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Distinct Offerings


Faculty Excellence

Research Opportunities


Distinct Offerings

Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MER) offers three experiences not available in other programs at the College or at other area institutions. In the capstone MER seminar, you will explore interdisciplinary methods and theories, integrating and synthesizing work from numerous disciplines. Such interdisciplinary modes of thinking translate directly to the world of work where creative problem solving demands synthesis and integration.

Second, in the seminar you will also work on a group project exploring aspects of medieval and Renaissance material culture through either a series of hand-written broadside texts or a small-run, small-format printed text.

Third, in an optional course called The Book in the Fifteenth Century,  you may be among a select group of students learning medieval and early modern book production techniques-calligraphy, illumination, type-setting, binding — to produce a single-copy manuscript book and a limited-run printed book, a bound copy of which you keep. In both the seminar and the Book course, you publish results of your research in an anthology accompanying the hand-made books.


Graduates have entered careers ranging from computer information systems, banking, health-related professions, military service, education and forensic pathology.

Though intentionally designed for anyone with interests in medieval and Renaissance cultures, the minor also can  help prepare students for graduate school. Graduates have completed advanced degrees abroad at the University of Leeds, England, the University of Leicester, England, Queens University, Northern Ireland, and domestically at Western Michigan University, Marquette University, The University of Iowa, The University of Minnesota-Duluth, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and more.

Currently, two graduates are pursuing graduate school in England at Leeds University (medieval studies) and Leicester University (archaeology). Both attribute part of their early success in graduate studies to training they received in this program.

Accomplished and Award-Winning Faculty

Our faculty are accomplished and award-winning teachers and researchers both at the College and in their respective fields.

  • Ashley Dressel (PHL): Thomas Aquinas scholar; President's Dissertation Year Fellowship, University of California
  • William Hodapp (ENG): McNamara Award for Benedictine Service; Visiting Scholar, Wolfson College, Cambridge; Summer Scholar, National Endowment for the Humanities; Fulbright Scholar, Durham University
  • C. Neal Keye (HIS); Fellow, Institute of Arts & Humanities, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Drew Mannetter (PHL): Noted author of three books on teaching Latin and Greek
  • Randall Poole (HIS): Visiting Professor, University of Toronto; Research Fellow, Remarque Institute; Member, IAS, Princeton University; Fulbright, Moscow
  • Kevin Quarmby (ENG): Shakespeare scholar and performer; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Penny Schwarze (MUS): Musicologist and noted performer of early music, appearing frequently in numerous concert venues
  • Sr. Mary Josephine Torborg, OSB (TRS): Convener, 13 Conferences on Spirituality
  • Kevin Vaughen (TRS): Thomas Aquinas scholar and Director of Catholic Studies

Research and Off-Campus

Medieval and Renaissance Studies faculty support student research through independent study. Two graduates further developed independent studies begun in the program into McNair Scholar research projects. Others have investigated particular topics (e.g., Scottish castle construction, Old English language and literature, Queen Elizabeth I's writings, Thomas More's final days) to satisfy their own curiosities, explore in depth issues raised in a course and develop writing samples for graduate and professional schools.

If you would like to combine off-campus learning with a study abroad experience three excellent summer programs are available in England: The University of Cambridge Medieval Studies Summer School, The University of Cambridge Shakespeare Summer School, and St. Peter's College, Oxford University, Medieval Studies Summer School. In these programs, students take courses in the Ox-Bridge style of lectures, seminars, and tutorials. In addition, The University of Notre Dame's Medieval Institute offers on-campus undergraduate summer school if you prefer studying in the United States.


Many students pursuing a minor belong to a discipline-specific clubs on campus such as the English and Arts Club, the History and Politics Club, and the French Club.