Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Introduction to English Medieval Manuscript Studies ENGLANG5020

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course provides students with an introduction to medieval manuscript studies from a range of practical and theoretical perspectives. A general survey of the development of scripts and book production during the medieval period is complemented by more focused discussion of the methods and procedures used by palaeographers and of editors of medieval texts.


One two-hour class per week, as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the MSc options for  English Language and Linguistics and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses





Four on-line transcription exercises, 10% each (40%)

One examination, 90 minutes (60%).

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

This course provides students with the opportunity to:

■ encourage the acquisition of a range of subject-specific research skills in manuscript studies including

(a) medieval palaeography, (b) book production, and (c) editing, from a range of practical and theoretical perspectives;

■ help students understand how palaeographers work and the methods they use;

■ allow students critically to evaluate the value of palaeography as a discipline;

■ train students to recognise and transcribe a variety of scripts from the medieval period, and to recognise common abbreviations both in Latin and the vernacular.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ account for the development of scripts during the Middle Ages;

■ assess a significant range of specialist methodologies used by palaeographers in identifying and dating hands;

■ critically assess a range of aspects of the production, transmission and dissemination of books during the Middle Ages;

■ describe and identify a range of specialist approaches and techniques available to editors of medieval texts;

■ transcribe a variety of scripts from the Middle Ages.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.