Associate Professor Bonnie Wheeler, Director
The Medieval Studies Program affords the student an opportunity for a classically liberal education within a broad subset of Western (Celtic, Franconic, Italic, Germanic, Visigothic) and non-Western (Byzantine, Islamic, Persian) contexts. Studies reveal how the historical shapes, institutional structures, literary visions and artistic forms that emerged from the Middle Ages have colored our concepts of God, society, self, love, individualism and success. It is appropriate for preprofessional training in multiple fields such as business, religious studies, biology, music theory, and world languages and literatures. The major can also lead to graduate work in medieval studies or, more usually, in such disciplines as literature, history, and art and music history.
The Dallas Medieval Consortium makes it possible for students at SMU and the University of Dallas to enroll in selected medieval studies courses on the other campuses. Through the consortium, SMU students can elect no more than 15 credit hours in medieval subject courses at any other consortium university.
Medieval studies is an interdisciplinary major of 30 credit hours in medieval subjects, and advanced Latin language and literature, distributed over at least three broad subject areas in medieval studies: 1) history, 2) literature, and 3) music and visual arts (art/music history), with no fewer than six credit hours in each area. Latin language and literature courses after the second year may, with the approval of the director, count toward hours for the medieval studies major. Students are encouraged to take courses in medieval philosophy, religious studies and church history when they are available. Individual student programs are approved by the director and a committee of two other members of the Medieval Studies Program faculty.
Many departmental courses in the field of medieval studies are offered each year; courses listed as “MDVL” are interdisciplinary. Students should consult with the director about offerings and frequency.
The major offers graduation with distinction to select student majors of high academic achievement. Interested students with a minimum 3.000 overall GPA and a 3.500 GPA in the major may consult with the director of the Medieval Studies Program for admission to the distinction track. If the director determines that the student has satisfied the requirements, the student may then request a faculty member to direct a senior-year distinction paper. The distinction paper must be a substantial piece of independent and original research that will be presented to and evaluated by a distinction committee. Upon positive recommendation from this committee, the student will be awarded graduation with distinction. Criteria for graduating with departmental distinction include the following:
- A minimum 3.000 overall GPA at graduation.
- A minimum 3.500 average in courses taken for the medieval studies major.
- Preparation of a distinction thesis under the supervision of a faculty member while enrolled in MDVL 5399. MDVL 5399 will be taken in addition to all other requirements for the major. The faculty adviser’s grade for the thesis must be A- or higher.
- A passing grade on an oral examination conducted by a faculty distinction committee, which reviews the candidate’s thesis. The distinction committee includes the faculty adviser, the director of the Medieval Studies Program and one additional faculty member selected by the faculty adviser in consultation with the student.