Major and Minor

Students can get either a major or a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MEDREN). Duke is one of a handful of universities in the U.S. to offer an undergraduate major in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Many of our students are double majors, bringing two complementary interests together into a productive relationship. (Keep in mind that cross-listed courses may count toward degrees in both departments.) Apart from our majors and minors, every year over six hundred Duke students take MEDREN courses as electives toward Trinity College degrees. MEDREN is a popular humanities choice!

Requirements for the Major

The major requires ten courses: two required courses and eight electives. The two requirements may be fulfilled in two ways:

The eight electives must be distributed across the following four areas of study: Fine Arts, History, Language and Literature, Religion and Philosophy. This distribution can be done in two ways:

  • 3-3-2-0, or three courses in two of the four areas of study and two courses in a third area;
  • 3-3-1-1, or three courses in two of the four areas of study and one course in each of the other two areas.

Note that special topics courses such as 89S, 190S, 390, 390S, 590, and 590S have changing topics; their course study areas necessarily change as well. See the current semester listing for the course study areas assigned for these courses.

Because the major allows a maximum of choice and flexibility, no two MEDREN majors are alike. Each major is encouraged to discover a pathway through the program that is tailored to the special interests and passions of the student. Advising, therefore, is key, and majors should meet each semester with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to plan and build a thoughtful, compelling course of study.

Requirements for the Minor

The minor requires five courses: two required courses and three electives.

The two requirements may be fulfilled in two ways:

The three electives may be taken in any distribution suiting the student’s interests in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies

Independent Study

Majors may take an independent study as an elective to pursue a special interest beyond the classroom under the supervision of a faculty member. A non-research independent study (MEDREN 291) is a directed study in a field of special interest resulting in an academic product. A research independent study (MEDREN 293) has the goal of producing a substantive researched paper containing significant analysis and interpretation of a topic, and it carries a Research (R) code. Students wishing to take an independent study must consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies first and then submit a proposal that must be approved. See the Trinity College guidelines on Independent Study. An independent study (MEDREN 491 or 493) is required for majors working on an honors project. See Pursuing Your Own Research.