A first or upper-second class honours degree in an appropriate subject or equivalent.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
As well as a compulsory module in disciplinary methods, you study an exciting and varied range of optional modules. In addition, you produce a final dissertation of 12-15,000 words, for which you receive one-to-one supervision.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
Latin was the premier language of medieval and early modern Europe, and a firm grounding in it becomes essential to you now that you are graduate students. The module is specifically tailored for medievalists and early modernists. While you will learn the grammatical structures of classical Latin, the emphasis is on Latin as a living language in the post-classical world. You will be considering its transformations and variety and will be encouraged to ask what these developments tell us about the societies in which it was used. Alongside that, we will consider the role of Latin: how did that change from its classical origins? Why did it survive so long? How far did it decline in power over the long period we study?
Our cultural heritage is defined by the legacy of manuscript artefacts. Those books and documents carry with them multiple pieces of information — more so than any printed book — that help decipher not just the meaning of their texts but also of their purpose and history. This module introduces you to the long history of that culture and, in particular, will give you the technical tools to make use of these sources. You will learn to read a variety of scripts and to appreciate the cultural contexts in which they were used (Latin palaeography, so called because the scripts — whatever the language — derive from the practices of ancient Rome); you will also study the book as object, understanding the elements of its make-up and what they can tell us about the society in which it was made and used (codicology).
This module builds on the knowledge of Latin developed in the core module. Its intention is to develop that skill to a level expected of doctoral students in the first years of their programme. It does this by augmenting the knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. In the process, it refines your appreciation of the variety of Latin in time and place — medieval and early modern shared 'Latins' rather than one unchanging style of expression. The importance attached to Latin may seem alien from our own society and an element of this module is also to consider how one makes the riches of the post-classical language accessible to audiences beyond medievalists and early modernists for whom it is a sine qua non.
Religion has often been regarded as the motor for change and upheaval in 17th century England: it has been seen as the prime cause of civil war, the inspiration for the godly rule of Oliver Cromwell and ‘the Saints’, and central to the Glorious Revolution of 1688-9. Fears of popery, it has been suggested, helped forge English national identify. This module reflects critically on these claims. It explores tensions within English Protestantism, which led to an intense struggle for supremacy within the English Church in the early 17th century, to be followed in the 1640s and 1650s by the fragmentation of Puritanism into numerous competing sects which generated a remarkable proliferation of radical ideas on religion and society. The Restoration of Church and King in 1660 saw the gradual and contested emergence of a dissenting community and the partial triumph of religious tolerance, with profound implications for English society and culture. Another key theme is the changing fortunes of Anglicanism, with its erosion of its position from a national Church to the established Church over the century. The marginal position of English Catholics in 17th century England, albeit with a genuine possibility of significant recovery of rights and influence under James II, is also crucial. The module will address issues of theology, the close relationship between political power and religious change, and the nature of debates on religion at national and local level, and also track elements of continuity and change over a formative century in English religious experience.
This module explores the dynamic relationship between the cult of relics and Gothic art. It will begin by retracing the aesthetics of devotion across Western Christendom, culminating in the creation of towering Gothic cathedrals. Throughout history, the design of cult images could reveal sacred presence, testify to miracle-working powers, and explicate the significance of a holy place using visual narratives. Through pilgrimage, gift-giving, and even theft, people acquired relics and 'invented' new cults. The success of a relic cult would benefit from the design of a magnificent reliquary, the depiction of pictorial programmes (in glass, sculpture, and painting), and the placement of the relic within a spectacular architectural setting. Together we will explore the development of Gothic art in light of changing devotional needs. Using a number of diverse case studies, students will acquire a wealth of historical information and develop a variety of intellectual approaches to function and significance of visual culture. Beginning with Paris and its surrounding cathedrals, we will extend our analysis to Gothic Canterbury, London, Castile, Prague, Siena, and Florence. Above all, this course will encourage students to think critically about the influence of art in the religious imagination.
This interdisciplinary course will focus on a number of inter-related themes which will be studied through differing types of evidence from written and printed texts to objects and standing buildings. Thus, as a way of aiding students to expand their intellectual horizons, some seminars will take place outside the seminar room to look at evidence in situ. Topics will include medieval topography, parish churches and lay piety, houses and shops, pilgrimage, and urban defences, using Canterbury as a contextualised case study.
This module explores the supposed renaissance in English devotional writings after the pastoral initiatives of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. Students will consider the validity of historiographical models of religious change in this period, examining the emergence of pastoralia, 'affective piety' and of the so-called ‘vernacular theologies’ of the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Among the texts to be explored will be extracts from a number of early fourteenth-century pastoral texts (such as Handlyng Synne and The Northern Homily Cycle), from the late fourteenth century – the Showings of Julian of Norwich, and, moving into the fifteenth century, Nicholas Love’s Mirror, The Boke of Margery Kempe and a range of Wycliffite and other ‘suspect’ writings. The literature of religious belief will in turn be situated against a range of manuscript case studies, critical readings, and theoretical studies.
This module will examine the social, material and experiential conditions of medieval and early modern drama. It will draw on a range of theoretical approaches to do so and consider the implications of applying these various approaches. Students will consider the implications of analysing performance as an ephemeral art form and the difficulties of doing so at a historical distance. This will entail analysing a wide range of primary sources, as well as engaging with current debates in Performance Studies and about contemporary theatrical 'reconstruction' projects, such as Shakespeare's Globe and Staging the Henrician Court. The module is structured around five key approaches to performance which students will examine in relation to a late-medieval and early modern playtexts over the course of ten weeks.
This MA Module is a window onto the rich and diverse material culture of Early Modern Europe and the world. A primary objective of this module is to consider objects as sources, alongside more traditional textual sources, and to develop ways in which to use artefacts in historical research. The course starts with a critical overview of the way in which consumption has traditionally been treated by economic historians concerned with the quantity of objects produced and how they fitted into an economy of circulation and wealth. The main focus of the module is on a cultural history of things. Inspired by the 'material turn' and theoretical work by anthropologists such as Daniel Miller, material culture has more recently been used to answer research questions regarding the meanings things held for different people. Cultural historians, inspired by work in art history and museum studies, have begun to engage in analysing objects to evaluate the Early Modern world. We will explore how this has not only generated a diverse new set of sources to study, but also a new understanding of the agency of things in Early Modern society and a new way to access the everyday lives of people. Finally, as a group we will evaluate how things can make us question traditional historical narratives, which are often based on the texts elites produced. The main themes of the module allow students to explore objects in different contexts, from courtly collections to everyday domestic interiors, and to examine objects as carriers of meaning and agency. Furthermore, this module emphasises Europe’s place in a global world. We will see how the Early Modern period was a world of vibrant interconnections as a ‘New World of Goods’ flooded Europe. In working with extant objects, this module introduces interdisciplinary working with museum studies, art history and archaeology.
This module develops the skills introduced in the core palæography module by demonstrating their application to cultural and literary history. It will do this by considering the milieux in which hand-written texts were produced, circulated and stored in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It, therefore, spans across both 'manuscript culture' and the centuries after the introduction of print. It considers the process of destruction and survival of codices from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, and also reflects on the continuing production of manuscript books and documents. At the same time, it assists students in further refining their technical skills in working with codices and documents.
In 888, the Carolingian Empire, often viewed as the last of the post-Roman successor states, collapsed. By the beginning of the twelfth century, Western Europe had been completely transformed – politically, socially, economically, culturally. What happened? This module offers an in-depth comparative study of France, Germany, Italy and the Low Countries in the tenth and eleventh centuries in order to address the controversies and challenges presented by a pivotal period of European history. With the onset of the later Middle Ages, historians begin to see a Europe characterised by quintessentially 'medieval' institutions and phenomena such as feudalism, the crusades, scholasticism, heresy, chivalry, public opinion, urbanisation and the supreme power of the papacy. It has been suggested that these transformations constituted a turning point in world history, setting Latin Europe on a path to global domination. Yet there is considerable disagreement over how all this came about. Indeed, some have suggested that little changed on the ground, that scholars have been tricked by the texts and by changes in the style and form of written records. Is it simply a matter of perception, or were there in fact profound political and social changes that amounted to ‘the making of Europe’? What did the Carolingian Empire bequeath the polities that rose in its wake? What was the ‘feudal transformation’, and why has the concept been so controversial? How did the pope come to wield such great power in European politics? To answer these and other questions, students will analyse a wide array of surviving documentation, including charters and administrative records, narrative histories and other literary works, letters, canon (church) law, liturgical and theological texts, and more.
From the commencement of your MA you will be asked to start thinking about a proposed topic for a dissertation. You are advised to talk to members of staff about your topic before a suitable supervisor is assigned.
Assessment is by coursework and dissertation. The skills modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination.
This programme aims to:
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
You develop intellectual skills in:
You gain subject-specific skills in:
You will gain the following transferable skills:
The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.
Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of English was ranked 10th for research intensity and 15th for research power in the UK.
An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 95% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of History was ranked 8th for research intensity and in the top 20 in the UK for research power.
An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 99% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
The research interests of our staff cover areas as broad as: religion, ideas, material culture, theatre and performance culture, gender, economy, food and drink, legal history, war, visual culture, politics, architecture, history of books and manuscripts, environment and travel, art history, and literature.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Ecclesiastical and religious history, 1200-1400; canon law and history of the medieval papacy; crusades and history of the military orders; Anglopapal relations in the 14th century; Latin diplomatic and palaeography.View Profile
Chaucer and other late-medieval English writers; contextual aspects of medieval culture, including historiography, the visual arts, dreams and space.View Profile
Political thought, culture and literature in the mid to late 17th century; John Milton; early modern statecraft and diplomacy; gender, politics and reading; education and the English universities from the mid-16th century.View Profile
Early modern drama and literature, Shakespeare, playwriting, performance, theatre space and spatial theory.View Profile
Early modern Britain, particularly religion; the clergy of the Anglican Church; the era of the Civil Wars.View Profile
The cultural, political and social histories of medieval western Europe, with particular expertise in early medieval Britain, its Latin literatures, manuscripts and documents.View Profile
Medieval visual culture, particularly how the veneration of relics influenced Christian iconographyView Profile
Specialist in Italian renaissance art, with a particular interest in Central Italian painters including Raphael, Piero della Francesca, Pietro Perugino and Luca Signorelli.View Profile
Religion, material and visual culture, and travel in Central Europe.View Profile
The politics of religion and diplomacy in 17th and early 18th century Britain.View Profile
Late medieval vernacular theological writings in their historical, religious and political contexts; the pastoral care tradition; interactions between medieval literature and visual culture; dreams and visions; late medieval drama.View Profile
Development of construction technology and the design aspect of city making, with specific focus on the European traditions; urban development in Early Modern Rome and the ways in which specific building projects of the 16th and the 17th centuries conditioned urban renewal.View Profile
Early modern literature and culture, Irish studies, maritime culture and history.View Profile
Everyday use of space in the late antique and early medieval city (AD 300-700), drawing on archaeological, textual and epigraphic evidence from across the Roman Empire.View Profile
Intellectual, religious and cultural history of Europe and the Near East.View Profile
Early modern studies, with particular interests in intellectual history (specifically studies of memory), literary theory, editorial theory, history of the book, and studies of nationality, transgression, and normality.View Profile
Middle English textual cultures with a particular focus on historiographical literature; pastoral/ affective writings of the 14th and 15th centuries; late-medieval manuscripts containing English texts and methodologies which explore the axis between textual and material culture; devotional manuals and books containing lives of Christ.View Profile
Early modern literature and drama; language and narrative; material culture, especially clothing and the household.View Profile
Political, social and cultural change in Western Europe between c.850 and c.1050, especially the changing roles of writing in this period.View Profile
The role of books within the late medieval and early modern culture of western Europe, the movement of ideas within the shared civilization of Western Christendom, the power of ideas in politics in the period.View Profile
Italian Renaissance art; Renaissance writing on the visual arts; 16th and 17th-century prints.View Profile
Medieval drama and performance; audiences; embodiment, corporeality, movement and memory; religious and devotional culture; performance theory; cognitive theory and neuroscience; space and place.View Profile
The transferable skills gained from this postgraduate programme are enhanced by the University of Kent’s employability initiative and careers advice service. Many of our recent graduates have gone on to careers in heritage, museum or archivist work. Some go on to pursue research in the area, many continuing with PhDs at Kent or other higher education institutions.
Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library have unparalleled holdings of manuscripts and early printed books. Kent’s Templeman Library holds a good stock of facsimiles, scholarly editions, monographs and journals, and we are within easy reach of the British Library, The National Archives, and other London research libraries. There are good online computing facilities across campus and, in addition, our students have special access to postgraduate computer terminals and the postgraduate student room provided by the School of History.
The Centre runs a weekly research seminar, and special termly, public lectures to which we welcome distinguished speakers. These events are at the heart of the Centre’s activities. We also run a full programme of conferences and colloquia.
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Historical Research; English Historical Review; Renaissance Studies; Medium Aevum; Transactions of the Royal Historical Society; and Studies in the Age of Chaucer.
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.
Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.