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What does this course cover?

The Warburg Institute MA in Cultural and Intellectual History aims to equip students for interdisciplinary research in Medieval and Renaissance studies and in the reception of the classical tradition. Students will become part of an international community of scholars, working in a world-famous library. They will broaden their range of knowledge to include the historically informed interpretation of images and texts, art history, philosophy, history of science, literature, and the impact of religion on society. Students will improve their knowledge of Latin, French and Italian and will acquire the library and archival skills essential for research on primary texts.

This twelve-month, full-time course is intended as an introduction to the principal elements of the classical tradition and to interdisciplinary research in cultural and intellectual history from the late Middle Ages to the early modern period. Although it is a qualification in its own right, the MA is also designed to provide training for further research at doctoral level. It is taught through classes and supervision by members of the academic staff of the Institute and by outside teachers. The teaching staff are leading professors and academics in their field who have published widely. Research strengths include: the transmission of Arabic science and philosophy to Western Europe; the later influence of classical philosophy (Aristotelianism, Platonism, Epicureanism and Stoicism); and religious nonconformism in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. For further details on the research interests of teaching staff please visit the Warburg website:


All students take two compulsory core courses and two optional subjects. The core courses are taught in the first term and the optional subjects in the second term and the options available vary from year to year.

Core modules:

  • Reviving the Past
  • Art History and Renaissance Culture: Image to Action
  • Language and Palaeographical Studies

Optional modules:

  • Artistic Intentions 1400-1700
  • Cosmological Images: Representing the Universe
  • Curating Renaissance Art and Exhibitions
  • The History of the Book in the Renaissance
  • Islamic Authorities and Arab Elements in the Renaissance
  • Italian Mural Painting and the Making of Visual Cultures
  • Mapping Worlds: Medieval to Modern
  • Renaissance Material Culture
  • Renaissance Painting and the Workshop Tradition

*Please note that the availability of option modules varies each year dependent on student demand*

For full module details and descriptions please visit our website...

In addition, there is a regular series of classes throughout the three terms on Techniques of Scholarship. Subjects dealt with include: description of manuscripts; palaeography; printing in the 15th and 16th centuries; editing a text; preparation of dissertations and photographic images. Some of these classes are held outside the Institute in locations such as the British Library or the Wellcome Library.

Reading classes in Latin, Italian and French are provided and are offered to all students. Students are also encouraged to attend the Director’s weekly seminar on Work in Progress and any of the other regular seminars held in the Institute that may be of interest to them. These at present include History of Art and Maps and Society.

The third term and summer are spent in researching and writing a dissertation, under the guidance of a supervisor from the academic staff.

For information on assessment methods please visit our website...

Mode of study

This course can be taken over 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.

This course is also available as an MRes, ideal for students who wish to research and write on a complex, specialised area of cultural, intellectual, and visual history that interests them, while still having the support of taught modules to help develop the theoretical and methodological skills necessary for such a project. Find out more about the MRes in Cultural, Intellectual and Visual History here.

This course is also available as a Postgraduate Certificate, ideal for students that have an interest in cultural, intellectual, and visual history, who are looking for an intellectual challenge but do not want to commit to a full MA. The course focuses on the survival and transmission of culture across time and space, with an emphasis on the afterlife of antiquity. Find out more about the Postgraduate Certificate in Cultural, Intellectual and Visual History here.

Visit the MA in Cultural, Intellectual and Visual History page on the University of London, School of Advanced Study website for more details!





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Recipient: University of London, School of Advanced Study

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