The Quadrivium is the medieval education which led to the Master of Arts (MA) degree. The Quadrivium follows the Trivium in a liberal arts education.
The quadrivium consisted of four disciplines which were related to mathematics:
- Arithmetic (numbers)
- Geometry (space)
- Music (time: harmonics)
- Astronomy (time and space)
These four studies compose the secondary part of the curriculum outlined by Plato in The Republic.
All the education was done in Latin, which educated pupils learnt at school, or from a private tutor. Latin was the lingua franca (universal language) of mediaeval Europe: even the Bible could only be read in Latin. Since the quadrivium was taught in universities, only boys could take it (because only males took part in universities). The teaching was done by priests. If girls wanted education, it had to be done in their homes. In the modern form of liberal arts in the United States, both sexes are taught, although there are still a few single-sex institutions.