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Birkbeck, University of London: Early Modern and Renaissance Studies

Institution Birkbeck, University of London View institution profile
Department School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
Telephone 0203 907 0700
Study type Taught


The MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies offers you the opportunity to explore this era from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including the study of:

  • literature

  • history

  • material culture

  • the visual arts.

This postgraduate degree pairs the broader study of current scholarly approaches to these periods with more focused study of Early Modern and Renaissance cultures. It considers the riches of these pasts from an integrated, holistic perspective in which you will be guided by experts in interdisciplinary research methods.

You will be able to follow your interests with option modules that give you the chance to dive deeper into ongoing discussions, whether focused within the Medieval, Early Modern or Renaissance periods, or exploring interdisciplinary themes that link across this dynamic time period.

Our MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies provides you with rigorous preparation for pursuing PhD research. It is also equally well suited to those who wish to deepen their knowledge of the Early Modern and Renaissance era, and those who are returning to study to pursue a personal passion.


  • Our students have access to some of the best resources in the world for research relating to this period, being close to many renowned research libraries, galleries, museums and manuscript repositories. The MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies teaches you the skills you need to explore these rich resources in original and scholarly ways.

  • In addition to core teaching and individual research support, you will have the opportunity to attend the London Renaissance Seminar, a forum held at Birkbeck where you will be able to hear some of the best scholars in the field presenting and discussing their newest research in all aspects of early modern literature, history and culture.

  • Birkbeck was ranked 2nd in the UK for its English Language and Literature research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

  • We offer a number of master's bursaries and studentships.

Careers and employability

You will find MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies graduates following career paths in roles such as:

  • archivist

  • researcher

  • teacher or lecturer

  • journalist

  • publisher

  • arts administrator

  • museum/gallery curator

  • museum education officer

  • librarian

  • information officer

  • heritage manager

  • editor.

Birkbeck’s MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies graduates also successfully complete the degree with a set of valuable, transferable attributes, including:

  • high-level oral and written communication skills

  • postgraduate research skills

  • postgraduate skills in evaluating and assessing information

  • the ability to present an argument at postgraduate level.

We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.


Birkbeck, part of the University of London, offers nearly 300 taught and research postgraduate programmes across arts and humanities, business and economics, law, science and social science. As an evening teaching specialist, Birkbeck offers its taught postgraduate courses between 6-9pm, with some courses available through distance learning. As with undergraduate courses, postgraduates can study full-time or part-time.

Home to 44 research and specialist institutes, Birkbeck is the sixth largest provider of taught postgrad courses for UK and EU students - some 44% of its 11,000-plus students are on postgrad programmes. Around 90% of its academics are active in research, and …

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