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Medieval Education: Medieval History Study

Many colleges and universities offer medieval studies degree programs, an interdisciplinary program that provides students with in-depth knowledge on the historical, artistic, theological and literary backgrounds of the medieval civilization. Students enrolled in medieval study degree programs learn about the social context of the Middle Ages and may have the opportunity take part in medieval studies workshops and themed events where they learn about the culture and language of different medieval communities.

About Medieval Studies

The field of medieval studies draws from several humanities departments including history, art, literature, music, philosophy, religion and the study of civilizations. Some medieval education programs are divided into two concentrations: the study of medieval cultures and the study of late antique cultures. A concentration in medieval cultures typically focuses on the eight through the fifteenth centuries while the late antique cultures explore the third through ninth cultures.

Many schools that offer a medieval study degree program provide a wide range of courses and electives in the fields of Asian studies, art history, philosophy, Latin language and literature, Old Norse studies, musicology, Germanic philology, Russian language and literature, Celtic studies and sexuality studies. Medieval studies programs provide students with advanced knowledge and expertise in their field, and many work directly with scholars on campus for discussions and other events that help to enrich the student's educational experience.

Coursework in the field of medieval studies give students a chance to learn about the artistic and material relics of the Middle Ages, manuscripts, Gregorian chant, the evolvement of stained glass windows, Arthurian tales of knights and ladies, architecture of Gothic cathedrals and the Crusader castles. Students also learn how to read Latin scripts and make sense of all the events that surrounded the invention of printing in the Middle Ages.

Career Options with a Medieval Studies Degree

Graduates of medieval studies degree programs can explore a number of careers in fields of research, government, social services and communication. Some career paths that graduates with a medieval studies degree can explore include:

  • University Administrator
  • Medieval Studies Professor
  • Medieval Studies Researcher
  • Medieval Studies Historian
  • Bookstore Manager
  • Proofreader or Publisher of Medieval Texts
  • Art Critic
  • Medieval Linguist
  • Museum Curator

Degree Programs in Medieval History

Both undergraduate and degree programs in medieval studies typically require several courses in historical studies, a reading and research course, and the submission of a paper in a particular field. Students may be required to demonstrate competence in reading a language such as Latin, but students that wish to explore areas such as Byzantine, Muslim and Jewish cultures may consider gaining competence in other languages.

Some of the core education requirements for degree programs in medieval history focus on the following areas:

  • Romance Languages and Literatures
  • History
  • Classical Studies
  • Music
  • NELC
  • Philosophy
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Art

Students interested in completing a Ph.D in the field of medieval studies may be required to take an oral examination, work with a Director of Graduate Studies and submit a prospectus for the dissertation. Pre-dissertation requirements for medieval education programs vary by institution, but the process typically takes about two years to complete.

Medieval Study Courses

Some of the most common types of medieval study courses required to complete a degree in medieval history or medieval education include:

  • Introduction to the Old English Language
  • Medieval Latin
  • Medieval Theology
  • Overview of Monasticism
  • Medieval Social History
  • Laws in Medieval Europe
  • Impact of Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Patristic Greek Studies
  • Literature in Medieval Europe
  • Medieval Art and Architecture
  • Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales

Completing a Medieval Education Program

Many colleges and universities that offer medieval education programs also sponsor lectures, workshops and other events that give students a chance to learn more about medieval history in-depth and take part in research projects. Medieval education programs provide students with the opportunity to develop strong research skills and explore medieval culture from a sociological, historical and humanities perspective.

Students may be granted access to a campus library and online resources where they can reference medieval texts such as manuscripts and rare printed books, and also take part in medieval lectures and symposia. Some colleges and universities sponsor lectures, short evening courses and other activities throughout the semester to provide students with an enriching educational experience.

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