Program in Medieval Studies

Academic Unit

Program Information

The Program in Medieval Studies encourages the interdisciplinary study of the Middle Ages: its art, literature (Latin and vernacular), music, religion, science, philosophy, politics, and economic and social structures. Supported by the vast resources for medieval studies at Princeton (including an outstanding medieval manuscript collection and the photographic archive known as the Index of Medieval Art), the program sponsors one course: an introductory seminar, and a (non-credit) thesis writers' colloquium for seniors. Approximately another 40 courses directly relevant to medieval studies are listed following this description.

Admission to the Program

During the freshman or sophomore year each student who wishes to enroll in the program should take MED 227 The World of the Middle Ages or discuss with the director what other kinds of preparation might be acceptable instead. At the time of the selection of a major in a department, a student wishing to obtain a certificate in medieval studies at graduation should also seek admission to the program from the director. At this time, an on-line application (accessible from the Program website) to the program should be filled out and submitted.

Program of Study

MED 227 (or the equivalent such as HUM 216 and HUM 217) is required, as is, in the senior year, the thesis writers' colloquium. In addition, the student should take and pass four courses either that are cross-listed in Medieval Studies (for example, those listed in the following roster) or that are not cross-listed but cover a medieval topic. At least one of the four additional courses should be at the 400 level or above and not all can be from the same department. The senior thesis and at least one junior paper must deal directly with the Middle Ages. The student's course of study must receive the prior approval of the departmental representative (in the major) and the director of the Program in Medieval Studies.


Most students, especially those interested in pursuing medieval studies at the graduate level, are urged to take Latin, including medieval Latin, or Greek. But many students will be interested in the vernacular traditions; in the absence of competency in Latin or Greek (or as a supplement to competency), students will need to demonstrate appropriate proficiency in another medieval language (Old or Middle English, Old French or Provencal, Middle High German, Old Norse, medieval Italian, medieval Spanish, Hebrew or Arabic) or in one of the major modern European languages to the 207 level: Russian, German, French, Spanish, Italian. In no case will a student be eligible for a certificate without fulfilling the language requirements as described here.

Senior Thesis Colloquium

Separate from any other departmental requirements, this noncredit colloquium will regularly bring together all seniors in the program in order to discuss issues and strategies related to conducting independent research and writing, such as problems of data collection, organization of ideas, and the process of writing.  Meetings will be every other week during the Fall semester, and weekly during the Spring semester. In addition to discussing research strategies, students will have the opportunity to workshop drafts of their work in progress throughout the year. At the end of the Spring semester, students present the results of their research projects to the community in an afternoon mini-conference.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all requirements of the program will receive a certificate of proficiency in medieval studies upon graduation.