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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 thirty optional modules, covering early modern culture, history and society.

About this degree

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 three core modules (45 credits), between two and four optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Reframing the Renaissance
  • Forging the Early Modern
  • Unstitching the Early Modern: Archival and Book Skills

Optional modules (indicative list)

Students choose up to 45 credits from a list which varies each year. An up-to-date list is available on our department 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
  • Confessional Cultures in the Dutch Republic & England, c.1500-c.1700
  • Early Modern Science
  • Web 0.1: Early Modern Information Culture, c.1450-c.1750
  • Aztec Archaeology: Codices and Ethnohistory
  • Continental Connections: Britain and Europe in the Eighteenth Century
  • I.T. for Graduate Research
  • Paradoxes of Enlightenment: German Thought from Leibniz to Humboldt
  • Beginners Latin for Research
  • Metamorphosis: The Limits of the Human
  • Seeing Through Materials: Matter, Vision and Transformation in the Renaissance
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach's 'Parzival'
  • Men on the Moon: Cosmic Voyages in the Early Modern Period

Dissertation/report

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.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Early Modern Studies MA

Careers

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 Doris 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.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Research Intern, Opus
  • PhD in English and Digitisation, Swansea University
  • PhD in History, University of Cambridge
  • Editorial Assistant, Law Business Research
  • DPhil in English, University of Cambridge

Employability

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 transferable skills will make you very employable within the heritage or cultural sectors, as well as library work, the arts, and other roles which require intensive research and/or information management.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This is a bespoke programme of study, unique to your interests with over thirty 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 are taught alongside the latest techniques in databases and XML. The programme includes field trips to museums, archives and galleries.

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

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.


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

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