Student Programs: Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate in Global Medieval and Renaissance Studies

The Certificate Program in Global Medieval and Renaissance Studies is designed for graduate students who are already enrolled in a PhD program at Penn. The Certificate Program creates an opportunity for a broad study of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Early Modern periods (ca. 500–1700 AD) that involves global and interdisciplinary training. This approach expands not only students’ knowledge base but also their understanding of theory and practice and, in turn, increases their professional opportunities.

The Certificate’s emphasis on disciplinary and geographic diversity facilitates cutting-edge research. It is designed to train specialists who are based in a traditional discipline (e.g., art, history, literature, music, area studies, classical studies) but who wish to work across disciplinary boundaries and tap into diverse theoretical approaches and methodological practices of other fields. It thus enables the historian to draw on visual and material culture, the musicologist to draw on literary approaches, and so on. In addition, the certificate program compels students to gain expertise outside of the geographic ambit of their primary field (e.g. Arabic, Anglo-Saxon, French, South Asia, Byzantium). This allows them to place their knowledge in an international setting and prepares them to conduct innovative research on the global connections and networks of the pre-modern world.

The Certificate Program thus enables students to develop research and teaching profiles that make them more attractive and versatile candidates for jobs, many of which welcome disciplinary and geographic breadth and diversity.

Certificate Requirements


Students take four graduate courses (4 c.u.), out of which:

— at least one course should be in a discipline other than their primary field (disciplinary diversity)

— at least one course should be in a broad geographical field other than their primary field (geographic diversity)

— an additional course should be either in a discipline, or in a geographical field other than their primary field (disciplinary or geographic diversity)

Students are strongly encouraged to take courses in diverse periods, specific to their field, to ensure chronological breadth.

Language Proficiency

Students demonstrate proficiency in at least one pre-modern language, relevant to their field.


Students complete a research paper, which may be written as a course paper or as an independent study.

Professional Development

Students are required to deliver at least one paper at the annual Graduate Symposium.