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Masters Degrees (Humanism)

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The . MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies.  is an interdisciplinary MA associated with Durham's . Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Read more

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 ArchaeologyClassicsEnglishHistoryModern Languages and CulturesPhilosophy 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 CathedralDurham 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.

Core modules

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.

Optional modules

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:

  • Anglo-Saxon Societies and Cultures: interdisciplinary approaches to early medieval England
  • Archaeology of the Book
  • Christian Northumbria, 600-750
  • Contact and Conflict: Texts and Cultures
  • Courts and Power in Early Modern Europe and the New World
  • Latin for Research
  • Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic
  • Negotiating Life in the Early Modern World
  • Old English Language, Texts and Contexts
  • Old Norse
  • Palaeograpy: Scribes, Script and History from Antiquity to the Renaissance
  • Power and Society in the Late Middle Ages
  • Renaissance Humanism
  • Rewriting Empire: Eusebius of Caesarea and the First Christian History
  • Warrior Poets in Heroic Societies
  • Work and Play in Early Modern Europe


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This MA course offers you the opportunity to study medieval and early-modern literature in its historical, intellectual, cultural and material contexts. Read more
This MA course offers you the opportunity to study medieval and early-modern literature in its historical, intellectual, cultural and material contexts. At the centre of the course is an emphasis on the varieties of medieval and early-modern 'humanism', a complex movement which enabled new understandings of the classical world, of our place within history and of our relationship to language.

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Our taught MA pathway in Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise within this field. Read more

Our taught MA pathway in Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise within this field. You can learn from the rich variety of research expertise in the Department and you also have the chance to concentrate on a particular area of literary study within the fields of Medieval and Renaissance studies. Our commitment to research-led teaching means that students are able to explore the cutting edge of the discipline - from Old Norse to Renaissance Tragedy, from medieval manuscripts to critical theory. The Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies pathway includes the possibility of taking interdisciplinary modules involving other departments including History and Archaeology. We provide an intimate, dynamic and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds and nationalities.

Our programme offers up-to-date training in research methods and skills. You will choose three modules, at least two of which are from within the pathway, and you will write a dissertation on a subject related to Medieval and/or Renaissance studies.

An MA in Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies is often the platform for further research at PhD level, as well as providing an excellent grounding for jobs in education, the arts and the media.

Course Structure

If you choose to take this named pathway, you will be expected to select at least two modules from those available within the pathway and to write your dissertation in an area related to it. Your third optional module may, if you wish, be chosen from the full list of MA modules on offer in the Department. Students may, with permission, take one module from other modules on offer elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. All students must take the core Research Methods and Resources module and the dissertation alongside their three optional modules.

Core Modules

  • Research Methods and Resources
  • Dissertation

Optional Modules

Typical modules might include:

  • Warrior Poets in Heroic Societies
  • Old Norse
  • Old English Language, Texts and Contexts
  • The Anglo-Saxon World
  • Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic
  • Middle English Manuscripts and Texts
  • Issues in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Renaissance Tragedy
  • Renaissance Humanism
  • John Milton: Life, Works and Influence
  • Lyric Poetry of the English Renaissance and Reformation.

Modules are subject to staff availability and normally no more then six of the above will run in any one year.

Please use the 'additional comments' section of the application form to indicate your choice of modules as well as to provide a personal statement.

Course Learning and Teaching

One of the distinctive features of the Durham MA in Literary Studies is that it permits both a broad-based, eclectic study of literary topics from the earliest periods of literature to the present and the possibility of specialisation through designated pathways in such areas as Medieval and Renaissance Studies or Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Studies. All students take 3 optional modules, taught in small seminar groups of up to 10, with each module generating 18 hours of contact time (9 seminars x 2 hours) over the academic year. A strong emphasis is placed on independent research, and seminars usually involve a considerable amount of preparation, including short presentations and workshop activities. Assessment for these modules is usually by coursework essay.

All students also register for the Research Methods and Resources module, which generates an additional 20 hours of contact time over the academic year. Again, a strong emphasis is given to independent research. Both pieces of assessed written work for the Research Methods and Resources module involve significant preparation for the MA dissertation (and in some cases for doctoral study later on). The MA dissertation is supported by 3.5 hours of dedicated individual supervision time. Drafts of the dissertation are read and commented upon by the supervisor.

Each MA student is assigned an Academic Advisor who can guide and support her or his progress during the programme of study.

Throughout the taught MA degree programme, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in a lively series of staff-postgraduate research seminars, usually involving invited guest speakers from the UK and beyond. 



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This programme offers a unique approach to the study of critical theory, referring to traditions in modern European thought in which philosophy opens out onto critical diagnoses of the historical present. Read more
This programme offers a unique approach to the study of critical theory, referring to traditions in modern European thought in which philosophy opens out onto critical diagnoses of the historical present. It grounds its problems and concepts in the appropriate philosophical context, with particular reference to Kant, Hegel and Marx. It will prepare graduates for a wide range of careers in education, the arts, politics and public policy, and also provides preparation for doctoral research.

Key features
-You will benefit from high levels of staff-student contact, including individual tutorials, from versatile and internationally recognised teaching staff with a wide range of interests, projects and publications.
-You will be part of a large, supportive community, studying with committed and engaged peers.
-The course is based at the UK's leading Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, enabling you to attend and participate in research events with visiting international speakers.

What will you study?

You will take four taught modules and prepare a dissertation on a topic of your choice. You can choose from a range of module options, balanced by a shared central core of texts, concepts and problems.

You will study the two main traditions of critical theory – the Frankfurt School and French anti-humanism – and their background in Kant, Hegel, Marx and in 19th-century European philosophy more generally. The course includes work by thinkers who have become influential in the past couple of decades – Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Antonio Negri and Jacques Rancière.

Assessment

Short exercises, essays, and 15,000-word dissertation.

Research areas

This course is taught by internationally recognised specialists at the dynamic Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy.
Since its inception in 1994, the CRMEP has developed a national and international reputation for teaching and research in the field of post-Kantian European philosophy, characterised by a strong emphasis on broad cultural and intellectual contexts and a distinctive sense of social and political engagement. In each of the last two research assessment exercises, RAE 2008 and REF2014, 65% of the research activities of the CRMEP were judged 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', with 25% of its outputs for REF2014 judged 'world-leading'.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules
-Critique, Practice, Power
-Philosophy and Psychoanalysis
-Philosophy Dissertation

Optional modules
-Art Theory: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Contemporary - delivered and assessed in English
-Contemporary European Philosophies - delivered and assessed in English
-Kant and his Legacy - delivered and assessed in English
-Kant and the Aesthetic Tradition - Delivered and assessed in English
-Nietzsche and Heidegger - delivered and assessed in English
-Philosophy of Art History
-Recent French Philosophy - delivered and assessed in English
-Topics in Modern European Philosophy - delivered and assessed in English

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Human geography is a dynamic discipline with profound influence on current debates in the social sciences and humanities. Read more
Human geography is a dynamic discipline with profound influence on current debates in the social sciences and humanities. Human geographers focus on the relationships between space and society, in particular the interconnection between environment, place and identity, knowledge, globalisation processes, social justice, and a variety of other themes of crucial relevance in our contemporary world.

This programme provides you with a rigorous grounding in social theory and mainstream debates and techniques in human geography. It also offers a thorough training in qualitative and quantitative methods. The MSc is closely linked to the University's Cabot Institute, which brings together multidisciplinary research into all aspects of global environmental change.

Programme structure

Core units
-Experimental Geographical Methods: Practising Post-humanism in Social Research
-Theorising Society and Space
-Researching Society and Space: Hermeneutics, Genealogy, and Critical Theory

Optional units - Optional units can change from year to year, but may include:
-Affect/Biopolitics/Technologies
-Explanation, Causation and Longitudinal Analysis
-Geographies of Time and Timing
-Geographies of Knowledge
-Practical Statistics for Use in Research and Policy
-Post-colonial Matters

ESRC-funded students must take either of the following:
-Explanation, Causation and Longitudinal Analysis
-Practical Statistics for Use in Research and Policy

Dissertation
You will complete a research-based dissertation of up to 15,000 words. You begin work on the dissertation in May and submit by the middle of September.

Careers

The programme equips you for a career in high-level public research, business and the creative industries, and provides an outstanding academic training for prospective PhD students and for those seeking a Master's-level qualification.

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This programme explores the richness and complexity of artistic invention from the late thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries. Read more
This programme explores the richness and complexity of artistic invention from the late thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries. You will have the opportunity for deep engagement with art-making both in Italy and northern Europe (France, Germany, Low Countries, England and Scotland) and be encouraged to challenge orthodoxies about the influence of one upon the other.

Why this programme

◾You will learn from world-leading researchers and develop expert knowledge in this specialised area within History of Art.
◾Glasgow’s civic and university collections are some of the richest and most diverse in Europe and are of international standing.
◾You will have hands-on access to Renaissance collections of international significance in the University’s own Hunterian Art Gallery (paintings, woodcuts and engravings) and Special Collections (illuminated manuscripts, early printed books, emblem books), and Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (Italian, Dutch and Flemish Old Master paintings) , Burrell Collection (Renaissance art in many media, including tapestries and sculpture) and Museums Resource Centre (paintings, glass and ceramics). The city is also an excellent base from which to explore Scotland’s rich architectural heritage, including some of the most complete Renaissance palaces and noble houses in Europe.

Programme structure

The programme is comprised of a core course designed to give you an overview of methods and approaches as well as seminar opportunities to engage directly with original works of art; and optional courses, enabling you to create your own Masters programme.

It also allows you to work in an interdisciplinary capacity, selecting courses from across the College of Arts, according to personal interests. Language and renaissance palaeography study are among the optional courses available. The programme convenor will work with you to ensure a sensible portfolio of courses is constructed, according to your personal aims and objectives.

Core teaching and research training are delivered during the first semester. Optional courses may be taken during the first and second semesters, followed by dissertation research. The dissertation provides an opportunity for you to identify an area of interest and to create a research project that allows in-depth critical exploration of it.

Core Courses
◾Defining the Renaissance: Objects, Theories, Categories
◾Research Methods in Practice


Optional Courses
◾Death and the Art of Dying in the Renaissance North
◾Masters of the Venetian Renaissance: Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese
◾From Gothic to Renaissance in Northern Europe
◾The Renaissance Palace as Portrait
◾Work Placement

Who will you work with

You will be taught by a team of experts in different aspects of Renaissance art history based at the University of Glasgow:
◾Dr Debra Strickland – illuminated manuscripts, early printed books, monsters, images of non-Christians in Christian art, and the painting of Hieronymus Bosch.
◾Dr Tom Nichols - Venetian Renaissance art and the imagery of social outcasts
◾Dr John Richards – Humanism and the visual arts; ‘Gothic’/’Renaissance’ interface.
◾Dr Sally Rush - the visual and material culture of the Renaissance court

Career prospects

Object-based study sessions and field trips will introduce you to professionals working in museums and the heritage industry and you will have the opportunity to gain further experience of these sectors through a work placement. The dissertation will foster essential independent research skills and prepare you for doctoral research should you wish to pursue an academic career.

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