Medieval Studies Concentration

for the Graduate Concentration in Medieval Studies

center director & director of graduate studies: Renée R. Trilling

overview of grad college admissions & requirements:

college website:

program website:

program faculty information:

center office: 4080 Foreign Languages Building, 707 S. Mathews Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801

phone: (217) 265-6254

fax: (217) 244-8430


The Program in Medieval Studies offers a graduate concentration in Medieval Studies. Students who are admitted to graduate programs in departments with medieval studies faculty may apply to the concentration by meeting to express interest and to discuss the concentration with the Director of the Program in Medieval Studies.  The program offers a flexible curriculum requiring a minimum of 24 hours of graduate-level coursework including advanced training both in the various disciplines of medieval studies and in foundational languages and technical skills appropriate to the field. For complete information about the program and its offerings, see the program's web site:

Medieval Studies Concentration

participating programs:

Architecture, MARCH|Architecture, PhD
Art History, MA|Art History, PhD
Classical Philology, PhD
Classics, MA
Communication, MA|Communication, PhD
Comparative Literature, MA|Comparative Literature, PhD
East Asian Languages & Cultures, PhD
English, MA|English, PhD
French, MA|French, PhD
German, MA|German, PhD
History, MA|History, PhD
Italian, MA|Italian, PhD
Landscape Architecture, MLA|Landscape Architecture, PhD
Musicology, PhD
Philosophy, MA|Philosophy, PhD
Portuguese, MA|Portuguese, PhD
Spanish, MA|Spanish, PhD


Students who are admitted to graduate programs in departments with medieval studies faculty are eligible to enroll in the graduate concentration in Medieval Studies after meeting to express interest and to discuss the concentration with the Director of the Program in Medieval Studies.

Faculty Research Interests

The research interests of our faculty often overlap disciplinary boundaries. Thus faculty in English and History share interest in medieval drama, performance practices, and the emergence of regional and national identities. Faculty in English, History, and Art History work on the development of historical consciousness and the representation of history in illuminated manuscripts. Faculty in Italian, History, English and French share an interest in gender studies: the history of women and gender; gender and nationalism; the development of gendered subjectivities; conduct literature and mirrors for princes. Another focus is manuscript studies (Art History, Classics, French, English, History, Library Science): history of the book; illuminated manuscripts of the 13th-15th centuries; late medieval manuscript culture; and reading practices. The program has a strength in Late Antiquity and Early Medieval, which draws together faculty in History, Classics, Religious Studies, Speech Communication; themes of particular interest are the society, culture and religion of this period; the social and cultural history of the Roman and Byzantine empires; Byzantine rhetoric; the impact of Barbarian settlements on Medieval Europe; and the survival of the Classical tradition. There is also a growing interest in Mediterranean studies shared by faculty in the History of Architecture, History, Italian, and Classics): art and built environment of the Islamic Mediterranean; the Italian baptistery; and medieval civic squares. Illinois has the strongest program in medieval English in the Big Ten, with particular strengths in Old English; Old and Middle Irish; the theory, practice and teaching of rhetoric; the oral tradition. In addition, our faculty edit the following major journals:  Early Medieval Europe, Illinois Classical Studies, and the Journal of English and Germanic Philology.  For more information, visit our faculty listings:

Centers, Programs, and Institutes

Each Spring we offer an interdisciplinary graduate seminar (one of the requirements of the Certificate) on a topic of broad interest. These seminars are led by one faculty medievalist but are collaborative, drawing on the expertise of faculty in the Program and also visiting scholars from around the world.

Facilities and Resources

The Program is affiliated with the Worldwide Universities Network (, which connects us to Medieval Studies programs at six UK universities (Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Southampton, Sheffield, York), three on the continent (Bergen, Oslo, Utrecht), and three American universities (Wisconsin-Madison, Penn State, UC-San Diego). The Program has established partnerships with the Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy) and with Stockholm University (Sweden).
The library at the University of Illinois contains world class research collections in Medieval Studies. It is the largest academic library at a public university with more than 10 million volumes.

Financial Aid

The Program awards fellowships to help affiliated units recruit top ranked applicants. In addition, financial aid in the form of fellowships and teaching assistantships are available through the individual units cooperating in the Program in Medieval Studies.

for the Graduate Concentration in Medieval Studies

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's graduate concentration program and the Graduate College Handbook. 

Two graduate courses at the 400- or 500-level in Medieval Studies selected by the student and approved by the Advisory Board of Medieval Studies6-8
MDVL 500Seminar in Medieval Studies4
Reading knowledge of a major international medieval language essential to the student’s field of specialization, as determined by the student in consultation with a faculty supervisor and with the approval of the Director, as demonstrated by completion of a college-level course with a grade of B or better. Note: Students who fulfill this requirement by taking courses at the 200- or 300-level may be required to take additional coursework at the 400- and 500-level to meet the requirement of 24 hours of graduate-level coursework.3-4
Reading knowledge of another medieval language with a minimum grade of B, or completion of a one-semester introductory course in a medieval language (such as FR 531 or ENGL 507) with a minimum grade of B, or an equivalent approved by the Medieval Studies Advisory Committee.4
Thesis Hours Required (min/max applied toward degree)6-8
Total Hours24

Other Requirements

Other requirements may overlap
A dissertation or thesis in the area of Medieval Studies.
A member of one of the cooperating departments external to the student's home department will be a member of the student's dissertation or thesis committee.
In addition to the graduate concentration requirements, students must also complete the requirements of their major degree.