Medieval Studies Comprehensive Exam Expectations


The major in Medieval Studies is designed to provide students with a broad education in the art, history, language, literature, philosophy, and religion of medieval Europe, and encourage, through the final reseach project, an extended engagement with a specific medieval topic.  The comprehensive exam tests students’ breadth, and draws from every aspect of the students’ experience in the major.  The exam is divided into two parts:


  1. General identifications.  These require brief (short paragraph) descriptions of explanations of important terms, events, personages, or cultural works.  This also requires a short Latin translation.
  2. Essay questions in the individual fields.Although individual questions require knowledge of specialized issues in the field designated, students may, whenever possible, develop their essays by using illustrative material from other areas of medieval thought and culture.  These are longer (2-4 page) essays on questions from the following fields:
    1. Medieval Literature
    2. Medieval History
    3. Medieval Art History
    4. Medieval Philosophy and Religion
    5. General Essay


The questions will draw from the syllabi of the courses the student has taken in the major.  Thus, if the student has taken a course on medieval Spanish, your exam may have some questions related to that in “Medieval Literature.”  ALL EXAMS WILL REQUIRE A SHORT LATIN TRANSLATION.  The Latin will be appropriate for each student’s expected level of competence.  Please consult syllabi for your courses to prepare.  All works on all syllabi for all medieval courses are fair game for the comprehensive.