Undergraduate Minor in Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies for Undergraduates

Undergraduate students may pursue an Undergraduate Minor in Medieval Studies, for which they must complete five courses at the 2000 level or above in at least two different disciplines, of which up to two may also count toward their major.  We also offer a Minor in Viking Studies, which requires a minimum of 16 credits from a selection of approved and capstone courses. Students interested in either major should seek out an advisor, and may wish to consult with the Director.  Those completing a minor will receive a notification on their transcripts and a certificate signed by the Director; students who are completing undergraduate minors are currently eligible for the Miller Scholarship offered by the Telluride Association, funding a year at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Students derive many other benefits from pursuing such a minor, as they do from taking courses in medieval cultures, languages, and literature generally.  The Medieval Studies Program houses a lively undergraduate association, Quodlibet, that arranges two lectures per semester by outside speakers chosen by the students.  Cornell’s students and scholars pursuing varied interests in these many realms constitute a strong and supportive community.  Coursework in Medieval Studies enhances the student’s enjoyment and understanding of the artistic and material relics of the Middle Ages: Gregorian chant, manuscripts and stained glass windows, Gothic cathedrals, Crusader castles, and picturesque towns cramped within ancient walls.  The student will discover the serious realities involved in, and shaped by, Arthurian tales of knights and ladies, dungeons, dragons, and other marvels.  Students can analyze and appreciate the horrors of the Black Death, triumphs in courtly love and pitched battle, swords and scimitars, caliphs and popes, fear of demons and djinns, and angels.  The period saw many of the foundational choices that have, for good and ill, made the world what it is today.  Many of our current challenges in the fields of law, human rights, attitudes toward power, authority, gender relations, and sexual mores derive from the ways in which these and other questions were formulated a millennium ago.  Many of the courses listed by Medieval Studies pertain specifically to these fields, as well as to the interdisciplinary combinations for which the Program is noted.

Undergraduates who wish to undertake an independent major or a minor in Medieval Studies should fill out the appropriate form and consult the director of the program, 259 Goldwin Smith Hall, 607-255-8545, <medievalst@cornell.edu>. A listing of medieval courses is posted just before pre-enrollment each semester.