FAQ

1. Should I pursue a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies or a Ph.D. in a traditional department?

2. Do you offer a terminal master’s degree?

3. Are international students admitted to your program?

4. What is your funding package?

5. Do I need to have been a Medieval Studies major in order to apply?

6. What should I put in my statement of intent?

7. I already have an M.A. Will I get credit for this?

8. Do I need an M.A. to apply?

9. I have applied before, must I complete the entire application again?

10. Can I come to visit the campus?

11. What should I send for a writing sample?


1. Should I apply for admission to the Medieval Institute for a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies or to a department that permits me to focus my fields of study around the Middle Ages?

Our program begins from two related convictions: that our understanding of the past is strengthened by crossing disciplinary boundaries; and that any deep investigation of medieval culture should take seriously the material evidence of the past, especially in the form of manuscripts. At Notre Dame, graduate students in both the Medieval Institute and traditional departments have access to the same courses and the same professors, and the Medieval Institute study spaces and library are available for all campus medievalists. However, specific program requirements differ. Medieval Institute students graduate with a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies, but most of our graduates get jobs in departments such as History, English, or Philosophy (since there are very few departments of Medieval Studies). Ideally, a dissertation in the Medieval Institute will incorporate texts and methodologies from various disciplines, while at the same time conforming to the canons of one of the classic disciplines.

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2. Do you offer a terminal master’s degree?

No.

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3. Do you have a special policy for international students?

No. International students are considered in the same pool as U.S. students, and they receive the same funding package.

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4. What is your funding package?

All of our students receive a tuition scholarship and a stipend to provide for living  expenses. The base stipend for students entering in 2017 is $23,000. Some students may be awarded premier fellowships from the Graduate School. These fellowship are offered on a competitive basis and provide an increased stipend and other benefits. More information can be found on the Graduate School website.  Funding may also be available for a sixth year to students who have made satisfactory  progress. The Medieval Institute encourages its students to seek outside fellowships for financial support and for study abroad.

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5. Do I need to have been a Medieval Studies major in college?

No, but your undergraduate program should demonstrate a strong background in course work related to the Middle Ages.

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6. What should I put in my statement of intent?

Your statement of intent should explain your interests and trajectory as a medievalist. Among other things, let us know: What are your special interests? What has inspired your interest in medieval studies? What is your training in the field? With whom do you hope to work at Notre Dame, and why? Why do you want a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies? If there have been any significant setbacks in your academic record that you think we should be aware of, please explain these in your statement. Statements of intent should be no longer than three pages.

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7. I already have an M.A. Will I get credit for this?

All students must complete our requirements for the M.M.S. (Master of Medieval Studies), even if they enter with a master’s degree from elsewhere. With the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, it may be possible to transfer credit for two appropriate graduate-level courses from another university.

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8. Do I need an M.A. to apply?

No. Many students enter our program with just a B.A. However, we have found that it is often a considerable advantage to enter our program after completing an M.A. elsewhere. Although we require that you complete the work for another master’s degree at Notre Dame, your previous experience with graduate-level course work and the extra time for language training can be very helpful for success in our program.

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9. I have applied before, do I need to complete the entire application again?

Yes, all application material, both electronic and paper, must be resubmitted with the new application, and a fee is required for each individual application. GRE scores are valid for five years, so you can resubmit the scores without taking the test again, if you are reapplying within that timeframe.

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10. Can I come to visit the campus?

Yes. You are welcome to visit the Notre Dame campus at any time during the academic term, but this is not required. Please be sure to make appointments, in advance, with the Director of the Medieval Institute and with individual professors whose work is of interest to you. Keep in mind that if you are a finalist for admission, we will invite you to campus for a prospective student visit (at our expense) to acquaint you with our program, campus, and faculty.

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11. What should I send for a writing sample?

Send your most polished piece of scholarly writing, ideally a research paper (or part of a research paper) based on analysis of primary sources in their original language. Although we prefer writing on a medieval topic, this is not necessary. If your topic is not medieval, it should reflect scholarship in your primary field of interest (history, English, philosophy, etc.). Samples should be no more than 15 pages long, double-spaced, not counting notes and bibliography. If you are sending part of a longer paper, please include an abstract or a table of contents for the longer work. Written work should be in English.

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