CENTER FOR MEDIEVAL STUDIES
Medieval Studies is an interdisciplinary program that offers students the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the Middle Ages and to integrate in a coherent whole various facets of medieval civilization. Known for its excellence in diverse fields of medieval research, Fordham University offers the Master of Arts degree in medieval studies and a doctoral-level medieval certificate. Fordham’s intimate size and tradition of devotion to teaching offers students an intellectual climate in which faculty members, well-known and active in the scholarly community, encourage and support students in their academic pursuits. The University offers graduate assistantships and fellowships to a limited number of students.
The Master of Arts (MA) Program
The master’s degree appeals to those interested in a broader spectrum of medieval subjects than is available within a specific discipline. Its 30-credit requirement allows the serious student to complete course work in one year of full-time study.
Admission Requirements: Requirements for admission to the MA program are those of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: a bachelor's degree from an accredited American or foreign university; the Graduate Record Examination (General Aptitude Test); and, for foreign students, an English proficiency examination such as TOEFL. For a student to remain in the program, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences requires a “B” average (or 3.0 GPA).
Required Courses: The curriculum for the Master of Arts degree comprises courses designed especially for the program, as well as a wide variety of offerings in the graduate wings of participating departments. Students are required to take two Medieval Studies courses (those with an MVST prefix), one medieval history course, and two courses in each of two additional disciplines or thematic fields (art and music history, Latin and Romance literatures, English literature, history, manuscript studies, philosophy, theology). Two medieval courses can be taken as electives. Latin and a second foreign language are strongly recommended.
Exam/Thesis: Upon completion of course work, master’s candidates may choose to take a comprehensive examination or write a Master’s thesis/final paper, which must be defended and approved by two readers, including the mentor. Those electing to take the examination must have given evidence in a graduate-level course of their ability to write a developed paper. The exam can be either oral or written. The exam is based on course work and administered by the Director and two faculty members representing each of the two additional disciplines or thematic fields covered by the course distribution.
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The Doctoral Certificate in Medieval Studies
The certificate recognizes Fordham doctoral students in medieval fields who have pursued additional studies in medieval subjects outside their doctoral disciplines. Students who have already been accepted to a doctoral program in one of the participating doctoral departments at Fordham (Classics, English, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Theology) are eligible to apply to the Director of the Center for Medieval Studies for admission to study toward the Medieval Studies doctoral certificate. Upon acceptance, the candidate must complete the following requirements:
The assessment of reading knowledge in a foreign language follows the guidelines set out by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The comprehensive exams in the minor fields generally consist of a three-hour written exam for each field, with questions set and marked by the student’s instructors in the minor field courses. In doctoral departments which allow students to choose a minor field outside the department, candidates for the doctoral certificate may opt to take one of the minor fields according to the guidelines of the home department (for example, an oral exam if the student is doing a PhD in History). Minor field exams will normally be graded high pass, pass, or fail. Students who fail one or more of the minor field exams is allowed to retake each exam once, normally within one calendar year of the first attempt.
- Four graduate-level courses selected from among the medieval course offerings of the Medieval Studies program and the Center’s participating departments. The courses should be chosen to create two minor fields (two courses in each field), both of which must be outside the student’s own doctoral department. A minor field may be disciplinary (for example, two courses offered by one department) or thematic (for example, Manuscript Studies, Medieval Art, Medieval Italian Literature, Medieval Liturgy, Medieval Mysticism and Spirituality, Medieval Women, Monasticism, Old French, Scholastic Thought, etc.). Students who have completed an MA in Medieval Studies at Fordham may count two of their MA courses towards the doctoral concentration.
- A course in Latin Paleography.
- A reading knowledge of Latin (or Greek where appropriate).
- A reading knowledge of two vernacular languages (other than English).
- Upon completion of all course and language requirements, the student must pass comprehensive exams in the two minor fields.
Upon the successful completion of these requirements and a successful defense of a dissertation written under a mentor from the major department, the student will receive the Doctoral Certificate in Medieval Studies at Commencement ceremonies when the PhD is awarded.
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