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Ancient and Medieval Warfare (MA)

Course Aims

The only degree of its type in the UK, this Masters degree in Ancient and Medieval Warfare offers students the opportunity to study military history in the Greek, Roman and Medieval worlds from a broad comparative perspective. The programme of study is based on Cardiff's particular teaching and research expertise in warfare studies.

Course Description

The MA in Ancient and Medieval Warfare consists of a flexible combination of taught modules and individual research, which enables students to specialise in a specific period if they wish, or, if they prefer, to study a particular theme across a wider timespan. The MA provides a solid foundation of research skills which can serve as a basis for doctoral research, but it also provides transferable skills, which will be valuable for a career in any field.

The taught element of the MA runs from October to May, and combines research training modules, study of an ancient language, and a choice of specialised options (listed below). During the taught stage of the MA, students lay the foundations for the second part of the course, which is an individual research project, carried out between May and September, leading up to a dissertation of 16,000 words. The MA can be taken full-time in one year, or part-time over three years.

Available Modules

Students on the MA select  a total of 180 credits of modules, consisting of:

  • 40 credits of core skills modules (Group 1)
  • 20 credits of language modules (Group 2)
  • 60 credits of option modules selected by the student (Group 3)
  • 60 credit dissertation (topic or theme chosen by the student in consultation with academic staff)

Group 1: Core modules

HST900   Skills and Methods for Postgraduate Study

HST903   Themes in Ancient and Medieval Warfare

Group 2: Language modules

All students take a 20 credit course in either ancient Greek or Latin, tailored to their level of competence (from beginners upwards):

HST022   Postgraduate Latin I

HST023   Postgraduate Latin II

HST024   Postgraduate Greek I

HST025   Postgraduate Greek II

Group 3: Optional modules

HST905   Siege Warfare: From Troy to Acre

HST906   Epic Warriors: Achilles, Beowulf and Beyond

HST907   Crusader Ideology

HST908   The Military Orders

HST913   Kingdoms of the Crusaders

HST036   Special Topic: Aspects of Greek Warfare

HST037   Special Topic: Aspects of the Roman Army

HST914   Special Topic: Aspects of Ancient and Medieval Warfare

HST915   Special Topic: The Wars of Carthage

HST916   Special Topic: The Crusades


HST917   Ancient and Medieval Warfare Dissertation

Special Features

  • Detailed concentration on the history and development of warfare in the Ancient and Medieval worlds
  • Literary, historical and archaeological approaches
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary approaches
  • Expert supervision of dissertation topics

Skills Acquired

In addition to helping students obtain detailed and critical knowledge of their chosen area of military history, the MA offers them the chance to acquire and perfect valuable skills that are applicable to careers in many different fields. Often referred to as transferable or generic skills, these skills expand students' individual capabilities and make it easier for them to obtain employment and enter their careers with abilities that are widely considered essential for professional success.

Upon completion of the MA in Ancient and Medieval Warfare, students will have acquired the following skills:

Intellectual skills, including the ability to evaluate critically evidence and its interpretation and to be tolerant of differing interpretations; to sustain a logical argument and reach a conclusion that can be defended; to synthesise and analyse information; to compare and contrast theoretical explanations and to integrate different methodologies.

Language skills, including the ability to read and interpret texts in either Latin or ancient Greek.

Communication skills, including the ability to communicate orally in an appropriate professional manner; to make presentations both as an individual and as part of a group; to write effectively at an advanced level.

Information technology skills, including the ability to use electronic resources for historians and classicists; to find, manage and utilise information and data.

Personal skills, including the ability to manage workloads; to adapt and apply skills to new contexts; to assess and formulate priorities, constraints and goals, and to adapt to changing circumstances.

Above all, by the end of the MA, students will be able to critically assess the work of others and of their own, to engage effectively in debate at an advanced level, to plan, design and carry out a coherent research strategy, and to produce detailed and coherent reports and presentations.


Entry Requirements

The programme is suitable for graduates in ancient history, history, classics, archaeology and related disciplines. We are happy to discuss applications from graduates in related disciplines, especially if applications are from a non-UK institution.

A 1st or 2.1 UK Honours degree in an appropriate subject is normally required.

Students whose first language is not English will be required to pass an IELTS test (minimum 6.5) or equivalent.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.


Contact Information

Dr Louis Rawlings

Position:Senior Lecturer in Ancient History
Dr Louis Rawlings
Telephone: +44( 0)29 208 75744Extension: 75744

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