Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies

Medieval studies, which were taught at the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge universities, were designed around the studies taught at Paris University.

One of Europe’s first universities, Paris university heavily influenced the early teaching at both of England’s leading teaching centres, and many of the country’s tutors and students had already attended the famed French institution.

One example of how Paris influenced Oxford and Cambridge is the Lenten Determination. This process - named because it was a determination of how much had been learnt and took place during Lent - was specifically designed for a Bachelor of Arts and was concluded when a chancellor or president at the university evaluated a student’s knowledge. Oxford University introduced its owner version this just a couple of years after the system was created in Paris.

14th-century image of a university lecture
14th-century image of a university lecture

However, there is nothing to suggest Oxford had any structured degree exams in place during the medieval period. Instead, students would be presented to the college chancellor, to whom they would swear an oath that they had read particular books, before nine tutors would confirm the student’s ability. The student would also be required to present a case on a particular subject in front of a Master of Arts, who was commonly an Augustian monk.

Oxford and Cambridge basic set of subjects included the seven liberal arts, assigned to Trivium (grammar, rhetoric and logic) and the quadrivium (mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy). The main book that was studied for these subjects was written during the 5th Century by Martinus Capaella.

In medieval times, a BA at Oxford required four years of studying, while an MA in medicine required six years, a civil law MA required four years and a Bachelor of Decrees for Canon Law required four years. The high level of religion included in each of the degrees meant many students entered holy orders after they received their degree, regardless of the subject they had chosen to study.

See also: Medieval Education

MLA Citation/Reference

"Medieval Studies". HistoryLearning.com. 2015. Web.