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Medieval Studies

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A student enrolled in a Ph.D. program in the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences may achieve formal recognition for completing a secondary field in Medieval Studies. The following requirements must be met to complete this secondary field.

Coursework and Examinations

  • Completion of four graduate-level courses in a medieval subject with grades of B+ or above.
  • One of these courses must be in paleography, and can be selected from the following: Medieval Studies 201, offered every three years; Medieval Studies 202, offered every other year; Classics 277; Classical Philology 285; or Arabic 251R. Any other paleography course must be approved by the Medieval Studies Committee.
  • Each of the three additional courses must be in a different department, one of which may be the student’s home department, and chosen from among the 200-level courses listed each year on the Medieval Studies page of the Registrar’s course website.
  • One graduate course taken outside of Harvard may be used to fulfill one of these course requirements (including paleography). Students wishing to use a non-Harvard course for the secondary field in Medieval Studies must have that course approved by the Committee's Director of Graduate Studies, and submit an application for academic credit to the FAS Registrar's office. 
  • Fulfillment of one language requirement in medieval Latin, Greek, Hebrew, or Arabic.
  • The language requirement must be fulfilled by passing an examination, administered by the Medieval Studies Committee. An exam in Latin is generally offered once in the fall and once in the spring. Examinations in other languages can be arranged upon request.


Incoming students interested in declaring a secondary field in Medieval Studies are encouraged to consult with the Administrative Director of the Medieval Studies Committee as early as possible in their studies. Students already in the program who are well on their way to completing requirements for the field, or who wish to arrange a language examination also are encouraged to visit the Medieval Studies Program in Barker 121, or email the Administrative Director, Sean Gilsdorf to schedule a meeting.

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