The M.A. degree program in Medieval and Byzantine Studies offers students broad and interdisciplinary training in various aspects of medieval civilization while providing tools for specialized research. The program recognizes the complex intertwining of religious studies, philosophy, history, languages, literatures, and cultures for advanced study in any field. It draws upon course offerings from the School of Arts and Sciences, Canon Law, Music, Philosophy, and Theology and Religious Studies. The program requires 30 hours of academic credit taken from at least three academic disciplines. 


Students applying to the M.A. program in MBS should have a solid foundation in one or more aspects of medieval studies and substantial training in languages (medieval and/or modern research languages). While many students come with a B.A. in history, English, languages, religious studies, and philosophy, other programs may also provide sufficient background. Promising students who lack the appropriate level of language proficiency are encouraged to complete a certificate program in Greek or Latin or other language training prior to beginning the program.


Students will have two advisers: the MBS director and a faculty adviser in the primary area of focus. The MBS director will guide students through the general requirements of the program. The second adviser — to be determined at the latest by the end of the second semester of studies — will assist in determining that the student's progress with research languages and methodology is adequate for the research focus and goals of the student.

Overview of Requirements

Course work: Ten approved graduate courses (30 credit hours) in the following distribution:

  1. Language training – 2 courses (6 credits) of intermediate and/or advanced Latin or Greek (LAT 516-17, GR 516-17, or higher). Students who test out may take either
    • 6 credits of instruction in any other ancient language (e.g. Syriac)
    • 6 credits of advanced instruction in Medieval Latin and/or Latin Paleography (e.g. LAT 561, 733).
  2. Content courses – 8 courses (24 credits) across at least three academic disciplines. All courses must focus primarily on the period c. 500-1500 AD but may cover any region or culture of the period.
    • Advanced Latin courses that are not needed to meet the language requirement may be counted instead as content courses
    • Two courses (6 credits) may be used to research and write an MA thesis supervised by a faculty advisor

Modern language requirement: Reading knowledge of one modern research language, demonstrated either through additional coursework or by passing a proficiency exam

Comprehensive exam: An exam with both written and oral components is administered by the MBS graduate director and faculty advisors during the final term of coursework

Research requirement: For students not writing an MA thesis, completion of one advanced course with a research paper requirement (typically 700 or 800 level) or submission of a 15-20 page research paper developed on the basis of coursework and evaluated by a faculty expert.

Academic standing: All MA candidates must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 in order to continue in the program.