Medieval English Language and Literature (Medieval Studies) Section


Medieval English Studies at Göttingen teaches the interdisciplinary analysis of medieval English culture, combining literary criticism with language study, history, and manuscript studies.

Our students acquire a reading competence in Old English (c. 600–1150) and Middle English (c. 1150–1550), and learn to interpret medieval texts in their historical and material contexts. Following their initial linguistic and literary training, they may choose from a range of small-format courses with our international team of lecturers, who offer a broad spectrum of expertise in such fields as Old and Middle English, heroic poetry, manuscript studies, history, religious literature, Old Norse, and digital humanities, and are able to supervise graduate and undergraduate theses engaging with any or all of these fields.

Göttingen offers a number of unique opportunities for medievalists:

Palaeography in Vercelli

Every year, we take a small group of students to Vercelli, Italy, for a unique hands-on experience with a vast collection of medieval manuscripts, including the famed Vercelli Book of Old English prose and verse. For a description and videos, see here.

UCL Programme

Medieval English Studies at Göttingen has a bilateral agreement with Medieval and Renaissance Studies at University College London that allows students of the Göttingen master programme to spend the second year of their degree in London, during which year they are able to complete both their Göttingen MA degree and a separate UCL master's degree. For more information, see here.


Old English can be a daunting language to learn, and lecture courses can be a lot to take in. For these reasons, we offer two types of tutorial. Firstly, students in their first translation course (Introduction to Medieval English Literature and Culture) have the opportunity to attend weekly grammar and translation tutorials to help them master the language. Secondly, one of our student assistants offers an end-of-term summary lecture recapitulating the term's lecture content.

Small Groups

Bucking the longstanding trend of large classes in undergraduate study, Medieval English Studies at Göttingen has been able to keep nearly all its sections at far more intimate sizes. For our senior undergraduate course Peer-Assisted Medieval Studies, we go even further and discuss progress towards term papers in groups of two to three students, furthermore building in an element of peer critique.

XML Transcription

Advanced students may have a chance to join a team of employees transcribing texts directly from manuscript images into XML for the Göttingen-based Electronic Corpus of Homilies in Old English. For more information, write Dr Paul Langeslag at

Reading Group

For several years now, our lecturers have volunteered their spare time to meet with students to read Old and Middle English (and, occasionally, Old Norse) in a reading group format.

Should you have any questions about studying Medieval English Studies at Göttingen, at the BA or MA level, do feel free to contact our staff!