The Dissertation

The Medieval Studies dissertation allows you to spend two or three years developing your interests into a monograph-length work of original scholarship. It may take a variety of forms: there is no standard format or number of chapters. Rather, each student will design their project according to the demands of the material and of the fields with which they are most closely engaged.

Many internal and external sources of funding are available to support students’ dissertation research. GSAS provides a guide to these, with links to standard internal funding sources like the UDF and travel grants. There are also grants specifically for medievalists: see especially those offered by the Medieval Academy of America. In addition, many major libraries offer fellowship programs to support manuscript research. You should discuss your research plans with your advisers, in order to decide on a timeline for fellowship years, funding applications, and for any travel you might need.

Writing the dissertation is, by its nature, challenging. But it does not have to be isolating, and there are a number of systems available to help Medieval Studies students find support, inspiration, and community. University-wide, the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning has a variety of workshops, programs, and support targeted to dissertation writers. Medieval Studies students also frequently organize their own writing groups, or join existing ones in allied departments: the DGS, your advisers, and your fellow students will be able to help you find or create a writing community.

As you approach submission, you should keep in close contact with the DGS as well as your advisers, in order to ensure timely completion of all requirements. For up-to-date information on submission procedures, forms, and deadlines, see the GSAS website. Full technical details can be found on the Programs and Policies page.

Medieval Studies students are eligible for Yale’s yearly dissertation competitions, the Porter and Field Prizes. The deadlines are usually in March, and the awards are given at Commencement.