Best Medieval Studies Graduate Programs

There are a number of options available to students who would like to enroll in a graduate program in medieval studies, from certificates to Ph.D. programs. We'll explore an overview of the programs, common courses and admission requirements.

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There are a number of different graduate degree programs available in the field of medieval studies for students who are interested in pursuing study in this discipline. These programs will expose students to a variety of topics in medieval studies and prepare them for careers in a number of fields.

Graduate Degree Programs in Medieval Studies

At the graduate level, students can enroll in graduate certificate programs, master's degree programs, and doctoral programs in medieval studies, though doctoral programs are perhaps available in the largest number. These programs generally allow students to specialize in a particular area of medieval studies, such as medieval art or medieval history, both through their coursework and in their thesis or dissertation. Below, we will look at a few courses that are commonly found in graduate programs in medieval studies.

Literature of the Medieval Times

Graduate programs in medieval studies will often include one, if not multiple, courses that focus on the different pieces of literature that were written during the medieval age. Students may focus on literature that is written in many of the typical medieval languages, like French, Italian, Spanish, or German. This course may highlight common themes and styles that are present in medieval literature.

Women and Gender Studies During the Medieval Age

A course that focuses on the role of women during the medieval age is also common to these programs. The course may focus specifically on the writings, books, poetry, and literature that was produced by medieval women in order understand their perspective. Students will also study the role that women played in medieval society and culture.

Medieval Manuscripts

These programs also often include a course in which students are exposed to ancient medieval manuscripts in order to learn how to properly analyze and interpret these documents. Students may learn how to approach manuscripts as an artifact, rather than a traditional piece of writing or book, and will also often study the manuscripts in the original language in which they were written. They may also look at how manuscripts have been translated from one language to another.


As Latin was a very important language in medieval times and culture, students may be expected to already have basic knowledge of Latin or to continue taking courses in Latin during the program. Latin courses will expose students to the concepts of the Latin language, how it was spoken, and how it is constructed. Students will use their knowledge of Latin to better interpret original pieces of medieval writing.

The Role of Religion in Medieval Times

It is also quite common for graduate programs in medieval studies to include courses that focus on the role of religion during this time period. These courses could focus on the relationship between the church and government, the power that the medieval church possessed, and the nature of religious culture during medieval times. Students may also study how religion influenced the arts, like literature and paintings, during the medieval period.

General Admission Requirements for Graduate Degree Programs in Medieval Studies

Admission requirements will likely vary by the program, but students can generally expect that they will need a bachelor's degree before beginning a graduate program. Programs do not generally specify what kind of degree a student should have, though it is usually expected that students have considerable background in medieval studies as shown through their undergraduate coursework. Students will also need to submit their transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and completed application form. These programs also generally require results from the GRE and also a writing sample.

Students who are interested in medieval studies can continue advanced scholarship in this area by enrolling in graduate certificate, master's, or doctoral programs. These programs will expose students to a wide variety of topics in this field, like medieval literature and medieval languages.

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