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Crusader Studies (MA)

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Course overview

Taught by internationally recognised experts in the field, this course draws on London's status as an outstanding centre of crusader research.

You will gain an unparalleled insight into the ideas, events and people (both men and women) of crusading history while engaging with a full array of source materials in this compelling field. The course will also consider the impact of the crusades on the Muslim world, as well as exploring western Europe’s first contacts with the terrifying Mongols.

This is an ideal MA if you are pursuing an advanced interest in crusading history, whether or not you are planning to take a PhD in the discipline. You will have access to the world’s premier library collections and can participate in the renowned research seminar, The Crusades and the Eastern Mediterranean, at the Institute of Historical Research.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Arts
Duration 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
Department and Faculty History, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Partner institution(s) --
Course director Professor Jonathan Phillips
+44(0)1784 443295
Contact for more information Marie-Christine Ockenden
Postgraduate Administrator
+44 (0)1784 443311

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1), or equivalent, in a relevant subject.

Relevant professional qualifications and work experience in an associated area will be considered.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies please see here

While a background in medieval history is helpful, it is by no means essential. The primary factors required are: considerable motivation, and a willingness to read widely and to engage with diverse cultures and ideologies from the perspective of the medieval world. 

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Additional requirements:

  • We make decisions based on achieved or predicted grades, personal statements and references. We occasionally invite candidates to interview, usually in cases where we would like more information on which to base a decision. Applicants unable to attend, such as overseas students, will be interviewed by telephone.

Why choose this course?

  • You will be taught by leading academics in this highly specialised field.
  • Royal Holloway's History Department, one of the largest in the country, is home to a lively community of postgraduates with 60% of its research rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • You will have access to The Institute of Historical Research which hosts numerous seminars every night of the week..
  • The Department benefits from the University of London libraries and seminar research programmes.
  • You will develop the skills and knowledge necessary for the study of the Crusades, whether as preparation for further research or for personal intellectual development.

Department research and industry highlights

The History Department at Royal Holloway has a vibrant postgraduate community numbering around 70 Master’s degree students and over 120 doctoral students. The MA in Crusader Studies has produced seven doctoral students over the last five years, three of whom secured full AHRC funding.

Course content and structure

You will study five core course units, one elective unit and complete a dissertation.

Core course units:

  • The Crusades: Louis IX of France and the recovery of the Holy Land
  • The Mongols: 'A Journey Through the Gates of Hell'
  • Research Development Course
  • Latin (Beginners or Advanced, as appropriate)
  • Core Course: Recording the Crusades
  • Dissertation: A piece of original work of 15,000 words


Elective course units:

You will study one of the following elective course units:

  • Women, the Crusades and the Frontier Societies of Medieval Christendom, 1100-1300
  • Byzantium and the Crusades: From the Origins of the Fourth Crusade to the Fall of Constantinople


On completion of the course graduates will have:

  • have gained an advanced understanding of research in Crusader Studies
  • know how to find, organise, deploy and assess the primary and secondary sources (both literary and visual) necessary for their research
  • be able to apply specific skills relevant to the study of the Crusades (languages, palaeography, archaeology, etc)
  • comprehend a wide variety of materials and approaches related to the Crusades
  • be able to analyse, assess and formulate arguments related to specific crusading topics
  • be able to conduct independent research.


View the full course specification for Crusader Studies (MA) in the Programme Specification Repository


Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation. 

Employability & career opportunities

Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have progressed to many stimulating and rewarding careers, including: doctoral research, school teaching, management-level banking, management-level business, local government, the Metropolitan Police, and the National Trust. 


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