This Master's degree in history explores early modern European societies in the period from the Renaissance to the Reformation and on to the Enlightenment and the outbreak of the French Revolution. One of its most exciting and distinguishing features is that it considers developments in Britain, continental Europe (notably France and Italy) and the wider world (particularly the Americas) in comparative perspective, which brings into question the idea of the distinctive nature of national histories.
Some of the key themes you will study are the impact of religious conflict, economic and social developments, government and social order, the growth of urban settlements, population and demographic change, the mutual interactions between Europe and the Americas, and the growth of state power. You will be able to choose option modules in early modern history from across the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology and you will receive training in historical methodologies and research techniques to help you research and write a dissertation on the subject that most interests you.
You will read widely in both secondary works and translated primary sources, but there is no language requirement.
Key teaching staff on this programme
Course director: Dr Brodie Waddell
Professor Julian Swann Dr Filippo de Vivo Professor Vanessa Harding Dr Laura Stewart.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings. This Master's programme offers a unique opportunity to study early modern European societies comparatively. You will be able to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you. Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching. Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend. Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.