Medieval Studies, Minor

Program Code: MEDVL_UMNR

Program Description

The Medieval Studies minor encourages an interdisciplinary approach to the diverse and interconnected cultures of Europe and the Mediterranean rim between the fifth and the fifteenth centuries and to contact zones in the Americas, Near East, and the northwestern Pacific. Students survey and evaluate key dimensions of the medieval period across disciplinary boundaries. They develop skills in critical writing and in analyzing documents, monuments, contexts, and conventions of expression; consider emerging fields such as digital humanities and new media; and examine the abiding cross-cultural and trans-historical significance of historical, social, religious, creative, and linguistic developments from the medieval period. The minor allows students to combine courses, guided readings, and research projects in fields such as history, art, archaeology, literature, languages, philosophy, and religious studies.

What is Medieval Studies?

Medieval Studies is an interdisciplinary field that ranges widely across periods and geographies. We usually imagine the Middle Ages as the millennium between the end of classical antiquity and the start of the Renaissance. But concepts and institutions that we take as distinctively modern—the individual, companionate marriage, the state, vernacular languages as expressions of national identity—begin in the Middle Ages. And the Middle Ages return as a powerful source for imaginative expression in the art and literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and in digital culture in the twenty-first century.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You want to grow as an analytical thinker with good writing skills, the ability to synthesize disparate materials, and a deep sense of context.
  • You have an interest in studying a rich and dynamic period, and wish to further understand the time through its history, literature, philosophy, and culture.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 18

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
MEDVL/HIST 107Medieval Europe Keystone/General Education Course3
MEDVL 108Medieval Civilization Keystone/General Education Course3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 12 credits (at least 6 credits at the 400-level) of the following:12
Art History
Ancient to Medieval Art Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to the Art and Architecture of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas Keystone/General Education Course
Ancient to Medieval Architecture Keystone/General Education Course
Pagans and Christians: Encounters in Early Medieval Art Keystone/General Education Course
Romanesque and Gothic Art Keystone/General Education Course
ARTH 330
The Illuminated Manuscript
The Gothic Cathedral
Architecture of the Medieval Monastery
Studies in Medieval Sculpture
Late Antique and Early Christian Art
Byzantine Art
Art and Empire: Aztec, Inca and Spanish
The Byzantine Empire Keystone/General Education Course
Crusades: Holy War in the Middle Ages Keystone/General Education Course
Medieval and Modern Russia Keystone/General Education Course
Islamic States, Societies and Cultures c. 600-1500 Keystone/General Education Course
Research in Medieval Sources
Early Medieval Society
Church and State in the High Middle Ages
Medieval Britain
Innovation in Medieval Europe
Medieval Celtic Studies
Classical Islamic Civilization, 600-1258
Japan in the Age of Warriors
Literature and Language
Introduction to Western Literatures Through the Renaissance Keystone/General Education Course
The Arthurian Legend Keystone/General Education Course
Heroic Literature
British Literature to 1798 Keystone/General Education Course
Medieval English Literature
French and Francophone Literature I
Germanic Heroic and Medieval Literature in English Translation Keystone/General Education Course
History of the German Language
History of German Literature and Culture I
Jewish Civilization Keystone/General Education Course
Greatest Books of Italian Literature
Dante in Translation
Iberian Civilization Keystone/General Education Course
Topics in the Cultures of Spain
The Evolution of Spanish
Medieval Studies
Special Topics
Foreign Studies
Research Project
Foreign Studies
Foreign Studies
Medieval Britain
Medieval Celtic Studies
Research Project
Independent Studies
Special Topics
Foreign Studies
Philosophy and Religious Studies
Medieval Philosophy Keystone/General Education Course
New Testament Keystone/General Education Course
Major Christian Thinkers (upon advising)

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Meet the Academic Advisers web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Career Paths

A minor in Medieval Studies prepares students for those careers which require a broad knowledge of the humanities. Many students combine a Medieval Studies major with a major such as art history, broadcasting, art, language and literature, political science or any of the liberal arts majors, or students may take courses in areas like economics, speech communication, and sociology.


  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Museum Curatorship
  • Archiving
  • Business
  • Medicine

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Graduate work is required for teaching at the college or university level. Former students in the Penn State major have continued their studies at universities such as Oxford, Catholic University, Bryn Mawr, St. Andrews, and Dublin. Many students continue their work in medieval studies or related fields like art, music, theatre, literature, history, or philosophy at the graduate level.


University Park

108 Weaver Building
University Park, PA 16802