Since 1966, Cornell’s Program in Medieval Studies has combined the best aspects of an interdisciplinary program with the focused training required for academic careers in a variety of traditional disciplines.
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The Program’s faculty are drawn from nearly every humanities department at Cornell; together, they offer expertise in a wide array of disciplines and area studies spanning more than a millennium of languages and cultures—from Old and Middle English literature to Byzantine monuments; from Viking studies to Andalusian architecture; from Chinese intellectual history to Islamic legal history.
Our diversity of faculty attracts exceptional graduate students from all areas of Medieval Studies and guides them to dissertations on a broad range of literatures, disciplines, contexts, and approaches. Work in primary archival materials—including Latin and vernacular paleography, textual criticism, and codicology—is well supported by abundant library resources, as well as by faculty dedicated to these fields. Work in gender studies, medieval and modern literary theory, and the post-medieval reception and construction of the “Middle Ages” is also well supported by Program faculty and by the full array of other Departments and Programs at Cornell. Resources for studying Latin and most medieval vernacular languages (including Germanic, Romance, Celtic, Slavonic, Semitic, and East Asian languages) are a mainstay of the Program. The Program in Medieval Studies encompasses all of these offerings within a flexible curriculum tailored to the needs of individual students.
Medieval Studies students also enjoy the benefits of carefully mentored training in pedagogical techniques and classroom skills, including a summer teaching internship that prepares students to teach in the award-winning Writing in the Disciplines Program. In addition, Medieval Studies students often serve as teaching assistants for the course, “The Cultures of the Middle Ages,” which rotates among Departments and faculty. Advanced Latin students may also teach “Latin Review for Graduate Students,” which is offered annually for entering students in Medieval Studies, Classics, History and other Departments.
Students from many other doctoral programs at Cornell are closely involved in the Program in Medieval Studies, and they contribute to a lively and varied community of medievalists that spans Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences. In turn, students in Medieval Studies may work with any faculty members in Cornell’s Graduate Field and pursue any courses pertinent to their training and research. Traditional coursework and seminars are supplemented by formal and informal reading groups, ad hoc seminars, the annual Medieval Studies Student Colloquium, and outside lectures invited by our student organization, Quodlibet.