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Graduate Certificate in Premodern Cultures & Communities

The Premodern Cultures and Communities certificate provides graduate students with advanced training in the methods and questions unique to the field of premodern studies (loosely conceived as stretching from 500 to 1700).

The curriculum offers students skills and knowledge in content and methods necessary to identify, develop, conduct, and present comparative and cross-cultural analysis of the premodern and its legacy from theoretical, literary, cultural, material and historical perspectives. Elective coursework in this certificate encourages multidisciplinary and global scholarship that is reflective of the rich array of areas of study offered in the College, including religions of the premodern, cross-cultural trade and exchange, history of science, reading cultures, intellectual history, literary and cultural studies, material culture, and gender and race studies. 

Certificate training may lead to a dissertation topic that focuses on the premodern, that draws on the premodern to enrich discussion of later periods, or that adopts premodern critical approaches and methodologies to any related field. The certificate may also serve to signal a subfield of interest that complements a student’s major field of graduate study.

Graduates of the certificate program will benefit professionally from a broadened teaching repertoire and a research agenda that is conversant in multiple fields, all of which will make them more competitive for faculty positions in their primary field as well as equipped to move into alternative professions that could include curatorial work in museums and libraries.

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Open to students who are pursuing a doctoral degree program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. All interested students must apply to the certificate program.

The following materials are to be submitted to the Deborah McGrady, Program Director (

  • A two-page statement of their intellectual and professional goals for the proposed program;
  • A 10-15-page writing sample (preferably on a premodern topic);
  • A letter of endorsement of their participation in the certificate program from the director of graduate studies for their degree program.


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Total Number of Credit Hours: 12 credit hours

Core Course (3 credits)

PMCC 6000: Introduction to Premodern Cultures and Communities (3 credits).

Electives (9 credits)

Students will select a minimum of three electives courses that, together, reflect a global, transdisciplinary, and temporal expansiveness. Only one course from their home department may count toward the certificate. The certificate director will consult with the student’s faculty advisor to confirm that the selection of electives represents a cohesive plan of study.


One premodern language is required. This requirement can be fulfilled through coursework that focuses on a premodern language (Old/Middle French, Medieval Latin, Old English, Classical Arabic, etc.), through a course that includes reading of primary sources, or through completion of an intensive language institute or a written exam. In special cases, a student can petition for a second modern language to fulfill this requirement on the basis that it is crucial to research related to the certificate.

Extracurricular Activity

Attendance at a minimum of two PMCC sponsored or co-sponsored events during the two years that a student is completing the certificate (included are talks, conferences, workshops, reading groups, dissertation writing groups).

Planning of at least one outreach event focused on promoting premodern area studies. Possible activities include: public presentation of research related to the certificate, participation in organizing an event for the certificate (onsite or at a professional conference), internship, public outreach activity, submission or acceptance of a publication (including podcasts, online publications and interviews, and opinion pieces).