UCL Medieval and Renaissance Studies


An Overview of the Degree

Our approach

We emphasise intensive teaching in small groups; one-to-one tutorials outside of classes; and in providing students with all the support we can so that they can flourish on this stimulating and demanding course.

This approach draws not only on our own expertise but also on our position at the heart of one the world's greatest collections of manuscript, library and museum resources. In particular, students have the exceptional privilege of being taught inside the British Library's Manuscripts Reading Room on medieval and renaissance manuscripts of their own choosing, relating to their own interests. 

Our location also means that MARS students are no more than seven minutes walk away from: The Institute of Historical Research (IHR), the Warburg InstituteSenate House Library and its palaeography collection, the Wellcome Institute Library and Dr Williams Library. Students are introduced to these libraries, and we regularly organise guided trips to nearby museums with medieval and renaissance collections, such as the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Gallery.

We also have a MARS Centre, and are actively involved in a range of lively seminars in Bloomsbury, including at the Warburg, the IHR and our own graduate-run Medieval and Renaissance Interdisciplinary Seminar.


Teaching is done in groups of about 3 to 12 students. In addition, students have individual tutorials in relation to essays, and have regular one-to-one tutorial meetings with supervisors when working on dissertations. All MARS teaching is provided by experienced academics. We place a premium on accessibility, and students will find teachers - however senior - available, and happy, to meet with them. 

As across UCL, and particularly on MARS, students are taught by staff who are conducting their own research on the topics which they are teaching. Most modules therefore give students the opportunity to experience new research as it is produced. 


MARS is designed particularly to equip students with the skills necessary for medieval and renaissance doctoral work, while retaining a very flexible curriculum.

All students must take one medieval or renaissance language. The selection ranges from Old Norse, Latin, medieval Italian and many more. Beyond this students are free to specialise or range as widely as they wish. Modules are often available in a range of full-year or half-year models, allowing for either preference. For more details on the modules running, please visit the webpage below:


For those who do want the skills needed for doctoral work, a range of 'skills' modules are central: 'Renaissance Texts', 'The Medieval English Book' and 'Manuscripts and Documents' (described by our external examiner as 'a jewel in the crown'). Students taking the full-unit options on Latin or Manuscripts and Documents have twice as much teaching-time than in equivalent MAs.

Finally, the dissertation provides the opportunity to apply these skills on independent research into primary sources, on a subject of students' choosing.


There are a wide variety of funding opportunities open to MARS applicants, ranging from awards of full fees and maintenance scholarships to bursaries of several thousand pounds. The interdisciplinary nature of MARS means that we can enter applicants for numerous scholarships across the whole of UCL. In addition there is a specific Chattaway Bursary for medieval graduate students. For further details see the UCL funding website or contact the MARS Programme and Admissions Assistant.

Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary

MARS is an interdepartmental, interfaculty MA currently run by the History Department. It draws on expertise across UCL. Archaeology, Classics, English, French, German, History, History of Art, Italian, Jewish & Hebrew Studies, Scandinavian Studies and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies all collaborate and contribute to the MARS MA. MARS students therefore have an exceptional range of modules and staff at their disposal. Students can consequently develop a course of study exactly appropriate to, and relevant, for themselves.

Further details are provided on other pages of this website, or email the MARS Degree Tutor, Professor David d'Avray.

Disclaimer: The information given on this website is given in good faith and is correct to the best of our knowledge. We may amend it as the need arises without notice. Please send corrections or suggestions to the MARS Administration Team.