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The Centre's Students

The Centre's MRes and PhD students come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, factors which strengthen further its multidisciplinary ethos. Some study the MRes full-time over one year; others study part-time over two years, and it is also possible to take the course on a modular basis over five years. Some students have been encouraged by their employers to take the course to develop their professional skills: sponsors have included English Heritage and Guildford Borough Council. Other students are recent graduates, keen to gain a firm grounding in medieval studies to enable them to undertake research towards a PhD. In this context, the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) recognises the MRes in Medieval Studies as an appropriate one-year pre-doctoral training course, as well as a stand-alone Master's course. Other students take the course because of a long-standing personal interest in the Middle Ages.

Mature students are particularly welcome, including those who graduated some time ago but who now wish to return to study.

Over the years, we have welcomed students from the USA, Canada, Australia, Egypt, Israel, Mexico, Columbia and most European countries, and the University of Reading as a whole has a long-established reputation as a popular venue for overseas students.

Mari-Liis Neubauer (2017): Having finished my undergraduate studies years ago and coming from another country (Estonia), pursuing a Master's degree at Reading definitely felt like a daunting idea at first. However, I can say with full confidence that it has been one the most fulfilling and intellectually enhancing years of my life to this date. I have been given the opportunity to acquaint myself with Latin and Palaeography and have also been introduced to a wide variety of interdisciplinary subjects, such as Medieval Archaeology and Economics. The support from the GCMS's staff has been extraordinary and they have also encouraged me to conduct research that met my own topics of interest, which in my case led me to further inquire into the Baltic Crusades. I can wholeheartedly recommend this programme to anyone with an interest in the Middle Ages who wishes to acquire both practical skills and theoretical knowledge to study this fascinating time-period.

Bridget Riley (2017): I am so grateful that the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies offered me a place to undertake academic research. I studied for an MA in Medieval Studies at the GMCS, which gave me the combination of practical training and confidence to decide to continue my research at a doctoral level. The skills I acquired, particularly in Latin and palaeography, have enabled me to investigate further a number of texts debating late Medieval antifraternalism. The GCMS MA programme also taught me to write a book review and deliver an academic paper, as well as researching and writing a dissertation, all of which have prepared me for doctoral research. In addition to providing top-level supervision, the Centre is incredibly friendly. Fellow doctoral students have provided advice ranging from practical tips on surviving a big academic conference, to setting up and customizing the IT tools which aid my research. I do not know how I could do my research elsewhere!

Recent MA dissertation topics include:

  • Giving and Receiving: Perspectives on the Theory and Practice of Poverty by Dominicans and their Detractors in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century England.
  • Taking Power and Keeping Control: The Teutonic Knights and the Order-States from 1230 to 1283.
  • Political Propaganda in the Continuations to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
  • Garden Imagery in English Books of Hours
  • Magic in Twelfth-Century England
  • The Medieval Archer: Professional Soldier?
  • Maritime Aspects of Edward III's Expedition to Flanders in 1338
  • Edmund of Langley's expedition to Portugal, 1380-81
  • The crusading policies of Pope Leo IX
  • Latin personal names of the 5th and 6th centuries in Western Britain
  • The Secular Cathedral in England and France: The West Frontier in its spatial context
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