Home < Schools, Colleges, and Programs < College of Letters & Science < Majors, Certificates, and Concentration Programs < Medieval Studies

College of Letters & Science

Medieval Studies

Certificate Program

7127 Helen C. White Hall, 600 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-2861 or 608-263-3790; www.medievalstudies.wisc.edu

Director: Kellie Robertson; krobertson2@wisc.edu

Professors Broman, Busby, Chamberlain, Corfis, Cowell, Dale, Dubois, Earp, Howell, Mazzaoui, Miernowski, Morgan, Salmons, Scarborough, Schamiloglu, Schulenburg, Shank, Wolf; Associate Professors Calomino, Cooper, Hsia, Livanos, Neville, Robertson, Schalick, Shoemaker, Tejedo; Assistant Professors Ancos-Garcia, Todorovic, Zweck

The medieval period, ca. 450–1500, was a dynamic period of interaction, mutual influence, and interdependence as well as famous clashes between three great civilizations in the Mediterranean world: Latin Europe, the Byzantine Empire, and the Islamic caliphates. Each grew out of Greco-Roman civilization as influenced by local conditions, specific historical circumstances, and new religious developments. In the West, the central thread from the fading of the Roman Empire to the rise of modern national states in the seventeenth century is the culture of Latinity and a common version of Christianity associated with Rome. In the East, from the fourth century, development centered on the Eastern Roman or Byzantine empire—a vast, diverse Greek-speaking Christian civilization that lasted until 1453. In the southeast a new religion, Islam, arose in Arabia in the seventh century and soon spread along with the Arabic language of its sacred book as far as India, Syria, and Spain, while receiving influences from every country it touched.

The aim of the Medieval Studies Program is to apply interdisciplinary approaches to the rich history and culture of this long historical period. Opportunities for studies in this area are intended (1) to make students aware of the great range of disciplines and fields that are involved in the study of the medieval world; (2) to introduce students to the many scholars and specialists in areas of medieval study who are active on the faculty of the UW–Madison; (3) to provide opportunities for students and faculty to pool their interests and knowledge and explore the interrelationships among the medieval disciplines in ways usually not feasible within conventional academic compartmentalization; (4) to give undergraduate students an academic structure of study not available within any one department; and (5) to help interested undergraduates to develop skills necessary to prepare them for graduate studies in medieval areas.

The program's focus is embodied in the interdisciplinary courses offered under the auspices of medieval studies. For example, Medieval Studies 215 Life in the Middle Ages provides a survey of civilization and culture in medieval times. The program crosslists a number of courses on particular aspects of medieval history and culture that are offered by participating departments, helps to publicize courses with medieval subject matter that are not permanently crosslisted, and offers opportunities for students to undertake independent-study projects with participating faculty members.

In addition to departments and programs that cross-list courses with Medieval Studies (Art History, Classics, English, French and Italian, German, History, History of Medicine, History of Science, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, Scandinavian Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, Women's Studies), the following departments and programs offer courses and seminars in the medieval area: African Languages and Literature, Comparative Literature, Folklore, Languages and Cultures of Asia, Music, Philosophy, and Political Science.

Certificate Program

The certificate in medieval studies is designed to encourage pursuit of interdisciplinary work among several departments.

Like a minor, the certificate documents a rigorous course of study in addition to the major(s). It attests ambitious intellectual goals as well as the ability to imagine historical problems in a transnational perspective. As a credential, it demonstrates a capacity for comparative critical thinking and analysis, skills that appeal to a wide range of potential employers.

It requires the completion of five courses (15 credits) in the medieval area, according to the following distributional requirements, and maintenance of a B average (3.0) in those courses that count toward the certificate.

1. One of the following courses is required:

History 115 Medieval Europe 410–1500
OR History/Medieval Studies 215 Life in the Middle Ages
OR ILS 201 Western Culture: Science, Technology, Philosophy

2–5. Four additional courses focused on the medieval period, including two each from Category A (history, history of science, philosophy, and political science) and Category B (language, literature, visual arts, and music). For a list of which individual courses count toward Category A and which toward Category B, see the Medieval Studies website.

In addition to the required courses, all certificate candidates are encouraged to enhance their work in medieval studies by acquiring a reading knowledge of a modern European language as early as possible. Studying Latin in addition is strongly recommended for those who plan to graduate work in the field.

Students interested in working toward the certificate should contact the director of medieval studies as early in their degree program as possible. The director serves as the undergaduate advisor for all students pursuing the certificate. For further information see the Medieval Studies website.

In consultation with the director, students may choose to work beyond the certificate to a self-designed major in medieval studies. For further information, contact the director of medieval studies or the College of Letters & Science Student Academic Affairs, 70 Bascom Hall, 262-5858.