Postgraduate study

Medieval Studies PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Medieval Studies

Doctorate-level study is an opportunity to expand upon your interests and expertise in a community that really values research and to make an original, positive contribution to learning in Medieval Studies.

Home of the cross-disciplinary Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the University of Edinburgh has one of the largest communities of medieval and Renaissance specialists in the world: upwards of 70 researchers across the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Our research interests are wide-ranging and global, and include history, languages and literatures, history of art and architecture, music, divinity, archaeology, law, Celtic and Scottish Studies, and Islamic, European, and Asian Studies.

Join our community and undertake a specialised research project under the guidance of two experienced and well-published supervisors.

We encourage PhD theses crossing boundaries between disciplines and subject areas, and support this through the allocation of supervisors in different, relevant, subject areas where appropriate.

Over the course of your PhD, you’ll be expected to complete an original body of work under the expert guidance of your supervisors leading to a dissertation of between 70,000 and 100,000 words.

You will be awarded your doctorate if your thesis is judged to be of an appropriate standard, and your research makes a definite contribution to knowledge.

This programme includes training in palaeography and codicology, theoretical approaches to medieval society and culture, and sources of medieval history.

Between the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), partner Schools in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Careers Service and the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), you’ll find a further range of programmes and resources to help you develop your postgraduate skills.

You will also have access to the University’s fantastic libraries, collections and worldwide strategic partnerships.

Part of a community

As part of our research community, you will be immersed in a world of knowledge exchange, with lots of opportunities to share ideas and learning.

Activities range from the annual Denys Hay Lecture, the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies seminar series, and regular performances of Renaissance music, to the student-led Late Antiquity and Medieval Postgraduate seminar series (LAMPS) and Edinburgh Early Modern Network talks.

Many of our events are organised in conjunction with colleagues at museums, galleries, libraries and archives in Edinburgh.

Our graduates tell us that they value our friendliness, the connections they make here and the in-depth guidance they receive from our staff, who are published experts in their field.

The historic city of Edinburgh contains exceptional resources for study and research in the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

Based in the Main University Library, the Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK, bringing together a collection of more than 400,000 rare books, six kilometres of archives and manuscripts, and the University’s collections of art, historical musical instruments and other objects. Many of our Special Collections are digitised and available online.

The National Library of Scotland has important collections of manuscripts and early printed books, the National Archives of Scotland holds material relating to Scottish history from the 12th century, and the Royal Observatory has a significant collection of medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern astronomical and astrological texts.

There are fantastic medieval and Renaissance collections in the National Galleries of Scotland and National Museum of Scotland, and most of the city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Old Town retaining many of its medieval buildings and streets.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree and a masters degree, or their international equivalents, in a related subject. We may also consider your application if you have equivalent qualifications or experience; please check with your potential supervisor before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

There are a number of scholarship schemes available to eligible candidates on this PhD programme, including awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Please be advised that many scholarships have more than one application stage, and early deadlines.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start dates Application deadlines
12 September 2022 31 July 2022
9 January 2023 31 October 2022

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

You must submit two references with your application.

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

For a PhD programme, you should include:

Before you apply, you should also look at the interests and expertise of our research community on the programme website. This will help you decide if this programme is right for you and your supervision needs.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH