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Many people have a concept of the centuries between 300 and 1500 CE as the "Dark Ages," a time when the former Roman Empire collapsed into barbarism and superstition. Yet this period saw the genesis of nearly every social institution still current today, including universities, hospitals, modern legal systems and capitalist economies. Medieval and early modern studies majors examine the roots of these and other cultural phenomena; they trace the development of artistic and literary styles; they cross the borders of traditional academic disciplines to gain a more complete understanding of this fascinating era.
Many medieval studies students go on to graduate school, where they find that their interdisciplinary training prepares them to succeed in a variety of fields. While many earn doctoral degrees in preparation for academic careers, others study library science, communications, or business. Still others combine technical skills with their broad academic preparation and find employment in Web design, graphic design, or other professions demanding a blend of creativity, communication skills, and computer proficiency.
Students have wide flexibility in selecting courses for the major. Recommended preparation includes survey courses in medieval history, art history, religion and philosophy, along with a three-course sequence on medieval culture. After completing this preliminary work, students select from a variety of courses in these subject areas as well as dramatic art, music and political science. To meet a graduation option, seniors may write an in-depth paper on some aspect of medieval culture.
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