Minor Program in Ancient and Medieval Studies

"Mattei Athena,” located in the Louvre Museum; Roman copy of the Greek goddess of wisdom, from 1st century BC/AD, after a 4th century BC Greek original, attributed to Cephisodotos or Euphranor. Photograph by Jastrow (2006); public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Through a wide variety of subjects drawn from a number of disciplines, this program provides a curricular framework for exploring topics in ancient and medieval studies which range from the history of ideas and institutions to that of material artifacts, literature and certain of the original languages. The chronological span of the program includes some 6,500 years between 5000 B.C. and 1500 A.D.

The goal of this program is to develop knowledge and understanding of the more distant past both for itself, in its uniqueness, and as an object of specifically modern questions and methods of inquiry. We are interested in the structure of institutions and social systems, and in relationships between the social order and learned traditions, values, ideologies and ideas. Ancient and medieval studies derive a special claim to our interest from the fact that the record is so full and multiform and that much of it is of exceptionally high quality at once in substance and form.

The Minor Program in Ancient and Medieval Studies is designed for students who, in addition to the focus of their major program of study, are seeking a fuller understanding of the forces which shaped the ancient and medieval world. The geographical and chronological scope of the Minor program is broadly conceived and is intended to be comparative. Subjects range in content from Classical Greece and Rome, and the ancient societies of Asia and South America, to medieval Europe and Japan. Students will be required to demonstrate intermediate level language proficiency in either Greek, Latin or a medieval vernacular, but they need not concentrate their other subjects on the area associated with that language. Students are also expected to have some distribution across the ancient and medieval time periods. We expect that students will consult closely with the Minor Advisor in order to devise a coherent program of study.

The Minor program in Ancient and Medieval Studies consists of six subjects (at least three of which must be taken at MIT) arranged in four primary areas of study:

Area I: Languages

Area II: Arts and Architecture

Area III: Literary Studies

Area IV: Material and Historical Studies

As with all HASS Minors, only five of the six minor subjects may be counted toward the eight-subject Institute HASS Requirement. Of these five, at most one shall count toward satisfaction of the HASS Distribution Requirement. Of the six subjects required for the minor, at least four must count only toward that minor (and not toward any other degrees, major or minor).

Click here for the latest listing of eligible subjects.

This list is not exhaustive. Relevant subjects that are no longer offered and subjects with variable topics (such as “special subjects” or “selected topics” courses, for example) may also be counted at the discretion of the minor advisor.

Additional information can be obtained from one of the Minor Advisors:
Professor Eric Goldberg, E51-290, 617-324-2420
Professor Stephanie Frampton, 14N-434, 617-253-4452
Or by emailing shass-ug@mit.edu.