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Course Descriptions

Program in Medieval Studies

220 Randall Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400180
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4180
(434) 924-6407

Overview Every period in history is better illuminated and understood by using evidence from research in different fields rather than by studying it solely from the point of view of a single discipline. People of the past, after all, did not live their lives according to the departmental divisions of a modern university. Medieval studies, particularly in the last half century, have benefited enormously from this interdisciplinary approach. Work in, for example, family history, genealogy, archaeology, folklore, iconography, textual criticism, linguistic analysis, and statistical research has advanced and deepened our knowledge of the highways and byways of the period.

Faculty At the University of Virginia, there has been a strong and active program for many years in teaching and research based on significant holdings of printed works in the primary and secondary sources in the university libraries. There are now more than thirty faculty members who offer upwards of sixty courses on medieval topics in the departments of history, classics, religious studies, philosophy, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Middle Eastern studies, art history, architecture, music and government.

Students For the interested and able student, the major provides a way of pursuing medieval studies free of existing departmental requirements, a program of language study within the filed, a sound training for graduate work, and a change to share knowledge and opinions with other scholars on the incunabular period of western civilization. By its comprehensive structure, it promotes cordiality, collegiality, and an exchange of views across departmental lines.

The major in medieval studies, because it helps to develop and refine powers of criticism and imagination, and because it encourages, through practice, the ability to think and to write with clarity and precision, furnishes the skills useful in a wide variety of vocational fields.

Requirements for Major The major is open to all qualified students in the College of Arts and Sciences who have demonstrated competence in a foreign language through the 202 level, or its equivalent, which is appropriate to their work in the program. Requirements for graduation from the major:

  1. 30 hours of credit in courses approved by the student’s advisor with passing grades, and with at least a 2.000 average, distributed over the following fields of study:

History (9 credits)

Literature (9 credits)

Art or Music (3 credits)

Philosophy, Religious Studies, or Political Thought (3 credits)

MSP 308 Colloquium in Medieval Studies in the fall of the junior year (3 credits)

MSP 480 Seminar in Medieval Studies in the spring of the senior year (3 credits)

  1. A senior thesis written under the supervision of a member of the faculty and approved by the student’s advisor and the chairman of the Medieval Studies Program

The major may be combined with another departmental program as a double major. Students may also complete a minor in Medieval Studies by taking at least 18 credits in medieval courses approved by the student’s advisor. At least one course must be taken in each of three of the contributing fields of study (History; Literature; Art or Music; or Philosophy, Religious Studies, or Political Thought).

The problems inherent in an interdisciplinary major which relate to the sources and methods in different fields, and to the development of a program from a vast array of courses, can be dealt with to large extent by fitting the program to each student’s abilities and needs. This is done through individual consultation, work in small classes, and careful supervision of the senior essay.

Additional Information For more information, contact Everett Crosby, Medieval Studies Program Chair, Department of History, 220 Randall Hall, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400180, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4180; (434) 924-6407; euc@virginia.edu.

Course Descriptions


MSP 308 - (3) (Y)
Colloquium in Medieval Studies
Discussion and criticism of selected works of and on the period. Taught by different members of the medieval faculty.

MSP 480 - (3) (Y)
Seminar in Medieval Studies
For advanced students dealing with methods of research in the field. Taught by different members of the medieval faculty.

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