Our honours program will provide you with the opportunity to:

  • Work more independently and intensively on a special research essay by doing a final graduating essay, which will be done under the guidance of an individual tutor assigned in the final year of your degree.
  • Do more coursework in the area.
  • Do extra training in foreign languages.

This program is ideal if you're hoping to go on to graduate studies in the discipline.

What are the main requirements?

  • Admission normally requires a minimum overall GPA of 6.0 in 3.0 units of medieval studies of Program courses at the 300 and 400 level;
  • Normally a student applies for honours at the end of the second year;
  • Honours candidates are required to have their program of courses approved by the director of the Medieval Studies Program.

Third- and forth-year requirements

For the honours program, you must take 21 units of upper-level courses numbered 300 or above, some of which are required. The remaining units must be taken from MEDI course offerings and the list of eligible courses (with no more than 3 units selected from any department).

Course requirement for honours (21 units)

Language requirements for honours

You will be required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of a language other than English. Latin and Greek are particularly recommended although you may also choose French, German, Italian, or Spanish, Old English, or Old Icelandic. You may apply to the program to substitute another language. Normally this requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing 3.0 units of 200-level language courses with a grade of C or higher in each course. This requirement may also be fulfilled by completing successfully FRAN 180, or GREE 101 and 102 , or LATI 101 and 102, with a grade of C or higher in each course. In special circumstances, if you're already fluent in a language, you may request a translation examination administered by the program.

Standing at graduation

  • An honours degree "with distinction" requires a graduating average of 6.5 or higher, as well as an average of 6.5 or higher in all courses taken in MEDI at the 300 and 400 level;
  • Third-year students whose performance in the honours program falls below a GPA of 3.5 will be required to transfer to the major program at the beginning of their fourth year;
  • Fourth-year students whose graduating average (or whose average in courses taken in MEDI at the 300 and 400 level) is below 3.5, but who otherwise meet the university requirements for graduation, will receive a BA with a major in Medieval Studies.

Choose a topic, find a supervisor, and apply to register in MEDI 499

Normally, students will begin the task of choosing their topic and finding a supervisor in the spring term of their penultimate year in the program. Thus students finishing their degree in four years would normally choose a topic and find a supervisor in the spring term of the third year. Ideally, Honours students will submit an essay proposal by the last day of classes in the spring term. The MEDI 499 Proposal Form is available from the Medieval Studies office and requires the following information:

  • a working title for the essay;
  • a 200- to 250-word description of the proposed essay topic;
  • a word count of the description;
  • a working bibliography of up to five primary sources and five secondary sources.

The completed Proposal should be signed by the supervisor and submitted to the Director of Medieval Studies for approval.

The spring deadline will allow students to begin work on the graduating essay at the beginning of the following Winter Session, even in cases where the proposals require revision for the Director’s approval. In principle, the graduating essay may be written in the fall or the spring term, or even in the summer term or the summer and fall term (all parties being willing and able [see below]). Individual schedules may vary, depending on student goals and the availability and approval of the supervisor and the Director. Students should meet with their supervisors in the first week of the term in which the work is to begin and prepare The Honours Proposal Form for a MEDI 499, to be signed by the student, the supervisor, and the Director before the student can register.

Formal requirements of the honours graduating essay

Length: The graduating essay should normally be about 5,000 words long, excluding notes, apparatus, and bibliography. When submitted, the essay must include a word count at the end of the text.

Format: The graduating essay should be typed, double spaced, on one side of the page only with a margin of one inch (c. 2.5 cm) all around. Documentation should follow the protocols of the main discipline within which the essay is written (e.g., an essay on a mainly literary subject would typically follow the MLA Style Guide). Students should consult their supervisors about the proper form of documentation expected in the essay.

Supervision: At the beginning of the term in which the student is to start the 499 essay, the student and supervisor should meet to decide on a schedule of work and deadlines. In addition to taking part in such a meeting, the supervisor’s role includes the following:

  • meeting with the student in advance of the term(s) in which the 499 is to be written to help the student prepare an acceptable 499 proposal according to the schedule specified above;
  • advising the student on any changes to the 499 proposal required by the Director;
  • providing both the necessary information on scholarly resources and the necessary instruction  in methods appropriate to the project (this instruction may involve a preliminary stage for the preparation of the proposal and a subsequent stage once the student is ready to begin working on the essay);
  • being available for consultation on research methods, essay planning, and early drafts;
  • providing timely responses to the student’s drafts;
  • being available for consultation on revisions to drafts;
  • helping the student prepare for the final oral.

Potential problems in supervision that cannot be resolved between the student and the supervisor should be referred to the Director.

Deadlines: Deadlines for both the preliminary drafts and the final submission will vary somewhat depending on the term(s) in which the student works on the 499 essay, but in all cases the graduating essay must be submitted no later than one week before the end of classes in the student’s final term of the degree. Except in circumstances recognized by the supervisor and the Director of Medieval Studies as extraordinary, essays submitted later than the final deadline will not be accepted and the student will be disqualified from both the oral and the 499. So as to leave sufficient time for the supervisor to read their work and the students to make necessary revisions, students should plan to submit their 499 essay at least four weeks before the final deadline for submission. Students working on their 499 in the spring term would thus normally submit their first draft around the beginning of March.

Number of copies: Two typewritten copies of the final draft are required for the oral examination: one for the supervisor, one for the Director. One copy should be submitted to the supervisor, the other to the Director through the Medieval Studies office. After the oral examination, and following any required changes (whether revisions or correction of typographical errors), one copy of the essay is to be submitted to the Medieval Studies office. This copy becomes the property of the Medieval Studies program and will be retained for some years, during which time other Honours may be allowed to consult it. If disposed of in the future, the essay will be shredded and recycled.

Oral examination

After the submission of the final draft of the graduating essay, an oral examination will be held involving the student, the supervisor, and the Director of Medieval Studies (or in extraordinary circumstances a substitute approved by the supervisor and Director). This examination will normally be held in April during the official examination period. Where it may be appropriate to schedule the examination in the first term, the oral will be held in December during the official examination period. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the oral examination will not be held at other times or in the summer.

The scheduled time for the oral will be one hour. The student will normally be invited to begin the oral with a brief presentation (10-15 minutes) introducing the essay, after which questions will be asked by the Director first and by the supervisor second. The aim of these questions will be to engage the student in a focused conversation about the essay and its context. The oral thus offers the student an opportunity to demonstrate to the supervisor and the Director a broader understanding of his or her work and its implications.

The student’s performance on the oral examination cannot negatively affect the final 499 grade. The supervisor and the Director will meet just before the oral and convey to each other (but not to the student) their assessment of the essay and decide upon an appropriate grade. This initial grade will be recorded by the Director. After the oral, the student will be asked to leave the room while the supervisor and the Director confer to determine the final grade. A superior performance in the oral may increase this final grade, but an inferior performance will not decrease it. In the latter case, the students will receive the initially agreed-upon final grade. This grade will become official once the final version of the graduating essay (with all necessary corrections having been made) is submitted to the Medieval Studies office. The final submission must be made no later than the last working day in April.

To graduate “with distinction,” a student must attain at least a A- in MEDI 499 as well as a graduating GPA of 6.5. Students who receive a B+, B, or B- in MEDI 499 and have a graduating GPA of at least 3.5 will receive an Honours degree, unless they apply to the Academic Advising Centre for a Major degree with distinction. In cases of a student who graduates in a Double Honours Program or in a Joint Honours and Major Program, eligibility for standing “with Distinction” will be determined for each of the two programs separately; a student may graduate “with Distinction” in one program only.