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The MA in Early Modern History offers the study of the period of history that runs from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, and encompasses the Renaissance, Reformation and Counter Reformation, and Enlightenment.
The wide-ranging expertise of Swansea University's early modern historians allows students to study British, European, American or Asian History. The MA in Early Modern History explores the history of art and culture, empire, gender, politics, religion, sexuality and science.
Swansea University has excellent research resources for postgraduate study in the area of Early Modern History. In addition to the general holdings in the University library, the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth is within travelling distance. The University works closely with the National Galleries and Museums of Wales. There are a postgraduate common room and an electronic resources room available in the James Callaghan Building for students enrolled in the MA in Early Modern History programme.
The College of Arts and Humanities has a Graduate Centre. The Graduate Centre fosters and supports individual and collaborative research activity of international excellence and offers a vibrant and supportive environment for students pursuing postgraduate research and taught masters study. The Centre provides postgraduate training to enhance academic and professional development and facilitates participation in seminar programmes, workshops and international conferences.
The full-time Early Modern History course structure is split across the year with three modules taken in each academic semester (a total of six modules) and then a dissertation over the summer.
Students study three compulsory modules and three optional modules. The dissertation is written on a specialist research topic of the student's choosing.
Part-time study is available.
Students interested in early modern history from a history or related background. Students interested in preparation for postgraduate research, MPhil or PhD, or who wish to develop skills and knowledge related to early modern history.
Modules on the Early Modern History course typically include:
• Historical Methods and Approaches
• New Departures in the Writing of History
• Gender & Humour in Medieval Europe
• From Princely Possessions to Public Museums: A History of Collecting and Display
• Venice and the Sea
• Medieval Manuscripts
• Directed Reading in History
- To acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of a range of topics related to early modern history.
- To develop theoretical and methodological skills relevant to all aspects of the study of early modern history.
- To lay a solid foundation of knowledge and analytical and presentational skills for further research work in the field.
All staff in the Department of History and Classics are research active and publish books and articles in their areas of expertise. Our researchers are involved with the Arts and Humanities research centres: the Callaghan Centre for the Study of Conflict, Power and Empire, the Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales and the Research Groups: MEMO: the Centre for Medieval and Early modern Research and GENCAS: the Centre for Research into Gender in Culture and Society. Regular research seminars and lectures are run through these groups and also through the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) which students are encouraged to attend.
Career expectations are excellent for Early Modern History graduates. MA degree holders may move on to doctoral study or enter employment in such areas as museums, heritage and tourism; marketing, sales and advertising; business, art, design and culture; media and PR; social and welfare professions; humanitarian organisations; the civil service, and education.
“I graduated with a First-Class Honours BA History degree and an MA in Early Modern History from Swansea University. My four years of study here were truly the most enjoyable of my life so far! The lecturers, tutors and all members of the History department were also incredibly friendly and always willing to help. The MA was fully funded by a University Alumni bursary. The range of modules available to MA students is exceptional and the facilities here are fantastic. With a designated Arts and Humanities Postgraduate computer room and common-room area, as well as the University’s very own archives, Swansea is a great place to study History.”
Cath Horler, Early Modern History, MA
This course focuses on the history of Britain, Europe and the wider world between c.1500–1800, highlighting themes of political, cultural, religious and social history. The course is taught by experts in the histories of the Reformation and the Enlightenment, gender, the material world of the Renaissance, race and racism, and on Britain, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and the Iberian world, offering you the opportunity to choose from a wide range of modules.
Leads to further research or careers in museums, journalism, finance and the cultural sector.
Our Early Modern History MA bridges the division between British and European history that exists on many courses, focusing on ways in which cultural, political and social themes stretch across the period c.1500–1800.
The course is taught by experts in the histories of the Reformation and the Enlightenment, gender, the material world of the Renaissance, race and racism, and on Britain, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and the Iberian world. Their research connects the political and the social, the cultural and the religious dimensions of the early modern world, and our course will give you interdisciplinary perspectives on early modern history.
You will write a dissertation at the end of your course, but you will begin by testing concepts such as identity, mentality, religion; by challenging models of change including modernization, state-building, the civilising process, reformation, enlightenment and revolution; and by trying out different methodologies such as cultural history, gender, thinking with material objects, global history, using digital data.
Our optional modules offer you different perspectives on religion, society, politics and culture, by examining primary sources of all kinds alongside the most recent historiographical interpretations. We will also develop your practical skills through modules such as advanced historical skills, including palaeography, Latin from beginner to advanced levels, and offer the chance to learn a European language. The flexibility of the course means that you can also take relevant modules from other departments in, for example, early modern English or French literature, the Iberian world and Digital Humanities. You can also attend relevant undergraduate lecture series such as Power, Culture and Belief in Europe 1500–1800 and Early Modern Britain 1500–1750.
You will have access to an excellent range of library resources. Our long-standing expertise in the early modern period means our library has an extensive collection of journals and books in this field. You can also use the British Library, Senate House Library (University of London) and the Institute of Historical Research. We provide access to the most significant online collections of primary printed material, Early English Books Online and the Eighteenth Century Online and to JSTOR and other online resources for secondary material.
The MA Early Modern History course offers a rigorous introduction to the advanced study of early modern history, providing training in the historiographical and technical skills necessary for doctoral study, but is also designed for those who want to deepen their knowledge of the period.
We teach our modules through small seminar groups where we will debate and discuss ideas based on extensive reading.
If you are a full-time student, we will provide you with six to nine hours of teaching each week, and we will expect you to undertake 32 to 34 hours of independent study.
If you are a part-time student, we will provide you with two to six hours of teaching each week, and we will expect you to undertake 14 to 18 hours of independent study.
For your dissertation we will provide you with six hours of one-to-one supervision and we will expect you to undertake 574 hours of independent study.
Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.
We will assess your performance through coursework and occasionally exams. The majority of the history modules are assessed by coursework essay; other optional modules may differ.
King’s College is regulated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
The MLitt in Early Modern History is a one-year taught postgraduate programme run by the School of History.
The MLitt course lasts for one calendar year; taught modules run from September to April, followed by dissertation research and writing over the late spring and summer.
Teaching methods typically include fortnightly seminars, practical classes and tutorials. Class sizes range from individual supervision up to 12 students. The modules are assessed by coursework only; there is no final exam.
The early modern cohort is typically close-knit and friendly, but comprises a diverse, international group with a range of intellectual interests. Students work closely with each other, with early modern research staff, and also with students in parallel MLitt degrees such as Reformation Studies, Intellectual History, and Book History.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.
The MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies is an interdisciplinary MA associated with Durham's Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS), and is currently run from the History Department. The programme is suitable for students whose undergraduate training is in Archaeology, Classics, History, Literature/Languages, Philosophy, Theology, or other related disciplines. The main aim of the programme is to prepare students for doctoral research in the study of the medieval and early modern past by offering outstanding interdisciplinary training to equip students with the skills they need for their future careers. It is taught by specialists who are members of IMEMS, primarily from the departments of Archaeology, Classics, English, History, Modern Languages and Cultures, Philosophy and Theology.
Students are incorporated into the vibrant research communities within departments, IMEMS, and the university. Durham has a large and extremely active postgraduate community, and IMEMS supports the Medieval and Early Modern Student Association (MEMSA), whose members organise regular seminars and conferences. IMEMS has more than fifty staff members from arts, humanities, social science and science departments across the University, all active researchers, and is one of the largest gatherings of scholars in this area in the world. IMEMS is situated in the historic setting of the World Heritage Site, which includes Durham Cathedral, Durham Castle, and the surrounding area. Students of medieval and early modern studies at Durham benefit from the rich archival and manuscript resources in the collections of the University (at Palace Green Library and at Ushaw College) and in the Cathedral Library, while the wider regional resources for study of the period are also highly significant.
All students on the MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies take two core modules, Reading the Medieval and Early Modern Past, and Writing the Medieval and Early Modern Past (30 credits each); both of these run throughout Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms. Students also write a 15,000-word dissertation (60 credits), supervised by one of Durham's specialists, which allows them to focus on a specialist topic of their choice in the period AD 300-1700, which may be interdisciplinary or focused primarily on one of the individual disciplines which make up the programme. They also take two optional modules (30 credits each) which run either in Michaelmas or Epiphany or throughout both terms. These may be content, language or skills modules, and are drawn from the seven participating departments as well as Durham’s other centres and programmes. All elements of the programme have embedded within them a range of content, subject-specific skills, and key skills.
The two team-taught core modules enable students to develop advanced skills in interpreting and usinga range of different kinds of source-material from the medieval and early modern periods, including textual, material and visual culture. They allow students to consider developments over the longue duree and enable a more rounded understanding of how a range of themes, ideas and institutions changed from the end of the classical world, through the Middle Ages and into the early modern era. These modules are intended to guide students whose backgrounds are in a range of disciplinary specialisms towards an understanding of how study of the medieval and early modern past can be nuanced and enhanced by approaches from multiple different disciplines used alongside each other. The modules also help students develop from a more tutor-led approach to independent learning, in order to support their work on their dissertations and their future careers. Reading the Medieval and Early Modern Past takes one key item or body of material (e.g. a text, a site, an archive) as a lens through which to explore different disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to studying the period 300-1700. Students are assessed by a 5000-word essay on a topic of their choice connected with the themes of the module. Writing the Medieval and Early Modern Past focuses on major themes, movements and institutions which can best be examined across the whole medieval and early modern period, and which can best be explained by close study of change and continuity over a long period of time. A number of these themes will invite interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approaches, and thus will allow students to develop their skills in bringing together different kinds of material for study of the past. Students are assessed for this module by a) a 4000-word essay on a topic of their choice, connected with the themes of the module, and b) a 15-minute presentation.
Students choose two optional modules offered by the departments participating in the programme. These modules are taught by subject specialists and usually involve a series of seminars with an emphasis on close study of original material from the medieval and early modern periods, and provide a ‘step up’ from the level of final-year undergraduate study. The breadth of modules available means that students can develop their skills and research interests according to their own tailored programme and with the advice of their dissertation supervisor, ensuring the best possible preparation for the future. There are also some modules focusing on particular skills-training such as medieval or modern languages or auxiliary skills (e.g. Latin; Ancient Greek; Old Norse; Old English; Academic French; Academic German; Palaeography).
The range of optional modules in each year varies according to staff availability and departmental provision, but as a representative sample optional modules may include the following: