Medieval & Renaissance Studies MLitt

This programme provides interdisciplinary training in a broad range of subject areas, covering many aspects of medieval and early modern culture. You will receive intensive training in current theories and research methods across disciplines, manuscript studies, palaeography and the medieval or modern languages most relevant to your research interests.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • You have a wide choice of languages to study which may include medieval Latin, Old English, Old Icelandic, medieval Welsh, Old Irish, Old French and Persian as well as a range of modern languages.
  • You can tailor the programme to your own interests and requirements, while gaining an excellent grounding in the technical skills required for advanced postgraduate work.
  • There are a wealth of resources available for study, including a world-class collection of medieval and renaissance manuscripts and early printed books in the University Library, original works of art housed in Glasgow Museums, and regional architectural monuments and archaeological sites.
  • The strength of this programme lies in the breadth of teaching and research at the Glasgow Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Programme structure

In the first teaching period, a team-taught core course will introduce you to a range of approaches, disciplines and research developments in medieval and renaissance studies. There is a focus on original manuscripts and printed books available in the outstanding collections in the University Library.

In the second part of the programme you can select from a combination of

  • supervised study on a specialist topic with an essay and oral presentation
  • a medieval manuscript studies course, including palaeography training
  • a specialist research methods course in renaissance studies, including palaeography training
  • one or more language courses.

In the final part of the programme you will research and produce a dissertation on a topic approved by the MLitt convener and the potential supervisor.

Core and optional courses

Core Courses

In the first semester, students attend a twelve-week progamme of lectures and seminars with additional classes devoted to the examination of original illuminated manuscripts and incunabula in the Special Collections Department. These sessions are designed to introduce students to key research methods and developments in a variety of disciplines within Medieval and renaissance studies and to help them select individual study options. In addition, during the first and second semesters, a series of workshops are held focusing on practical aspects of academic discourse, such as research and documentation methods, essay writing, and presentation skills.  During the second semester, we also offer specialized field training conducted at regional Medieval and renaissance museum collections, architectural, and archaeological sites.
An important bonus component of our core course is a select series of additional seminars and masterclasses conducted by medieval and renaissance specialists of international renown who are invited to Glasgow University from across the UK, the USA, Europe, and the Middle East. Recent speakers have included Michelle Brown, Mary Carruthers, Madeline Caviness, Michael Clanchy, Katrin Kogman-Appel, Carole Rawcliffe, Miri Rubin and Paul Saenger.


Optional courses

The study option essay may be taken in subject areas offered by contributing departments following consultation with the MLitt convener and the potential supervisor just before the semester break.  The research for the study option essay is conducted in the second semester and is combined with an oral presentation element for which practice and training is provided.

We can offer expert supervision in a very wide range of subjects.  To illustrate this, we have included a selection of essay and dissertation titles from past years’ intake:

  • “Th’end is every tales strengthe”: unfinished narrative in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
  • A Lacanian approach to medieval masculinity
  • A study of court life in Béroul’s Tristan et Iseut and Walter Map’s De Nugis Curialum
  • Allusion to illusion: discerning emblems in Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta
  • An analysis of Carolingian and Ottonian relations with the Church
  • An analysis of Dhuoda’s Liber manualis in relation to religion, education, and aristrocratic family roles in Carolingian Europe
  • Developments in Old English textbook production and their influence on student learners
  • Getting under the skin of Suibhne Geilt: Shape, skin and surface in Buile Suibhne
  • Hieronymus Bosch and the reinvention of the hellish
  • Hunting Caravaggio’s feminine forms: “The Martyrdom of St Ursula”
  • Language and national identity in Havelok, Horn Childe and Maiden Rimnild
  • Romanitas in the kingdom of the Britons at Dumbarton Rock
  • Saracens in C. S. Lewis: comprehending Muslim stereotypes in The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Select emblems from Alciato’s Emblemata and their connection with Emperor Charles V
  • Within bounds: the medieval urban house

Manuscript studies and research methods

Students may choose courses in either Medieval manuscript studies or specialist research methods in renaissance studies.  The Medieval option is divided into two discrete elements, the first comprising a broad-based introduction to Medieval manuscript studies including an overview of palaeography, codicology and the editing process.  The second offers students a choice from a series of options offering specialised training in specific periods, areas or types of script, such as (for example) Anglo-Saxon palaeography, Italian notarial hands or Caroline minuscule. The early modern alternative course provides training in subject-specific research skills including an introduction to early modern palaeography, textual bibliography and advanced IT resources. 


Students may select a modern, medieval or ancient language to fit best with their own interests. They may join either beginners’ or more advanced classes in Latin or Greek as well as a range of modern languages, and, depending on staff availability, it is normally possible to arrange tuition in a variety of medieval languages including medieval Latin, Old English, Old Icelandic, Old Irish, Old French, Occitan, Medieval Welsh, and Old Irish.


Students choose their dissertation topic by the end of the second semester in a subject area offered by contributing subject areas following detailed consultation with the MLitt convener and the potential supervisor.  The dissertation, which is to be submitted in early September, is a major study around 14,000–15,000 words in length.


Resources and facilties


The University Library’s Special Collections provides an outstanding resource for medieval and renaissance studies in all disciplines.  Assembled since the University’s foundation in 1451, the wide ranging collections include particularly strong holdings of late medieval manuscripts and early printed books (with over 1,000 incunabula). 

The Hunterian Collection is of special importance. One of the finest 18th century libraries to remain intact, it contains some 10,000 printed books and 650 manuscripts. Immensely varied in its subject coverage, its strengths include devotional texts, vernacular literature, the classics, medicine, typography and early printing, natural history, and the literature of exploration and travel. Its greatest treasure is the twelfth-century Hunterian Psalter , one of the major monuments of English Romanesque art; other manuscript highlights include a number of important English manuscripts, including the only known extant manuscript copies of Chaucer’s Romaunt de la Rose and Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles.  The collection also boasts no fewer than ten

copies of books printed by Caxton, as well as many examples of works produced by the finest continental Renaissance printers, such as Aldus Manutius. The Stirling Maxwell Collection of emblem literature, the Ferguson Collection of early alchemical and related texts (such as books of secrets, the occult sciences and witchcraft) and the Euing Collection of music, general literature and Bibles, are all collections holding material of historical and international importance. 

 For further information, see the detailed descriptions of each collection on the Special Collections web pages, or browse the expanding series of virtual exhibitions and course material pages, set up to highlight resources for specific subjects. Special Collections staff are always happy to discuss research projects or to advise generally on best use of the material, so please do not hesitate to contact the department if you have any queries.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2016

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject unless otherwise specified.

We also require:

  • a sample of written work, about 3,000 words in length. This can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate degree. The work should be written in English and the content does not have to cover a topic related to this specific programme.
  • a short statement of around 500 words outlining your interest in this programme.
  • at least one academic reference.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 7.0
  • no sub-test less than 7.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 22 with Speaking no less than 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 185; no sub-test less than 185
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 185; no sub-test less than 185
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 68; minimum 60 in writing
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEIII at Pass with Pass in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£6950
Part time 20 credits£772
Full time fee£15250

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

The programme provides an excellent preparation for PhD studies and an academic career. It also provides excellent training for museum, school and other related educational and vocational careers.

Positions held by recent graduates include Instructor and Editor, and Postdoctoral Researcher.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 22 July 2016 
  • UK and EU applications: 26 August 2016

Classes start September 2016 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now