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Early Medieval Society and Culture (MA)

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  • Objectives
    To offer knowledge and expertise for a career in research, academia, heritage, museums, contract work and consultancy, and for study at doctoral level.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements:
    The course is suitable for graduates in Archaeology and History and other related and relevant disciplines in the humanities.

    Applicants should have a First or good Upper Second class Honours degree in an appropriate subject.
  • Academic Title
    Early Medieval Society and Culture (MA)
  • Course description
    Course Description:
    Early Medieval Society and Culture (MA)


    In Britain and Ireland, the period AD 400-1100 witnessed some of the deepest and most lasting changes in society and culture in post-Roman Europe. The withdrawal of the Roman army and administration led the local populations to re-assess and re-assert their identities and allegiances, while the southern and eastern provinces lay open to immigration and influence from the Germanic Continent and Scandinavia. Above and around the ruins of Roman Britain, a new nation emerged within the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Social and cultural developments in Scotland, Wales and Ireland followed their own paths to effect changes as significant as those that created England. The Viking invasions and settlements then intervened to make their own special contribution to the development of the whole area. Little could continue unchanged. The period saw most of the rural landscape re-organized, the collapse and return of a market economy and of towns, an increasingly sophisticated governmental apparatus leading to the feudal state, the establishment and growth in power of the Church, the birth of our modern languages, and the creation and expression of identities in material, artistic and textual modes. Through the study of settlement forms and patterns, mortuary remains, artefacts, art, literature and place-names, the MA in Early Medieval Society and Culture sets the foundations of modern society, cultures and identities in Britain and Ireland within their proper European contexts.

    The Early Middle Ages are enjoying great scholarly attention at present, both in Britain and abroad; their academic profile has never been higher. The rich archaeological sources are ideally suited for many developing analytical techniques as well as for multidisciplinary approaches. This field provides much material for post-graduate study at Masters level, either as a worthwhile end in itself or as a stepping stone towards PhD research and a specialist career in the archaeological and heritage professions. The Cardiff MA also includes valuable transferable skills, from research methods and the handling and presentation of data to public speaking and writing for professional audiences.

    The Masters degree in Early Medieval Society and Culture offers students a focused programme of study based on Cardiff's exceptional teaching and research expertise in this area. Students take 180 credits of modules over one year (full-time) or two years (part-time). Of these 40 credits come from core skills modules, 80 by choosing two of four specialist options, and 60 from an independently researched dissertation.

    Skills Modules (40 credits)
    Writing Archaeology - 10 credits (HST300)
    Research Methods - 10 credits (HST301)
    Speaking Archaeology - 10 credits (HST302)
    Data Presentation and Interpretation - 10 credits (HST303)
    Required Modules (80 credits selected from the following)
    Post-Roman Britain and Ireland - 40 credits (HST531)
    Late Roman Society and Culture - 40 credits (HST598)
    England and the North Sea Region, from the 5th century to ca. A.D. 830 - 40 credits (HST597)
    Viking Britain and Ireland - 40 credits (HST596)
    Dissertation (60 credits)
    The MA Dissertation - 60 credits (HST590)

    Special Features:
    Detailed concentration on the Medieval world
    Literary, historical and archaeological approaches
    Opportunities for interdisciplinary approaches
    Expert supervision of dissertation topics

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