Prospective Students

Prospective Students

What is Medieval Studies?

Medieval Studies is an interdisciplinary field that ranges widely across periods and geographies. We usually imagine the Middle Ages as the millennium between the end of classical antiquity and the start of the Renaissance. But concepts and institutions that we take as distinctively modern—the individual, companionate marriage, the state, vernacular languages as expressions of national identity—begin in the Middle Ages. And the Middle Ages return as a powerful source for imaginative expression in the art and literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and in digital culture in the twenty-first century.

Why should I major in Medieval Studies?

A degree in Medieval Studies prepares students for those careers which require a broad knowledge of the humanities. Many students combine a Medieval Studies major with another major such as art history, broadcasting, art, language and literature, political science, economics, speech communication, sociology, or any of the other liberal arts majors. Training programs for museum or library work are also available to Medieval Studies students.

You might like Medieval Studies if:

  • You want to grow as an analytical thinker with strong writing skills, the ability to synthesize disparate materials, and a deep sense of context.
  • You have an interest in studying a rich and dynamic period and wish to further understand the time through its history, literature, philosophy, and culture.

What are my career options with a Medieval Studies degree?

Because of the strong humanities background many Medieval Studies majors have, they are great fits for work in fields such as:

  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Museum Curatorship
  • Archiving
  • Business
  • Medicine

Opportunities for Graduate Study

Graduate work is required for teaching at the college or university level. Former students in the Penn State major have continued their studies at universities such as Oxford, Catholic University, Bryn Mawr, St. Andrews, and Dublin. Many students continue their work in medieval studies or related fields like art, music, theatre, literature, history, or philosophy at the graduate level.