Global Medieval Studies

The Global Medieval Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major in Global Medieval Studies, as well as a minor (open to students in the College, MSB, and SFS), both focused on the period from the fall of Rome (5th century A.D.) to roughly the year 1500. The program focuses on a historical and cultural period in which Georgetown University has particular strengths 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 period between ca. 500 and 1500 C.E. is not only interesting in itself; it was a seminal period in the narrative of modern culture. This era witnessed extraordinary interchange between East and West, especially in technology, literature, science, education, and trade; it also 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. These and other developments have had a lasting impact on the world’s cultures.

Major in Global Medieval Studies

Global Medieval Studies majors may choose either of two tracks:

Global Medieval Studies Major

Majors are required to take a total of 11 courses, planned in consultation with the Program Director. Nine of these are electives designated as MVST courses or cross-listed as MVST courses; for a full list, see the program website. Of the nine electives, at least one must focus on Europe and at least one must focus on a geographical area outside Europe. 

In their senior year, majors take a two-semester Advanced Research Seminar that introduces more advanced methodologies of doing research in Medieval Studies and results in a required Senior Thesis (MVST-348 and 349). 

Honors Global Medieval Studies Major

For the Honors track, students must complete the normal requirements for the major. In addition, they must also achieve competence in Latin, Arabic, or another appropriate language of medieval research for a given student (see program website for details). The Senior Thesis must earn an A- or better for the Honors designation to apply.

Students interested in declaring the major should consult with the Program Director during their first or second year.

Requirements for the A.B. in Global Medieval Studies

  • 9 electives in MVST or cross-listed by MVST in related disciplines; see the MVST website for all cross-listed courses
  • Distribution requirement: of the 9 courses, at least one course must focus on medieval Europe and at least one course must focus on a geographical area outside Europe
  • 2 semester Advanced Research Seminar (MVST-348, 349) culminating in a Senior Thesis of approximately 40-60 pages

Minor in Global Medieval Studies

A minor in Global Medieval Studies is available to students in the College, the McDonough School of Business, and the School of Foreign Service. Students are required to take six courses from the list of MVST courses and cross-listed courses that appears in the Schedule of Classes and the program’s website every semester. Of the six courses, at least one must focus on Europe and at least one must focus on a geographical area outside of Europe. At least one of the six courses must be an upper-level course with a significant writing requirement. Students should consult with the director of Medieval Studies about their course of study. 

See current course listings here