval History research seminars and workshops.

Students may also take optional skills modules in Greek or Latin and may choose to audit additional option courses. These are not assessed elements of the MPhil but will help students develop the skills needed for the MPhil in Medieval History.

While the course will officially start in October, all students will be required to attend an intensive Latin course before the MPhil commences. This will begin in early September.

One to one supervision

All students will be assigned a supervisor to work with them throughout the course, but crucially on the dissertation.

Students will meet regularly with their supervisor for one-on-one supervisions throughout the course. Frequency of supervisions will vary depending on the time of year, with the regularity of meetings increasing as the year progresses and the student begins to focus more on the dissertation. Students can expect at least one supervision session per term and normally eight across the year.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

All students will be required to attend an intensive Latin course before the start of the MPhil. In exceptional cases, this requirement may be waived, if the student can demonstrate that they already have the required level of skill to successfully complete the MPhil. Additional support may be offered during the term if students do not reach the required level during the pre-sessional programme.

All students will take the two core modules; the first module is split into Latin and Palaeography skills and the second module, Medieval History: Concepts and Methods, will include a mixture of core concepts, themes, and technical skills related to research, and will be accompanied by practical classes or supervisions.

Students will study two core modules in Michaelmas and will choose one from a number of option modules in Lent (including those offered by the Faculty's other MPhil courses). The options offered by the Faculty each year may vary.

Typical options offered by Medieval History include the following:

Medieval Manuscript Studies

The Byzantine Empire

Religion and Power

Law and Society

Students are also expected to attend the graduate research seminars and workshops in Medieval History. These thriving research seminars meet weekly during term time. Students are encouraged to ask questions and engage with speakers.

Lectures

Although not compulsory, students are welcome to attend relevant undergraduate lectures as indicated by their supervisor.

Posters and Presentations

All students will present their work at least once during the academic year and will receive feedback from academics and peers on their work-in-progress. This is not an assessed element of the course but is a valuable feedback tool for the dissertation.

Feedback

Students will receive regular constructive feedback throughout the MPhil.

Students can expect to receive:

regular oral feedback from their supervisor, as well as termly online feedback reports;

written feedback on essays and assessments;

oral feedback from peers during graduate workshops and seminars;

written and oral feedback on dissertation proposal essay to be discussed with their supervisor; and

formal written feedback from two examiners after examination of the dissertation.

Assessment

Thesis / Dissertation

The dissertation is Part II of the MPhil in Medieval History.

All students will submit a dissertation of 15,000–20,000 words, worth 70 per cent of the overall mark. 

At the discretion of the examiners the examination may include an oral examination on the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls.

Essays

For the core module Medieval History: Concepts and Methods students will prepare a historiographical and bibliographical essay preparatory to the dissertation. Students will meet with their supervisor to discuss the essay and get feedback in preparation for the dissertation.

For the optional module, students will submit a 3,000–4,000 word essay (or equivalent). 

Each will count 10 per cent toward the final degree mark. Taken together with the written examination in Latin and Palaeography, these form Part I of the course and are worth a total of 30 per cent.

Written examination

Students will sit one exam in Latin and Palaeography Transcription worth 10 per cent of the overall mark for the MPhil.

Practical assessment

All students will present their work at least once during the academic year and will receive feedback from academics and peers on their work-in-progress. This is not an assessed element of the course but is a valuable feedback tool for the dissertation.

Other

Students will also prepare a 2,000-word dissertation proposal essay due in the Lent term. This essay will be unassessed but students will meet with their supervisor to discuss the essay and get feedback in preparation for the dissertation.

Key Information


9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Faculty of History

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
March 31, 2022
Course Starts
Sept. 13, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 2, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.


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