Medieval & Renaissance studies

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Fast Facts: Medieval & Renaissance Studies Minor

  • Enriches student understanding of ideas and developments  shaping western civilization and culture.
  • Provides multi-disciplinary opportunities to explore medieval and early-modern cultures as  reflected in the world today.
  • Includes an innovative course on the history of the book, in which students  produce a manuscript and a limited-run edition of a printed book.
  • Integrates optional off-campus learning through summer study-abroad courses at the University of Cambridge or the University of Oxford in England.
  • Concludes with an interdisciplinary seminar.

Program requirements

Minor: 20 credits — 8 core credits; 12 elective credits from a range of disciplines, including economics, English, history, language, music, philosophy, physical science,  theatre and theology.


Employers frequently look for people who can analyze and synthesize data from multiple sources and communicate their findings clearly. The minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies fosters multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to questions and data and provides opportunities to learn and practice effective communication skills. Students completing the minor have gone on to careers in business, computer information systems, education, forensics, the government, healthcare, law and clinical veterinary science. Several students have also continued these studies in graduate school and now work in higher education.

Sample curriculum

Here are some classes you could take as part of this minor. Please note that you would not necessarily need all of these courses to fulfill a minor. This list doesn't include general education courses. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.

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Expand and Collapse Coursework

Expand and Collapse LTN 1112 - Beginning Latin Language and Culture II

Completes the introduction to grammar, syntax and basic vocabulary, again with an aim toward reading fluency and some degree of oral expression; continues to acquaint students with the culture and society in which this language flourished with particular attention to the affect of Latin on post-classical cultures and languages. Prerequisite: Placement exam or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse MER 2220 - Medieval & Renai Worlds in Lit

Study of medieval and Renaissance texts in their historical, cultural, and literary contexts. The course examines various genres and subjects in an effort to understand what texts from a distant past reveal about their own cultures and how they might speak to a 21stcentury audience. Texts are selected from a range of cultures, such as medieval and Renaissance France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Scandinavia, Spain, and Wales, as well as Arabia and the Jewish Diaspora.

Expand and Collapse MER 2403 - The Way of the Pilgrim

This course explores the history and theology of pilgrimage and may include a 100 kilometer hiking pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain, or a 100 kilometer pilgrimage from London to Canterbury; pilgrimages to Rome or Jerusalem are also possible.

Expand and Collapse MER 3777 - Topics: Medieval Renaissance Studies

Medieval and Renaissance Studies courses offered on special topics. Each course taught under "Topics" will also have a specific course title listed on the schedule and transcripts.

Expand and Collapse MER 4444 - Seminar: Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Examines relationships between various intellectual and artistic forms and ideas from the medieval and Renaissance periods of western culture. In addition, it explores medieval and Renaissance studies as an academic field. Prerequisite: MER/ENG 2220 or consent of the instructor.

Expand and Collapse PHL 3302 - Ancient Philosophy

Roots of Western thought examined as found in the writings of the ancient Greeks through a variety of time periods and genres in differing combinations: Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus, Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Plato, and/or Aristotle.

Expand and Collapse PSC 4150 - Science and Culture

An integration of concepts from the history, philosophy and sociology of the sciences. This course examines the interrelationship between science and its cultural matrix, the impact of science and technology upon society, and the complementary impact of societal factors on the development of science and the scientific community. Students are expected to do extensive reading of primary sources, reflective writing, and research papers.

Expand and Collapse TRS 1110 - Introduction to Catholicism

An introduction to Roman Catholicism from the perspective of the American Catholic experience. The course reviews the history of Catholicism from the emergence of Christianity to the present, with special attention to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. It surveys the Church's beliefs and practices, the exercise of authority, its sacramental life and liturgical traditions, moral norms, and relations with Protestant denominations and other major religious communities. The course also encounters the Church in its local setting and explores issues that U. S. Catholics find most challenging.

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  • "I’ve always been fascinated by the medieval and Renaissance periods because people living then developed a number of innovations we still benefit from today. MER encompasses all three of my favorite loves: English, art, and history."

    – Semaj Moore, ’17

  • "My favorite MER classes were The Book in the Fifteenth Century and the Seminar because of their hands-on learning about how books were made. I learned the beautiful art of calligraphy and several different scripts and still use these techniques."

    –Krystal Komro, ’13

  • "I enjoyed this minor because it was interdisciplinary. The wide range of classes made it suitable for anyone who loves history, literature, languages and learning. I learned Latin, became familiar with manuscripts, paleography and literature from the Middle Ages and Renaissance — all of which has helped in my graduate work."

    – Audrey Thorstad, ‘10
    MA Medieval Studies and Ph.D. Medieval History
    University of Leeds, England