The field of Medieval Studies concerns the history, thought, and artistic expression of the various cultures on the European continent over the course of a millennium (circa 500–1500). It arose as a challenge to traditional intellectual conventions, an alternative way of integrating bodies of knowledge that were becoming separated, and of pursuing matters that had been neglected. The Centre for Medieval Studies was envisaged by its founders not just as an institutional umbrella for traditional departments but as a meeting point at which topics and issues for multiple disciplines would be explored and studied in depth. Medieval Studies in Toronto has an international reputation, resting on the wide-ranging interests of its faculty, the calibre and preparation of its graduates, and its outstanding library facilities.
The Centre coordinates a program that includes various resources of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and of a wide variety of participating departments and programs within the University of Toronto. The Centre also sponsors several major research projects, and is home to a large body of scholars, numerous publication series, and to medieval drama and music groups. The Centre represents a large and highly interactive community of professionals who work in a widely diverse area.