• The history, cultures, and societies of the Middle Ages.
  • Understanding the relationship between the politics, economic, literature and broader culture in the medieval period.

You’ll enjoy the Abbey’s Medieval Studies Minor if you have:

  • Interest in the history and cultures of the medieval period.
  • Curiosity regarding the lives of people in past societies.
  • Our interdisciplinary approach helps students engage with different aspects of medieval culture and history.
  • Courses in History, English, Theology, and Government and Political Philosophy can count towards the requirements of the minor.
  • The knowledge gained by students who pursue this minor will assist them in applying for graduate education and in careers as authors, curators and guides.
  • The skills acquired in pursuing this minor will be relevant to a range of careers, from journalism to law to business.

The Abbey Difference:

The Middle Ages, the “Benedictine Centuries” as Cardinal Newman called them, represent an important phase in the development of Western Civilization. This era of both continuity with, and change from the Roman past laid the foundations for the emergence of modern Europe. The political, social and economic developments of the period, and the languages, literatures, philosophies and theology of its peoples are thus of considerable importance in our understanding of both the past and the present.

Program Requirements:

Students must complete 15 hours of courses from the following list with a grade of “C” or better. No more than 9 of the 15 hours may be taken within a single discipline.

  • EN 403: Medieval Literature
  • EN 413: Dante
  • HI 350: History of the Benedictine Tradition
  • HI 355: Vikings
  • HI 360: The Crusades
  • HI 404: Early Christian Ireland
  • LA 201: Intermediate Latin I
  • LA 202: Intermediate Latin II
  • PO 402: Medieval Political Philosophy

Other courses may be included towards the requirements of the minor at the discretion of the director, including, amongst others:

  • EN 400: Love in the Literary Tradition
  • TH 250: Thomas Becket to Thomas More
  • TH 358: Major Figures in Theology
  • TH 407: Classical Texts in Theology

At least 9 of the credits for the minor must be taken within a single discipline.

It is the student’s responsibility to see that all degree requirements for graduation are fulfilled.

Highlights of your experience:

Potentially, a student pursuing this minor could study the history of early medieval England (HI327 Bede and his World), learn to read the work of Bede, the great English Benedictine monk and historian, in the original Latin (LA200 and LA300 Intermediate Latin), and engage with Old English literature such as the famous story of Beowulf (EN403 Medieval British Genres), thus gaining thorough insight into the life of the period from several angles.
The work of many modern authors, most famously J.R.R. Tolkien, were inspired and informed by the history and culture of the medieval period. A better understanding of the medieval culture can thus open students’ eyes to a previously hidden layer of meaning in those stories (EN400 Special Topics: Tolkien).

Program Coordinator:

Dr. Patrick Wadden

Dr. Patrick Wadden
Associate Professor of History
B.A., Trinity College, Dublin
M.St., University of Oxford
D.Phil., University of Oxford