University of Hertfordshire

Degree level: Postgraduate

Folklore Studies (Taught)

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Course summary

Why choose Herts?

  • Excellent Reputation: We are the only provider of academic Folklore Studies in England and Wales. You will gain free membership to the Folklore Society.
  • Teaching Excellence: You will be taught by experts in their field, including Professor Owen Davies, the current President of the Folklore Society.
  • Work-Related Learning: Benefit from our strong connections with the Folklore Society, heritage organisations including Hertfordshire Archives, Local Studies, and the Museum of London Archaeology.
About the course Why do we carve pumpkins, blow out birthday candles or leave ‘love-locks’ on bridges? When and where did these customs start? From urban myths to local legends, the stories we tell and the traditions we follow are part of our folklore, the shared beliefs and oral traditions that are handed down through generations. The University of Hertfordshire’s MA Folklore Studies explores legend, ritual, belief and tradition in British society, providing students with a thorough grounding in the history of the discipline of Folklore Studies and examining current work in the field. This distinctive MA, which will run for the first time in 2019-2020, is the only such programme offered in England. Aimed at recent graduates in related subjects such as literature, history, archaeology, anthropology or religion, who have perhaps touched on folklore in their dissertations and want to develop this further, this MA also offers opportunities for mature students looking to turn their interest in local folklore into an academic qualification. Drawing on the research specialisms of academics in the University’s History Group, the MA will offer modules on contemporary customs and rituals, the lore of the British landscape, and migratory beliefs and traditions. You will also explore folklore in comparative international contexts and consider its global importance as an aspect of UNESCO’s definition of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Under expert supervision, you’ll also write a 15,000-word dissertation, giving you the opportunity to research your own area of interest, from witchcraft and magic to local folklore. A module on Contemporary Ritual and Tradition led by Folklore and History Lecturer Ceri Houlbrook will draw on her research into the heritage of contemporary British folklore and the material culture of ritual practices and popular beliefs. She has published on the customs of coin-trees and love-locks in the journals Folklore and History Workshop Journal. Professor of Social History Owen Davies will lead a module on Folklore of Landscape in Britain, examining how changes in the landscape are tied in with legends, and how artificial objects and urban geography contribute to folklore in contemporary society. He has published widely on magic and witchcraft in Folklore. Professor Davies is the President of the Folklore Society and Dr Houlbrook is the editor of the Folklore Society's Newsletter. Lecturer Dr Leanne Calvert’s module Migratory Beliefs and Traditions will investigate how beliefs and stories brought to Britain by different communities are adapted to reflect the new culture. She has published widely on women and family life in Ireland. The MA also includes two Folklorist’s Craft modules focusing on methodologies in Folklore Studies and on the skills needed to disseminate research and prepare your dissertation. Sessions will include workshops on collecting oral histories, interviewing and presentation techniques, ethics and using objects as primary sources.

Course details


Entry requirements

A minimum 2.1 honours degree in Folklore Studies or a related discipline (eg History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Celtic Studies, Creative Arts, Creative Writing and English Literature). All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 7.0 in each band. If you do not have the required IELTS or equivalent for direct entry on to your degree programme, our Pre-sessional English may help you to achieve this level.


Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

Fees for Postgraduate Study 2023/24: https://www.herts.ac.uk/study/fees-and-funding/fee-information/how-much-are-my-fees
Folklore Studies at University of Hertfordshire - UCAS