MA in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

About the MA

Introduction

MA Convenor, Prof Simon Ditchfield, Director, CREMS

Handbook 2017-2018 (PDF  , 504kb)

Our MA in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies will provide you with a wide-ranging and cross-disciplinary perspective on this exciting and invigorating period, immersing you in the cutting-edge research and writing that makes the study of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries so dynamic.

By the time you graduate you will be richly expert in your field, and superbly positioned to pursue PhD research, develop a career in the heritage and cultural sector, or simply to enjoy the lifelong rewards of an informed and scholarly fascination with this crucial period.

Over the course of the degree, you will:

- get to grips with a broad range of primary materials documenting the intellectual, political, spiritual, aesthetic, and literary cultures of the Renaissance and early modern period.

- gain the skills needed to find, read and interpret these materials, and to identify and develop original and important research projects.

- explore the relationship between England, British, European and global cultures during this period of dramatic geographical, intellectual and linguistic expansion and profound social, political and religious change.

- experience the challenges and the rewards of pursuing research across traditional departmental and disciplinary boundaries.

- develop the academic, professional and personal skills required to undertake PhD research or pursue employment in a relevant field such as teaching, curating or broadcasting.Students are offered a rich and challenging research environment and encouraged to work independently within a clearly defined structure of regular discussion and supervision. On successful completion of the course students will have gained the professional and personal skills required to progress to PhD research or to pursue immediate employment in a relevant field such as teaching, curating or broadcasting.

Students on the CREMS MA are eligible to apply for Internships in Public History, gaining invaluable experience working with museums, archives and projects. Students also gain excellent experience in public engagement through the thriving annual York Festival of Ideas, the York Shakespeare Festival, and a wide range of other public events.

Course structure

  • The MA can be studied full-time over 1 year, or part-time over 2 years, starting in October each year
  • The MA is modularised and all elements of the course must be completed to qualify for the degree
  • The course is fully interdisciplinary, administered by the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and governed by the Department of History's Graduate Examinations Board

Over the autumn and spring terms you will take:

  • one core 20 credit module: Approaches to Renaissance & Early Modern Studies (examined by a 4,000 word essay)
  • three option 20 credit modules, chosen from related MAs in the departments of English, History, History of Art, Archaeology, and when possible, Politics, Philosophy, Music and Theatre, Film and Television (each examined on a c.4,000 word essay)
  • parts I and II of a research training module
  • optional classes in Latin, palaeography and modern languages

In the summer you will research and write your dissertation (15-20,000 words).

Part-time students

Year 1

Over the autumn and spring terms you will take:

  • one core 20 credit module: Approaches to Renaissance & Early Modern Studies (examined on a 4,000 word essay)
  • one option 20 credit module, chosen from related MAs in the departments of English, History, History of Art, Archaeology, and when possible, Politics, Philosophy, Music and Theatre, film and television (examined on a c.4,000 word essay)
  • parts I and II of a research training module (with the research dissertation having a combined value of 100 credits)
  • optional classes in Latin, palaeography and modern languages

In the summer you will carry out research towards your dissertation.

Year 2 

Over the autumn and spring terms you will take:

  • two option 20 credit modules, chosen from related MAs in the departments of English, History, History of Art, Archaeology, and when possible, Politics, Philosophy, Music and Theatre, Film and Television (examined on a c.4,000 word essay)
  • optional classes in Latin, palaeography and modern languages

In the summer you will research and write your dissertation (15-20,000 words).

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

Applications are welcome from both home and international students who wish to pursue postgraduate study with CREMS. See further details on How to Apply.

Candidates for the MA should normally have, or be expected to obtain, a good honours degree (2:1 or higher) or its equivalent in an appropriate subject at undergraduate level.

Graduate Students with English as a second language

If English is not your first language, we do expect you to be able to demonstrate a high level of proficiency. Our required IELTS language qualification score is 7.0. Applications with an IELTS score of 6.5 will be considered if the candidate's application is otherwise impressive. In these cases attendance at the 4-week pre-sessional English Language Training course at York is required. Such admissions have to be approved by the Chair of the Graduate School Board.

Funding your studies

CREMS awards its own Scholarships. See the postgraduate section on funding.

Core Module

Core module: Approaches to Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

The period from c.1450 to c.1700 witnessed the emergence of a range of remarkable and remarkably sophisticated scholarship in many disciplines. Traditionally, this has been given the label of ’The Renaissance’ and regarded as the origin of ‘modernity’ in its various guises: such as the emergence of individualism, of religious scepticism, realpolitik and of the science of history itself. However, in this module such teleological narratives are eschewed in favour of less anachronistic accounts that give due emphasis to what early modern people actually thought they were trying to achieve (as far, of course, as the evidence allows).  This core module, taught each year by a selection of colleagues from several of the constituent departments of the faculty of arts and humanities, which may include: Archaeology, English, History, History of Art, Music, Philosophy, Politics, and Theatre, Film and Television, offers a distinctive, exciting and exacting multi-disciplinary exploration of Renaissance and Early Modern Culture. Seminars draw upon and develop problems and ideas that fascinated writers, artists, and thinkers of the period, and are again at the cutting edge of research today.

On this module, students gain experience in working with diverse sources ranging from music manuscripts to paintings, from tracts on translation to life-writing across genres, and from political theory to travel narratives. Students taking the course become familiar with a wide range of scholarly and methodological perspectives, and examine the strengths, weaknesses and possibilities of different ways of reading, interpreting and analysing texts and other sources from the period.

In the process, students develop their skills in source analysis and interpretation relevant to this broad range of primary materials and gain an appreciation of the possibilities of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary analyses of the period, which will enrich future study and dissertation work.

The seminar programme may include the following themes (and not necessarily in this order):

  1. Discovering how to describe the world in the first global age
  2. Reformation of society and reformation of the self
  3. On living in a material world
  4. Cultures of Translation
  5. Place, Space, and Performance
  6. Word and Image
  7. Music and Patronage in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
  8. Sovereign Selves and Sovereign States

Before arriving at York you might like to look at two or more of the following:

EITHER: A. Pettegree, The Book in the Renaissance, Yale UP, 2010 OR: D. McKitterick, Print, manuscript and the search for order (Cambridge UP, 2005 pbk)

A. Grafton, Bring out your dead: the past as revelation (Havard UP, 2004 pbk)

A. Grafton & G. Most eds., The Classical Tradition, (Havard UP, 2013 pbk)

P. Marshall ed. The Oxford Illustrated history of the Reformation (Oxford UP, 2017 pbk) 

A. Gerritsen & G. Riello eds., Writing Material Culture history, (Bloomsbury, 2015 pbk)

R. Greene, Five words: critical semantics in the age of Shakespeare and Cervantes (Chicago UP, 2013)

And not just for fun (any historical novel/film/TV serial/play based in the early modern period)

 

 

Option Modules

Option Modules

Students taking this course are offered a choice of options, with expert tuition, in a supportive and stimulating interdisciplinary environment. 

Choosing Options

Full-time students choose one Optional Module in the Autumn Term and two Options in the Spring Term, from relevant programmes in our partner departments: English, History, History of Art, Archaeology, and when possible, Music, Theatre Film and TV, Philosophy, Politics.

Part-time students agree their course of study with the MA convenor, but usually choose their first Option Module in the Spring Term of Year 1, and their second and third Option Modules in the Autumn and Spring Terms of Year 2.

The optional modules offered vary from year to year, depending upon the interests and availability of staff. The following are the options available for the 2018-19 academic year, although there may be some revisions or additions. 

Options for the academic year 2018-19 

Autumn Term 2018

Spring Term 2019

Please note that this list is not exhaustive of all modules that may interest you.  Please follow the below links for departmental lists:

Archaeology modules
English modules
History modules
History of Art modules
Music modules
Philosophy modules
Politics modules
Theatre, Film and Television modules


Scholarships

Scholarships offered for 2018-19

Departmental and CREMS Awards:

  • 2 CREMS Scholarships each worth £2,000

We have two CREMS Scholarships to award, each worth £2,000 towards fees, and all successful applications received and accepted by the applicant by the end of July will be automatically considered, unless another major award has already been allocated.

These awards are offered to all eligible candidates from the UK, EU and Overseas.

For information on these scholarships, and other scholarships and funding opportunities for your graduate studies, please see our Fees, Funding and Awards page.

Student Profiles

Student Profiles

I was attracted to the MA at York because of the excellent reputation of the university and staff as well as the location of the campus and its beautiful setting

width 218

"The staff have been very helpful, welcoming and eager to impart their knowledge. I have made great friends in my programme and together we’ve had fantastic opportunities through classes to tour local sites, like York Minster and the Borthwick Institute for Archives on campus."
Kirstie, MA

 


See more profiles and career paths of students awarded the MA in Renaissance & Early Modern Studies