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Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies is an interdisciplinary program that explores the many cultures of the European and Middle Eastern Middle Ages from the viewpoints of history, literature, religious studies, drama, art, and music.

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Undergraduate Program

Students build individual programs drawing on several different subject fields. In addition, cross-listed courses in the Medieval Studies Program put students in touch with medievalists both at UCSB and in the larger scholarly community. The undergraduate students in the Medieval Studies Program are also invited to attend the medieval colloquium and lecture series. With the permision of the instructor and the registrar, undergraduate students may enroll in graduate courses.

Graduate Program

The program offers a Ph.D. emphasis in European Medieval Studies, which all Ph.D. and M.A. candidates in the humanities are eligible to pursue. The emphasis has been developed primarily for Ph.D. candidates whose dissertations focus on medieval studies, but in keeping with our interdisciplinary interests, we also welcome graduate students specializing in Early Modern Studies, Classics, and other related fields.

To earn a Graduate Certificate in Medieval Studies the candidate must (1) be admitted into one of the participating departments by the Graduate Division, and (2) receive a passing grade in each of the following:

  • Medieval Latin (Classics Medieval Latin 103)
  • One course in a vernacular, Western European or Middle Eastern medieval language (English 205, English 230, French 206, Spanish 222A, Spanish 222B, Portuguese 222, Religious Studies 148A, Religious Studies 148B, Religious Studies 148, Religious Studies 210)
  • Paleography and/or Diplomatics (History 201E, 201E)
  • Medieval Studies 200A-B-C . This course may be offered every other year.
  • Eight additional units in graduate courses on medieval topics.

Students may petition to substitute appropriate courses from other institutions for these requirements.


Each year, the program sponsors a series of mini-conferences and lectures open to all UCSB undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. The colloquium series puts interdisciplinarity in motion by bringing together distinguished medievalists and modernists, anthropologists and literary theorists, film scholars and art historians. The series explores the role of medievalism in the contemporary world and the nature of the questions our contemporary world asks about the past. The colloquia include lectures by visiting medievalists, responses from UCSB faculty in other fields, panel and audience discussion and many opportunities for more informal conversation.

Graduate Student Conference

Medieval Studies hosts a graduate student conference in the spring, which features a distinguished plenary speaker and a series of interdisciplinary panels.

Related Organizations

The Medieval Studies Program works in close cooperation with the UCSB Comparative Literature Program, the UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the Early Modern Center, the UCSB Transcriptions Project, the Public Humanities Initiative of the English Department, the Medieval Academy of America, the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center at UCLA, the International Congress on Medieval Studies, and the Renaissance Society of America.

Medieval Studies Advisory Committee

  • Edward D. English (History), Executive Director
  • Harvey L. Sharrer (Emeritus, Spanish and Portuguese)
  • Sharon Farmer (History)
  • Debra Blumenthal (History)
  • Cynthia Brown (French and Italian)
  • Jody Enders (French and Italian)
  • Aranye Fradenburg (English)
  • Carol Lansing ( History)
  • Carol Braun Pasternack (Emerita, English)
  • Heather Blurton (English) Committee Chair, 2015-16


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©2006 Edward D. English