Major Requirements

Medieval and Early Modern Studies

The major in Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MDVL) enables students to build an interdisciplinary program in the history of political, religious, and social institutions and in cultural production—from science and technology to theatre, literature, music, and art. Majors select courses under the supervision of the Program’s undergraduate director, who assists in tailoring the curriculum to the students’ individual interests. Majors may concentrate on one geographic region or on the increasing development of global interdependencies while focusing on a particular period or on change over time. Temporal coverage ranges from the late 4th through 17th centuries. Within that range, majors choose either the medieval track (late-4th through 15th centuries) or the early modern track (15th through 17th centuries).

Major Requirements

Forty-four credits are required for the major (minimum of “C–” to count towards
the requirements). One course below the 400 level may be taken Pass/Fail

  1. MDVL 101. Introduction to Medieval and Early Modern Studies (or, in exceptional
    cases, an equivalent course).
  2. Two 4-credit courses above the 100 level in a research language pertinent to the
    student's course of study. Both courses must be in the same language, to ensure reading competence. Note: Depending on prior exposure to the language, introductory/elementary language courses (101/102 courses) are required prerequisites for completion of the major.
  3. Five courses in the student's chosen track (medieval or early modern). In cases where ambiguities arise (e.g., when course coverage straddles both periods), the undergraduate director will consult with faculty to determine the track-status of a given course.
  4. Three courses in the track not chosen (medieval or early modern) and/or in classical studies. (Courses not designated by the CLAS, LAT or GRK rubric, but still within the disciplinary boundaries of classical studies, e.g., courses in ancient history, philosophy, art history or archaeology, can, with the approval of the undergraduate director, be counted as courses in classical studies.)
  5. The eight courses from sections 3 and 4 above must originate in at least three different departments. Courses not designated by the MDVL rubric, but still within the temporal boundaries of the program—e.g., carrying a history, anthropology or Romance languages rubric—can, with the approval of the undergraduate director, be counted among these eight required courses for the major.
  6. Six courses (or 24 credits) must be 300 level or higher, with at least one of these being a 400-level seminar.

A major in Medieval and Early Modern Studies may be taken concurrently with a major or minor in a department or another program (e.g., Women’s Studies, LACAS, Asian & Asian American Studies). Within the limits allowed by Harpur College, two courses that count towards another minor may be counted towards fulfilling degree requirements in MDVL.

For additional details on the major, please contact the CEMERS office (607-777-2730 or, visit our website, or consult with Harpur Advising.

Honors in Medieval and Early Modern Studies

The Program Director administers the honors program offered in Medieval and Early Modern Studies. MDVL majors may become candidates for honors once they have completed 87 credits and, thus, achieved “senior” standing. Before becoming candidates for honors, majors must consult with the Undergraduate Director and complete the appropriate form to qualify.

To be eligible to earn honors, a MDVL major must:

  1. Have a GPA of 3.50 in courses counting towards the major at the time of candidacy for honors;
  2. Write an honors thesis, which the student must arrange to research and write under the supervision of a faculty member affiliated with CEMERS.

Majors writing honors theses may (but are not required to) register for MDVL 498 and MDVL 499. These courses may not be used to satisfy course requirements for the MDVL major.

Ideally, the thesis supervisor should be a faculty member with whom the honors candidate has taken upper-level courses that have been counted towards the MDVL major. The supervisor will be selected by the student. Once the faculty member agrees to supervise the project, s/he will be appointed by the CEMERS director.

It is also advisable for the honors candidate to define a topic for the thesis based on advanced work already completed at the 400-level by the time of candidacy.

When the thesis is complete, a second member of the CEMERS faculty will be appointed to serve as the reader of the thesis. Selected by the student, the reader must be approved by the thesis supervisor and appointed by the Undergraduate Director.

The completed thesis will be evaluated by the faculty supervisor and reader, who will judge whether the work is worthy of honors, high honors or highest honors. In case of disagreement between the two readers, a third will be designated by the Undergraduate Director. This process must be complete before the last week of the student's last semester.

Upon successful completion of the project, the student will present a bound copy of the thesis to the MDVL program for its archive.