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    Department of English and Humanities Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Languages, Literature & Culture

  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

Course content

MA Renaissance Studies explores the question of what the Renaissance was and what approaches are best suited to understanding it. The programme considers different aspects of Renaissance culture, particularly the social and intellectual histories of England, France, Italy and Spain. You will study with Birkbeck's internationally recognised experts in Renaissance English literature and culture, history of art, French, history and Spanish, tailoring your module choices towards chosen specialisms. By the end of the course you will be able to demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the questions associated with the study of the Renaissance and will have had the opportunity to either specialise or work in an interdisciplinary way. From the start, you will undertake training in postgraduate research skills.

You begin with a core course which examines the way the Renaissance has been understood and then you go on to take 3 options in areas of specialist interest. You can see detailed descriptions of our core course and all the option modules below. Finally, you will be individually counselled in your choice of dissertation topic.

We are based in Bloomsbury in central London and the unrivalled resources both within and near to Birkbeck will enable you to develop advanced research skills, which will support your dissertation writing and provide a thorough preparation for PhD study. Many of our students progress to MPhil/PhD level at Birkbeck and other institutions, including other colleges of the University of London and the University of Oxford.

In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many Birkbeck Renaissance events. This includes the London Renaissance Seminar, which brings many internationally renowned academics to Birkbeck, and events specific to the Birkbeck Renaissance group, including our day on 'Researching the Text'.

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

What is special about this MA?

You decide how to use the MA. You can choose to work within a discipline (e.g. English literature) or explore the full interdisciplinary possibilities of Renaissance Studies.
We offer research internship placements at the Globe Theatre.
Students specialising - in Spain, Shakespeare, Rome or London, for example - benefit immensely from putting that specialism into a wider context by learning about a range of approaches to the Renaissance in the core module.
We are committed to personal tuition. Each student has many opportunities to discuss their work and plan one-to-one meetings with specialist tutors who are working at the cutting-edge of Renaissance studies.
You can decide as you study if you want to progress beyond your MA and undertake further, independent research.
Birkbeck's prestige in this area means it has an unrivalled range of Renaissance activities: join the early modern society, bring your friends to Renaissance events in Arts Week and take part in our 'Researching the Text' day, as well as attending the London Renaissance Seminar.

What our students say

'Deciding to undertake an MA in Renaissance Studies was one of the wisest things I have ever done. It gave me huge intellectual satisfaction and insight into curatorial and research skills that are essential to my role in running a national museum.' (Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group)

'I thoroughly enjoyed my course in MA Renaissance Studies, especially researching on the theme of women and Islam during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I am very appreciative of all the help I was provided with during the MA and couldn't have developed my career without doing this course. When applying for jobs as an English teacher, my MA helped immensely during the application process, as well as continuing my professional development in this field.' (Maarya Desai, English teacher)

'Deciding to do the MA Renaissance Studies course at Birkbeck was one of the best decisions I could have made, especially as a student coming from the USA. The evening modules allowed me to explore London to its fullest during the day and to use the British Library for my research.' (Christeen Abee)

Visit the Renaissance Studies (MA) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!






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Recipient: Birkbeck, University of London

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