MSt in Medieval Studies - University of Oxford Watch

_lara_
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Hi everyone,

I have recently graduated from BA History with a First and I am looking to apply for Medieval Masters for 2020/2021 Academic Year. I was wondering if any one has done the Medieval Studies MSt at Oxford, is currently doing it or knows anyone else who has done it could give me some more information on it.

The websites states that the course is only 9 months long, while the majority of other universities Masters cover over a 12 month period so the dissertation is written in the summer term after all the taught modules are done. Does that mean that at Oxford are less taught modules than other Medieval Masters to allow for the final term to be dedicated to the dissertation? Or do you have to write the dissertation at the same time as doing taught modules, so it is more demanding workload?

Many thanks!
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by _lara_)
............
I suspect you start in October, have lectures until Easter (March/April), but start discussing your dissertation from January, and submit in June.
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QHF
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(Original post by _lara_)
I have recently graduated from BA History with a First and I am looking to apply for Medieval Masters for 2020/2021 Academic Year. I was wondering if any one has done the Medieval Studies MSt at Oxford, is currently doing it or knows anyone else who has done it could give me some more information on it.
You can find the entire course handbook posted publicly online if you read the History Faculty's page for the MSt carefully.

Speaking very broadly, my view is that the Oxford medieval studies MSt lets you access some extremely high-level teaching and an incredible set of scholarly resources (most of all, all those libraries). It also makes you write some substantial essays which approach article length (this is good because it means that, if you did well and want to pursue further study and an academic career, you have the raw materials for an article or two).

I also think that it's a course with quite atomised individual components. The optional courses you'll choose won't be conceived around interdisciplinarity (it might be good to think of it as a multi-disciplinary MSt rather than an interdisciplinary one), and it will be up to you to navigate the course structure and manage your own learning, more so than it is for students taking a single-discipline MSt at Oxford. There are squillions of people studying medieval material across the different disciplines in Oxford, which means that you won't find as well-defined and tight-knit an interdisciplinary community there as you might at some other universities. On the other hand, the fact that there are squillions of people studying medieval material around is also a huge benefit, and is an environment you won't find at other universities.

Another way of framing this—which will apply wherever you apply—is to say that you should think carefully about why you specifically want to do a master's in medieval studies rather than in medieval history, I suppose.

Anyway, I think it's generally a very strong course, provided you go in with your eyes open and with a willingness to take the initiative and make the most of it. If you have a first from your BA you should be able to make a competitive application.

(Original post by _lara_)
The websites states that the course is only 9 months long, while the majority of other universities Masters cover over a 12 month period so the dissertation is written in the summer term after all the taught modules are done. Does that mean that at Oxford are less taught modules than other Medieval Masters to allow for the final term to be dedicated to the dissertation? Or do you have to write the dissertation at the same time as doing taught modules, so it is more demanding workload?
The final term is dedicated to the dissertation. The other summative assessment is handed in before that. You will have to look at comparable master's courses and work out whether you think the MSt is more intense or not. I know that at York (for example) the medieval studies MA has more modules within it, but the ones which have publicly listed summative assessment word counts appear to ask for shorter essays (3,500, 4,500 words) than the typical Oxford MSt-level essay (7,000 words).

My view is that the nine-month at MSt is extremely intense, and somewhat more demanding than twelve-month courses elsewhere. Intensity is not necessarily a bad thing, and the nine-month format is great once the nine months are over. Once you've compared it to other courses, you might feel that it isn't that intense, and you might also have a different view of the value of intensity—I can't make those judgements for you.
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sophiealicex
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Hi!

For what it's worth, I finished my MA in Medieval History at KCL last year and cannot recommend it enough if you're a prospective medievalist. It provides excellent technical training in palaeography and Latin, with good flexibility in terms of modules. The medievalists in the history department are all excellent and provide great support.

I think that there is also a Medieval Studies MA at KCL, which is shared between the History and English departments and about which I always heard good things.

I've won AHRC funding for my PhD coming out of the programme at King's and am aware of at least one other person who did, too.

Best of luck!
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