PhD in Medieval Studies

The PhD Concentration in Medieval Studies degree requires 52 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, please see our Graduate Studies Handbook.

Required Coursework (52 hrs)

Foundational Courses (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:

  • English 500: Introduction to the Professional Study of English (3 hrs) (Must be taken in the first semester of graduate study.)
  • English 551: Topics in Medieval Studies: Bibliographical and Research Methods (3 hrs)
  • English 547: Old English (3 hrs)
  • English 581: Chaucer (3 hrs)
  • History 503 or 504: Early or High Middle Ages (3 hrs)

Core Courses (28 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 (9 hrs), and Problems (1 hr), as follows:

Medieval Language and Literature (9 hrs)

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

Multidisciplinary 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 & History 600-level Seminars (9 hrs)

All PhD students must take a minimum of nine 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.

  • English 650: Studies in British Literature (3 hrs)
  • English 680: Studies in Genre, Backgrounds, and Forces (3 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.

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 43 hours, inclusive of foundational and core courses; students who have transferred at least nine 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 52 regular course requirements must be completed before enrolling for dissertation hours, English 699.

Dissertation (no fewer than 18 hrs)

English 699: Dissertation (3-12 hrs, no limit)

Language Skill Requirement

PhD students in Medieval Studies must demonstrate a reading knowledge of Latin, to be satisfied no later than the second year. Competency is satisfied either by passing a language examination or Latin 2120 (Intermediate Latin) or Engl. 551 (when offered on Medieval Latin) with a grade of B or better. Students must also demonstrate competency in an additional language other than English. Competency can be demonstrated with a grade of B or better: through the second semester, second-year undergraduate level in a language other than English; or through a graduate-level reading course in a language other than English.

Coursework from previous institutions, coursework at UNM, or tests administered either by UNM or CLEP may be used to fulfill the language requirement. Note: Course credits for classes used to complete the language skill or research requirement cannot normally count toward the 52-hour requirement of regular course work.

Ph.D. Comprehensive Examinations

In accordance with the Department of English policy on PhD exams, students must take three field examinations of four hours length each. Because a degree in the PhD 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.

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 protocols 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.

Department of English Language and Literature
Humanities Building, Second Floor
MSC03 2170
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Phone: (505) 277-6347
Fax: (505) 277-0021