The PhD in Medieval Studies, delivered by a team of internationally-trained academics, is an interdisciplinary research programme normally completed in four years. Its cross-disciplinary approach encourages students to view the period from Late Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages (c. 500-1500), in Europe as well as in Ireland, in a multidimensional way, even as it allows students to focus on a particular research field.
The programme's emphasis on languages and source studies equips students with the linguistic skills and interdisciplinary research methods required to undertake innovative research using manuscripts, primary texts, images and other material objects from the period. Students also gain some practical experience in a project-based module.
Depending on their previous qualifications, students attend core modules devoted to Palaeography and Manuscript Studies, alongside Sources & Resources for Medieval Studies during their first two years. These modules equip them with bibliographical and other research skills to find, read and interpret primary materials in multiple disciplines, as well as introducing them to the research questions and methodologies used by experts in such auxiliary sciences as diplomatic, philology, heraldry, text editing, digital humanities; a team-work project focused on digitised manuscript collections is included.
At some point students also study Latin and one or two other medieval vernacular languages (no prior knowledge of these languages is required) and might select topical modules in Archaeology, History, Late Antquity, or Literature in Old/Middle English, Old/Middle Irish, Old/Middle High German, or Medieval French (according to availability and particular interests). Students also complete a project-based module in an area like university tutoring; assisting in a research project, conference organisation or management of research resources; or reaching out to schools or local community groups.
A PhD thesis of 80,000 words is completed by the end of Year 4.
In addition to Supervisor(s), who oversee students' thesis research and writing, their progress is monitored by a Graduate Research Committee consisting of three members of academic staff best suited to support their particular projects and selected from the full range of participating disciplines.