Medieval and Early Modern Studies Minor

The minor in medieval and early modern studies explores the historical and cultural production of Europe and the Mediterranean from the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Islam to the mid-17th century. This period comprises distinct thematic continuities understood to be post-classical and pre-Enlightenment and it is intended to be multidisciplinary.

Steering Committee

  • Sarah Higley, Professor, Department of English
  • Donatella Stocchi-Perucchio, Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures (Italian)
  • Ryan Prendergast, Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures (Spanish)


Six courses are required, at least three of which need to be at the 200-level or above, and at least four courses need to be from the same division (humanities or social sciences).* All students are required to take ENGL 112: Classical and Scriptural Backgrounds.

A maximum of four courses (including ENGL 112) can be taken from any one department. Two courses may overlap with a major and another minor and one course may overlap with a cluster.

*The medieval and early modern studies minor can be used to satisfy either a humanities (H) or a social sciences (S) divisional requirement depending on course content and the number of courses taken in either division.


Courses relevant to the minor are numerous at the University of Rochester. Below is a list of courses taught and being taught. Course schedules and descriptions for the above courses can be found in the CDCS.

Art and Art History (Humanities Division)

AHST 101: Introduction to Art and Visual Culture
AHST 120: Northern Renaissance
AHST 226: In Arezzo – Monuments of Ancient Italy: History, Structure, Form
AHST 236: Art and Culture of Eastern Christianity
AHST 240: British Art of the Middle Ages
AHST 242: Barbarian Europe
AHST 244: Renaissance Art and Social Change in Tuscany
AHST 245: Architecture in the High Middle Ages
AHST 282: Renaissance Art: Space, Narrative, Form

English (Humanities Division)

ENGL 105: Arthurian Cinema
ENGL 105: Middle Welsh Language
ENGL 111: Introduction to Shakespeare
ENGL 112: Classical and Scriptural Backgrounds (required)
ENGL 113: British Literature I
ENGL 114: British Literature II
ENGL 200: History of the English Language
ENGL 201: Old English Literature and Language
ENGL 202: Beowulf
ENGL 202: The Rewritable Beowulf 
ENGL 203: Medieval Drama
ENGL 203: Middle English Romance
ENGL 204: Chaucer
ENGL 206: Carnal Speaking: Body and Discourse in Middle English Literature
ENGL 206: Medieval Celtic Literature in Translation
ENGL 207: English Renaissance Literature
ENGL 207: Middle English Literature
ENGL 208: Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama
ENGL 208: Renaissance Drama
ENGL 210: Shakespeare
ENGL 211: Milton’s Poetry
ENGL 213: English Renaissance
ENGL 213: English Renaissance Lyric
ENGL 213: Milton
ENGL 244: Myth and Fairy Tale
ENGL 254: Arthurian Traditions
ENGL 380: Brain Science and Cognition in Langland, Chaucer, and Gower
ENGL 380: Renaissance Utopia
ENGL 380: Robin Hood: All-American Hero 
ENGL 380: Utopias
ENGL 391: Reading Course in Medieval Literature

History (Social Sciences Division) 

HIST 102: The West and the World to 1500 
HIST 123: Early Modern Europe
HIST 131: History of Russia to 1692 
HIST 228: British History to 1485 
HIST 230: History from Myth: King Arthur and Robin Hood 
HIST 309W: Mediterranean World, 1400–1800
HIST 331W: Europe in 1215

Modern Languages and Cultures (Humanities Division)

ITAL 195Q: Dante’s Divine Comedy I
ITAL 196Q: Dante’s Divine Comedy II
ITAL 220: Courtly Culture of the Italian Renaissance
ITAL 222: Boccaccio’s Decameron
ITAL 223/AHST 226: In Arezzo – Monuments of Ancient Italy: History, Structure, Form
ITAL 224A: Create a Documentary, Recreate the Medieval World
ITAL 244: 15th-Century Italian Art
ITAL 244: Tuscan Renaissance Painting
ITAL 245: Dante: A Multimedia Lab
SPAN 203: Early Hispanic Texts
SPAN 215: Don Quixote: The Book, the Myth, the Image
SPAN 249E: Reading Fables, Telling Tales in Medieval and Early Modern Spain
JPNS 283: The Culture of Zen

Religion and Classics (Humanities Division)

RELC 101: Introduction to the Old Testament
RELC 102: Introduction to the New Testament
RELC 104: History of Christianity
RELC 107: History of Islam
RELC/CLST 140: Classical and Scriptural Backgrounds
RELC 148: Arabian Nights
RELC 208: Medicine, Magic, and Miracle
RELC 211: Jews, Pagans, and Christians
RELC 227: Ancient Christianity
RELC 230: Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas
RELC 231: Christian History I
RELC 232: Christian History II
RELC 240: Muhammed and the Qur’an
RELC 243: Islamic Mysticism
RELC 244: Islamic Mystical Poetry

Music (Humanities Division)

MUSC 141B: Shakespeare and Music
MUSC 221: History of Western Music to 1600

Eastman School of Music (Humanities Division)

AHST 281: Art History: Ancient to Medieval
AHST 281: Art of the Renaissance
ENGL 142: Lyric Poetry
ENGL 209: The Elizabethan Shakespeare 
ENGL 210: The Jacobean Shakespeare
ENGL 281/282: Shakespeare’s History Plays
ENGL 282: Readings in Medieval English Literature
HUM 282: Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio
MHS 121: Music and Society: 800–1750
MHS 421: Music in the Middle Ages
MHS 422: Music in the Renaissance