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Program in Medieval Studies


Sara S. Poor

Executive Committee

Marina S. Brownlee, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures, Comparative Literature

Andrew Cole, English

Daniel Heller-Roazen, Comparative Literature

William C. Jordan, History

Sara S. Poor, German

Gideon A. Rosen, Philosophy, ex officio

Nino Zchomelidse, Art and Archaeology 

Associated Faculty

Emmanuel Bourbouhakis, Classics

Mark R. Cohen, Near Eastern Studies 

Michael A. Cook, Near Eastern Studies 

Pietro Frassica, French and Italian 

John F. Haldon, History, Hellenic Studies 

Andras P. Hamori, Near Eastern Studies 

Thomas F. Leisten, Art and Archaeology 

Simone Marchesi, French and Italian 

Helmut Reimitz, History 

Peter Schäfer, Religion 

D. Vance Smith, English

Ronald E. Surtz, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures 

Rob C. Wegman, Music 

Anna Zayaruznaya, Music

Sits with Committee

Colum P. Hourihane, Index of Christian Art

Donald C. Skemer, Firestone Library

Alan Stahl, Firestone Library

The Program in Medieval Studies encourages the interdisciplinary study of the European Middle Ages: its art, literature (Latin and vernacular), music, religion, science, philosophy, politics, and economic and social structures. Supported by the vast resources for medieval studies at Princeton (including an outstanding medieval manuscript collection and the photographic archive known as the Index of Christian Art), the program sponsors two courses: an introductory course, and a (noncredit) thesis writers' colloquium for seniors. Approximately another 40 courses directly relevant to medieval studies are listed following this description.

Admission to the Program

During the freshman or sophomore year each student who wishes to enroll in the program should take MED 227 The World of the Middle Ages or discuss with the director what other kinds of preparation might be acceptable instead. At the time of the selection of a major in a department, a student wishing to obtain a certificate in medieval studies at graduation should also seek admission to the program from the director.

Program of Study

MED 227 (or some equivalent) is required, as is, in the senior year, the thesis writers' colloquium. In addition, the student should take and pass four courses either that are cross-listed listed in Medieval Studies (for example, those listed in the following roster) or that are not cross-listed but cover a medieval topic. At least one of the four additional courses should be at the 400 level and not all can be from the same department. The senior thesis and at least one junior paper must deal directly with the European Middle Ages. The student's course of study must receive the prior approval of the departmental representative (in the major) and the director of the Program in Medieval Studies.


Most students, especially those interested in pursuing medieval studies at the graduate level, are urged to take Latin, including medieval Latin, or Greek. But many students will be interested in the vernacular traditions; in the absence of competency in Latin or Greek (or as a supplement to competency), students will need to demonstrate appropriate proficiency in another medieval language (for example, Old English) or in one of the major modern European languages to the 207 level: Russian, German, French, Spanish, Italian. In no case will a student be eligible for a certificate without fulfilling the language requirements as described here.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all requirements of the program will receive a certificate of proficiency in medieval studies upon graduation.

Senior Thesis Colloquium. Separate from any other departmental requirements, this noncredit colloquium will regularly bring together all seniors in the program in order to discuss mutual problems of data, research strategies, organization, and writing. In consultation with the director of the colloquium, students will choose a date to report to and discuss with the other members of the colloquium their work in progress.


MED 220 Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Middle Ages (see NES 220)

MED 227 The World of the Middle Ages (also HUM 227)   Fall LA

An introduction to medieval Europe from late Antiquity to 1400. The course focuses on themes such as collective mentalities and dominant social practices, and addresses major forms of cultural expression in various media. Two 90-minute lectures. S. Poor

MED 230 Music in the Middle Ages (see MUS 230)

MED 303 Dante's Inferno (see ITA 303)

MED 304 Dante's "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" (see ITA 304)

MED 321 Topics in German Medieval Literature (see GER 321)

MED 329 Sex and Gender in the Ancient World (see CLA 329)

MED 412 Topics in Medieval Studies   Spring LA

An intensive seminar devoted to a particular aspect of European medieval life and culture. Topics change yearly. One three-hour seminar. Staff

MED 430 Seminar. Medieval Art (see ART 430)