Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Renaissance Studies

The programme 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.

Course modules

You will take a core course which examines the various ways the Renaissance has been understood and then go on to choose 3 option modules in areas of special interest to you. Finally, you will develop a dissertation topic under the expert guidance of one of our academics. Core module: The Renaissance: Concepts and Issues. Option modules: Art in the Age of Giotto: evidence and interpretation; Death, Disease and Early Modern City; Drama and Performance in Medieval England; Magic, Science and Religion in the Renaissance; Marsilio Ficino, Platonism and the Florentine Renaissance; Power and Control in Spanish Golden Age Art; Practitioners and Patients in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe; Rebellion, Dissent and Tyranny: England c 1380 - c 1430; Renaissance Beasts; Renaissance Florence: Society, Religion and Culture; Rome: Place, Continuity and Memory; Text and Action: Renaissance Stage Directions; The Art of Persuasion: Religious Imagery and the Catholic Reformation; The Icelandic Saga; The Literature of Elizabethan London; The Woman Question: Medieval to Renaissance; Visualising the Renaissance Stage.

Assessment methods

The core module is assessed by a critical bibliography of 2000 words and a critical review of a core text (2500-3000 words). Option modules are each assessed by an essay of 4000-6000 words. Dissertation of 14,000-15,000 words.

Sponsorship information

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses - and you don't have to start repaying until 2019. The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students. MA Renaissance Studies students have successfully applied for funds from Birkbeck. You will need to apply early in the academic year. Bursaries are available for full-time and part-time study and are competitive. Birkbeck has an excellent record in supporting students working in the Renaissance and Early Modern period. For example, in the year 2014-15 5 students in the Department of English and Humanities working towards MA or PhD study were supported by the School of Arts or AHRC. Further students are supported through other Departments and Schools. Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2018 GBP 14,450 per Year 1 (International) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2018 GBP 7,950 per Year 1 (Home/EU) 1 Years
MA Part-time October 2018 GBP 7,225 per Year 1 (International) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2018 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (Home/EU) 2 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Bloomsbury Campus WC1E 7HX London

Get in touch

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Key information

Department of English and Humanities
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