Medieval Studies

The Medieval Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate A.B. Degree in Medieval Studies and minor focused on the period from the fall of Rome (C. 5th century A.D.) to roughly the year 1500. It also offers a certificate to undergraduate students in both the School of Foreign Service and McDonough School of Business. The program focuses on a historical and cultural period in which Georgetown University has particular strengths, not only in Western but also in Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, across many disciplines, ranging from art and music to philosophy, from literature and history to theology, from China to the Middle East to Europe.

The Middle Ages in Europe and the corresponding periods in the Middle East and Asia were seminal periods in the narrative of modern culture, and eras of extraordinary interchange between East and West, especially in technology, literature, science, education, and trade. The Middle Ages saw the growth and spread of Christianity, the spread of Buddhism to East and Southeast Asia, the establishment of the Hindu synthesis in South Asia, the remarkable rise, spread, and civilization of Islam, the codification of common law; the development of business law and ethics; the establishment of the first secular schools of medicine and law; the invention of banking; the rediscovery of Aristotle in the West, the rise of vernacular literatures, art, and music; and the establishment of the university, among many other developments that have had a lasting impact on the world’s cultures.

Major in Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies majors may choose either of two tracks.

I. Medieval Studies Major

Majors are required to take one Foundational Medieval Studies course, normally taken as soon as possible after declaring the major. In their senior year, majors take a two-semester Senior Seminar that introduces more advanced methodologies of doing research in Medieval Studies and results in a required Senior Thesis (MVST-348 and 349). In addition, each student must complete 8 other electives, either listed as MVST or cross-listed by the program from disciplines related to the program. These courses should be planned in consultation with the Director of Medieval Studies (Prof. Sarah McNamer,

II. Honors Medieval Studies Major

For the Honors track, students must complete the normal requirements for the major. In addition, they must also achieve competence in Medieval Latin--normally demonstrated by completing or testing out of 001 and 002 (CLSL or MVST), and by taking a one-semester course in Latin texts (CLSL- or MVST-109 or its equivalent)--or in another appropriate language of medieval research for a given student. Finally, their Senior Thesis must earn an A- or better.

Requirements for the A.B. in Medieval Studies

  • One Foundational Medieval Studies course:
    • Heroes and Vikings (ENGL-106)
    • Chaucer  & the 14th Cnetury (ENGL-108)
    • Worlds of Beowulf (ENGL-307)
    • Germanic/Christian Hero (GERM-024)
    • Intro Early Hist: (only when titled "Global Middle Ages") (HIST-007)
    • Europe from the Fall of Rome to the Millennium (HIST-230)
    • Europe from the Millennium to the Black Death (HIST-231)
    • History and Legend in Medieval Britain (HIST-232)
    • Age of Dante (HIST-238/MVST-201)
    • Liberal Arts Seminar, (only) when offered on a medieval subject (IDST-001, -003)
    • Dante and the Medieval Mind (ITAL-372)
    • The Age of Dante (MVST-201/HIST238)
    • Worlds of the Book of Good Love (MVST-202)
    • or an equivalent approved by the Director of Medieval Studies
  • 8 electives in MVST or cross-listed by MVST in related disciplines, approved by the Program
  • 2 semester Senior Seminar (MVST-348, 349) culminating in a Thesis.
Honors Major
  • All the above plus
  • Latin I and II (CLSL-001, 002, or equivalent) or in another language of medieval research.
  • 1 course in Medieval Latin texts (CLSL- or MVST-109 or its equivalent) or in another language of medieval research.
  • A Senior Thesis earning A- or better.

Minor in Medieval Studies

Requirements for the minor in Medieval Studies

A minor in Medieval Studies is available to students in the College and the McDonough School of Business. Students are required to take one foundational Medieval Studies course (see above for the major) and five additional electives from the list of MVST courses and cross-listed courses that appears in the Schedule of Classes and the program’s website every semester. Students should consult with the director of Medieval Studies about their course of study. Minors are encouraged, but not required, to write a Medieval Studies thesis.


Students in the School of Foreign Service may earn a certificate in Medieval Studies. SFS students are required to take one foundational Medieval Studies course (see above for the major) and five additional electives approved by the director. They must also write a thesis, in conjunction with MVST-349: Thesis Seminar, under the direction of faculty approved by the director. For more details, consult the Director of Undergraduate Programs, Mitch Kaneda, in the Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Director of Medieval Studies, Professor Sarah McNamer, in the English Department (

(For course listings for Medieval Studies see