The Royal Holloway MA in Crusader Studies offers a unique and fascinating examination of the ideas, impact and personalities of this subject from the medieval age to the present day. You will be taught, inspired and challenged by internationally recognised experts in this field.
Royal Holloway has a long tradition of studying the History of the Crusades and Byzantium and in conjunction with the libraries and research seminars of central London, offers unparalleled expertise and resources. This is an ideal MA if you are pursuing an advanced interest in crusading history, it will provide you with a further set of skills and a qualification, it also has a highly successful track record as a springboard to doctoral research.
The programme offers students an understanding of the context of the crusades, and the ideology that underpinned the movement as well as a consideration of its modern day resonances. You will gain an unparalleled insight into the ideas, events and people 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.
We are one of the largest and liveliest History departments in the UK yet our size is not at the cost of anonymity; you will receive our individual attention and become part of our close-knit post graduate community.
Peter Le Grys Memorial Prize
This new prize, of up to £2000, will provide a bursary towards any costs associated with study such as reading material or research travel to an entrant on the MA Crusader Studies who shows exceptional academic promise. Applications are welcome until 17 August 2018, find out more here.
Louis IX of France and the Recovery of the Holy Land
In this module you will develop an understanding of the aims and motives of those who called for and took part in crusades in the thirteenth century. You will look at how crusaders were organised from inception to end, including the preaching of the expedition, the financing of the crusade, the journey to the East, and the progress and outcomes. You will examine the impact of Louis IX's crusade in the Muslim Near East and consider the crusading and chivalric ethos of the writings of John of Joinville.
The Mongols: 'A Journey through the Gates of Hell' - Europe Discovers the Wider World, C.1219 to C.1262
In this module you will develop an understanding of the impact of the arrival of the Mongols on the Christian and Muslim powers of the Middle East and Western Europe. You will look at the form and effectiveness of Latin Christendom's response in the context of contemporary religious practices and political events. You will examine the Mendicants' narratives and the evaluate the Mongol attitudes towards other political and religious groups.
Recording the Crusades - The Memory of the Crusades
In this module you will develop an understanding of the memory, impact and legacy of the crusades in the West and Muslim world since the medieval period. You will look at the evolution and mutation of the crusading idea over the last 200 years, examining the European colonial and imperial powers adopted crusading during the nineteenth century, and how the idea was used in World War 1 and by General Franco in the Spanish Civil War. You will consider how historians have interpreted the subject, starting with Michaud in the early nineteenth century, moving through Grousset (1920s), Erdmann (1930s), Runciman (1950s), Prawer, Richard and Mayer (1970s) to Riley-Smith, Housley and Tyerman (contemporary). You will also analyse how the crusade and the jihad have been treated in the Muslim world, tracing colonial and imperialist views through the twentieth century to the present day, including use by Islamists such as Osama bin Laden and Arab Nationalists such as President Nasser of Egypt and President Hafez al-Asad of Syria.
All students pursuing the MA in Medieval Studies and the MA in Crusader Studies take this course, and so it creates and fosters an intellectual community of medievalists during your time on the degree. The course aims to make you aware of the issues and topics associated with the study of the Middle Ages on a wide and interdisciplinary basis, give you the skills that you need to undertake research in the field of Medieval Studies, and provide opportunities for you to engage in and practise academic discourse, particularly in an oral context.
You will carry out an extended piece of research. You will be appointed a member of academic staff who will act as your supervisor, providing you with support and guidance. You will produce a written report of between 10,500 and 12,000 words in length.
Women, the Crusades, and the Frontier Societies of Medieval Christendom, 1000 to 1300
In this module you will develop an understanding of how the crusading movement arose at a time of significant change for women. You will look at the effects of the Gregorian Reform and contemporary societal change on women’s traditional roles. You will examine how medieval historians used gendered language and moral tales to express their disapproval of women who took the cross, and the role of women in supporting crusader battles, often becoming the casualties of warfare. You will consider the role of noble women in providing political stability through regency and marriage after the First Crusade in the Latin society established in the East, and the effects of crusading on women who remained in the West.
Introductory Latin for Medievalists
In this module you will be given specific training in the reading of medieval documents. You will look at simple texts in classical Latin and learn how to parse all five declensions and indicative verbs. You will examine a range of documents in basic medieval Latin such as wills, deeds and accounts and translate two medieval passages plus an unseen passage.
Further Latin for Medievalists
In this module you will further enhance your linguistic training in Latin. You will develop comprehensive grammatical knowledge including all declensions of nouns and moods of verbs, with specific training in a range of documents in medieval Latin, including wills, deeds, and chronicles. You will carry out a series of translations of medieval material.
Teaching & assessment
Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation.
UK Honours degree or equivalent, in a relevant subject.
Relevant professional qualifications and work experience in an associated area will be considered.
- 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.
- 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.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students (PDIS), a one-year full-time programme that will prepare you for postgraduate study in the UK. For more information please see here.
Your future career
On completion of your MA in Crusades Studies at Royal Holloway, you will have developed and finessed skills, such as research, analysis and presenting, which will appeal to future employers. Your degree also demonstrates that you enjoy being challenged, understand complex issues, as well as other values and cultures, which equips you to operate successfully in a fast-changing and increasingly globalised and multi-cultural environment. On graduation, you will have ideally placed to develop your career in areas that involve the professional creation, evaluation and dissemination of knowledge or wish to progress towards a PhD.
- Our Careers team will work with you to enhance your employability and prepare you for the choices ahead. Their support doesn’t end when you graduate; you can access the service for up to two years after graduation.
- 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.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £7200
International students tuition fee per year**: £14900
Other essential costs***: You will need to purchase two essential text books costing approximately £25
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.
*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.