Medieval Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Medieval Studies Program at UC Berkeley is an interdisciplinary group that coordinates and sponsors lectures, events, and visiting professorships; promotes scholarly interests common to medievalists of different academic departments; and communicates information of interest among them. The committee on Medieval Studies offers a concurrent PhD program in which candidates have both a home department and training in the core disciplines of medieval studies. The degree granted is the concurrent PhD in the departmental discipline and medieval studies (e.g., English and medieval studies, history and medieval studies). The concurrent PhD is designed to preserve an established standard of training in a major subject while broadening the student's experience in other aspects of the field. A candidate for the concurrent PhD is expected to fulfill all the PhD requirements of the major field of study.

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Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Program

Graduate students must be accepted for admission to a regular department (e.g., English or History) before applying for a concurrent degree in Medieval Studies.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Candidates for this concurrent degree program must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Completion of three courses, which must include:
    1. MED ST 200 Introduction to Research Materials and Methods, a four-credit proseminar introducing the disciplinary resources for research on medieval topics and their use in interdisciplinary study.
    2. HISTORY 275B, or HISTORY 285B on a solely medieval topic (Other appropriate graduate courses in history may be substituted with the consent of the graduate adviser.) Students whose home department is History must take two courses in category (c), below.
    3. Any course from outside the student’s home department, normally drawn from the following:
      COM LIT 212Studies in Medieval Literature4
      ENGLISH 205BOld English4
      ENGLISH 211Chaucer4
      ENGLISH 212Readings in Middle English4
      FRENCH 210AStudies in Medieval Literature4
      FRENCH 211AReading and Interpretation of Old French Texts4
      GERMAN 201ACourse Not Available
      GERMAN 205Studies in Medieval Literature4
      HISTART 258Seminar in Late Medieval Art in Northern Europe2,4
      ITALIAN 212Seminar on Dante2,4
      MED ST 205Medieval Manuscripts as Primary Sources4
      MED ST 250Seminar in Medieval Culture2-4
      SCANDIN 201BNorse Literature4
      SCANDIN 220Early Scandinavian Literature4
      (In addition to the courses listed, any graduate-level course in the relevant departments whose content is wholly medieval may, with the permission of the graduate advisers, be counted toward this requirement.) All courses for this requirement must be completed for a letter grade.
  2. Advanced competence in Latin, which will normally be demonstrated through two graduate-level or upper division courses in medieval Latin literature (one of which must normally be LATIN 140 or LATIN 155A). The Latin proficiency exams that are offered by some departments may not be used to fulfill this requirement.
  3. Reading proficiency in at least one medieval vernacular, one of which must be outside the major field of study. Ordinarily such knowledge will be demonstrated through graduate-level or approved upper division coursework, drawn from the following:
    CELTIC 105AOld and Middle Irish4
    CELTIC 146AMedieval Welsh Language and Literature4
    or CELTIC 146B Medieval Welsh Language and Literature
    ENGLISH 104Introduction to Old English4
    ENGLISH 111Chaucer4
    ENGLISH 112Middle English Literature4
    ENGLISH 205BOld English4
    ENGLISH 211Chaucer4
    ENGLISH 212Readings in Middle English4
    FRENCH 112AMedieval Literature4
    or FRENCH 112B Medieval Literature
    FRENCH 114ALate Medieval Literature4
    FRENCH 210AStudies in Medieval Literature4
    FRENCH 211AReading and Interpretation of Old French Texts4
    GERMAN 105Middle High German for Undergraduates3
    GERMAN 201ACourse Not Available
    GERMAN 205Studies in Medieval Literature4
    GERMAN 273Gothic4
    GERMAN 276Old High German4
    GERMAN 280North Sea Germanic4
    GERMAN 282Old Saxon4
    ITALIAN 109Dante's Commedia (in Italian)4
    ITALIAN 110Literature and Culture of the 13th and 14th Centuries4
    ITALIAN 212Seminar on Dante2,4
    SCANDIN 101AIntroduction to Old Norse I4
    SCANDIN 101BIntroduction to Old Norse II4
    SCANDIN 201AOld Norse4
    SCANDIN 201BNorse Literature4
    SCANDIN 220Early Scandinavian Literature4
    Other courses offering readings exclusively in a medieval vernacular may be substituted with the permission of the graduate adviser. Also with the permission of the graduate adviser, medieval versions of other relevant languages (such as Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, or Old Church Slavonic) may be accepted in fulfillment of this requirement.
  4. Working knowledge of the material sources of medieval culture. Ordinarily this requirement is met through coursework, or approved specialist training, in the study of medieval manuscripts: e.g., palaeography, diplomatics, or codicology. Students may also demonstrate their mastery of primary material sources through an extended essay making substantial and original use of these skills. When appropriate, and with the consent of the graduate adviser, training in allied disciplines making use of primary materials (such as epigraphy or medieval archaeology) may be accepted.
  5. A field statement of 30-50 pages, which situates the major area of interest in an interdisciplinary setting. This is not a prospectus setting out the specific plan of research for a dissertation, but a broader and more preliminary contextualizing essay, placing the present state and resources of the student’s home discipline in relation to those other disciplines of medieval studies of which the student will need to have a sophisticated apprehension in order to conceive such a plan of research. This statement will be evaluated by the student’s adviser and the Medieval Studies representative to the examination committee (see [6], below). The field statement must be approved by both the adviser and examiner at least 30 days prior to the oral qualifying examination. It should thus ordinarily be submitted to the relevant faculty members about six weeks prior to the date of the oral examination.
  6. A special committee for the PhD qualifying examination. A representative of Medieval Studies must serve on the PhD orals examination committee. In the event of a failure on either the field statement or the Medieval Studies portion of the qualifying exam, the candidate may revise the field statement and/or retake the Medieval Studies portion of the orals in accordance with the policies of the Graduate Division, Policies and Procedures F.2.7.
  7. Regular participation in the Medieval Studies Colloquium, and one presentation of dissertation-work in progress to that colloquium.


Medieval Studies

MED ST 200 Introduction to Research Materials and Methods 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2015, Spring 2013
The gradute proseminar. Basic materials and resources in fields represented in the Medieval Studies program, and in some subjects involving expertise in more than one discipline (e.g., liturgy, codicology). Emphasis on methods of interdisciplinary research, research tools, and critical evaluation of their use.

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MED ST 205 Medieval Manuscripts as Primary Sources 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2012, Fall 2007, Fall 1998
This course explores the use of medieval manuscripts as primary sources for contemporary scholarship and as evidence of book culture in the medieval West.

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MED ST 210 Paleography and Codicology 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2013
Instruction in Medieval Latin paleography and/or the paleography of one or more of the medieval vernacular languages of Western Europe, emphasizing the evolution of scripts as well as practice in reading them. Ancillary instruction in the principles of codicology with attention to the process of text-making and book manufacture.

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MED ST 250 Seminar in Medieval Culture 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2010
Taught by the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Medieval Studies on a topic related to his or her specialty. In the event that the instructor is in residence for fewer than 15 weeks, the course will be offered for either 2 or 3 units of credit, in proportion to the number of actual contact hours.

Seminar in Medieval Culture: Read More [+]

Faculty and Instructors


Sabrina C. Agarwal, Associate Professor. Bioarchaeology, skeletal biology, gender research, biological and evolutionary anthropology, osteology and osteoporosis, health and disease, paleopathology.
Research Profile

Asad Ahmed, Associate Professor. Islam (social and intellectual history).
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Diliana Angelova, Assistant Professor. Gender, early Christian art, Byzantine art, late antique art, the Virgin Mary, early Christian empresses, imperial iconography, power and material culture, the empress Helena, the relic of the True Cross, urban development of Constantinople, textiles, ivories, mythology in Byzantine art, myth and genre in Archaic and Classical Greek art, romantic love in ancient and medieval art.
Research Profile

Albert Russell Ascoli, Professor. Italy, national identity, literature and history, Dante, authorship and authority, Ariosto, Machiavelli, Petrarch, Boccaccio, epic and romance, Renaissance, early modern, Middle Ages.
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Frank Bezner, Associate Professor. Medieval Latin literature; Medieval literary culture; Neo-Latin; Intellectual history.
Research Profile

Steven Botterill, Associate Professor. Italian literature and culture, Dante.
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Susanna Elm, Professor. History of the Later Roman Empire, pagan - Christian interactions, ancient medicine, slavery and the evolution of Christianity, leadership and empire, reception of antiquity.
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Beate Fricke, Associate Professor. Medieval art and architecture, idolatry, iconoclasm, history of allegory, formation of communities, incest, anthropophagy, animation, emergence of life and procreation, theories and practices in use of images and relics, visual and material culture, Carolingian Art, Gothic Art, Ottonian Art.
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Kate Heslop, Assistant Professor. Medieval Studies, Old Norse literature, Viking and medieval Scandinavia.
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David Hult, Professor. Literary theory, medieval French literature, allegory, hermeneutics, text editing, French Studies.
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Rosemary Joyce, Professor. Latin America, anthropology, gender, archaeology, sexuality, museums, cultural heritage, ethics, Central America, feminism.
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Steven Justice, Professor. English, late medieval literature, medieval Latin, Chaucer, hagiography, Latin religious thought, literary criticism.
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Geoffrey Koziol, Professor. Medieval history, History of Medieval Christianity, Medieval Political Institutions.
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Henrike Lange, Assistant Professor. Medieval art.

Niklaus Largier, Professor. Religion, literature, German, history of medieval and early modern German literature, theology, mysticism, secularism, senses, sensuality, history of emotions, passions, asceticism, flagellation, sexuality.
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Margaret Larkin, Professor. Near Eastern studies.
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Daniel Lee, Assistant Professor. Political theory, history of political thought, jurisprudence.

Maria Mavroudi, Professor. Byzantine studies.
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Jennifer Miller, Associate Professor. English, philology, paleography, hagiography, medieval literature, literature in old & middle English, historiography, medieval rhetorical culture, insular political relations, multilingualism, translation & textual transmission, dialectology.
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Maureen Miller, Professor. Medieval history.
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Ignacio Navarrete, Professor. Spanish literature: poetry, poetic theory, narrative and culture, history of the book, Cervantes, Don Quixote, Medieval and Early Modern Spanish literature. Modern Spain.
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Maura Bridget Nolan, Associate Professor. Chaucer, drama, Middle English literature, Gower, Lydgate, medieval, 16th century, literary form, style.
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Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe, Professor. Old English language and literature, textual criticism, Medieval Studies.
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Irmengard Rauch, Professor. Semiotics, Germanic linguistics, linguistic archeology, paralanguage, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, linguistic fieldwork, socio-cultural and cognitive approaches to language variation and language change, contrastive analysis and linguistic methodology, Gothic, Modern High German and its dialects, Old/Middle High/Early New High German.
Research Profile

Thomas F. Shannon, Professor. Linguistics, control, German, Dutch, syntax, phonology, naturalness, syllable structure, complementation, ergative phenomena, passivization, perfect auxiliary selection, word order, processing factors syntactic phenomena, cognitive, functional grammar, corpus.
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Elaine C. Tennant, Professor. German, Habsburg court society in the early modern period, the development of the German language at the end of the middle ages, the Middle High German narrative tradition, literary and cultural traditions of the holy roman empire, European reactions.
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Emily Thornbury, Associate Professor. Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature.
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Jonas Wellendorf, Assistant Professor. Old Norse language and literature, Scandinavian mythology, Scandinavian cultural history (Viking Age and Middle ages).
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Emily Zazulia, Assistant Professor. Medieval and Renaissance Music, the intersection of musical style, complex notation, and intellectual history.


Kathryn Klar, Lecturer.

Annalee Rejhon, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Carol J. Clover, Professor Emeritus. Medieval studies (Northern Europe), film (especially American).
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Mary Kay Duggan, Professor Emeritus.

Charles Faulhaber, Professor Emeritus. Medieval Spanish literature; medieval rhetoric; codicology, paleography; computerization of scholarly methodology.
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John Lindow, Professor Emeritus. Old Norse-Icelandic literature, Scandinavian folklore, Finno-Ugric folklore, Pre-Christian religion of the North, Scandinavian mythology.
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Daniel Melia, Professor Emeritus. Rhetoric, oral literature, Celtic studies, Celtic languages (Welsh, Irish), folklore, medieval history and literature.

James T. Monroe, Professor Emeritus.

David H. Wright, Professor Emeritus. Art from Augustus to Charlemagne, palaeography and codicology, late Roman numismatics, Art History, Manuscript Illumination, Codicology, Numismatics.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Medieval Studies Program

7305 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-4218

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Program Director

Maureen C. Miller, PhD (Department of History)

2219 Dwinelle

Phone: 510-642-5678

Graduate Adviser

Jonas Wellendorf, PhD (Department of Scandinavian Studies)

434 Wheeler Hall

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