Medieval Colleges

Mary Assumpta, Fordham University


Notwithstanding the numerous changes which the more recent realistic scientific and sociological movements have introduced, modern college life retains many features which date from the Middle Ages and reveal the direct influence of religious· institutions. Some of these inheritances are: the common life, obligatory attendance at chapel and the academic dress. Life at the Sorbonne and the other early foundation was in common. Attendance at Mass was required, at first on Sundays, Holydays and Vigils only, but toward the close of the fifteenth century, daily attendance was enjoined upon all students, .even those living in hostels. 'The wearing of a special "livery", a garment of uniform color and style, became general in the early institutes, a practice no doubt suggested by and derived from the religious habits of the monks and friars. This custom has given us the cap and gown. The oral examination of candidates for degrees today is another bequest of the past, the examiners now fulfilling the duties of the opponents of former times. The granting of academic degrees and honors is a feature of our collegiate system, which has also come down to US from the great medieval schools and universities. The scholarships, bursarships and "stipendis" of our times are repetitions of the charity which created the first European colleges. All these our current practices owe their origin to the scholars, educators and churchmen of Catholic Europe, which, as it were, had bequeathed them to us as a sacred trust.

Subject Area

Education history

Recommended Citation

Assumpta, Mary, "Medieval Colleges" (1925). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29281812.