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Course content

The Early Modern Studies MA offers an innovative blend of skills training (palaeography and historical bibliography), object-based learning and museum visits. The core modules cover a wide range of disciplines, giving you a broad understanding of the early modern period. You can then tailor your programme to suit your interests, with over forty optional modules, covering the culture, history and society of the early modern.

Degree information

The MA will teach you critical reading skills, the ability to assess and weigh evidence, and construct persuasive arguments. It combines training in book history, bibliography, and paleography with a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the early modern period.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), between two and four optional modules (60 credits) and a dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules
-Early Modern Exchanges: Methods, Histories, Cultures A
-Early Modern Exchanges: Methods, Histories and Cultures B

Optional modules (indicative list) - up to 60 credits from a list which varies each year. An up-to-date list is available on our website. Below is an indicative list, showing modules that have been offered previously.
-Shakespeare in his Time
-Sex and the Body in Early Modern Europe
-From Renaissance to Republic: The Netherlands: 1555-1609
-Early Modern Science
-The Self and the World: Theoretical Approaches to Travel Writing
-Aztec Archaeology: Codices and Ethnohistory
-Early Modern Books and Their Readers: Historical Bibliography for Researchers
-I.T. for Graduate Research
-Paradoxes of Enlightenment: German Thought from Leibniz to Humboldt
-Political Thought in Renaissance Europe
-The Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe
-Trade, Money and Institutions in the Ottoman Mediterranean 1600-1914
-Early Modern Handwriting and Manuscript Culture for Researchers
-Giordano Bruno
-The Public Sphere in Britain, 1476-1800: Print Culture, Censorship and Propaganda
-Men on the Moon: Cosmic Voyages in the Early Modern Period
-Thinking with Women: Gender as an Early Modern Category
-Web 0.1: Early Modern Information Culture, c.1450-c.1750
-The Conquest of Mexico
-Witches in History, Fiction and Scholarship

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 18,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of tutorials, seminars, workshops, presentations, class discussions and library, archive, museum and gallery visits. Assessment is through essays, annotated bibliography and the dissertation.


Many of our students have been accepted to undertake further study as research students both at UCL and elsewhere, including the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, York and Swansea. In addition our students have been successful in obtaining funding and prizes including the Bryce-Jebb and Dorris Russell Scholarships and the prestigious John Edward Kerry Prize awarded by the Malone Society. Graduates may also find careers in the heritage or cultural industries.

This MA will give you a very specific skill set, including manuscript handling and archival research. Depending on the optional modules you select you may also develop language skills and knowledge in information technologies and database use. These skills will make you very employable within the heritage or cultural sectors, as well as library work, the arts, and other roles which require information management.

Why study this degree at UCL?

A bespoke programme of study, unique to your interests; there are over forty optional modules, all taught by leading scholars, in a wide range of subjects including art, history, law, literature, politics and science.

Practical, hands-on modules, with ‘traditional’ skills such as palaeography and textual bibliography taught alongside the latest techniques in databases and XML. The programme includes fieldtrips to museums, archives and galleries.

Privileged access to a wide range of world-class museums, rare-books libraries and archives in central London. Located in Bloomsbury, it is a short walk to the exceptional resources of the British Library and the British Museum.

Visit the Early Modern Studies - MA page on the University College London website for more details!






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