Doctoral Certificate in Medieval Studies


David Pedersen (PhD Program, English; MVST
Doctoral Certificate) and David Smigen-Rothkopf
(MA Program, Medieval Studies) at the
Oxford Outremer Map Colloquium (April 2016).

Students who have already been accepted to a doctoral program in one of the participating doctoral departments at Fordham (Classics, English, History, Philosophy, and Theology) are eligible to apply to the Director of the Center for Medieval Studies for admission to the Medieval Studies doctoral concentration. This interdisciplinary program offers students the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the Middle Ages, take five courses outside their doctoral department, add an interdisciplinary concentration to their curriculum vitae, and apply for a second Senior Teaching Fellowship (taken, if awarded, in their doctoral program).


Requirements for the Doctoral Certificate in Medieval Studies

  • 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.


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 are allowed to retake each exam once, normally within one calendar year of the first attempt.

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.


Learning Goals for the Doctoral Certificate in Medieval Studies

Upon completion of the Doctoral Certificate in Medieval Studies, graduate students will have acquired

  • A complex understanding of the medieval world based on interdisciplinary study and multiple methodologies
  • An appreciation of the cultural heritage of the medieval period
  • The ability to conduct scholarly research in two distinct areas of specialization outside their own doctoral department
  • The paleographical training to work with manuscripts
  • The reading knowledge of Latin (or Greek) to work with texts in their original language
  • The reading knowledge of two modern languages other than English relevant to publications in their areas of research
  • The skillset to express themselves in the academic register appropriate to their medieval areas of specialization, both in writing and in oral delivery
  • The ability to work collaboratively with others
  • Training and experience in participating in the professional discourse of medievalists: online, at conferences, in publications et al.