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Our course looks at the history of Britain, Europe and the wider world between c.1500-1800, highlighting themes of political, cultural, religious and social history.

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, our course offers you the opportunity to choose from a wide range of study options at one of Europe’s leading History departments.

Leads to careers in museums, journalism, finance and the cultural sector.

Key benefits

  • One of the best history departments in the world, ranked 5th in the UK for Research Quality (REF 2014) and in the top five departments of history in Europe (QS World University Rankings 2017).
  • King’s graduates enjoy one of the best employment rates and starting salaries in the UK. King’s is ranked in the top 6 in the UK for graduate employment (Times and Sunday Times Good Universities Guide 2016).
  • A wide set of optional modules all taught by established experts in the field.
  • A rigorous core course that trains students in historical research in archives, manuscripts, print and objects.
  • Central London location and staff expertise offers students unrivalled access to world-class museums, collections, archives and libraries as well as easy access to resources in Europe.
  • Vibrant research culture of seminars, workshops and conferences in the department and at the Institute of Historical Research, in which students are encouraged to participate.


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.

Required Modules

You are required to take:

  • Approaches to Early Modern History (40 credits)
  • Advanced Skills for Historians (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional Modules

In addition, you are required to take 60 credits from a range of optional modules, which may typically include:

  • Power, Identity & Religion: Reformations in England & Europe (20 credits)
  • Ritual in Early Modern Society (20 credits)
  • Body & Society in Early Modern Europe (20 credits)
  • From Hume to Darwin: God, Man & Nature in European Thought (20 credits)
  • Liberty, Reason & the State: British Moral & Political Thought in Early-modernity (20 credits)
  • Inequality in World History (20 credits)
  • Up to 40 credits from a range of master’s level modules offered outside the department, including intercollegiately, subject to approval
  • One graduate level language module offered by King’s Modern Language Centre

If you are a part-time student, you will take Approaches to Early Modern History in your first year, along with 20 credits of optional modules. In your second year you will take Advanced Skills for Historians and your dissertation module, along with 40 credits of optional modules.

Career prospects

Our graduates use the skills and knowledge they develop with us to go on to further research or to careers in museums, education, journalism, finance, politics and the cultural sector.

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Visit the Early Modern History MA page on the King’s College London website for more details!