Some of our most lasting modern ideas, institutions, and technologies have their points of origin in medieval cultures: the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, Islam, Korean and Japanese Buddhism, religious war, religious orders, extended fictional narrative, gunpowder, printing, eyeglasses, the chromatic keyboard, craft gilds, long-distance credit, paper money, double-entry bookkeeping, natural law, common law, autonomous universities, waqfs, parliaments, vernaculars as literary languages, linguistic theory, literary romantic love, and Gothic architecture. Such figures as Mohammed, Murasaki Shikibu, Al-Ghazali, Maimonides, Averroes, Aquinas, Dante, Ibn Battuta, Giotto, and Joan of Arc all have made their mark on modern thought and cultural practice. The program encourages the study of medieval cultures across disciplinary boundaries.
Requirements for the Major
Students in the College may choose either of two tracks.
I. Medieval Studies
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).
II. Honors in Medieval Studies
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.
Writing in the Medieval Studies Program
The Medieval Studies Program at Georgetown University has always put a special emphasis on writing as an integral part of the critical exploration of society and culture, present as well as past. All of our courses are offered by participating regular university departments and, except for some advanced language study, include writing assignments in accord with the standards of the fields and across the geographic spectrum: art history, cultural studies, history, literature, philosophy, theology. Further, the program’s commitment to developing our students’ writing skills is most evident in the two-semester senior seminar/thesis seminar, out of which all of our majors are required to produce a senior thesis using primary sources according to the standards of the field involved.
Requirements for the Minor
A minor in Medieval Studies is available to students in the College and the McDonough School of Business. 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.
Certificate in the School of Foreign Service
Students in the School of Foreign Service may earn a certificate in Medieval Studies. SFS 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 Global Medieval Studies and with SFS dean Mitch Kaneda about their course of study.