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Different course options

Full time | Main Site | 1 year | OCT

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Renaissance History Literature

Course type


Course Summary

The MA in Renaissance Studies explores the question of what the Renaissance was and what approaches are best suited to understanding it.

From the start, you will undertake training in postgraduate research skills. For example, in the second term of your degree you are offered practical study of palaeography. The summer core course is based around the materials of Renaissance evidence: objects, painting, manuscript and print. We explore a range of methodologies.

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.


Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.


Graduates go on to careers in museums management and curating, academia, journalism and publishing, research, marketing and public relations. Possible professions include management, curating, or publishing. This degree can also be useful in a variety of roles within the creative sector, such as journalist or public relations officer.


What is, what was the Renaissance Taking this as its theme, the core course of the MA supports you in developing an analytical grasp of the most influential approaches to this question since the field was founded. Your task is to read critical readings of texts to which scholars writing now react. You need to read them critically and analytically and take notes. Some useful questions for each text are: what kind of a Renaissance does Jacob Burckhardt/ Elizabeth Eisentstein /Joan Kelly offer us What is their method and how does it work What do their texts include, what do they see as driving the Renaissance What do they leave out By the end of the module you should be able to approach the rich primary resources of the Renaissance with, perhaps, fewer certainties but a solid sense of how the field has been shaped; a grasp on some possible methods; an emerging sense of what you need to do as a scholar to make your contribution to the field.
Dissertation MA Renaissance Studies

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree or higher, preferably in a subject relevant to Renaissance studies (for example, classics, history, history of art, literature and languages, philosophy or political science). We also welcome students with backgrounds in other disciplines too (eg medical, commercial, scientific).

University information

With a history that dates back 200 years, Birkbeck, University of London is unique in that it delivers its near-300 postgraduate courses in the evenings, enabling students to work or focus on other commitments during the day. Courses can be studied full-time or part-time and some can be studied through distance learning. Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities and provides its 700 postgraduate research students with a...more

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