Medieval Studies

PhD Concentration in Medieval Studies

The multi-disciplinary PhD Concentration in Medieval Studies degree requires 54 hours of coursework, comprehensive examinations in three medieval studies areas, a Foreign Language requirement, and a dissertation. Typically, PhD students have recently completed a Master’s degree in English with something in excess of 30 semester hours. While the English department accepts up to 24 of those hours toward the PhD degree, the course requirements for the PhD, Concentration in Medieval Studies typically limit the number of transferable hours to eleven. For complete requirements, see the Graduate Handbook.

Required Coursework (54 hrs)
Prerequisites (15 hrs) All students must have taken the following courses, either in their MA program or within the first two years of the PhD program:
Engl. 500: Introduction to the Professional Study of English (3 hrs) (Must be taken in the first semester of graduate study.)
Engl. 551: Topics in Medieval Studies: Bibliographical and Research Methods (3 hrs)
Engl. 547: Old English (3 hrs)
Engl. 581: Chaucer (3 hrs)
History 503 or 504: Early or High Middle Ages (3 hrs)

Core Courses (30 hours) PhD students in Medieval Studies must take thirty hours of core courses including courses in Medieval Language and Literature (9 hrs), Multidisciplinary Studies (9 hrs), English and History Seminars (11 hrs), and Problems (1 hr), as follows:

Medieval Language and Literature (9 hrs)
Engl. 548: Beowulf and Other Topics: Old English Poetry, Anglo-Saxon Prose (3 hrs)
Engl. 549: Middle English Language (3 hrs)
Engl. 550: Middle English Literature, (3 hrs)
Engl. 551: Topics in Medieval Studies (3 hrs)

English & History 600-level Seminars (11 hrs) All PhD students must take a minimum of eleven hours of seminars—one from the Department of History. The following seminars count toward the degree and should be taken when offered in topics related to Old or Middle English or Medieval Language, History, and Culture.
Engl. 650: Studies in British Literature (4 hrs)
Engl. 680: Studies in Genre, Backgrounds, and Forces (4 hrs)
History 601 or 602: Anglo-Saxon England, 450-1066 or The Crusades (3 hrs each). See the Medieval Studies Director for other approved seminars.

Multi-disciplinary Coursework (9 hrs) These courses are taken in Art History, Medieval History, Medieval Philosophy, and Medieval Language and Literature other than English, such as Old Norse, Medieval Latin, and Medieval Spanish. (Only one course [3 hrs] may be counted from the History department.)

English 697: Problems for the Doctor’s Degree (1 hr)
Under the guidance of the students’ committee members, students must prepare and submit an article-length essay (20 to 30 pages, inclusive of notes) for publication in any of the major Medieval Studies’ journals.

Electives (9 hrs): The required courses above total 45 hours, inclusive of prerequisite and core courses; students who have transferred at least eleven hours from the MA into the PhD will have fulfilled the minimum course requirements, excluding dissertation hours, required for the degree. Students who need more course credits, should fulfill their remaining hours with approved graduate courses in English or related disciplines under the advisement of their COS and the Director of Medieval Studies in English. All 54 regular course requirements must be completed before enrolling for dissertation hours, Engl. 699.

Dissertation (no fewer than 18 hrs)
Engl.
699: Dissertation (3-12 hrs, no limit)

Foreign Language Requirement:

PhD students in Medieval Studies must demonstrate a reading knowledge of Latin, to be satisfied no later than the second year. Competence is satisfied either by passing a language examination or Latin 202 (Intermediate Latin) or Latin 352 (Accelerated Latin Reading) with a grade of B or better. Students must also demonstrate competence in an additional language other than English. Competence can be demonstrated with a grade of B or better: through the second semester, second-year level in a language other than English; or through a graduate-level reading course I in a language other than English.

Course work from previous institutions, course work at UNM, and CLEP or UNM-administered tests may be used to fulfill the language requirement. Note: Course credits for classes used to complete the language or research requirement cannot be counted toward the 54-hour requirement for regular course work.

Please see the PhD Concentration: Medieval Studies Graduate Advisement Sheet (pdf)

Ph.D. Comprehensive Examinations

In accord with the Department of English policy on the Ph.D. English Comprehensive Examination, students must take three field examinations of four hours length each. Because a degree in the Ph.D. concentration in Medieval Studies in English connotes a special mastery of medieval English, the examinations must cover Old English, Middle English, and one other medieval disciplinary field. As suggested by the listings in the current Graduate Study Bulletin, a field comprises a large area of study and could include such topics as medieval art or medieval history. In preparation for the comprehensive examination students must be thoroughly familiar with the PhD reading list of primary & secondary sources (Old English primary and secondary sources reading list; Middle English primary and secondary sources reading list).

Dissertation Prospectus and Its Defense
After passing the Comprehensive Examinations, PhD students must organize a Dissertation Committee, write and submit a Dissertation Prospectus, and successfully defend the prospectus before the Dissertation Committee. The prospectus defense must be completed no later than six calendar months after passing the Comprehensive Examinations.

Ph.D. Dissertation
The policies regarding protocol and procedures for completing the doctoral dissertation in the PhD Concentration in Medieval Studies in English generally fall in line with the English Department’s and University’s policies. Because the concentration is distinctively interdisciplinary, the dissertation should show some expertise in a discipline (or subdivision of a discipline) other than English, as for example, English medieval literature and history of medicine (subdivision of History); English medieval literature and philosophical thought (sub-division of Philosophy); or English medieval literature and the aesthetics or influences of medieval art (subdivision of Art History). The candidate and the dissertation committee discuss these issues.

Learn more about Medieval Studies here.