Apr 13, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 
Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Arts in Medieval Studies

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Advisor: Jana K. Schulman
The Medieval Institute, Walwood Hall

The Medieval Institute of Western Michigan University offers an interdisciplinary program leading to the Master of Arts in medieval studies. Students may choose a thesis or non-thesis option, depending on their career plans, personal interests, and intellectual orientation. Either option provides a broad background in medieval history, languages, literature’s, and religion.

Western Michigan University offers an academic environment conducive to the study of the Middle Ages. Western Michigan University is the host of the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies, and Medieval Institute Publications publishes series of books and journals in the field of medieval studies. The Richard Rawlinson Center for Anglo-Saxon Studies and Manuscript Research offers further opportunities for research and study.


Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements of the Graduate College, an applicant must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination General Test, three letters of recommendation, an academic writing sample, and a written statement of intent.

Program Requirements


A total of 32 hours of coursework, or 35 hours for thesis writers, is required.

Required core courses, in which a grade of “B” or better must be earned (14 hours)

A 6000-level Theory or Methods course (3 hours)

Course will be chosen from a list approved by the Curriculum and Assessment committee.

Electives (12-15 hours)

Electives totaling 12 hours at the 6000-level or above pre-approved by the Director of the Medieval Institute. For thesis writers, 9 hours of electives at the 6000-level or above and, in addition, 6 hours of thesis credit.

Capstone Writing Seminar


Latin and a second medieval or modern language is required.

  1. It is strongly recommended that students take the Level One University of Toronto Centre for Medieval Studies Medieval Latin exam before completing their M.A. degree.
  2. Reading proficiency in a second medieval or modern language is demonstrated by a grade of “B” or better in an approved course or by passing the graduate reading examination offered by the Department of World Languages and Literatures or the Department of Spanish.

Capstone Writing Seminar and Oral Examination (Both are required)

  1. The Capstone Writing Seminar is a 6000-level three-credit course in the advanced study of interdisciplinary questions in medieval studies with a focus on developing academic writing through the preparation of a writing portfolio. The writing portfolio will comprise two graduate-level seminar papers with two distinct disciplinary foci. The two seminar papers will be revisions of papers written in past courses. Students are encouraged to consult the professors they originally wrote the papers for and their Examination Committee for guidance. For students writing theses, one paper may be a chapter of the thesis.
  2. The hour-long Oral Examination is an opportunity for the faculty and students to explore content in medieval studies based on prior coursework and written work completed in the Capstone Writing Seminar. The Examination Committee will be composed of three members named by the Director in consultation with the student. Students will submit the two Capstone Writing Seminar papers to the Examination Committee no less than two weeks prior to examination date to serve as the basis for examining written work.

    Students will receive an assessment of High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, or Fail. If a student fails an examination the examining faculty will determine whether the student is offered a one-time re-examination to be completed within 12 months of the first examination date.

Option: Thesis

With the thesis advisor’s approval of a prospectus, a student may complete the degree by producing a Master’s thesis (6 hours) under the direction of a Thesis Committee. The Thesis Committee will be composed by the Director in consultation with the student. Students writing theses must also take the Capstone Writing Seminar and Oral Examination, but may use a thesis chapter as one of their seminar papers.

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