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.
We offer a wide range of postgraduate scholarships to help with funding your studies. We especially encourage eligible applicants to apply for one of the following:
Brian Harris scholarship – full tuition fee reduction plus £14,800 research, living and travel costs for UK students with, or expected to achieve, a First Class degree.
Dinah and Jessica Nichols scholarship – £12,000 scholarship for Home/EU or international students with, or expected to achieve, a First Class degree or equivalent.
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.
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.
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.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
Optional modules may include:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Normally we require a UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects but we will consider a high 2:2 or relevant work experience. Candidates with professional qualifications in an associated area may be considered. Where a ‘high 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above.
A piece of written work may be required from applicants who do not meet the standard academic requirements.
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.
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*: £7,900
International students tuition fee per year**: £16,800
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 on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the programme via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees see our terms and conditions.
Please note that for research programmes, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home/EU tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
*** 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.