Two students discussing about subjects

History Department

Menu Display

Medieval and Renaissance Studies

The minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS) provides students with the opportunity to study the art, history, languages, literature, music, philosophy, and religious practices of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

MARS is an interdisciplinary program with faculty from the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Communications and the Arts. If you are interested in the minor please contact Dr. Janine Peterson at

The works of art, literature, and philosophy of this period represent some of the greatest human achievements. Students enrolled in the program will be challenged to think critically about an epic poem, consider the manuscript culture of the pre-print world, and analyze timeless works of art. In the process, students will develop and sharpen critical thinking and writing skills.

Why Minor in MARS?

Many undergraduates choose a major and minor because it is practical. While this is not entirely unreasonable, it is worth noting that we value knowledge for different reasons. These reasons generally fall into two broad categories: either we value knowledge for its consequences, or because knowledge is its own reward.

On the surface of things, MARS may appear impractical and have little to do with an undergraduate’s career aspirations after graduation. However, there is both an extrinsic and intrinsic value to MARS.  The extrinsic value is not hard to find: as a student in this program you will be challenged to think and develop your critical reasoning skills; you will write research papers, and analyze texts and timeless works of art;  finally, you will learn a language. All of these skills are necessary for your success in any chosen vocation. 

This leaves us with the intrinsic value to MARS. The study of medieval and Renaissance periods in all their glory is its own reward.  It provides us with a privileged insight into a period that, in many ways, is different from our own, and in this way represents an “untimely meditation” upon the present. Finally, the works of literature, art, philosophy, and music of this period represent some of the greatest human achievements.

Minor Requirements

Five Courses in at least three of the following fields:

  • English
  • Fine Arts (Art History and Music)
  • History
  • Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

One language course in the following:

  • An intermediate course in French, Italian, or Spanish
  • An introductory course in Latin or Arabic