Students enrolled in medieval studies degree programs gain a thorough, interdisciplinary understanding of the civilization of the Middle Ages. Students learn and study the literature, art, historical events, religions and languages that influenced those peoples living in Europe from the 5th to the 16th centuries.
Bachelor of Arts in Medieval Studies and Master of Arts in Medieval Studies are two of the most common degrees in this field. Bachelor's programs offer introductory-level education in areas such as history, art and literature. Applicants to these programs must have a high school diploma or GED.
Master's degree programs might feature several areas of concentration, such as medieval literature, medieval Christianity or medieval Latin. Most students enrolled in a graduate program in medieval studies are required to display a proficiency in reading Latin. An undergraduate degree is necessary for those entering this program.
Bachelor of Arts in Medieval Studies
Bachelor's degree programs in medieval studies provide students with a basic introduction to the historical elements of the culture of the Middle Ages. Such programs are interdisciplinary and prepare students for careers in a number of fields or for further graduate study in medieval art, history or literature. Graduates with a bachelor's degree fill entry-level positions in museums, libraries and historical archives.
Some examples of core and elective courses might include:
- Beginning medieval history
- Medieval theater
- Medieval art
- Society in late-medieval periods
- Medieval literature in translation
- Women in the Middle Ages
- Medieval architecture
- Italian Renaissance
Master of Arts in Medieval Studies
Graduate programs in medieval studies are much more common than bachelor's degree programs. They typically allow students to focus on the particular aspect of medieval studies that most appeals to them while providing an interdisciplinary, historical background in medieval culture.
Some schools require students to complete a thesis project exploring a particular aspect of medieval civilization, while other schools offer non-thesis tracks.
Some core courses and elective topics include:
- Medieval literature
- Medieval Christianity
- Medieval Latin
- Research techniques and methodologies
- History of Renaissance art
- Middle English
- Historical theory
- Medieval music
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree in medieval studies can open students up to a wide range of entry-level positions in museums, libraries and historical archives. Some of these include:
- Museum technician
- Art historian
- Historical works publisher
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Most historians and archivists who specialize in medieval culture have at least a graduate degree in the field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS also states that archivists held about 5,460 jobs and earned a mean annual salary of $53,880 in 2015, while curators held 11,870 jobs and earned a mean annual salary of about $56,990 in that same year.
Many historians, librarians, curators and archivists elect to further their education and earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Doctoral degrees in the field of medieval studies are not typically offered at the broad, interdisciplinary level, but are divided into subcategories. For example, students might embark upon a Ph.D. in Medieval Mediterranean History, a Ph.D. in Early Modern Europe or a Ph.D. in Medieval Art History, depending upon their chosen area of specialization.
Individuals with an interest in the Middle Ages can study the topic through undergraduate and graduate degrees in medieval studies. Master's degree programs may have several specializations available, and graduates can find employment as historians, archivists or curators, or they may choose to pursue a graduate degree in the field.