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Medieval History


The UCLA Department of History welcomes applications from qualified students to its graduate program in Medieval History. The field considers qualified applicants to the Graduate Program in Medieval History with either a B.A. or an M.A. degree. It is expected that applicants with a B.A. degree will have given serious consideration to what questions they wish to pursue and hence with whom they wish to study, and that this will be reflected in their language preparation and their curriculum. The strongest applicants should have had at least two years of university level Latin and a firm foundation in at least one modern language. Following departmental practice the Medieval Field does not accept students who wish to pursue a terminal M.A. Students entering the program without an M.A. in history must complete the requirements for the M.A. described below. Students who enter the program with an M.A. in history are not required to take the M.A. examination.

The Medieval History field at UCLA provides scholarly training in the discipline with strong emphasis on research and paleographical skills, teaching and interdisciplinary work. Students of medieval history at UCLA benefit from the existence of strong programs in medieval Latin and vernacular languages and literature (Celtic, English, French, German, Italian, Old Norse, Portuguese, Spanish and Slavic languages), as well as related disciplines such as art history, anthropology, archeology and others. One of the requirements for the Ph.D. qualifying examination is, in fact, a field outside history, underlining our commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to the history of the European Middle Ages.

The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) at UCLA serves as the locus for the cooperation and scholarly exchanges across disciplines. The CMRS sponsors renowned visiting scholars (for periods of two weeks or longer), lectures, workshops, conferences, and research projects in all areas of medieval history and culture. The CMRS also provides graduate students with fellowships and research assistantships on a competitive basis.

In addition, the CMRS and the medieval field at UCLA have strong links to the Huntington Library and the Getty Center providing access for our graduate students to their unparalleled scholarly resources. One of the copies of the Princeton Index of Christian Art is housed at UCLA and available to UCLA students. Moreover, three times a year medieval historians (graduate students and faculty alike) from the campuses of the University of California and Stanford University gather at the Huntington Library to discuss their research. These gatherings, initiated by the CMRS several years ago, provide opportunities for graduate students to present their work and to establish links with other scholars throughout the state of California.


Prospective students are encouraged to consider those areas of research in which the faculty at UCLA is particularly suited to provide advice, but the medieval field also welcomes students interested in themes outside our own areas of research.

Medieval Field:

  • Patrick J. Geary: Social and cultural history of early medieval Europe.
  • Claudia Rapp (Ancient field): late Antiquity; Byzantine studies; hagiography; early medieval western Europe.
  • Teofilo F. Ruiz: late medieval social and cultural (popular) history; the kingdom of Castile; late medieval and early modern Iberia.
  • Scott L. Waugh: social and political history of post-conquest Britain.


  • Robert I. Burns: western Mediterranean; medieval Spain and southern France, especially Catalan lands; Muslim-Christian-Jewish relations. (Professor Burns usually teaches a graduate seminar and is available to advise students.)
  • Barisa Krekic: medieval southeastern Europe; medieval Russia; Byzantium, Dalmatian and Italian urban history in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. (Professor Krekic often teaches an undergraduate course in medieval Russian history [131A] and one Byzantine history [123B] and advises students interested in medieval Balkan and Italian urban history.)
  • Richard Rouse: Literacy, manuscripts, and medieval society.

Related Fields:

  • Carlo Ginzburg, emeritus (European, early modern field): popular culture; intellectual history; iconography.
  • Ronald Mellor (Ancient History): Greek and Roman History; Ancient Religion; Classical Tradition.
  • Michael G. Morony (Middle Eastern field): early Islamic history; history of the western Mediterranean; Islamic Spain (History of al-Andalus). (Professor Morony offers courses in the medieval field to those students interested in the economic and social history of the Maghrib, which includes Islamic Iberia, Sicily and North Africa, from late Antiquity to the early Islamic period.)
  • Geoffrey Symcox, emeritus (European, early modern field): urban history, architecture and planning (Renaissance and Baroque); states and institutions in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries.
  • Kevin Terraciano (Latin American field): history of Spanish America, 1492-1800; social history; ethnohistory.

MA Requirements:

Students entering the program without an M.A. in history must complete an M.A.  Normally this is done in the first year and may not be extended beyond the end of the second year.  The requirements are:

  1. Nine courses, six of which must be graduate courses. The other three can be chosen from among the Department's upper-division undergraduate offerings.
  2. A research seminar paper submitted to the Field Committee.
  3. Satisfactory completion of one language requirement.
  4. At the end of the first year, the Field Committee will evaluate the results of students' course work, and research paper, and will determine whether a student will be awarded an MA and admitted to the PhD program, awarded a terminal MA, or dropped from the program.

PhD Requirements:

Candidate for the Ph.D. must meet the general requirements set forth under the Graduate Division.  In addition, they must meet the following field requirements:

  1. Language Requirements: All medievalists must have an excellent command of Latin, French, and German, as well as whatever other modern and medieval languages may be necessary for their particular areas of research. Prior to taking the Qualifying Examination, students must have completed Field Requirements in these three languages. However, with the permission of their advisor, another modern language may be substituted for French. Completion of requirements may be done in one of the following manners:
    • Six quarters (or four semesters) of the language completed with a B or better.
    • Successful completion of a history department examination in modern languages set by a member of the medieval field. All students taking the examination will be given the same two passages to translate, one to be translated with the assistance of a dictionary and one without a dictionary. Satisfactory translation of both is necessary to pass.
    • Successful completion of language examinations set by the relevant department (including the Classics Latin exam for its graduate students).
    • In addition, the Latin requirement can be satisfied by two quarters of medieval Latin at the 100 level.
  2. Course Requirements:
  • Greek or Latin Paleography, which may be completed by taking a course in paleography at UCLA, at a summer institute at another university, or through informal direction with a member of the faculty.
  • Successful completion of language examinations set by the relevant department (including the Classics Latin exam for its graduate students).
  • History 200C Advanced Historiography or its equivalent
  • A dissertation prospectus, prepared in consultation with one's advisor.
  • Qualifying Examinations. Students are encouraged to complete the field requirements as soon as possible and to proceed to their written and oral qualifying examinations. Students entering the Program with an MA in Medieval History from another University are encouraged to take both parts of the qualifying examinations after six quarters. It is expected that students entering the Program with a BA degree will take both parts of the qualifying examination before the beginning of their tenth quarter. The written examination will include questions set by all of the members of the student's examination committee and the entire examination will be read by all of the members. The examination will consist of four fields including two medieval fields, one historical field outside of medieval history and one field outside of history. The examination tests a student's broad competency as a scholar. An ability to synthesize factual information, sometimes across long chronological periods is, consequently, essential. Knowledge of the scholarly literature and of the principal historiographical controversies arising out of it will be tested, along with interpretive capabilities. Questions relating to the planning of college-level history courses may appear on the exam.
  • An oral examination, during which committee members may follow up on the written examination and pose additional questions relevant to their fields will follow, normally in approximately one week. A portion of the oral examination will also explore the student's dissertation proposal.
  • Application:

    Applications to enter the program from those interested in the professional study of medieval history are always welcome. Early expressions of interest are particularly encouraged and should be addressed to the faculty member whose interests seem to match yours most closely. In addition to the material requested of all students applying to UCLA graduate program in history (GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, completed Applicant Profile Sheet, Statement of Purpose and official transcripts), those applying to the medieval field must also provide a sample of written work (undergraduate or graduate papers, honor thesis, etc.). This sample is not returnable.

    Financial Assistance:

    All applicants to the graduate program in history are considered for merit-based financial aid by faculty members in each field, with all final decisions made by the department's Graduate Awards and Admissions Committee. Funds are allocated in the form of stipends, tuition awards, teaching assistantships, summer research grants, year-long research grants, and dissertation-writing grants. The exact nature of the grants and the amounts allocated are subject to change annually. The committee also forwards the names of the most promising applications to the Graduate Division for consideration for awards given out in university-wide competitions. There are additional sources of support through research assistantships, readerships and teaching. The Graduate Division has a summer program which provides partial support for reading, research and travel abroad on a competitive basis. The Department takes very seriously the issue of financial aid and tries hard to ensure that students' needs are met.  In addition, graduate students in medieval history are eligible to compete for Research Assistantships, grants for interdisciplinary research, and the Lynn and Maude White Fellowship all offered by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

    These Guidelines for the MA and PhD are effective for students entering the program as of Fall 2000. Students already in the program may elect to follow them or the Guidelines in effect when they entered the department.