Research overview

This MRes combines specialist taught modules with the opportunity to complete a substantial research project of your choice. You will be guided by our research active staff, who are specialists in the areas of:

  • The Viking world
  • Runology
  • Name studies
  • Old English and Old Norse language and literature
  • Middle English and Older Scots language and literature
  • Book history
  • Material culture

There are opportunities for original archival research through our collections, which include important medieval manuscripts and archives, including the: 

You are also welcome to join the activities and events of our research centres, which include the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, the Centre for Regional Literature and Culture and Institute for Name-Studies, and the Institute for Medieval Research

View recent examples of our student research

The student view

"My MRes course in Medieval Languages and Literatures was hugely valuable, providing the best of both worlds (taught support in Old English, Old Norse and academic skills) as well as the freedom and opportunity to pursue a significant piece of research of my own design. I found this programme rigorous, exciting and highly adaptable to my areas of personal interest. An ideal foundation from which to pursue PhD research." - Heather Murray

Course content

This course is made up of 180 credits.

Full-time students complete 180 credits in a year and will complete a 120-credit, 25,000-word dissertation during the summer. For the dissertation, you will be supervised by two academic members of staff with expertise in your chosen field.

Part-time students complete 180 credits over two years. You will complete the taught component of the programme in the first year of study. Part-time students are expected to complete the 25,000-word dissertation during the second year of study.

This course offers two pathways. This allows you to tailor your studies, depending on whether you are most interested in the early or late medieval topics. Both pathways end with a 120-credit dissertation.

You may choose the below pathway, and take these 20-credit core modules:

This module introduces working with early medieval English texts in their original language.

We explore a wide variety of texts, both poetry and prose, literary and non-literary. This includes everything from the lives of virgin saints, to literary heroic reworkings of Bible stories.

Starting with the basics, you will study a different aspect of language each week. After learning the grammar, you will then work with texts through translation, linguistic analysis, and discussing the literary and historical contexts in which they were produced, preserved and reproduced. 

By the end of the module, you will understand Old English grammar and syntax, and will be familiar with texts from a number of genres.

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module offers an introduction to the Old Norse language (no previous knowledge is necessary).

You will read selected texts in prose and verse, with an emphasis on the Old Icelandic sagas which describe Viking Age exploits and settlement from Norway to Newfoundland.

Each week you will study a different aspect of language and grammar through tailored exercises and focussed work on extracts from the set texts. You will also practise translating these extracts and discuss their literary and historical contexts.

By the end of the module, you will have an understanding of Old Norse vocabulary, grammar and syntax and you will be familiar with several key works of Old Icelandic literature.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Discover the research resources and methods needed for interdisciplinary Viking and Early Medieval English Studies.

All teaching takes place through a series of workshops and when possible an intensive extended field-trip, which:

  • introduce a variety of approaches to studying the Vikings and early medieval England, including runology and name-studies
  • offer a practical insight to public engagement and museums
  • provide basic bibliographical training and an introduction to relevant research and presentation skills

The field-trip is an opportunity to:

  • discover material and linguistic evidence relevant to the study of the Vikings and early medieval England
  • understand the importance of interpreting the evidence within its landscape setting

Please note that the timing and location of the field-trip are to be decided.

You will produce a portfolio of assessed work on your learning. You are also welcome to share your skills and take part in our well-established 'Vikings for Schools' project.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

OR, you may choose this pathway, and take the below 20-credit core modules:

This module introduces you to the wide range of interdisciplinary research happening in the Faculty of Arts. We invite you to ‘think outside the box’ in relation to your own research, while learning key research techniques and methods. The module aims to:

  • introduce the ideas, practices, complexities, and opportunities of interdisciplinary research in the arts
  • enable you to practice critical self-reflexivity about the conventions and expectations of your own disciplines in relation to those of others
  • train you in core research skills necessary for graduate-level study
  • develop your confidence in communicating research findings to non-specialist audiences

You will build on your existing research skills gained from your university career to date. Furthermore, you will develop a more nuanced understanding of your own research practice, inspiring you to explore different approaches questions. In addition, you will develop an understanding of professional practice in areas such as:

  • academic publishing
  • knowledge exchange
  • dissertation planning and writing
  • professional communication

This module is worth 20 credits.

Every published document that we read, be it a novel, poetry anthology, or magazine article, has been through a complex process of evolution and editing. This module introduces you to how texts are transmitted from ‘author’ to audience.

We will consider:

  • modes of transmission, both manuscript and print
  • modes of representation, including scholarly editions and anthologies, both print and digital
  • editorial theory and practice, including ‘best text’, genetic editing and single witness

You are encouraged to apply questions of editing to your own areas of interest, and work through the practicalities of producing an edition yourselves.

This module is worth 20 credits.


This module helps postgraduate students recognise the range of careers and opportunities that an Arts and Humanities MA/MRes can provide.

It highlights the skills and abilities present within these programmes and provides examples of the successful application of these skills. Students will explore how subjects within the arts can be ‘applied disciplines’ that serve to be impactful in wider society through research and engagement.

Through ‘live brief’ assessments, students work in groups, utilising their Arts and Humanities skill sets, to present and produce a consultancy report for a range of organisations, including SMEs/Third-sector.

The book, handwritten or printed, was as innovative and pervasive a technology in the Middle Ages as electronic technologies are in our own time.

This module introduces the study of the book as physical ‘artefact’ and world-changing technology.

We will cover:

  • methods of construction and compilation
  • handwriting and early printing techniques
  • reading marginalia as well as text

You will also be introduced to the benefits and applications, as well as the problems, of applying an understanding of the artefact to the texts contained within.

This module is worth 20 credits.


This module considers a major English literary genre and its critical heritage. It also demonstrates that medieval English romance narratives can be set in complex and profound critical relationship to each other and to other artistic media.

You are encouraged to explore how reading Middle English romance texts can:

  • equip us with vocabulary and concepts to discuss the cultural specificities of the literary representations of romance, love and chivalry in this period
  • represent public and private identities
  • ask questions regarding individuality and selfhood that arise in literature produced in a volatile period of religious and social uncertainty and dissent

These are all issues that now define the Middle Ages for modern scholars.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

This is a major piece of independent research, and you will be allocated a supervisor who is a specialist in your chosen area.

Your dissertation supervisor will provide advice and guidance to help you select your area of study, and offer close supervision and support as you complete your research.

This module is worth 120 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.


2:1 (or international equivalent) in an arts or humanities subject


2:1 (or international equivalent) in an arts or humanities subject

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS7 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.


You may find it helpful to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal. Details of research supervisors.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply


Home / UKTo be confirmed
InternationalTo be confirmed

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.


You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith).


There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


Flexible study

As teaching is largely undertaken through individual tutorials or small groups, there is a great deal of flexibility to organise your time around existing commitments.

Every week you will participate in tutorials and classes. You will be able to attend reading groups, lectures and research talks. During the year you will also have regular meetings (at least 10 recorded ones) with your supervisors to discuss your dissertation.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Graduate centres

Our graduate centres are dedicated community spaces on campus for postgraduates.

Each space has areas for:

  • studying
  • socialising
  • computer work
  • seminars
  • kitchen facilities

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

Where you will learn

On-campus museum

The University of Nottingham Museum has a collection of archaeological artefacts from Nottinghamshire and the wider East Midlands (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire), including many from the Anglo-Saxon and Medieval period.


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduates from the School of English move into a wide range of areas due to their transferable skills. This includes working in:

  • The education sector - including both teaching and working in Higher Education
  • Communications based roles in marketing/PR/journalism
  • Business and finance
  • The charity sector
  • Local/national government
  • Law conversion
  • PhD level study

100% of postgraduates from the School of English secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £37,402.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.

The School of English has a range of bespoke volunteering opportunities offered throughout the academic year. These provide valuable professional experience, enhancing your CV and helping you to stand out from the crowd.

Vikings for Schools: Design and lead workshops on Viking and Anglo-Saxon culture and society for local primary schools.

"Working with the children is so much fun, and they’re so interested in what we have to show them. It’s just a really good experience."  - Placement participant

I am passionate about the early Middle Ages. This period is often misunderstood as a time of darkness, but it is a world full of connections; for example, a physician in England was aware of and would use cinnamon imported from South East Asia and a Viking voyager could trade with people in North America. The past is often not an easy subject. To understand it we need to learn how people thought, communicated and lived. Uncovering these ideas requires a range of skills and it is one of the most satisfying things to do.
Dr Christina Lee

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

The University of Nottingham is ranked 7th in the UK for research power, according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • We are proud to be in the top 10 UK universities for research into English, while our ranking of 9th by 'research power' reflects our research excellence
  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 01 August 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.