Undergraduate Major

The Interdisciplinary Concentration in Medieval Studies introduces students to medieval (ca. 500- ca. 1500 CE) cultures across the world, providing them with an understanding of periods and movements, institutions, material culture, ideas, beliefs, and values of the diverse cultures that comprise the medieval globe.  The coursework spans both geographic regions and disciplines to introduce students to the breadth of medieval cultures as well as to the diversity of methods and perspectives for their study.

The concentration includes a minimum of 45 hours, divided into (I) an introductory course in global medieval literatures and cultures; (II) geographical distribution coursework as specified below; (III) advanced medieval coursework selected by the student in consultation with a Medieval Studies faculty advisor; and (IV) a capstone experience involving an intensive writing and research project. Because Medieval Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study, students are urged to consult with a Medieval Studies faculty advisor to ensure that they take a diverse range of courses providing some exposure to the fields of History and Anthropology; Literature; the Arts; and Philosophy or Religion. Although study of medieval languages is not a requirement, students who intend to pursue graduate study in Medieval Studies should complete at least two courses in an appropriate language; up to twelve hours of appropriate language study can be applied to the Additional Medieval Studies Coursework.

Required Coursework

3 hours - Introduction to Medieval Studies - ENGL 202- Medieval Lit and Culture (same as MDVL 201)

Geographical Distribution Coursework 2

6 hours- Medieval Europe - Two courses chosen from the following:

  • ARTH111/MDVL 111           Ancient to Medieval Art
  • ARTH 222/ MDVL 222         Medieval Art
  • ARTH 231/MDVL 231          Northern Renaissance Art
  • ITAL 240/MDVL 240                        Italy Middle Ages & Renaiss
  • HIST 245/MDVL 245            Women & Gender in Pre-Mod Europe
  • HIST 247/MDVL 247            Medieval Europe
  • SCAN 251/MDVL 251          Viking Mythology
  • SCAN 252/MDVL 252          Viking Sagas in Translation
  • HIST 255/MDVL 255            British Isles to 1688
  • ARCH 412/MDVL 412          Medieval Architecture

6 hours- Classical and medieval East Asia - Two courses chosen from the following:

  • HIST 220        Traditional China
  • HIST 226        Pre-modern Japanese History
  • EALC 240       Chinese Civilization
  • EALC 275       Masterpieces of East Asian Lit
  • RLST 287       Introduction to Buddhism

6 hours- Medieval Central Asia, South Asia, or the Middle East - Two courses chosen from the following:

  • HIST 130        History of South Asia
  • HIST 135        History of Islamic Middle East
  • LA 218            S Asian Cultural Landscapes
  • LA 222            Islamic Gardens and Architecture
  • RLST 213       Intro to Islam (ACP)
  • RLST 214       Introduction to Islam
  • RLST 223       Qur’an Structure and Exegesis
  • RLST 260       Mystics and Saints in Islam
  • RLST 283       Jewish Sacred Literature
  • CWL 208        Lits & Cultures of South Asia

21 hours - Additional Medieval Studies Coursework - Medieval-related coursework from participating departments selected in consultation with the concentration advisor. At least 12 hours must be at the 300- or 400-level. A list of courses is here. Up to 12 hours of appropriate language study can be applied to meet this requirement with approval of a Medieval Studies faculty advisor.

3 hours - Capstone Experience - A capstone experience (normally in the student’s senior year) involving intensive interdisciplinary research and writing on a medieval topic.  Any 400-level MDVL course (or medieval-related course not cross-listed with MDVL, with the approval of a Medieval Studies faculty advisor) can be designated as a capstone experience with approval of the instructor. For the course to qualify as a capstone experience, the student must undertake a substantial research project that supplements the standard course requirements, in the form either of an additional project or of a longer and more research-intensive version of an existing course project.  The project must involve both primary and secondary research using advanced disciplinary methodologies and resources.

Total Hours: 45

1 A student may substitute the “Medieval World” section of HIST 100, Global History, by petition to a Medieval Studies faculty advisor.  Only the section of HIST 100 devoted to the Middle Ages may be substituted.

2 A student may substitute up to 6 hours in geographical distribution coursework with courses on the medieval civilizations of the Americas: ANTH 277-Ancient Cities, Sacred Land, ANTH 278- Climate Change & Civilization, or both.  However, at least one course must still be taken from each of the three regional areas.

A Major Plan of Study Form must be completed and submitted to the LAS Student Academic Affairs Office before the end of the fifth semester (60-75 hours). For further information contact the Director of Medieval Studies, Prof. Eleonora Stoppino, stoppino@illinois.edu.