This programme gives you the opportunity to study poetry, drama, prose and a variety of authors including Shakespeare from 1550-1640, and place them in the context of the rapid social, political and intellectual change of the Renaissance.
You will have the flexibility to focus on the aspects of Renaissance literature that interest you, as well as the contexts that shaped different texts such as political issues, religious ideas and dominant social structures. You will also gain an insight into how writers and cultural industries engaged with the events and trends of a fascinating historical period.
Optional modules will allow you to develop this specialist knowledge – and you can choose up to two modules from elsewhere in the School of English to broaden your approach.
A core module will help to develop your research skills, allowing you to make the most of our library resources and prepare for a wide range of careers as well as further study.
You’ll study in a supportive environment with access to excellent research resources. The world-class Brotherton Library has a remarkable variety of manuscript, archive and early printed materials, including the Brotherton Collection of poetry manuscripts and Elizabethan and 17th-century literary texts. They include First, Second, Third and Fourth Folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as works by Jonson, Donne, Sidney, Milton, Herbert, Beaumont and Fletcher, Bacon and Ford. We also have extensive collections of correspondence with a literary theme in our Letters Database.
Guided by tutors who are at the forefront of research in Renaissance studies, you’ll have the opportunity to make the most of all we have to offer.
In the first semester you will develop your knowledge of research methods and approaches in literary studies. You will also begin to develop your interest in Renaissance literature through your choice of optional modules. You will take three optional modules throughout the year – at least one of these must be specific to the Renaissance pathway, though you can choose up to two modules from across the School of English to broaden your approach.
Throughout the programme you will have the chance to deepen your subject knowledge while developing high-level skills in research, interpretation and analysis. You will have the chance to demonstrate these through your research project or dissertation: an independent piece of research on a topic in English Renaissance literature, which you will submit by the end of the programme in September.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a 24 month period and study fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
Most of our MA modules are taught in weekly seminars, where you will discuss issues arising from your reading with a small group of students and your tutor. You will also have the chance to expand your learning by making the most of the range of visiting speakers and research seminars that we run throughout the year. However, independent study is still crucial to this degree, allowing you to pursue your interests and build your skills.
We use different assessment methods, but most of your modules will be assessed by a single 4,000 word essay, which you submit at the end of the semester. Your research project or dissertation is usually between 12,000 and 15,000 words. During the year you may also be expected to give presentations on your reading during seminars, or submit unassessed essays to get feedback on your work.
This programme will equip you with a wide range of advanced transferable skills which are valuable in a wide range of careers.
You’ll be a confident researcher who can work independently as well as within a team. You’ll be a strong communicator, both verbally and in writing, and be able to think critically and analytically. In addition, you’ll have a strong level of cultural and critical awareness, and you’ll be able to look at a situation from different points of view.
All of these qualities are attractive to employers across sectors, and you’ll have the skills to pursue a career in fields including teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising, broadcasting and law. Many of our graduates also progress to PhD-level study and you’ll be well equipped for a career in academia.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
Are you interested in exploring the history of sixteenth-, seventeenth- or eighteenth-century Britain, Europe and the wider world?
The MA Early Modern History, organised by the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies (CREMS), is taught by leading scholars whose expertise covers the Catholic and Protestant Reformations, New World discoveries, and the political, cultural and religious worlds of sixteenth-, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England and Europe. It combines political, religious, social, cultural, material and intellectual approaches to introduce the early modern period in all its richness and complexity, and to equip students with the knowledge and skills to take a fresh look at early modern history.
The enormous breadth of staff expertise gives you a rich variety of options, and a wide range of possibilities for your dissertation topic. The programme also offers comprehensive research training opportunities, providing the ideal grounding to undertake a PhD in this area.
Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
Early modern history has become increasingly interdisciplinary, with researchers drawing on the insights of anthropology, sociology, cultural and literary studies, art history, and musicology, as well as history, when writing about the past.
Topics such as violence, clothing, gender, exploration, art, drama, music, buildings and material culture have come to be seen as crucial to understanding the transformations that were taking place across the period c.1500-c.1700. These new approaches are integral to the teaching and research training provided on this course. There is also an annual field trip, designed to explore key themes and issues outside of the classroom, in the context of key buildings, documents and historical artefacts.
You will study two core modules in early modern history (full descriptions available below):
You will also study the department's core module in 'Historical Methods', take a module in research preparation, and choose from a range of optional modules, including special subjects, advanced options, and further research training.
Modules are typically assessed by written assignment, with the exception of Research Preparation which also requires a presentation. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation on an agreed topic. The range of supervisory expertise within CREMS means that we can support dissertations in almost any area, so long as there are sufficient historical sources to support your chosen topic. Birmingham provides access to excellent library resources in early modern history, including an impressive range of digitised primary source material, from state papers and archives to printed books and much more.
The Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies (CREMS) provides a focus for research in this area at Birmingham.
Its leading members have a high international research profile, making this one of Britain’s largest clusters of expertise in this area. The Centre also has a regular seminar series, which will support and inform your learning. This includes an annual lecture (past speakers have included Diarmaid MacCulloch, Peter Lake, Mark Greengrass, Andrew Pettegree, Ulinka Rublack and Susan Brigden) and an ongoing programme of conferences.
CREMS also has particularly close links with the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon which provides a focus for a full range of seminars, conferences and research activities related to the study of the literary history of Elizabethan and Jacobean England.
During your course, you will receive thorough training in research methods relating to the history of this period, including instruction in palaeography to enable you to read original manuscripts, training in various languages as required, and a regular seminar that explores interdisciplinary approaches to the theory and practice of research.
Support with academic writing
As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.
International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).
This pathway of the MA in Literary Studies is ideal if you’re keen to study Shakespeare at an advanced level. Centred on Shakespeare and early modern literature and culture, you’ll also explore the reception and performance of Shakespeare in later times.
The programme is challenging, flexible, and invigorated by current research. It will deepen your understanding of Elizabethan literature, its historical and cultural contexts, and how this fascinating literary tradition has evolved, and how it is received in the world in the present.
You’ll combine theory with a close reading of a wide range of texts, from different media (literary, filmic, visual), periods, and cultural, geographical and linguistic backgrounds. All texts will be studied in English, English translation, or with English subtitles.
The pathway also offers a unique opportunity to work directly with one of England’s most respected theatre directors, Bill Alexander (artistic director of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Honorary Associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company) to explore, through the module “Text in Performance: Shakespeare”, how a play is read and analysed in the rehearsal room and how its language and imagery shapes character and performance choices.
In addition to the core module and dissertation, you also take three option modules. Please visit the website for more information.
You'll develop transferable skills, including:
Graduates of this programme have gone on to pursue careers in:
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.