The Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University was established in 1962 as a center for instruction and research in the history and culture of the Middle Ages. Its pioneering function then was to introduce the first Master of Arts in Medieval Studies offered at a state-supported university in the United States.
The Medieval Institute ranks among the top ten of the some 90 institutes, centers, and programs focusing on Medieval Studies in North America.Today, almost five decades later, Western Michigan University remains one of the few public institutions in this country with an interdisciplinary MA in Medieval Studies. The degree requirements are intended to provide graduate students with the basic tools and skills necessary for specialized scholarly research as well as with an understanding of and an appreciation for interdisciplinary aspects of the study of medieval culture.
In addition to administering the graduate program in Medieval Studies, the Medieval Institute offers an undergraduate minor program, fosters research in all areas of medieval culture, and sponsors a publications program for the dissemination of such research.
The Institute fosters research through the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies and the Richard Rawlinson Center for Anglo-Saxon Studies and Manuscript Research. Medieval Institute Publications publishes series of books, journals, monographs, and critical editions of texts.
The current director of the Medieval Institute is James M. Murray, Professor of History and Medieval Studies.