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

Applying for Graduate Admission

Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. The Graduate Division hosts a complete list of graduate academic programs, departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application and steps to take to apply can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Admission Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;

  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and

  3. Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.

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, the proseminar introduces students to a broad range of approaches to medieval materials from across multiple subdisciplines and familiarizes them with specialized research tools and resources.
    2. HISTORY 275B or another course 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 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, Latin 155A or 155B, or Classics 241). 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 Undergraduates4
    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

Contact Information

Medieval Studies Program

7305 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-4218

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Program Director and Graduate Advisor

Jonas Wellendorf, PhD (Department of Scandinavian Studies)

434 Wheeler Hall

Undergraduate Minor Advisor

Jacki Valadez (English Department)

Graduate Advisor

April Sanders (English Department)

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