Undergraduate Studies

The Annunciation
The Annunciation, MS 161
Special Collections, University of Wisconsin

The study of the medieval past brings many rewards on its own terms:

  • the intellectual challenge of investigating cultural difference
  • the ability to trace the origins of familiar modern ideas, whether on the level of the  individual (love, marriage) or the institutional (political beliefs, religious stereotypes)
  • the ability to imagine new answers to questions that our contemporary society may answer in radically different ways

The Certificate in Medieval Studies rewards students for undertaking interdisciplinary work across several departments. This endeavor provides the necessary tools for viewing clearly not only a distant society, but also, in its reflection, our own.

Like a minor, the Certificate documents a rigorous course of study in addition to the major(s). It attests ambitious intellectual goals as well as the ability to imagine historical problems in a transnational perspective. As a credential, it demonstrates a capacity for comparative critical thinking and analysis, skills that appeal to a wide range of potential employers.

Requirements for the Certificate in Medieval Studies

The Certificate in Medieval Studies is designed to encourage pursuit of interdisciplinary work among several departments.

Summary of the Requirements

Five courses (15 credits) in the medieval area, according to the following distributional requirements:

  1. One of the following courses (3 credits) is required:
    • History 115: Medieval Europe 410-1500
    • History/Medieval Studies 215: Life in the Middle Ages
    • ILS 201: Western Culture: Science, Technology, Philosophy
  2. Two courses (6 credits) from Category A: History, History of Science, Philosophy, and Political Science
  3. Two courses from Category B: Languages, Literature, Visual Arts, and Music

Additionally, all certificate students must maintain a 3.0 minimum grade point average in the courses that count toward the Certificate.

Recommended Language Study

While language study is not required for the Certificate, all candidates are encouraged to enhance the work they can do in Medieval Studies by acquiring a reading knowledge of a modern or historical European language as early as possible. Studying Latin in addition is strongly recommended for those who plan to do graduate work in the field.

Undergraduate Advising

The Director serves as the undergraduate advisor for all students pursuing the Certificate in Medieval Studies. All courses not listed in the approved course listing must be approved by the advisor in order to count toward the Certificate. Students who have taken courses in the medieval area at other universities or while studying abroad may petition the advisor to approve those courses as substitutes for the Certificate, according to the above distributional requirements.

For further information or to sign up for the Certificate, contact the Director:

Professor Thomas Dale, Director of Medieval Studies,
Department of Art History,
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Room 203
800 University Ave.
tedale@wisc.edu
Office Telephone no. (608) 263-5783

Undergraduate Courses

The following regularly offered courses count towards the Certificate in Medieval Studies. Departmental offerings are marked as “Category A” (History, History of Science, Philosophy, and Political Science) or “Category B” (Languages, Literature, Visual Arts, and Music). These courses are offered fairly regularly. Courses that have a significant medieval content but do not appear below (or courses taken at another university or on a study-abroad program) may be substituted for these courses where appropriate; consult the Director with any queries.

To find out what is being offered in a given semester, please consult the Schedule of Classes website maintained by the Office of the Registrar.

Themes and Competencies in Medieval Studies

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Book History and Manuscript Studies (Category B)

  • Art History 415 (Topics in Medieval Art): Image and Text in Medieval Manuscripts
  • Art History 650: History of Books and Print Culture in Europe and North America
  • French and Italian 709: Medieval Manuscripts and Textual Criticism
  • German 755/758:  Palaeography of Medieval and Early Modern German
  • History 316: Latin Paleography
  • Library and Information Sciences (LIS) 644: History of the Book and Print Culture
  • Scandinavian Studies 511: Paleography and Philology.

Gender and Sexuality (Category B)

  • Art History 425: Race and gender in Italian Early Modern Art
  • Art History 815: Seminar in Medieval Art: The Body in Medieval Art (topic offered periodically)
  • English/Medieval Studies 425: Medieval Romance
  • Women’s Studies 416: Women in Medieval Society

Globalization and Cultural Exchange (Categories A & B)

  • Art History 415 (Topics in Medieval Art) Cultural Appropriation and Alterity
  • History 600: Interfaith Relations in Crusader States  
  • Integrated Liberal Studies 271: Pre-Copernican Astronomy and Cosmology in Cross-cultural Perspective
  • Jewish Studies 473: Jewish Civilization in Medieval Spain
  • Scandinavian Studies 446 Celtic-Scandinavian Cultural Interrelation
  • Scandinavian Studies 474: Celtic-Scandinavian Cultural Interrelations
  • Spanish 361 Spanish Civilization

History (Cultural, Intellectual and Political) (Category A)

  • English 360: The Anglo-Saxons
  • French 347 Medieval, Renaissance & Early Mod Civilization
  • History 112: The World of Late Antiquity
  • History 115: Medieval Europe   
  • History 200: Historical Studies (when topic is medieval)
  • History 215: Life in the Middle Ages
  • History 311: Schools and Learning in the Medieval World
  • History 312: The Medieval Church
  • History 313: Introduction to Byzantine History and Civilization
  • History 314: Problems in Byzantine History and Civilization
  • History 317: Medieval Social and Intellectual History, 400-1200
  • History 318: Medieval Social and Intellectual History, 1200-1450
  • History 321: Economic Life in Medieval Europe
  • History 325: History of Medieval France
  • History 333: The Renaissance
  • History 360: The Anglo-Saxons
  • History 413: Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000
  • History 417: History of Russia
  • History 426: The History of Punishment
  • History 431: History of Scandinavia to 1815
  • History 439: Islamic History from the Origin of Islam to the Ottoman Empire
  • History 459: The Rule of Law: History and Theory
  • History 476 Medieval Law and Society
  • History 539: The Middle East and the Balkans during the Ottoman Era, 1200-1600
  • History 550 Medieval Law and Society
  • History 805 Seminar-Medieval History (Law and Violence in the Middle Ages)
  • Integrated Liberal Studies 203 Western Culture: Literature & The Arts I
  • Integrated Liberal Studies 205 Western Culture: Political, Economic & Social Thought I
  • Languages and Cultures of Asia 266: Introduction to the Middle East
  • Philosophy 435: Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity to the 17th Century
  • Political Science 501: The Development of Ancient and Medieval Western Political Thought
  • Scandinavian Studies 431: History of Scandinavia to 1815

Languages (Category B)

  • English 417: History of English Language
  • English 520: Old English
  • English 522: Middle English Language
  • French 701: Introduction à l’ancien français
  • German 651 (meets with Medieval Studies 651):  Intro to Middle High German
  • German 755: Old Germanic Languages
  • German 768: Comparative and Historical Grammar of the Old Germanic Languages
  • Italian 771: History of the Italian Language
  • Latin 563: Mediaeval Latin
  • Medieval Studies 408: Old Norse
  • Medieval Studies 651: Introduction to Middle High German
  • Medieval Studies 755: Old Germanic Languages: Gothic
  • Scandinavian Studies 407: Old Norse I
  • Scandinavian Studies 408: Old Norse II.
  • Scandinavian Studies 511 Paleography and Philology.
  • Slavic 803: Introduction to Old Church Slavonic and the History of Russian Literary Language
  • Spanish 541: Old Spanish
  • Spanish 546: History of the Spanish Language
  • Spanish 811: Philological Seminar: Old Spanish

Literature and Textual Criticism (Category B)

  • African Languages & Literature 120: Literary Legacy of the Arabs
  • Comparative literature 377: Literary Periods (when topic is medieval)
  • English 177:  Tolkien, Beowulf and the Rise of Modern Fantasy
  • English 241: Literature and Culture 1
  • English 359: Beowulf
  • English 360: The Anglo-Saxons (cross-listed as History 360, Religious Studies 360)
  • English 423: Topic in Medieval Literature [varies] (cross-listed as Medieval Studies 423)
  • English/Medieval Studies 424: Medieval Drama
  • English /Medieval Studies 425: Medieval Romance
  • English/Medieval Studies 426: Chaucer’s Courtly Poetry
  • English/Medieval Studies 427: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
  • English 546: Travel Literature before 1800
  • English 751: Chaucer and the Courtly Tradition
  • English 752: Late Medieval Religious Literature
  • English 753: Medieval Literature (topics vary)
  • English/Medieval Studies 803: Topics in Medieval Literature
  • French 321:  Introduction to Medieval, Renaissance & Early Modern Literature
  • French 347: Introduction to Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Civilization
  • French 430: Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (topics course)
  • French 451: Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Studies
  • French 703: La littérature française du XIVe et du XVe siècle
  • French/Medieval Studies 704: La Litterature Francaise du XIV et du XV Siecle
  • French 705: La littérature française des débuts jusqu’à la fin du XIIIe siècle
  • French 939: La Littérature médiévale
  • German 611: Survey of German Literature to 1750
  • German 650: History of the German Language
  • German 652: Readings in Middle High German
  • German 701: Literature of the Middle Ages (750-1400)
  • Italian 321: Introduction to Italian Literature I (Beginnings through the Renaissance)
  • Italian 350: Rome: The Changing Shape of the Eternal City
  • Italian 360-Literature in Translation: French and Italian Renaissance Online
  • Italian/Medieval Studies 659-660: Dante’s Divina Commedia
  • Italian 671: Il Duecento (Part I)
  • Italian 672: Il Duecento (Part II)
  • Languages and Cultures of Asia 314: Literatures of Central Asia
  • Literature in Translation 214: Literature of Central Asia in Translation
  • Literature in Translation 235: The World of the Sagas
  • Literature in Translation 253: Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • Literature in Translation 255: Boccaccio’s Decameron
  • Literature in Translation 256: Images of the Individual in the Italian Renaissance
  • Literature in Translation 271: Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature, Middle Ages-1900
  • Literature in Translation 342: Mythology of Scandinavia
  • Literature in Translation 345: The Scandinavian Tale and Ballad
  • Literature in Translation 346: The Icelandic Sagas
  • Medieval Studies 423: Topics in Medieval Literature and Culture
  • Medieval Studies 440: Francis of Assisi: Literature and the Arts
  • Medieval Studies 503: Survey of Medieval Literature
  • Medieval Studies 504: Survey of Medieval Literature
  • Medieval Studies 803: Topics in Medieval Literature
  • Medieval Studies 842: Seminar in Medieval Literature
  • Scandinavian Studies 373: Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature: Middle Ages to 1900
  • Scandinavian Studies 409: Survey-Old Norse-Icelandic Lit
  • Scandinavian Studies 430: The Vikings
  • Scandinavian Studies 433: The Scandinavian Tale and Ballad
  • Scandinavian Studies 435: The Icelandic Saga
  • Scandinavian Studies 474: Celtic-Scandinavian Cultural Interrelations
  • Slavic 701: Survey of Old Russian Literature
  • Spanish/Medieval Studies 414: Literatura de la Edad Media Castellana (ss. XII-XV)
  • Spanish 503: Survey of Medieval Literature I
  • Spanish 504: Survey of Medieval Literature II
  • Spanish/Medieval Studies 841: Seminar: Libro de Buen Amor, Celestina, Corbacho
  • Spanish 842: Seminar: Medieval Literature (topics course)

Media, Visual Studies, and Performance (Category B)

  • Art History 201: From Pyramids to Cathedrals (Ancient and Medieval Art)
  • Art History 305: History of Islamic Art and Architecture
  • Art History 310: Early Christian and Byzantine Art
  • Art History 318: Romanesque and Gothic Art and Architecture
  • Art History 321: Italian Art: 1250-1400
  • Art History 331: Angels, Demons, Nudes: Early Netherlandish Painting
  • Art History 373: Great Cities of Islam
  • Art History 413: Art and Architecture in the Age of the Caliphs
  • Art History 415: Topics in Medieval Art (including Image and Text in Medieval Manuscripts; Death and the Afterlife in Medieval Art; Civic Art, Architecture and Public Space in Medieval Italy)
  • Art History 478: Art and Religious Practices in Medieval Japan
  • Art History 515: Proseminar in Medieval Art
  • Art History 600: Special Topics in Art History (when topic is medieval)
  • Art History 715: Topics in Medieval Art
  • Art History 815: Seminar in Medieval Art
  • English/Medieval Studies 424: Medieval Drama
  • English 731: Advanced Theatre History 500BC to 1700
  • English 803: Topics in Medieval Literature > Pre-modern Literature & Media: Theory & Practice
  • History 600: Crusades & Chivalry in History, Literature & Film
  • Italian 350: Rome: The Changing Shape of the Eternal City
  • Medieval Studies 415: Topics in Medieval Art
  • Medieval Studies 424: Medieval Drama
  • Music 411: Survey of Music in the Middle Ages
  • Music 412: Survey of Music in the Renaissance
  • Music 923: Seminar in Notation

Religion (Categories A & B)

  • Art History 305: History of Islamic Art and Architecture
  • Art History 310: Early Christian and Byzantine Art
  • Art History 331: Angels, Demons, Nudes: Early Netherlandish Painting
  • Art History 373: Great Cities of Islam
  • Art History 413: Art and Architecture in the Age of the Caliphs
  • Art History 415 (Topics in Medieval Art): Death and the Afterlife in Mediaeval Art
  • Art History 430: Death and Magic in Renaissance Art
  • Art History 478: Art and Religious Practices in Medieval Japan
  • History 205: The Making of the Islamic World: The Middle East, 500-1500
  • History 309: The Crusades: Christianity and Islam
  • History 312: The Medieval Church
  • History 366: Medieval Monasticism
  • History 368: The Bible in the Middle Ages
  • History 600: Interfaith Relations in Crusader States
  • Italian 659-660: Dante’s Divina Commedia
  • Jewish Studies 211: Introduction to Judaism
  • Jewish Studies 237: Biblical Poetry in Translation
  • Jewish Studies 371: Topics in Jewish Civilization (when topic is medieval)
  • Jewish Studies 377-378: Jewish Cultural History
  • Jewish Studies 490: Topics in Jewish Studies (when topic is medieval)
  • Religious Studies 211: Introduction to Judaism
  • Religious Studies 368: The Bible in the Middle Ages
  • Religious Studies 439: Islamic History from the Origin of Islam to the Ottoman Empire
  • Religious Studies 440: Francis of Assisi: Literature and the Arts

Science, Medicine and Technology (Categories A & B)

  • Art History 731 (Topics in Early Modern Art): The Artist as Scientist
  • History of Science 201: Origins-Scientific Thought
  • History of Science 322: Ancient and Medieval Science
  • History of Science 401: History of Pharmacy
  • History of Science 507: Health, Disease, and Healing I
  • History of Science 562: Byzantine Medicine and Pharmacy
  • History of Science 622: Studies in Ancient and Medieval Science
  • History of Science 903: Seminar: Medieval, Renaissance and 17th-Century Science
  • Integrated Liberal Studies 271: Pre-Copernican Astronomy and Cosmology in Cross-cultural Perspective

Course Listings by Department

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Art History (all courses Category B)

  • 305: History of Islamic Art and Architecture
  • 310: Early Christian and Byzantine Art
  • 318: Romanesque and Gothic Art and Architecture
  • 321: Italian Art:1250-1400
  • 331: Angels, Demons, Nudes: Early Netherlandish Painting
  • 373: Great Cities of Islam
  • 413: Art and Architecture in the Age of the Caliphs
  • 415: Topics in Medieval Art
  • 515: Proseminar in Medieval Art
  • 600: Special Topics in Art History (when topic is medieval)
  • 815: Seminar: Medieval Art

Comparative Literature (all courses Category B)

  • 377: Literary Periods (when topic is medieval)

English (all courses Category B)

  • 320: Old English
  • 321: Middle English
  • 359: Beowulf
  • 360: The Anglo-Saxons
  • 361: A Study of an Outstanding Figure in Medieval English Literature
  • 361: Chaucer’s Courtly Poetry
  • 362: A Study of a Theme In Medieval English Literature
  • 365: Early Medieval Literature (1066-1350)
  • 367: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
  • 369: Contemporaries and Immediate Successors of Chaucer
  • 751: Chaucer and the Courtly Tradition
  • 752: Late Medieval Religious Literature
  • 753: Medieval Literature (topics vary)
  • 950: Seminar: Topics in Medieval Literature

Folklore (all courses Category B)

  • 474: Celtic-Scandinavian Cultural Interrelations

French (all courses Category B)

  • 430: Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (topics course)
  • 701: Introduction à l’ancien français
  • 703: La littérature française du XIVe et du XVe siècle
  • 705: La littérature française des débuts jusqu’à la fin du XIIIe siècle
  • 709: Medieval Manuscripts and Textual Criticism [also Italian]
  • 939: La Littérature médiévale

German (all courses Category B)

  • 611: Survey of German Literature to 1750
  • 650: History of the German Language
  • 651: Introduction to Middle High German
  • 652: Readings in Middle High German
  • 701: Literature of the Middle Ages (750-1400)
  • 755: Old Germanic Languages
  • 768: Comparative and Historical Grammar of the Old Germanic Languages

History (all courses Category A)

  • 115: Medieval Europe 410-1500 (unless used to satisfy requirement #1 above)
  • 200: Historical Studies (when topic is medieval)
  • 205: The Making of the Islamic World: The Middle East, 500-1500
  • 309: The Crusades: Christianity and Islam
  • 311: Schools and Learning in the Medieval World
  • 312: The Medieval Church
  • 313: Introduction to Byzantine History and Civilization
  • 314: Problems in Byzantine History and Civilization
  • 316: Latin Paleography
  • 317: Medieval Social and Intellectual History, 400-1200
  • 318: Medieval Social and Intellectual History, 1200-1450
  • 321: Economic Life in Medieval Europe
  • 325: History of Medieval France
  • 333: The Renaissance
  • 366: Medieval Monasticism
  • 413: Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000
  • 417: History of Russia
  • 426: The History of Punishment
  • 431: History of Scandinavia to 1815
  • 439: Islamic History from the Origin of Islam to the Ottoman Empire
  • 459: The Rule of Law: History and Theory
  • 539: The Middle East and the Balkans during the Ottoman Era, 1200-1600
  • 600: Advanced Seminar in History (when topic is medieval)
  • 719: Proseminar: Medieval History
  • 720: Selected Topics in Medieval History
  • 805: Seminar–Medieval History

History of Science (all courses Category A)

  • 201: Origins of Scientific Thought (unless used to satisfy requirement #1 above) [also ILS]
  • 322: Ancient and Medieval Science
  • 401: History of Pharmacy
  • 507: Health, Disease, and Healing I
  • 562: Byzantine Medicine and Pharmacy
  • 622: Studies in Ancient and Medieval Science
  • 903: Seminar: Medieval, Renaissance and 17th-Century Science

Integrated Liberal Studies

  • 201: Western Culture: Science, Technology, Philosophy I (unless used to satisfy requirement #1 above) [also Hist Sci, with a different title] (A)
  • 203: Western Culture: Literature and the Arts I (B)
  • 205: Western Culture: Political, Economic, and Social Thought I (A)
  • 271: Pre-Copernican Astronomy and Cosmology in Cross-cultural Perspective (A)

Italian (all courses Category B)

  • 321: Introduction to Italian Literature I (Beginnings through the Renaissance)
  • 659-660: Dante’s Divina Commedia
  • 661-662: Il Trecento
  • 671: Il Duecento
  • 709: Medieval Manuscripts and Textual Criticism [also French]
  • 771: History of the Italian Language

Jewish Studies

  • 371: Topics in Jewish Civilization (when topic is medieval) (either Category A or Category B depending on the focus that semester)
  • 377-378: Jewish Cultural History (A)
  • 473: Jewish Civilization in Medieval Spain (A)
  • 490: Topics in Jewish Studies (when topic is medieval) (either Category A or Category B depending on the focus that semester)

Latin (all courses Category B)

  • 563: Mediaeval Latin

Literature in Translation (all courses Category B)

  • 235: The World of the Sagas
  • 253: Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • 255: Boccaccio’s Decameron
  • 256: Images of the Individual in the Italian Renaissance
  • 271: Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature, Middle Ages-1900
  • 342: Mythology of Scandinavia
  • 345: The Scandinavian Tale and Ballad
  • 346: The Icelandic Sagas
  • 347: Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore

Medieval Studies

  • 185: Introduction to Medieval Studies for Honors (either Category A or Category B depending on the focus that semester)
  • 215: Life in the Middle Ages: An Interdisciplinary Course (unless used to satisfy requirement #1 above) (A)
  • 351: Arthurian Legend and Literature (B)
  • 368: The Bible in the Middle Ages [also Hebrew, History, Jewish St, Religious St] (B)
  • 550: Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies in Medieval Civilization(either Category A or Category B depending on the focus that semester)
  • 551: Advanced Studies in Medieval Literature   (B)
  • 553: Advanced Topics in Medieval Civilization(either Category A or Category B depending on the focus that semester)
  • 685: Honors Seminar in Medieval Studies (either Category A or Category B depending on the focus that semester)

Music (all courses Category B)

  • 411: Survey of Music in the Middle Ages
  • 412: Survey of Music in the Renaissance
  • 923: Seminar in Notation

Philosophy (all courses Category A)

  • 435: Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity to the 17th Century

Political Science (all courses Category A)

  • 501: The Development of Ancient and Medieval Western Political Thought

Scandinavian Studies (all courses Category B)

  • 373: Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature: Middle Ages to 1900
  • 407-408: Old Norse
  • 409: Survey of Old Norse-Icelandic Literature
  • 430: The Vikings
  • 433: The Scandinavian Tale and Ballad
  • 435: The Icelandic Sagas
  • 444: Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore
  • 474: Celtic-Scandinavian Cultural Interrelations

Spanish (all courses Category B)

  • 414: Literatura de la Edad Media Castellana (ss. XII-XV)
  • 503-504: Survey of Medieval Literature
  • 541: Old Spanish
  • 546: History of the Spanish Language
  • 718: Topics in Medieval Spanish Literature
  • 811: Philological Seminar: Old Spanish
  • 841: Seminar: Libro de Buen Amor, Celestina, Corbacho
  • 842: Seminar: Medieval Literature (topics course)

Women's Studies (all courses Category A)

  • 416: Women in Medieval Society