Undergrad Program

Interdisciplinary Minor in Global Medieval Studies

Discover the Origin of the Modern World

Please see our Spring 2022 courses here and our Student Society & Journal here.

The interdisciplinary program in Global Medieval Studies allows students to discover the premodern world together, as the root and necessary precondition to the modern. The program is broad geographically and temporally; it includes Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, and in the latter part of our period even the New World, from Late Antiquity to 1700. This was a formative historical and cultural period in a variety of civilizations, from the north-western corner of Europe, across the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and on to southern and eastern Asia, south to Africa and over the Atlantic Ocean to the New World.

Discover the medieval legacy in the modern world from such institutional innovations as the university, legal practice, record-keeping, trade networks, to cultural practices that shaped national identities, such as language, literature, arts, religious observance, or etiquette of courtship. As the era that gave birth to contemporary nations, and a time before the formation of modern geo-political concepts this period provides a critical space for thinking about the composite nature of contemporary identities.

Explore Several Disciplines

Eleven Penn departments come together under the program in Global Medieval Studies. Students can thus view the world through the lens of various disciplinary and geographic perspectives and discover the interaction of diverse civilizations and religions.

Develop Unique Skills. Make Your Resume Stand Out

This unique minor can lead to careers in cultural and governmental institutions, media, law, international relations, libraries, museums, academia, record-keeping repositories of any type, and many more.

The opportunities for a specialized study of pre-modern topics at Penn are truly endless. The courses in the minor draw on rich resources on campus such as the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Van Pelt and Fisher Fine Arts Libraries, and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. In addition to traditional lecture-based instruction, students in the Global Medieval Studies program have a rare chance for undergraduates to study archival documents from all over the world and build skills associated with the preservation of the past. Students develop skills in paleography, musicology, linguistics, and textual editing, while learning the essentials of medieval bibliography and historiography.

Combine with Other Major and Minor Programs

 The minor program in Global Medieval Studies can easily be combined with a major in a language and literature tradition, philosophy, science, international relations, or even natural sciences, to name a few. As broadly educated historians and humanists, majors in Global Medieval Studies can go on to a variety of occupations or continue their education in a range of graduate programs or professional schools.

Minor Requirements

Students earn the minor by taking 6 courses (6 c.u.) that satisfy the following distribution requirements:

Field Distribution (choose any three fields)

At least one course in history

At least one course in art, architecture, or music (image, sound, material objects)

At least one course in literature or written culture (text, writing)

At least one course in religion, philosophy, or science

Geographical Distribution

At least one course on Europe

At least one course on an area outside of Europe


If you have questions about this minor program and/or wish to declare it, write to Prof. Julia Verkholantsev at juliaver at sas.upenn.edu