Graduate Program

Medieval Studies is a general term traditionally applied to the study of European and Mediterranean culture and history (and increasingly, to a broader geographic sphere also encompassing Central Asia, the Indian Ocean world, and Africa) during approximately the millennium between 300 and 1500. It also is the name of one of the best-established interdisciplinary fields in the modern university. There are medievalists teaching and conducting research at Harvard in the departments of African and African American Studies, Celtic Languages and Literatures, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, History, History of Art and Architecture, History of Science, Music, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Philosophy, Romance Languages and Literatures, Slavic Languages and Literatures, and the Study of Religion; in the Schools of Design, Divinity, and Law; at the Houghton and Widener libraries; and elsewhere. Several other major research universities treat the field as a discipline, and group students and faculties in medieval studies centers, institutes, or programs: for example, Yale, UCLA, Notre Dame, Arizona, and Fordham in the U.S., the University of Toronto in Canada, and York and Leeds in the U.K..

Medievalist graduate students seldom have the opportunity to apply for jobs in medieval centers. Any Ph.D. project dealing with the medieval world, however, requires knowledge of more than one discipline, and most such projects require specialist knowledge seldom taught in individual departments. The interdisciplinary nature of the field is widely recognized by hiring committees, while department promotion committees sometimes make publication in the field's premier journal, Speculum, published by the Medieval Academy, almost a condition of tenure.

The Committee on Medieval Studies offers a Ph.D. secondary field in Medieval Studies. In addition, the Committee administers a Special Program in Byzantine Studies, which allows students to earn a Ph.D. in Byzantine Studies or Byzantine History, Literature, and Art. More information on this program can be found here.