This programme provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the religious culture and spirituality of early medieval Ireland, from the conversion to Christianity down to the end of the twelfth century. The new religion transformed Ireland in fundamental ways, but was also able to accommodate many aspects of indigenous tradition which retained their importance for Irish Christians. Besides exploring these developments, and the impact which Irish Christianity had on the rest of Europe, students will engage in the close study of various genres of religious literature, and can also begin the study of early Irish and of Latin. The writing of a dissertation, under the supervision of a member of staff, will develop and refine research skills. The programme provides an overview of the subject area which is unrivalled in its inclusiveness and diversity; field trips are a core part of the programme, enabling students to encounter the physical remains of this fascinating culture.
The programme may be studied full time (over 12 months) or part-time (over 24 months). Participation in the Field Trips to Early Christian Sites (CC6013) is compulsory (cost is included in the programme fee), as is attendance at taught modules (approximately 100-125 lecture hours). In areas of supervised study, supervisors for the relevant modules will be organised by the teaching staff of the Department. The thesis topic and supervisor will be chosen by the student in consultation with members of staff.
For the full-time one-year option, you are required to choose modules to the value of 60 credits. Most modules have a value of 10 credits and involve weekly classes for the duration of the academic year (24 weeks); some of the electives however are worth 5 or 15 credits, and the field trip (a core module) has a value of 15 credits. Depending on options, a full-time student will have a minimum of 5 classes per week (though many will also contain weekly assignments). For one-on-one supervised studies, and for the 30-credit dissertation, students are expected to meet with their supervisors on a regular basis.
Unique Aspects of the Course
This programme explores the religious experience of the first European people beyond the boundaries of the Roman empire to become Christian. It is unique in the comprehensiveness of its approach, with modules dealing with literature, history and archaeology, together with language courses to enable students to get closer to the original texts while a field trip will bring direct encounters with the surviving remains of early Christian Ireland. The writing of a Masters dissertation is an invaluable opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge, as well as research and writing skills, with one-on-one supervision by internationally recognised experts in the field.