CMS Course Information
Check the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) website for the current sessional dates.
To enrol in a course on ROSI, provide the course code in a format without spaces, and with an additional Y (for full-year courses) or H (for half courses), following the examples below:
In addition to those courses offered by the Centre for Medieval Studies, students may enrol in courses offered by other departments relating to the Middle Ages. Approved courses from other departments are cross-listed below (but the list is not yet complete); other relevant courses not listed here may be taken in consultation with the Associate Director or the PhD Co-ordinator. NB: Course offerings are subject to change. All details concerning course offerings cross-listed from other departments should be checked with the relevant academic department as changes can occur which may not be reflected in our listing.
- Staff indicates that the course is team-taught, or rotates among various faculty members.
- Y and L indicate full-year courses.
- F and S indicate half-year courses taught, respectively, in the fall and spring terms.
- H indicates half-year courses.
Please refer to the calendar of the School of Graduate Studies for information about regulations.
|MST 1000Y. Medieval Latin I||J. Billet||M-F, 1:00-2:00 pm||LI 301||Fall|
|MST 1000Y. Medieval Latin I||W. Robins||M-F, 1:00-2:00 pm||LI 301||Spring|
|MST 1001Y. Medieval Latin II||C. O’Hogan||M-F, 1:00-2:00 pm||LI 310||Fall|
|MST 1001Y. Medieval Latin II||B. Miles||M-F, 1:00-2:00 pm||LI 310||Spring|
|MST 1002H. Advanced Latin||P. King||W, 9:00-11:00 am||LI 301||Fall|
|MST 1003Y. Professional Development for Medieval Studies PhDs||S. Sobecki||F, 11:00 am-1:00 pm||LI 310||Fall & Spring|
|MST 1023H. Early Medieval Latin and Greek Poetry||C. O’Hogan||T, 9:00-11:00 am||LI 301||Fall|
|MST 1104H. Paleography I||S. Pelle||T, 11:00 am-1:00 pm||PIMS||Fall|
|MST 1105H. Paleography II||J. Ginther||T, 11:00 am-1:00 pm||PIMS||Spring|
|MST 1117H. Medieval English Handwriting 1300-1500||S. Sobecki||M, 11:00 am-1:00 pm||LI 301||Fall|
|MST 2031H. Medieval Celtic||B. Miles||R, 9:00-11:00 am||LI 301||Fall|
|MST 3015H. Intro to Ge'ez||R. Holmstedt||T, 1:00-3:00 pm||SU 432||Fall|
|MST 3016H. Intermediate Ge'ez||R. Holmstedt||T, 1:00-3:00 pm||SU 432||Spring|
|MST 3123H. Medieval Medicine||N. Everett||R, 11:00 am-1:00 pm||LI 310||Spring|
|MST 3158H. Roman de la Rose (begins September 20)||D. Kullmann||W, 11:00 am-1:00 pm||LI 301||Fall|
|MST 3253H. King Frederick of Sicily||N. Everett||R, 11:00 am-1:00 pm||LI 310||Fall|
|MST 3237H. Rules and Customaries||I. Cochelin||R, 2:00-4:00 pm||TBD||Spring|
|MST 3301H. Themes in Medieval Philosophy: Back to the Future.
Time, Being and Duration in Late-Antique and Medieval Thought
|P. Porro||M, 2:00-4:00 pm||LI 301||Fall|
|MST 3346H. Medieval Islamic Philosophy||D. Black||W, 2:00-4:00 pm||JH 401||Spring|
|MST 3501H. Introduction to the Medieval Christian Liturgy||J. Haines||R, 2:00-4:00 pm||LI 310||Fall|
|MST 3604H. Medieval Culinary Cultures||Y. Iglesias||M, 11:00 am-1:00 pm||LI 310||Spring|
|MST 5004H. Topics on Medieval Manuscripts and Textual Cultures||W. Robins||T, 2:00-4:00 pm||LI 301||Spring|
|MST 9310H. Directed Reading||agreed upon request|
|MST 9310Y. Directed Reading||agreed upon request||Full Year|
Other Courses and Training Opportunities
In view of the Centre’s interdisciplinary nature, some courses on the Middle Ages can be taken in other departments with the approval of the PhD Coordinator prior to enrollment.
Early Medieval Art
Wednesday, 10 am-1 pm
Early medieval art has long been viewed in the shadow of Romanesque and Gothic art and architecture, although the seven hundred years between c. 400 and 1100 produced a wealth of material culture that provides critical insights for understanding the formation of Europe. The seminar will focus in any given semester on one of the following four subdivisions with this period: Merovingian and Migratory, Carolingian, Ottonian, or Insular and Anglo-Saxon. The art and architecture in these periods can be understood in light of their relationship to the classical past, the development of political and ecclesiastical structures, the importance of the cult of saints, and the rise of monasticism. The focus in 2024 will be on the Carolingian Utrecht Psalter and there will likely be an important digital humanities component to the course.
Architecture of the Otherworld: Islamic Architecture and the Immaterial
Monday, 2-5 pm
This course reexamines how notions of the otherworldly shaped Islamic art and architecture, with a focus on its formative and medieval period. It explores the act of building and making as a form of being, considering the ways art architecture upheld human encounters with the divine, the celestial realm, as well as other otherworldly beings, benign and malevolent. The course considers the ways Muslims navigated notions of sacrality through a lifecycle, from daily to annual ritual practices and how architecture and material culture emerged dialogically within this context. Through an exploration of Islamic temporality, eschatology, the afterlife, early Islamic sacred geographies, sacred cities, ritual practice, pilgrimage, relics and funerary cultures of early Islam, the course challenges notions of sacred space as a typology to reveal Islam’s relation to the otherworldly as an embodied enactment of transcendence.
Book History and Print Culture (Collaborative Program)
East Asian Studies
Classical Chinese I (Limited spots)
|G. Sanders||Thursday, 9–11 am|
Old English I
Monday, 3–6 pm
An introduction for reading knowledge to the oldest literary form of English, with discussion of readings drawn from the surviving prose and verse literature.
Introduction to Old English II: Beowulf
Friday, 2–4 pm
This course is devoted to a collaborative reading and analysis of the Old English poem Beowulf: its language, its cultural and historical backgrounds, and its style. The work of our class will rely on close and informed attention to the poem's language and rhetorical strategies. In addition, we'll begin to explore some of the more technical aspects of studying Old English verse: possible topics include metrical analysis, paleography, and/or the problems of dating and authorship.
Completion of Old English I or its equivalent is desirable, but not a prerequisite.
Medieval Drama: York's Plays and Records
Wednesday, 10 am-3 pm
An archival turn in medieval drama studies began in the 1970s with the Records of Early English Drama (REED) project; it has since been reinvigorated by the digital humanities. For better or worse, we still cannot talk about York’s Corpus Christi plays — a cycle of forty-seven short plays, each based on a different Bible story, each produced on open-air wagon stages by a different local guild from c. 1377 to 1569 — without also talking about York’s contemporaneous civic, financial, and legal records. Students will read through all the York plays (at first with help from a modern-spelling edition, then in untranslated Middle English) and through much of the archives gathered in REED’s York volume — to discover for ourselves what they may reveal about the extant plays, or about other plays now lost — alongside readings from relevant scholarship. Meanwhile, this course will also offer light training and experience in digital humanities, archiving, and indexing, by teaching students (with help from REED staff) how to convert the old hard-copy text of REED: York into a searchable XML document, and then by requiring them to demonstrate those skills in real (if short) contributions to e-REED’s online York Prototype.
Writing the Self in Late-Medieval England: Thomas Hoccleve and Margery Kempe
Monday, 11 am-1 pm
What did it mean to be an “author” in late-medieval England? How do premodern writers compete for authority with scribes and readers? Are fifteenth-century autobiographical narrators literary fictions or biological selves? To answer these questions, we will explore how two of the most exciting and original fifteenth-century English writers, Thomas Hoccleve and Margery Kempe, establish their voices while writing under the conditions imposed by manuscript culture. We will read Thomas Hoccleve’s cycle of five poems, The Series, and his earlier Le Male Regle, as well as The Book of Margery Kempe, the first autobiography by an English writer. Both authors have produced some of the most personal works in medieval England. Hoccleve’s poems try to process his struggles with mental health and personal loss, while Kempe’s extravagant, larger-than-life personality breaks new ground in women’s literature and life-writing. We will discuss premodern concepts of authorship, (auto)biography, social identity, gender, and mental health, alongside exploring material culture. We will follow cutting-edge research and examine Hoccleve’s and Kempe’s works in surviving manuscripts, some of which were written in their author’s own hand.
French Language and Literature
Initiation à l'ancien français (Introduction to Medieval French Language)
Monday, 10 am-12 pm
Ce cours se propose de présenter les bases de la langue française du Moyen Âge, à travers une sélection d’extraits de textes originaux. On étudiera la morphologie et la syntaxe de l'ancien français, avec un aperçu de l’aspect de l’ancien français dans les manuscrits. Les textes choisis permettront de se familiariser avec différents dialectes et de faire un tour d'horizon des principaux genres littéraires des 11e, 12e et 13e siècles; on s'en tiendra cependant à la lecture et n'approfondira pas le côté interprétatif.
Ce cours est également offert au niveau sous-gradué. Les parties communes du cours insisteront davantage sur la dimension synchronique que sur la diachronie ; les participants gradués apprendront aussi quelques rudiments de la phonétique historique et d’autres aspects du développement du français depuis le latin.
Le cours sera enseigné en français. Les étudiant.e.s n’appartenant pas au Département de français qui seraient intéressés à participer à ce cours, mais pensent ne pas avoir atteint le niveau nécessaire en français moderne, devraient contacter l’instructeur (firstname.lastname@example.org). On fera un effort pour les accommoder, au moins à l’aide de matériaux en ligne.
|Old French Reading Group||D. Kullman||This Reading Group normally begins in the second or third week of the fall term. Interested students should contact Prof. Kullman at: email@example.com.|
|Byzantine Greek Reading Group||D. Kullmann||This Reading Group normally begins in the second or third week of the fall term. Interested students should contact Prof. Kullman at: firstname.lastname@example.org.|
Reading French Course for Graduate Students
Tuesday, 4-6 pm
Open to Masters and PhD graduate students who need to fulfill their graduate language requirement.
This course is designed to develop students' reading skills particularly as they pertain to research interests. Some remedial grammar, but the primary emphasis is on comprehension of a wide variety of texts in French. NOTE: THIS COURSE IS TAUGHT IN ENGLISH.
On a case-by-case basis, students with prior language qualifications can access the exam-only option (still with course registration) after prior screening by the home department in support of the exam-only option. A grade of Credit/NonCredit (70% is the minimum grade for CR) will be entered on their transcripts.
Students are not permitted to audit this course.
Germanic Languages and Literature
Middle High German
Monday, 2-4 pm
This course offers an introduction to the German language, literature, and culture of the Middle Ages. We will read and translate Middle High German texts, study facsimiles of medieval manuscripts, and inquire into epochal cultural concepts like courtly love and chivalry as well as courtly and clerical designs of identity. Authors discussed will include Hartmann von Aue and Walther von der Vogelweide among others. The course fulfills the departmental requirement in Middle High German
Reading German for Graduate Students
Friday, 2–4 pm
In this course, German reading knowledge is taught following the grammar-translation method designed for graduate students from the Humanities. It is an intensive course that covers German grammar with focus on acquiring essential structures of the German language to develop translation skills. The course is conducted in English, and consequently participants do not learn how to speak or write in German, but rather the course focuses exclusively on reading and translating German. Prior knowledge of German not mandatory. By the end of the course, students should be able to handle a broad variety of texts in single modern Standard German. This course is not intended for MA or PhD students in German.
Institute for Christian Studies
Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science
Wednesday, 11am-1 pm
An examination of Dante’s works and criticism on them.
Renaissance Crossroads: Tales of Exchange in Pre-modern Italy
Tuesday, 10 am-12 pm
This course explores the culture of pre-modern Italy (1350-1600) from a global perspective. Focusing on a selected group of case studies, the course situates Renaissance Italy in the context of transregional patterns of contact, encounter, and exchange between different cultures. We will investigate how the development of networks of trade, religious proselitism, and colonization influenced premodern Italian culture. Students will learn how to unravel this influence by examining different cultural artifacts, from literature (short fiction, dramaturgy, and translation) to art, material culture, and documentary evidence. We will cover well-known authors such as Giovanni Boccaccio, Ludovico Ariosto and Matteo Bandello, but also less-known yet culturally significant case studies. The course will also feature a digital humanities module in which we will work together on manuscript studies, textual editing, and geospatial analysis.
Musicology (Faculty of Music)
Near and Middle Eastern Civilization
Syriac Exegetical Texts
|A. Harrak||Tuesday, 10am–12pm
Selected texts from the extensive Syriac historiographical literature will be read in the original Syriac language and scripts and analyzed for style, grammar, and content. The texts will be taken from Syriac chronicles, of which there is a series culminating in the voluminous works of Michael the Syrian (12th century) and Bar-Hebraeus (13th century). Both are precious sources, mainly but not exclusively, for the history of the Crusades. Particular attention will be paid to the history of the Middle East and Byzantium from the 5th to the end of the 14th centuries. Students are expected to prepare the texts in advance for reading and analysis in class.
Readings in Qur'an and Tafsir
Wednesday, 5-7 pm
This course is an introduction to the rich literature that has grown around the study of the Qur'an in the Arabic tradition. In addition to readings in the Qur'an students will read selections from works in ma'ani, and majaz; we will then move to the major works in tafsir; selections include material from al-Tabari, al-Tha`labi, al-Zamakhshari, al-Qurtubi, al-Razi, Ibn Taymiyah, and al-Suyuti. The course will culminate in the study of al-Itqan of al-Suyuti. The course will also introduce students to the major reference works that are used for research in this field.
Prerequisites: At least two years of Arabic, or advanced reading knowledge, or the permission of the instructor
Anthropology of the Middle East
Wednesday, 3-5 pm
This course examines current theoretical and methodological trends in the anthropological study of the Middle East. The readings will offer students ethnographic insight into the region, introduce them to current research, and acquaint them with the kinds of questions anthropologists ask (and the ones they fail to ask). Possible topics include (post)colonialism, nationalism, gender, violence, history/memory, the politics of archeology, mass mediations, neoliberalism, and questions of ethnographic authority. A central goal of the course is to enable students to think in new, creative, and critical ways about their own research projects.
Al-Jahiz and His Debate Partners
Monday, 1-4 pm
One of the most complex figures in classical Arabic literature, al-Jahiz was a polymath who incorporated every field of intellectual inquiry into his own essayistic and compilatory literary form. He has been credited as a foundational prose stylist for the Arabic literary tradition, as well as the first contributor to Arabic literary theory and criticism. In this class, we will examine a variety of his works, from short epistles to excerpts of his longer works. Part of the analytic process will be to reconstruct the polemical context in which these works were written, and thus readings will be selected to illuminate his relationship to contemporary discourses, such as law, theology, Quran interpretation, logic, dialectic, and poetry.
Prerequisites: NML 310Y or NMC 412H or permission of the instructor
Premodern Arabic Poetry
Tuesday, 1-4 pm
In this class, we will read some of the most famous and frequently quoted poems of the pre-modern Arabic literary tradition, drawing from a wide variety of genres and periods. Readings include pre-Islamic poetry, Abu Nuwās, al-Buḥturī, al-Mutanabbī, and Ibn Nubāta, among others. All texts are in the original Arabic.
The course will introduce Arabic prosody, and allow students to develop skills in deciphering difficult verses using available reference material. Strong grammatical knowledge is presupposed. Class discussion focuses on poem structures, historical background, and close reading techniques.
Prerequisites: NML 310Y or NML 412H or permission of the instructor
Hadith and the Study of Traditions in Islamic History
Tuesday, 2-5 pm
This is a seminar on the hadith literature broadly defined, as well as its methodological challenges and potentials for the study of Islamic history. Debates on the status of traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad and other early authority figures played a formative role in classical Islamic thought, and have been no less significant if contentious in the modern academic study of Islam. This course explores the history of hadith as a discourse, its different forms and genres, its compilation and changing norms of transmission in the medieval period, and its various functions in law, ethics, theology, society, and culture. Readings in primary sources will include both canonical and apocryphal texts, representing the major and minor Muslim traditions. Through selected case studies on themes of interest, students will develop a command of the technical concepts and terminology in hadith studies, be able to review current debates in the field, and gain a critical understanding of the role of tradition in Islamic intellectual and social history.
The Persian Manuscript Tradition
Monday, 1-3 pm
An introduction to medieval Persian codicology, including the technical terminology used in the study of manuscripts; paleographical issues, such as script styles and dating; textual criticism and editing techniques; and the use of manuscript catalogues. Some attention will also be paid to the arts of the book. Digital copies of selected Persian manuscripts will form the basis of study.
Medieval Persian Historiography and Diplomatics
Tuesday, 1-3 pm
This seminar is concerned with Persian historical writing and documentary sources for the study of the history and culture of greater Iran during the medieval Islamic period. Selected excerpts from major Persian chronicles and other historical writings will be read and analyzed in their historical contexts. Students will also be introduced to Persian diplomatics, i.e., the study of various types of documents, including correspondence and legal documents, as well as chancery manuals and notarial formularies.
New Approaches to “Islamic Art”
Thursday, 1-3 pm
Does ‘Islamic Art’ exist? This course takes a critical approach to the concept of ‘Islamic art’ that is rooted in two interconnected modes of conceptualization: colonial imagination and collection practices. By exploring real and virtual art exhibitions that were (re)installed after 9/11 and selected readings on ‘Islamic Art’ students engage with the topics of orientalism, the colonial gaze, art collecting practices, islamophobia, and current debates on decolonizing the museum. They also gain an understanding of the role of museums in shaping and constructing cultural narratives.
Religious Studies (Department for the Study of Religion)
Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity Gateway Seminar
Wednesday, 10 am-12 pm
This gateway seminar will introduce students to approaches to the study of religions of Mediterranean antiquity. The purpose of the course is to provide a broad understanding of the history of the discipline and how methods have evolved in the study of Hebrew Bible, Early Christianity, and Early Judaism in the context of Greco-Roman antiquity. Topics covered in the course include source and form criticism; archaeology; social sciences; conceptualization of diversity; the material text; and positionality. By the end of the course, students will be prepared to teach a range of methods at the introductory level and equipped to refine an approach to frame their own research projects.
Feminist and Womanist Biblical Interpretations
Monday, 10 am-12 pm
Both “feminist” and “womanist” are terms that are greatly debated. Alice Walker popularized the term “womanist” in her 1983 collection of essays In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose. Walker’s four-part definition includes a definition of a “womanist” as “a Black feminist or feminist of Colour.” This course provides a survey of the history and development of feminist and womanist biblical interpretation in North America. It includes interpreters of the Hebrew Bible (sometimes called Old Testament or Tanakh) and the New Testament,
Slavic Languages and Literatures
Spanish and Portuguese
St. Michael's College
Toronto School of Theology
Reminder: Level One Latin/MST 1000Y is the only language requirement for the MA program (see the MA requirements); and Medieval Latin (level I and II), modern French and German are the language requirements for the PhD program (see the PhD requirements).
Beyond program requirements, advanced training in a variety of languages relevant to the field of Medieval Studies, broadly conceived, is available to CMS students. Please find below a non-exhaustive list of such languages and the Department & CMS faculty member contacts for each.
|Language||Department / Contact|
Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilization
|Aramaic||Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilization|
|Chinese, Classical and Modern||
Department of East Asian Studies
Department of English
|English, Modern||Department of English|
Department of French Studies
|German, Middle High||
Germanic Languages & Literatures
|Ge’ez||At CMS: prof. M. Gervers and R. Holmstedt|
|Greek, Byzantine||At CMS: prof. D. Kullmann|
|Greek, Classical||Department of Classics|
|Greek, Modern||Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (CERES)|
|Greek, New Testament||Toronto School of Theology|
|Irish, Old and Middle||At CMS: prof. B. Miles|
|Italian, Medieval and Modern||
Department of Italian Studies
|Japanese, Classical and Modern||Department of East Asian Studies|
|Latin, Classical||Department of Classics|
|Mongolian, Preclassical and Modern||At CMS: prof. J. Purtle|
|Norse, Old||At CMS: prof. R. Getz, S. Ghosh|
|Occitan||At CMS: prof. D. Kullmann|
|Ottoman Turkish||Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilization|
|Pali||Department for the Study of Religion|
|Persian, Medieval and Modern||
Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilization
|Portuguese, Medieval and Modern||Department of Spanish & Portuguese|
|Slavonic, Old Church||Slavic Languages & Literatures|
|Spanish, Medieval and Modern||
Department of Spanish & Portuguese
|Syriac||Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilization|
|Tibetan||Department for the Study of Religion|
|Welsh, Middle||At CMS: prof. B. Miles|
|Yiddish||Germanic Languages & Literatures|
Reminder: The School of Graduate Studies provides helpful resources, courses, boot camps, and workshops in various fields. While these activities do not count toward satisfying course requirements, they might prove crucial to a successful and comprehensive educational path. Please find below a non-exhaustive list of areas of interest and the Graduate Centres responsible for each.
|Advanced training in academic writing and speaking||Graduate Centre for Academic Communication (GCAC)|
|Professional development, including developing research and communication skills, and refining professional goals||Centre for Graduate Professional Development (CGPD)|
|Support to supervisory relationships||Centre for Graduate Mentorship and Supervision (CGMS)|
For additional info about SGS services, please consult the SGS website.
View the University of Toronto interactive map.
|AH||Alumni Hall, 121 St Joseph Street|
|BC||Birge–Carnegie Library, 75a Queen’s Park|
|BF||Bancroft Building, 4 Bancroft Avenue|
|BT||Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West (3rd floor - Comparative Literature Seminar Room)|
|CR||Carr Hall, 100 St Joseph Street|
|EJ||Music Library, Edward Johnson Building, 80 Queen’s Park|
|IN||Innis College, 2 Sussex Avenue|
|JH||Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St George Street|
|KL||PIMS Library, J.M. Kelly Library, 113 St Joseph Street, 4th floor|
|LA||Gerald Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place|
|LI||Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queen’s Park, 3rd floor (SE corner of Bloor Street & Queen’s Park)|
|MA||Colin Friesen Room, Massey College, 4 Devonshire Place|
|NF||Northrop Frye Hall, 73 Queen’s Park Crescent East|
|OH||Odette Hall, 50 St Joseph Street|
|PI||Pontifical Institute of Mediæval Studies (PIMS), 59 Queen’s Park Crescent East|
|PR||E.J. Pratt Library, 71 Queen’s Park Crescent East|
|RB||Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, 120 St George Street|
|RL||Robarts Library, Dictionary of Old English, Room 14284, 14th floor, 130 St George Street|
|SS||Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St George Street|
|TC||Trinity College, 6 Hoskin Avenue|
|TF||Teefy Hall, 57 Queen’s Park Crescent East|
|UC||University College, 12 King’s College Circle|
|VC||Victoria College, 73 Queen’s Park Crescent East|
|WI||Wilson Hall, New College, 40 Willcocks Street|