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
  • ENGL 122/MDVL 122                 The Middle Ages in Popular Culture
  • ENGL 216/MDVL 216/CWL 216  Legends of King Arthur
  • 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/EALC 220        Traditional China
  • HIST 226/EALC 226        Pre-modern Japanese History
  • EALC 240                        Chinese Civilization
  • EALC 275/CWL 275        Masterpieces of East Asian Lit
  • RLST 287/EALC 287       Introduction to Buddhism

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

  • HIST 130/ANTH 130                          History of South Asia
  • HIST 135                                            History of Islamic Middle East
  • LA 218/ASST 218                              S Asian Cultural Landscapes
  • LA 222/ARCH 222/ ARTH 222           Islamic Gardens and Architecture
  • REL 213                                             Intro to Islam (ACP)
  • REL 214                                             Introduction to Islam
  • REL 223/CWL 223/SAME 223           The Qur’an (Koran)
  • REL 260/SAME 260                           Mystics and Saints in Islam
  • REL 283/CWL 283                             Jewish Sacred Literature
  • CWL 208/ASST 208/REL 208            Cultures & Literature 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. Renée Trilling, trilling@illinois.edu.