Ancient and Medieval Warfare (MA)

Explore the military history of the Greek, Roman and Medieval worlds in a programme unique in the UK. Taught by leading experts across disciplines, it offers the flexibility to choose your own period or theme, and to research specialist topics using historical, archaeological, and literary evidence and approaches.

Examining military history in the Greek, Roman and Medieval worlds from a broad comparative perspective, this course enables you to explore themes across epochs, or focus on specific periods and topics of interest.

The first of its kind in the UK, the interdisciplinary MA in Ancient and Medieval Warfare offers archaeological, historical and literary approaches to the subject.

The course consists of a flexible combination of taught modules and individual research, which enables you to specialise in a specific period if you wish, or, if you prefer, to study a particular theme across a wider timespan.

The course 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.

Distinctive 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


Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration1 year
Other ways to study this course

Admissions criteria

Suitable for graduates in Ancient History, Classics and Classical Archaeology and related humanities and social science disciplines.

Applicants should normally possess a higher education degree with a first or good upper second class Honours (UK), or a qualification recognised by the University as equivalent to this.

Applicants with a first language other than English

You must demonstrate a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent).

Applications should include a brief statement (500 words) on dissertation plans.

We welcome applications year-round but to commence your studies in any given year (starting September), you must submit your application by 1st August.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

Taught Stage

You take a mix of core and optional modules totalling 120 credits over two semesters.

Modules include:

  • core skills modules (40 credits)
  • language modules (20 credits)
  • your choice of optional modules (60 credits)

On successful completion of the taught stage you will progress to your dissertation (60 credits).

Dissertation Stage

You research and write a dissertation (20,000 words) on a topic or theme of your choice in consultation with academic staff (May – September). 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a mix of seminars, lectures, tutorials and language classes (depending on modules chosen).

As part of the programme, you will be encouraged to deliver presentations to your fellow MA students within our supportive community.

On successful completion of the taught elements of the programme you will progress to a dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a topic or theme of your choice (subject to the approval of your supervisor).

How will I be supported?

On enrolment you are assigned your own Personal Tutor.

We offer one-to-one time in set office hours during teaching weeks, and also welcome email contact. Additionally, you can make appointments to see your personal tutor or module leaders on a one-to-one basis about any issues. Our Professional Services team is also available for advice and support.

Your personal tutor is your contact point to discuss any problems arising from the course. Further queries should be addressed to the Course Director.


Discussion of assignments is offered and written feedback is provided on summative assessment. You are encouraged to discuss your ideas with module tutors both in seminars and one-to-one in office hours.

Feedback on coursework may be provided via written comments on work submitted, by provision of ‘model’ answers and/or through discussion in contact sessions.

How will I be assessed?

Taught stage assessment is via essays, other assignments (such as book reviews and presentations), and written examinations (for ancient or modern languages).

What skills will I practise and develop?

In addition to helping you obtain detailed and critical knowledge of your chosen area of military history, the course offers you 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 your individual capabilities and make it easier for you to obtain employment and enter careers with abilities that are widely considered essential for professional success.

Upon completion of the course, you will have acquired the following skills:

Intellectual skills:

  • 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;
  • to integrate different methodologies.

Language skills

  • the ability to read and interpret texts in either Latin or ancient Greek.

Communication skills

  • 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

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

Above all, by the end of the course, you will be able to critically assess your own work, and that of others, 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.

Our graduates typically find employment with organisations such as: CADW, Church in Wales, Council for British Archaeology, Element Productions, Glamorgan Archives, Heritage Lottery Fund, National Trust, Tate Gallery, Welsh Assembly Government, national and international universities.

Master's Excellence Scholarships

Scholarships available worth £3,000 each for UK/EU students starting a master’s degree in September 2019.

Find out more

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

EU students entering in 2019/20 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.