Medieval Studies

2014-15 Tuition

$29,500

Application deadlines

Fall, Jan. 15; no spring admission

Requirements summary

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • three recommendations
  • GRE general test for U.S. citizens (advised for non-U.S. citizens); see Description
  • minimum TOEFL score of 250 if taken before Sept. 1, 2005; or 105 under new scoring with minimum scores on the various components: Writing, 20; Listening, 15; Reading, 20; and Speaking, 22.
  • writing sample, about 20 pages on a medieval topic
  • proficiency in Latin advised for study of western Middle Ages

Degrees

  • Ph.D.

Subjects

  • Medieval Studies (Ph.D.)

Major concentrations

  • medieval archaeology
  • medieval art
  • medieval history
  • medieval literature
  • medieval music
  • medieval philology and linguistics
  • medieval philosophy

The aim of this comparative and interdisciplinary field is to allow students to concentrate more fully on medieval studies than is possible in the programs of traditional departments. Although programs to fit individual interests and needs are emphasized, there are some degree requirements, such as reading knowledge of Latin and a course in paleography and research methods, that must be met by all candidates.

The program does not ordinarily admit students seeking a terminal M.A. degree. Ph.D. degree candidates are granted the M.A. degree after successful completion of course work and the general field exams. For the Ph.D. degree, reading proficiency in Latin and two foreign languages, and teaching experience are required.

Application.
Ideally, a broad undergraduate major in one of the participating disciplines, including college-level Latin and preparation in modern research languages (e.g., French and German), should precede graduate concentration in this field. All applicants are required to submit a 20-page writing sample on a medieval topic and three letters of recommendation. All U.S. citizens should take the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and, where available for disciplines in an applicant's major area, the GRE subject test. Non-U.S. citizens are advised but not required to take the GRE. Contact the Field office for additional information, or visit our Web site, Cornucopia.

Frederick Ahl -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: late Latin epics
Benjamin W. Anderson -- Concentrations: medieval history; medieval archaeology; medieval art; Research interests: Byzantine art; architecture, and visual studies; architecture and archaeology of late antique and medieval Anatolia
Ross Brann -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: Judeo-Arabic culture, especially medieval; Hebrew poetry and poetics; Islamic Spain
Charles Brittain -- Concentrations: medieval philosophy; Research interests: early medieval philosophy (Christian and pagan); Platonism; intellectual history
Wayles Browne -- Concentrations: medieval philology and linguistics; Research interests: Old Church Slavonic and Old Russian; historical and comparative Slavic philology
Oren Falk -- Concentrations: medieval history; Research interests: medieval, cultural, and Norse history
Laurent Ferri -- Concentrations: medieval history; medieval philology and linguistics; Research interests: European cultural and political history; art history; witchcraft; history of the book
Andrew Galloway -- Concentrations: medieval literature; medieval philology and linguistics; Research interests: Old and Middle English literature and its contexts; medieval historiography
Arthur Groos -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: Middle High German literature; early modern city culture
Kim Haines-Eitzen -- Concentrations: medieval history; medieval literature; Research interests: early Christianity and early Judaism; religion in Late Antiquity; text transmission in Late Antiquity; asceticism and monasticism
Wayne Harbert -- Concentrations: medieval philology and linguistics; Research interests: Germanic philology and Middle Welsh
Andrew Hicks -- Concentrations: medieval literature; medieval music; medieval philosophy; Research interests: history of music thought and theory; pythagoreanism and platonism; medieval Latin philology and manuscript studies; medieval Persian literature
Thomas Hill -- Concentrations: medieval literature; medieval philology and linguistics; Research interests: Old and Middle English literature; Old Norse-Icelandic literature; English philology
TJ Hinrichs -- Concentrations: medieval history; Research interests: medical history; Chinese government policies to educate southern peoples in medicine; suppression of southern "shamans"
Cary Howie -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: medieval French and Italian literature; critical theory; gender studies; queer studies; medieval literature
William Kennedy -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: rhetoric; Neo-Latin; late medieval literature and criticism
Scott MacDonald -- Concentrations: medieval philosophy; Research interests: medieval philosophy and theology
Sturt Manning -- Concentrations: medieval archaeology; Research interests: archaeology (especially Mediterranean, Near Eastern, and European); archaeological theory; complex societies; dendrochronology (and dendroarchaeology); climate and history; archaeological science
Marilyn Migiel -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: medieval and Renaissance Italian literature
John Najemy -- Concentrations: medieval history; Research interests: late medieval and Renaissance Italian history
Judith Peraino -- Concentrations: medieval music; Research interests: medieval music
Simone Pinet -- Concentrations: medieval literature; medieval philology and linguistics; Research interests: medieval and Renaissance Spanish; books of chivalry; Golden Age poetics; cartography; theories of space; mester de clericia; romance
David Powers -- Concentrations: medieval history; Research interests: medieval Islamic history
Masha Raskolnikov -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: Middle English literature, especially allegory, rhetoric and translation studies; contemporary critical theory; feminist and queer studies
Eric Rebillard -- Concentrations: medieval history; medieval archaeology; Research interests: medieval history; Saint Augustine; late Antiquity/early Christianity
Cynthia Robinson -- Concentrations: medieval art; Research interests: medieval Mediterranean visual culture, 1000-1500A.D. (Islamic and Christian); courtly culture; religion and art
Courtney Roby -- Concentrations: medieval history; Research interests: Professor Roby%u2019s research interests focus on the literary aspects of scientific and technical texts from the ancient world, the interaction of verbal and visual elements in those texts, and the definition and dissemination of scientific work. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, which traces the literary techniques used in the textual representation of technological artifacts from Hellenistic Greece to late-ancient Rome. Other recent, current, and forthcoming projects address Ptolemy%u2019s use of ekphrasis to appeal to the %u201Cscientific imagination,%u201D the challenges of describing pain as presented by Galen, the Roman reception of Greek science, and the reworking of mathematical texts by the Roman surveyors.
William Sayers -- Concentrations: medieval literature; medieval philology and linguistics; Research interests: medieval western European languages and literatures, in particular Old Norse, Middle Irish and Anglo-Norman French
Shawkat Toorawa -- Concentrations: medieval history; medieval literature; Research interests: classical and medieval Arabic literature; literary history; medieval Islamic culture
Ding Xiang Warner -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: Chinese literatures and literary thought from Han through early Song; medieval Chinese intellectual history; text production and text culture in pre-modern China
Michael Weiss -- Concentrations: medieval philology and linguistics; Research interests: Indo-European linguistics; old Irish
Samantha Zacher -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: Old English literature with a special interest in prose homilies and biblical poetry; Middle English literature; manuscript studies; rhetoric; studies in orality and literacy; history of the English language

Graduate School Professors (emeritus)

Carol Kaske -- Concentrations: Research interests:
Savely Senderovich -- Concentrations: medieval history; medieval literature; Research interests: medieval Russian literature
Winthrop Wetherbee -- Concentrations: medieval literature; Research interests: medieval Latin, English, and Italian literature

Learning objectives, PhD degree

The Graduate Field of Medieval Studies seeks to train PhD students to conduct interdisciplinary research, with a focus on an area of specialization. The Field fosters students’ wholehearted engagement with integrating relevant materials and approaches from across the so-called disciplinary spectrum into a personal research vision. Within their area of specialization, students should receive training that is at least equal to that of specialists in that area who earn their PhD degree in traditional, disciplinary departments. Students in Medieval Studies are expected to uphold professional and ethical standards in the profession.

When students complete the PhD, they should be able to:

  1. make an original and substantial contribution to the field, producing publishable scholarship in a timely fashion.
  2. demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of one major concentration within the field.
  3. have a broad knowledge of research and theory across three or more concentrations, comprising a major concentration and two or more minor ones (which may include one minor concentration from another Graduate Field outside Medieval Studies). At least one minor concentration should be in a discipline (usually, as determined by departmental affiliation) different from that of the student’s major concentration; see the Program in Medieval Studies Procedural Guide for details.
  4. demonstrate working proficiency in at least one major medieval language (typically, Medieval Latin) and two major modern research languages.
  5. communicate research findings effectively in written and in spoken presentations.
  6. demonstrate effective skills in undergraduate teaching and potential for graduate teaching.

Measuring learning objectives

Examinations

Latin exam (Toronto Centre for Medieval Studies, Level 1, by the beginning of 4th year) or equivalent in a medieval language approved by the Field; two other language exams (at discretion of student’s Special Committee); A exam (qualifying exam, by the beginning of 4th year); and B exam (dissertation defence)

  • chairs of Special Committees for A and B exams will submit to the DGS one-page reports identifying strengths and weaknesses in light of the field’s learning goals. Reports on A exams should refer to learning outcomes 2, 3 and 5. For B exams and dissertations, reports should refer to 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6.
  • proficiency in Medieval Latin is deemed a general requirement for any student working in Medieval Studies with a focus on the region of (modern) western Europe. Students whose work focuses on regions outside western Europe (e.g. Byzantium, the Muslim Caliphate, China) are expected instead to demonstrate proficiency in the major language of the medieval sources of their region (e.g. Byzantine Greek, Arabic, Chinese).
  • learning outcome 4 is assessed by the external benchmark of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval Studies Level 1 (“MA level”) Medieval Latin exam, in conjunction with the Special Committee’s assessment of proficiency in both Latin and the appropriate modern research languages, as determined by each student’s Special Committee. (For students exempt from the Medieval Latin requirement, the Special Committee alone is responsible for assessing proficiency in a major medieval language.)


Graduating Student Surveys

  • the Program will monitor graduating students' responses to the exit surveys administered by the Graduate School, focusing on students' sense of how well each learning goal for PhD students in Medieval Studies was achieved; which aspects of the PhD program were most helpful for their learning and why; and what the Field of Medieval Studies could do differently to help students learn more effectively.

Teaching assessment

Three types of data will serve to assess learning outcome 6:

  • Course Leaders supervising PhD students who teach First-Year Writing Seminars will confer with students about syllabus and assignment design, section discussions and grading; Course Leaders will also observe students’ teaching (at least once a semester). Course Leaders will write structured observation reports on PhD students’ effectiveness in undergraduate teaching; these reports will be kept in each student’s file. Course Leaders will be expected to provide students with feedback on their teaching.
  • Students will produce a self-assessment report after having taught for two semesters (typically, at the end of the Spring semester of their 2nd year).
  • Special Committee chairs will include in their report on a student’s B exam comments about the student’s potential for graduate-level teaching, based on their own (and other Special Committee members’) experience, as well as on canvassing of other faculty with whom the student had taken graduate seminars or directed reading courses.


Quantitative measures: Time to A exam, Time to Degree, and Job Placement

  • the Field will continue to track job placement of graduating students, and monitor changes in the average time to A exam and time to degree (as recorded by the Graduate School).
  • since a variety of placement options outside academic research and teaching positions constitute successful outcomes for our students, the Field will continue in its efforts to enable students to find jobs that allow them to take advantage of their varied skills. We will continue to communicate with our alumni to track their long-term success beyond Cornell.

Acting on assessment information

A Field faculty meeting will be held each Fall semester to review the progress of continuing students. In advance of this meeting, the DGS will make available all reports and data on assessing graduate student learning from the previous academic year.