Medieval studies offers students interdisciplinary perspectives on the history of Europe and the Mediterranean rim between ca. 300-1500. Courses spanning 18 departments allow students to explore the medieval world from the standpoints of art, visual and material culture, history, law, languages and literature, music, philosophy, religious studies and the history of science and medicine. The certificate in medieval studies is designed to encourage pursuit of interdisciplinary work among several departments.
The Middle Ages was a dynamic period of trans-continental trade and travel that fostered cultural, technological and scientific interactions among the kingdoms and city states of Western Europe, the Byzantine (East Roman) Empire and the Islamic caliphates that eventually encompassed much of Spain, north Africa and the Middle East. It is also known that the Norse (Vikings) established settlements in North America as early as ca.1000, some 500 years before Columbus.
In Western Europe, the Middle Ages laid the foundations of constitutional government and modern nation-states, instituted a system of trial by jury, and developed the first universities along with the concept of a liberal arts curriculum (encompassing both arts and sciences). The period also saw the development of English, Germanic, Scandinavian and romance languages and literature, which came to eclipse Latin by the end of the fourteenth century as vehicles for secular poetry and prose. Further east, Greek dominated the territory of the Byzantine Empire, while the foundation of the Kievan Rus coincided with the development of Cyrillic script used by Russian and other Slavic languages. The Islamic world saw the wide diffusion of Arabic languages and literature, including scientific works which served to mediate knowledge of Greek natural philosophy and medical science to Western Europe.
Other significant cultural developments include the development of the codex or book often with elaborate programs of visual imagery and diagrams, the innovation of musical notation and early forms of polyphony in Europe, the application of optical science to urban planning and of one-point perspective to painting especially in Italy, and the refinement of structural engineering that led to the soaring light-filled architecture of Gothic cathedrals in Western Europe and expansive centralized domed spaces in the Byzantine Empire and related Orthodox states, as well as in the Islamic world.
The program's focus is embodied in the interdisciplinary courses offered under the auspices of medieval studies. For example, MEDIEVAL/HISTORY 215 Life in the Middle Ages: An Inter-Departmental Course provides a survey of civilization and culture in medieval times. The program cross-lists a number of courses on particular aspects of medieval history and culture that are offered by participating departments, helps to publicize courses with medieval subject matter that are not permanently cross-listed, and offers opportunities for students to undertake independent-study projects with participating faculty members. It also regularly organizes public programming on specific themes under the auspices of the Borghesi–Mellon Workshops administered by the Center for the Humanities.
In addition to departments and programs that cross-list courses with Medieval Studies—Art History, CANES (Classical and Near Eastern Studies), English, French and Italian, German, History, History of Medicine, History of Science, Religious Studies, Scandinavian Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, Women's Studies—the following departments and programs occasionally offer courses and seminars in the medieval area: African Languages and Literature, Comparative Literature, Folklore, Languages and Cultures of Asia, Music, Philosophy, and Political Science.
Like a minor, the certificate documents a rigorous course of study in addition to the major(s). It attests ambitious intellectual goals as well as the ability to imagine historical problems in transnational and transcultural perspectives As a credential, it demonstrates a capacity for comparative critical thinking and analysis, skills that appeal to a wide range of potential employers.
Students interested in working toward the certificate should contact the director of medieval studies as early in their degree program as possible. The director serves as the undergaduate advisor for all students pursuing the certificate. For further information see the Medieval Studies website.
The certificate requires the completion of five courses (15 credits) in the medieval area, according to the following distributional requirements.
Students interested in working toward the certificate should contact the director of medieval studies as early in their degree program as possible. The director serves as the undergraduate advisor for all students pursuing the certificate. For further information see the Medieval Studies website.
|Select one of the following:||3-4|
|Medieval Europe 410-1500|
|Life in the Middle Ages: An Inter-Departmental Course|
|Western Culture: Science, Technology, Philosophy I|
|Select two courses focused on the medieval period from Category A (history, history of science, philosophy, and political science) 1||6|
|Select two courses focused on the medieval period from Category B (language, literature, visual arts, and music) 1||6|
For a list of which individual courses count toward Category A and which toward Category B, see the course lists below.
Category A Course List
|Category A Courses|
|HISTORY 115||Medieval Europe 410-1500||4|
|HISTORY 200||Historical Studies||3|
|HISTORY/RELIG ST 205||The Making of the Islamic World: The Middle East, 500-1500||3-4|
|HISTORY/MEDIEVAL/RELIG ST 309||The Crusades: Christianity and Islam||3-4|
|HISTORY/MEDIEVAL 313||Introduction to Byzantine History and Civilization||3-4|
|HISTORY/MEDIEVAL 314||Problems in Byzantine History and Civilization||3-4|
|HISTORY/MEDIEVAL/RELIG ST 318||Medieval Social and Intellectual History, 1200-1450||3-4|
|HISTORY/AFROAMER 321||Afro-American History Since 1900||3-4|
|HISTORY 333||The Renaissance||3-4|
|HISTORY 417||History of Russia||3-4|
|HISTORY/LEGAL ST 426||The History of Punishment||3-4|
|HISTORY/SCAND ST 431||History of Scandinavia to 1815||3|
|HISTORY/RELIG ST 439||Islamic History From the Origin of Islam to the Ottoman Empire||3-4|
|HISTORY 600||Advanced Seminar in History||3|
|HIST SCI/MEDIEVAL 322||Ancient and Medieval Science||3|
|HIST SCI/S&A PHM 401||History of Pharmacy||2|
|HIST SCI/HISTORY/MED HIST/MEDIEVAL/S&A PHM 562||Byzantine Medicine and Pharmacy||3|
|HIST SCI 622||Studies in Ancient and Medieval Science||1|
|ILS 201||Western Culture: Science, Technology, Philosophy I||3|
|ILS 205||Western Culture: Political, Economic, and Social Thought I||3|
|ILS 271||Pre-Copernican Astronomy and Cosmology in Crosscultural Perspective||3|
|JEWISH/RELIG ST 377||Jewish Cultural History (in English)||4|
|JEWISH 490||Topics in Jewish Studies||3|
|MEDIEVAL/HISTORY 215||Life in the Middle Ages: An Inter-Departmental Course||3-4|
|MEDIEVAL/CLASSICS/FRENCH/HISTORY/ITALIAN 550||Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies in Medieval Civilization||3|
|PHILOS/JEWISH/RELIG ST 435||Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century||3|
|POLI SCI 265||Development of Ancient and Medieval Western Political Thought||3-4|
Category B Course List
|Category B Courses|
|ART HIST 201||History of Western Art I: From Pyramids to Cathedrals||4|
|ART HIST 310||Icons, Religion, and Empire: Early Christian and Byzantine Art, ca. 200-1453||3-4|
|ART HIST 318||Romanesque and Gothic Art and Architecture||3-4|
|ART HIST 320||Italian Renaissance Art||3-4|
|ART HIST 321||Italian Art: 1250-1400||3-4|
|ART HIST 322||Italian Art from Donatello to Leonardo da Vinci, 1400-1500||3-4|
|ART HIST 330||The Painting & Graphic Arts of Germany 1350-1530||3-4|
|ART HIST 331||Angels, Demons, and Nudes: Early Netherlandish Painting from Bosch to Bruegel||3-4|
|ART HIST/MEDIEVAL 415||Topics in Medieval Art||3|
|ART HIST 515||Proseminar in Medieval Art||3|
|ART HIST 525||Proseminar in Italian Renaissance Art||3|
|ART HIST 535||Proseminar in Northern European Painting||3|
|ART HIST 600||Special Topics in Art History ("Medieval" topic only)||3|
|ENGL/MEDIEVAL 520||Old English||3|
|ENGL/MEDIEVAL 521||Advanced Old English Literature||3|
|ENGL 314||Structure of English||3|
|ENGL 417||History of the English Language||3|
|ENGL 422||Outstanding Figure(s) in Literature before 1800||3|
|ENGL/MEDIEVAL 423||Topic in Medieval Literature and Culture||3|
|ENGL/MEDIEVAL 427||Chaucer's Canterbury Tales||3|
|FRENCH 430||Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature||3|
|GERMAN/MEDIEVAL 611||Survey of German Literature to 1700||3|
|GERMAN 650||History of the German Language||3|
|GERMAN/MEDIEVAL 651||Introduction to Middle High German||3|
|ILS 203||Western Culture: Literature and the Arts I||3|
|ITALIAN 321||Studies in Italian Literature and Culture I||3|
|ITALIAN/MEDIEVAL 659||Dante's Divina Commedia||3|
|ITALIAN/MEDIEVAL 660||Dante's Divina Commedia||3|
|ITALIAN/MEDIEVAL 671||Il Duecento||3|
|JEWISH/RELIG ST 377||Jewish Cultural History (in English)||4|
|JEWISH 490||Topics in Jewish Studies ("Medieval" topic only)||3|
|LATIN/MEDIEVAL 563||Mediaeval Latin||3|
|LITTRANS/MEDIEVAL 235||The World of Sagas||3|
|LITTRANS/MEDIEVAL/RELIG ST 253||Of Demons and Angels. Dante's Divine Comedy||3|
|LITTRANS 255||Literature in Translation: Boccaccio's Decameron-The Human Comedy||3|
|LITTRANS 256||Lit in Translation: Images of the Individual in the Italian Renaissance||3|
|LITTRANS 271||In Translation:Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature, Middle Ages-1900||3-4|
|LITTRANS/FOLKLORE/MEDIEVAL/RELIG ST 342||In Translation: Mythology of Scandinavia||3-4|
|LITTRANS/FOLKLORE/MEDIEVAL 345||In Translation: The Scandinavian Tale and Ballad||3-4|
|LITTRANS/FOLKLORE/MEDIEVAL 346||In Translation: The Icelandic Sagas||3-4|
|LITTRANS/FOLKLORE 347||In Translation: Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore||3-4|
|MEDIEVAL/HISTORY/JEWISH/RELIG ST 368||The Bible in the Middle Ages||3|
|MUSIC 411||Survey of Music in the Middle Ages||3|
|MUSIC 412||Survey of Music in the Renaissance||3|
|SCAND ST 373||Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature: From the Middle Ages to 1900||3-4|
|SCAND ST/MEDIEVAL 407||Old Norse||3|
|SCAND ST/MEDIEVAL 409||Survey of Old Norse-Icelandic Literature||3|
|SCAND ST/MEDIEVAL 430||The Vikings||4|
|SCAND ST 433||The Scandinavian Tale and Ballad||4|
|SCAND ST 435||The Icelandic Sagas||4|
|SCAND ST/MEDIEVAL 444||Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore||4|
|SCAND ST 414||History of the Scandinavian Languages I: Proto- to Common Scandinavian||3|
|SPANISH/MEDIEVAL 414||Literatura de la Edad Media Castellana (ss. XII-XV)||3|
|SPANISH/MEDIEVAL 503||Survey of Medieval Literature||3|
|SPANISH/MEDIEVAL 504||Survey of Medieval Literature||3|
|SPANISH/MEDIEVAL 541||Old Spanish||3|
Residence and quality of work
8 credits counting toward the certificate, taken in residence
A cumulative 3.000 GPA in all courses counting toward the certificate
In addition to the required courses, all certificate candidates are encouraged to enhance their work in medieval studies by acquiring a reading knowledge of a modern European language as early as possible. Studying Latin in addition is strongly recommended for those who plan to graduate work in the field.
In consultation with the director, students may choose to work beyond the certificate to a self-designed major in medieval studies. For further information, contact the director of medieval studies.
Undergraduate/Special Student Certificates
This certificate is intended to be completed in the context of an undergraduate degree and for those seeking this certificate that is preferred. For students who have substantially completed this certificate at UW–Madison (at least 12 credits) and may need one or two courses to complete the certificate, they may do so immediately after completion of the bachelor’s degree by enrolling in the course as a University Special (nondegree) student. The certificate must be completed within a year of completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students should keep in mind that University Special students have the last registration priority and that may limit availability of desired courses. Financial aid is not available when enrolled as a University Special student to complete an undergraduate certificate.
1. to provide opportunities for students and faculty to pool their interests and knowledge and explore the interrelationships among the medieval studies disciplines in ways usually not feasible within conventional academic compartmentalization.
2. to help interested undergraduates develop skills in historical languages, critical reading of primary sources of all kinds (texts, visual and material culture, music and oral culture), historiography and current methodologies necessary to prepare them for graduate studies in medieval areas.
3. to provide opportunities for students and faculty to pool their interests and knowledge and explore the interrelationships among the medieval disciplines in ways usually not feasible within conventional academic compartmentalization.
4. to offer the non-specialist critical analytical skills and historical perspectives on current issues such as religious conflict and the concept of "holy war", colonialism and cultural globalism, gender and sexual identity, scientific and technological innovation.
5. to foster appreciation of all aspects of medieval culture and its manifestations in contemporary popular culture.
Students can obtain advising for the certificate by contacting the director of medieval studies. The director serves as the undergaduate advisor for all students pursuing the certificate. For further information see the Medieval Studies website.