THE MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE STUDIES CONCENTRATION IN ENGLISH
is designed for English majors who are intrigued by the cultural forms of the past and the varied perspectives they offer on the cultural forms of the present. Concentrators pursue their own interests in literature from the centuries between the writing of Beowulf and the publication of Paradise Lost and dive into the social, historical, and intellectual currents of English writing in a time when it was deeply entangled with mixed, migrant, and pan-European languages and cultures. The Concentration is an opportunity to work especially closely with scholars in the field while exploring English in the world before modernity. Recent work by students has investigated the histories of race and color, divinity, sexualities, genre, monstrosity, heroism, prayer books, the stage, lyric subjectivity, women writers, and more. Students from the Concentration have gone on to graduate work in English at the University of Chicago, Harvard, and UVa, to professional degrees at Darden and UVa Law, and to interesting employment at places like IBM, Teach for America, and top private schools and consulting firms.
(Please note: this concentration should not be confused with the interdisciplinary Medieval Studies undergraduate major but is often combined with it through a double major or minor.)
Students in the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Concentration in English take at least 30 credits for the major. These must include:
ENGL 3002 History of Literatures in English II (3 credits). ENGL 3001 is encouraged, but not required. Beyond ENGL 3002, further courses in 18th and 19th century English are encouraged, but not required.
At least four other courses (12 credits) in English literature written before 1700, excluding ENGL 3001. At least two of these courses should be at the 4000 or 5000 level.
Outside English: we warmly support Concentrators taking Medieval and Renaissance studies courses in other departments, for example, in Art History, History, Religious Studies, Philosophy, and in literatures in other languages. Consequently, in consultation with the Director of the Concentration, 3 such courses (9 credits) may be counted toward the 30 credits required of the Concentrator. We strongly encourage language acquisition, especially the study of Latin. Thus, language courses taken in excess of the UVa Foreign/World Language Requirement (http://college.as.virginia.edu/competency-requirements) may also be included in the up-to-9 credits students may present towards the major from outside the English Department.
DECLARING THE CONCENTRATION
No application is required. Students may declare the Concentration at any point in their undergraduate careers by filling out a major declaration form (even if they have previously filled out the form to declare the English major). Transfers and double majors are welcome. Before declaring the concentration, students should consult the Director of the Concentration, Rebecca Rush, firstname.lastname@example.org. When completing the declaration form, the Department major contact is Rebecca Rush. The title of the major is English, Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Proposed courses should satisfy requirements specific to this concentration.
COURSES OUTSIDE ENGLISH
Here follows a partial list of courses that qualify for presentation as part of the 9-credit allowance; students should consult the Director of the Concentration about approving others that might enhance their particular plans of study.
We encourage students in the Medieval and Renaissance Concentration to apply for summer research funds (https://undergraduateresearch.virginia.edu/) to study archival materials or visit relevant sites, to consider an independent study project with relevant faculty in order to development specialized research ambitions, and, if they are qualified, to consolidate their work by writing a thesis in the English Department’s undergraduate Distinguished Majors Program (http://english.as.virginia.edu/distinguished-majors). Concentrators are good candidates for the Fulbright and other international programs of support for advanced scholars (https://citizenscholars.virginia.edu/). Students are welcomed at lectures by visiting scholars throughout the year. Consider the BA/MA program in English if you are interested in an extra year of achievement at an advanced level (http://english.as.virginia.edu/bama-program). Faculty are eager to consult with students on these ambitions and on any aspect of their education.