With an emphasis on close reading, precise textual analysis, careful writing, and vigorous discussion, Medieval Studies majors develop outstanding critical thinking and oral and written communication skills, as well as a heightened appreciation of history, language, religion, and culture. With a course of study individually tailored to each student’s interests and goals, the Medieval Studies major at Notre Dame offers its graduates unsurpassed preparation for graduate school, law school, medical school, or various professions in business, government, education, publishing, ministry, curatorship, information/library science, and other fields.
of recent Notre Dame Medieval Studies majors found full-time employment, enrolled in graduate school, entered service programs, or joined the military within six months of graduation. View Infograph
Within six months of Graduation:
29% find full-time jobs
- Account executive, AT&T
- Client relations analyst, GSI
- Commerce Digital marketer, Tule
- Group Fellow, Library of Congress
- History teacher, Vanguard School
- Marketing and design assistant, Old World Christmas
- Residential dean and teacher, Subiaco Academy
42% go to graduate or professional school
- Divinity: Congregation of Holy Cross, Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary
- Humanities: Western Michigan University Law: Louisiana State University, University of Michigan, University of Texas
- Medicine: University of Virginia
- Medieval studies: University of Cambridge
- Philosophy, theology, and religious studies: University of Cambridge
- Social science: University of Chicago
- Theology: Boston College
13% enter service programs
- Alliance for Catholic Education, Mobile, Alabama
- Christian Appalachian Project, Mount Vernon, Kentucky
- Paraclete Academy, Boston, Massachusetts
8% joined the military
Our distinguished alumni engage in work around the world.
Read more about some of our recent alumni in the spotlights below. Current students, need guidance in developing your own career? Consult Notre Dame's Center for Career Development.
Alumni, do you have updates to share or want to be on the alumni mailing list? Let us know through our alumni update form.
Ryan Lash '10 and team members excavate the area around Clochan Leo, a medieval shrine
Ryan Lash, '10
Medieval Studies Honors Major and Anthropology Major
After Graduation: Ph.D. Student at Northwestern University
Ryan Lash, a University of Notre Dame senior majoring in medieval studies and anthropology, was awarded a Gates Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge. Lash was one of only 29 American students who to become new Gates Scholars in 2010–2011. More than 800 U.S. students applied for this honor in the 2009 competition. At Cambridge, Lash studied the 200-year period in which Anglo-Saxon Britain became a Christian culture. He has continued to work with Prof. Ian Kujit on his Cultural Landscapes of the Irish Coast (CLIC) project, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Anthropology at Northwestern University.
“When we become aware that representations of history are so often implicated in substantiating culturally constructed narratives, we become more critical consumers of the sometimes value-laden representations of the past we’re exposed to, from high school text books to historic heritage sites.”
Patrick McCoy, '10
Medieval Studies Honors Major
After Graduation: Ph.D. Student at Harvard University
Patrick McCoy joined the Honors Track in Medieval Studies in 2009. Following graduation, he took up study at Trinity College, Dublin, earning a Postgraduate Diploma in Old Irish and an M.Phil. in Early Irish. As of 2018, McCoy is a Ph.D. candidate in Harvard University's Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures, focusing on Early Irish Literature. We asked him to tell us a little about his time here.
"I was a Medieval Studies Honors Major and a Classics Major with a Minor in Irish Language & Literature. I started at Notre Dame planning to become a Classicist; however, I started taking electives in Medieval Studies (especially medieval Irish courses), and I fell in love with the field. With my background in Medieval Studies from Notre Dame, I was able to get into a M.Phil. program at Trinity College, Dublin and eventually a Ph.D. program at Harvard, where I am currently writing a dissertation on medieval Irish literature. Specifically, my dissertation examines the non-geographic use of place in Early Irish literature, focusing specifically on Greece.
"The best part of being a part of the Medieval Institute as an undergraduate was the shear number of opportunities to learn about the middle ages--the courses offered, the faculty at ND, and the medieval library (just to name a few). Many universities simply don't have those resources available to undergraduates. If I had attended most any other university in the U.S., I probably would not have ended up where I am today."
Mary Wheaton, '16
Medieval Studies Major
After Graduation: Upper School Social Studies Teaching Fellow at Elgin Academy in Elgin, Illinois
What have you been doing since graduation? "I worked in the Fine Arts department at my old high school (Norfolk Academy in Norfolk, Virginia) for two years as a Teaching Associate. While there, I was able to guest teach an Upper School Art History class, and chose to teach them about medieval marginalia! Currently, I am teaching ninth grade World Cultures at Elgin Academy in Illinois. This course encompasses prehistory through the medieval period, and I am so excited to share the wonders of the Middle Ages with my students."
Tell us about something special you did as a Medieval Studies major: "In 2011 I pursued a summer internship through the MI with the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections as an assistant to the curator of European manuscripts. Under the guidance of Dr. David T. Gura I reorganized and catalogued the Modern European Manuscript collection and worked on various other projects for the RBSC. This past summer (2017) I finally was able to hike the Camino de Santiago and completed approximately 214 km of the medieval pilgrimage route."
"What I loved about the Medieval Institute is that it allowed me to take courses across many departments and disciplines. Medieval studies allows students to take classes in history, theology, languages, philosophy, art history, literature, etc. Why limit yourself to the study of just one when you can take many and then see how they connect?"
Luke Donahue, '17
Medieval Studies Minor
After Graduation: Fulbright Scholarship in Germany
Donahue, a German and theology double major with minors in Medieval Studies and the Arts and Letters Honors Program, used the unmatched resources of the Medieval Institute collections to research his senior thesis, “Writing of Paradise: The Marian Prayers Composed by the Franciscan Tertiary Sisters of the Pütrich Regelhaus Found in Cgm 4484 and Their Historical Context." He also received both a Nanovic Break Travel and Research Grant and an Undergraduate Library Research Award to conduct his work. He went on to win a Fulbright Award in 2017-18 to study and research in Germany. Read more...
“The Medieval Institute on the seventh floor of Hesburgh Library was essential to my research, as were the library’s theology and reference collections. The library provided well-trained librarians and curators who were willing to work with me and assist in my research.”
T.J. Groden, '17
Medieval Studies Supplementary Major
After Graduation: High School Teacher and member of Notre Dame's ACE Program
T.J. works now as High School History Teacher at Cristo Rey Sacramento, teaching U.S. History, Economics, and Government. He's also a member of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education program and, during the summer, is taking summer classes at Notre Dame for his M.Ed.
His fondest memory of his time at the Medieval Institute was taking Professor Robin Jensen's course "The Cross" (Theology/Medieval Institute).
“I loved the interdisciplinary nature of the major, which allowed me to explore a wide variety of academic interests.”
Whitney Spiegel, '17
Medieval Studies Supplementary Major
After Graduation: Investment Banking Analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Winner of the Robert M. Conway Prize for an essay on “Myths Retold: Old Norse and Old English Origins of The Hobbit.”
Favorite part of major: “The diversity of learning experiences, subjects, and course work that I was able to pursue as a medieval studies major. […] I truly think the Medieval Institute is the only, or one of the few programs, that not only enables the flexibility that made my experience so enjoyable, but encourages such a strong pursuit of my interests.”
“The Medieval Institute faculty and staff went out of their way to make my experience as great as possible, not only in that instance but throughout my time as a medieval studies major."
“Being a medieval studies major was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of my time at Notre Dame. I can't imagine not having majored in medieval studies!”