Medieval Studies Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Medieval Studies

Program Description

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.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-8545

259 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

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



Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Dec. 15; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

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. Contact the Field office for additional information, or visit our Web site, Cornucopia.

Learning Outcomes

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 different from that of the student’s major concentration.
  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.