MST Course Descriptions

**In Progress; please visit this webpage again to view updated course descriptions for 2024-25 courses.

MST 1000Y. Latin Level One – C. O'Hogan
This year-long course is a core requirement for the MA in Medieval Studies. By the end of this course, students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the full range of Latin grammar through sight translation and reading comprehension; identify and explain examples of specific Latin grammatical features in assigned readings; recall essential medieval Latin vocabulary (~ 2,000 words); identify orthographical variations of words found in the word lists; have experience of using a range of medieval Latin dictionaries and lexica; and translate medieval Latin texts of simple to moderate difficulty with minimal use of a dictionary. This course also prepares students to sit the Level I exam.

MST 1001Y. Latin Level Two – S. Ghosh
Prerequisite: Level One Latin pass OR completion of MST1000 OR permission of the instructor
This year-long course is a core requirement for the PhD in Medieval Studies. By the end of this course, students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the full range of Latin grammar and syntax through sight translation, reading comprehension, and composition exercises; identify and explain examples of specific Latin grammatical features, and the particular idiosyncrasies of the main varieties of medieval Latin, in assigned readings; employ medieval Latin vocabulary well beyond the core vocabulary of MST1000Y; use a range of medieval Latin dictionaries and lexica; translate independently medieval Latin texts of moderate to advanced difficulty; and identify the varieties of medieval Latin texts and articulate a general sense of the history of Latin language and literature from late antiquity down to the early modern era. This course also prepares students to sit the Level II exam.

MST 1002Y. Advanced Latin: Prudentius and his Influence - C. O'Hogan
Prerequisite: Level Two Latin pass OR completion of MST1001 OR permission of the instructor
Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348 – after 405) was one of the most widely-read and influential poets in the Middle Ages. The Psychomachia, a short epic about the battle between Virtues and Vices, inaugurates the tradition of medieval allegory, while the hymns of the Liber Peristephanon and Liber Cathemerinon were used extensively as models for medieval Latin lyric. In this course, we will read (in Latin) all of the Psychomachia as well as extracts from some of Prudentius’ other works. We will then turn our attention to Prudentius’ influence on a range of later Latin authors, including Aldhelm, Milo of Saint-Amand, Hucbald, Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, and Alan of Lille. Throughout we will pay particular attention to the topics of gender, allegory, ekphrasis, and poetic inspiration.

MST 1003H. Professional Development for Medieval Studies PhDs - K. Gaston
This course is intended to prepare PhD students in Medieval Studies for the job market. It will provide for them an overview of the non-scholarly skills they will need to acquire for the academic job search and for their professional lives beyond the job search, as well as give them information about non-academic options. The course will meet for 12 two-hour sessions over the course of three academic years and will include presentations from a range of faculty and guest speakers, with special attention given to the unusual challenges faced by students in our unit. Individual sessions will include coverage of the following topics:

  • Funding, Grants, Bursaries, Fellowships
  • Planning for the PhD with an Eye on the Future
  • Coping with Academic Stress; iv. Gender Equity in Medieval Studies
  • Alternatives to Academia
  • The Medievalist and the Department
  • The Teaching Portfolio
  • The Conference Circuit
  • Publishing Research as a PhD Student
  • CVs, Cover Letters, and How to Prepare for Them
  • Postdocs
  • The Academic Job Search in North America and Beyond

MST 1104H Latin Palaeography I - W. Robins
Prerequisite: successful completion of MST1000 OR Level I Latin exam pass
An introduction to early medieval scripts. The course is designed as a practicum in the transcription of scripts from the late Roman Empire to the 12th century.

MST 1105H. Latin Palaeography II - R. Macchioro
Prerequisite: MST1000Y
Study of Latin Scripts from 1200 to 1600 A.D. with attention to the cultural-historical background of Gothic writing, the physical characteristics of manuscripts, library practices and bibliographical resources. Training in reading scripts is provided through weekly exercises.

MST 1107H. Latin Textual Criticism - J. Welsh

MST 1110H. Diplomatics and Diplomatic Editing - S. Ghosh

MST 1117H. Medieval English Handwriting 1300-1500 - S. Sobecki
The study of handwriting in late-medieval medieval England is a complex and dynamic field. Since the publication in 1969 of M.B. Parkes’ foundational English Cursive Book Hands, 1250-1500, English palaeography has diverged significantly from continental practice in terminology and approach. The specificity of the main scripts used in England – Anglicana and Secretary – has developed into a highly specialised field, often at the expense of acknowledging points of contact with continental and, especially, French handwriting. 
This course will introduce students to the study of handwriting in late medieval England (1300-1500), with a focus on literary and administrative writing in English, though French and Latin will also be considered. We will study the main scripts used in England (Anglicana, Secretary, and Textura) in their administrative and literary guises, and we will explore the different systems to classify scripts as used by English and continental European scholars. Our approach will be both specialist and comparative, taking account of developments in France and elsewhere in Europe. In addition, we will examine in detail existing controversies in English palaeography, in particular the cases of Adam Pinkhurst and Thomas Hoccleve. 

MST 1373. English Language and Literature in Transition - S. Pelle

MST 1388H. The Junius Manuscript: Old Testament Narratives - R. Trilling
The late-tenth-century Junius Manuscript is an illustrated collection of Old English biblical verse, containing four poems that chart the course of salvation history from the Creation to the Last Judgment: Genesis, Exodus, Daniel, and Christ and Satan. It serves as an important witness to the dissemination of theological doctrine to lay and unlearned audiences at the height of the Benedictine Reform, and it offers various examples of how early medieval English authors adapted Christian content to suit the needs of those audiences through the form of heroic poetry. Its availability in high-quality online images from Oxford University will allow students in this seminar to work equally with the texts of the poems, the illustrations that accompany them, and the codicological development and history of the manuscript.
The primary text for the course will be the ASPR edition of The Junius Manuscript, and the primary goal of the course will be to work through all four poems in the original language, which will give students an opportunity to practice extremely close reading in the translation of some very difficult, complex, and rewarding literature. Readings will also include an extensive array of secondary literature, and students will develop their own critical readings of the text in a variety of venues, including less formal in-class discussion, prepared presentations to the rest of the seminar, and a formal seminar paper at the end of the term. A reading knowledge of Old English is required for this course; students who have taken ENG1001 “Old English,” ENG240 “Old English Language and Literature,” or the equivalent will be adequately prepared.

MST 1422H. Introduction to Study of Magic - J. Haines

MST 2029H. Introduction to Old Irish - B. Miles

MST 2037H. Legendary History of Britain and Ireland from Celtic Sources - B. Miles

MST 3123H. Medieval Medicine - N. Everett
This course surveys the major developments and examines key texts in the history of medicine in Europe and the Mediterranean from c.300 to 1400 AD. Topics include pharmacy and pharmacological treatises, surgery, therapeutics, regimen and diet, the transmission and adaptation of ancient medical works, the contributions of Arabic authors, the school of Salerno, the rise of academic and professional medicine in the 13th and 14th centuries, medical responses to the Black Death, and anatomy on the eve of Renaissance medicine.

MST 3135H. Digital Old English - A. Bolintineanu

MST 3160H. Introduction to Romance Philology - D. Kullmann

MST 3163H. French Historiography - D. Kullmann

MST 3231H. Clio's Workshop: Introduction to Historical Methods - S. Ghosh

MST 3253H. Medieval Sicily - N. Everett 
This course explores the complex Mediterranean world of the first half of the thirteenth century by tracing the colourful life and career of King Frederick II (1194-1250), known in his time as a ‘wonder of the world’ for his cosmopolitan court in Sicily, his knowledge of languages (including Arabic), his engagement with science and philosophers from around the world, his many titles (king of Sicily, Italy, Burgundy, Jerusalem, and Roman Emperor) and his ex-communication (three times) by the most powerful popes of medieval Europe who labelled him an Antichrist. The course examines key sources for Frederick’s reign, particularly Frederick’s own laws and contemporary chroniclers, and surveys major developments for context to Frederick’s reign, such as the Norman inheritance in Sicily, relations with the Islamicate world, the rise of mendicant orders, Pope Innocent III and the international papacy, early universities, and scholastic education.  

MST 3301H. Themes in Medieval Philosophy - P. King

MST 3501H. Introduction to the Medieval Western Christian Liturgy - J. Haines
This introductory course is designed to supply participants with essential tools for further research in medieval liturgy, regardless of their field of expertise. The first four weeks cover basic aspects of private and public Western Latin worship in the Middle Ages. This is followed by an in-depth study of extant liturgical books, especially those from the 13th through the 15th centuries. The latter will include hands-on work with liturgical books housed in University of Toronto library collections.

MST 9310H/Y. Directed Reading
CMS students may request to complete an individual reading or research course with a faculty member of their choice who must have a Graduate Faculty (SGS) Appointment through CMS. Barring exceptional circumstances, directed reading courses will be authorized only for students in the second year of registration, on topics directly related to their main research Areas, and for which CMS or one of the cognate Departments has no comparable offering.
The student is responsible for finding a faculty member who is willing to work with the student (Browse the list of CMS Faculty). Together they will create the learning goals, deliverables, resources, timeline, and mechanism for feedback. With input from the supervising faculty member, each student will submit the SGS Reading and/or Research Course form along with a brief course outline that includes all of the following: course title (max 60 characters) and a paragraph describing the body of work to be studied; learning goals and objectives; required readings (journal articles, book chapters, (non) governmental documents, etc.) necessary to meet learning goals and objectives; assignments with corresponding due dates and relative weights; a statement regarding the penalty for late submission of work; and planned contact with instructor and mechanism for obtaining instructor feedback. 
The form and outline should be submitted to the Graduate Administrator, for approval by the PhD Coordinator, at least one week before the sessional deadline to enrol in courses.