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MA Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

Immerse yourself in the cutting-edge research that makes the study of this period so dynamic.

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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Cultivate a wide-ranging and cross-disciplinary perspective on this exciting period.

Through seminars and workshops with leading academics, you'll develop methodical research and archival skills to complement your specialist knowledge in this fascinating field, from visual and material culture to the history of religion, politics and political philosophy via music and the history of space/performance.

You'll become part of the lively community of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS), interacting with peers from many different disciplines and bringing new perspectives to your work. Staff from eight departments come together to make CREMS the largest centre of its kind in the UK, and allows you a truly interdisciplinary experience.

As well as regular research seminars, students have their own postgraduate forum (Cabinet of Curiosities), which hosts socials, invited speakers, symposiums and film nights. By the time you graduate, you'll have a rich expertise in your chosen field, superbly positioned to pursue PhD research or develop a career in the heritage and cultural sector.

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Learn about postgraduate study with the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.
York's MA in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies is so unique in combining such a large number of disciplines. I never thought I would be able to engage with such a wide range of fascinating subjects all in one place. I had no need to worry that I had never studied many of these subjects before, as all of the staff have been so supportive.
Eleni, MA Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

Interdisciplinary research

Academic expertise from across our faculty of Arts and Humanities, ranked in the UK top 10 and 45th in the world (Times Higher Education World University rankings 2021).

Unrivalled resources on your doorstep

You'll have access to the largest cathedral library in the UK, and the largest Records Office outside London.

Course content

You'll take a mix of core and option modules. These modules are taken from one of our eight contributing departments: English, History, History of Art, Archaeology, School of Arts and Creative Technologies, Philosophy and Politics. Topics could range from historic building analysis to early modern fashion, and Shakespeare to the representation of women.

You'll also complete parts I and II of the Department of History's research training programme - this will equip you with the skills you need to complete an extended research project.

With support from the Research Training Programme, you'll later decide on a topic that you'd like to study to a much greater depth, and complete your dissertation.

Throughout your time at CREMS, you'll also have access to optional classes in Latin, palaeography and modern languages.


Core modules

Option modules

You will study three option modules. Our option modules vary from year to year, depending upon the interests and availability of staff. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

History of Art
Medieval Studies

The options available to you will be confirmed after you begin your course. For further information please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


In summer, you'll complete a research dissertation of 15-20,000 words. With support from the Research Training Programme, you'll decide on your topic and submit a proposal during the spring. You'll then be assigned a dissertation supervisor, who will discuss and guide the direction of your research.

During the summer, you will attend dissertation workshops where you'll have the opportunity to discuss your work with fellow students, overseen by members of staff with relevant experience.

Recent dissertation titles have included:

  • Hadephobia and the Servants of Hell: Poetic Theology and the Function of Myth in the Art and Literary Culture of Renaissance Europe.
  • The Representation of Regnal Authority during the Reign of Mary I in English Chronicles and Ballads.
  • The printing of Greek books in 16th century England: more than an experiment?
  • The 'Restoration' of the Tower of London: public perception and propaganda in the reign of Charles II.
  • Magic on the Jacobean Stage: Witchcraft, Theurgy and Gender in 17th-Century England.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • ​Understand in detail the overlapping intellectual, political, artistic, literary and spiritual cultures of the Renaissance and early modern period.
  • Identify and articulate the central research questions of their chosen field, and to choose, apply and extend relevant critical approaches and methodologies in the face of challenging questions.
  • Construct compelling and well-researched arguments.
  • Locate, read and interpret a broad range of primary materials, discriminating on the basis of relevance, scholarly impact, and argument. Use these skills to identify and summarise relevant information.
  • Deploy a wide range of scholarly tools, and digital, archival, library and museum resources, and to deploy an in-depth knowledge of cutting-edge scholarship.
  • Undertake interdisciplinary research, demonstrating a high capacity for independent thought and action, take responsibility in challenging situations, and make decisions in the face of complexity and uncertainty.
  • Communicate their findings imaginatively, lucidly and succinctly, in the form of extended essays, literature surveys, and an independent, original and timely dissertation.
Although it was initially daunting stepping into an English or History of Art seminar, I have found this a welcome challenge that stretches me academically. It is surprising how much overlap there is between the disciplines, so you shouldn’t be afraid of a lack of knowledge when applying. Everyone brings a different and welcome perspective to discussions.
Catherine, MA Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Additional costs

There is no obligation to purchase books or other texts - all core texts and resources will be available in our library or online.

There are normally one or two field trips, which CREMS will usually fund, but you may be asked to pay an admission fee to sites visited.

You'll be expected to pay for your own photocopying.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Departmental Funding opportunities

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

Most of your modules will consist of weekly two-hour seminars. The research training module will be taught through three-hour workshops. You will normally work in small groups of fewer than 20 students.


CREMS is based in the University's purpose-built Humanities Research Centre (HRC) at the heart of Campus West. The HRC is a hub for collaboration between scholars of different disciplines and provides unrivalled facilities for postgraduate study with dedicated space for research students, seminar and meeting rooms, a state-of-the-art lecture theatre and various coffee lounges.

You'll have access to a wealth of resources, including the York Minster Library, the Borthwick Institute for Archives, the National Centre for Early Music and some of the UK's finest surviving early modern houses, including Hardwick Hall, Bolsover Castle, Haddon Hall and Burton Agnes.

Teaching location

The Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies is located in the Humanities Research Centre on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will submit an essay for each module of approximately 4,000 words. You'll also have the opportunity to submit formative essays, which do not count towards your final degree mark, but will give you valuable feedback for you to apply to your final assessed essays.

The research training module is assessed by your 500-word dissertation proposal, on a pass/fail basis.

An academic and a student looking at some history

Careers and skills

The research, analysis and presentation skills that you'll gain from this course are applicable to a diverse set of careers, and will also leave you well-prepared to continue on to PhD study. Graduates of this course have gone on to work in a wide range of sectors, including journalism, heritage, research, education, law, libraries, museums and government.

Career opportunities

  • museum and gallery curator
  • university lecturer and researcher
  • gallery invigilator
  • associate for an NGO
  • book and magazine publisher
  • university administrator

Transferable skills

  • time management
  • archival skills
  • digital skills
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • problem-solving
  • statistical skills
  • the production of maps for historical purposes

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in an appropriate subject.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component
Cambridge CEFR C1 Advanced: 185, with 176 in each component
Oxford ELLT 8, minimum 7 in each component
Duolingo 130, minimum 120 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT C1 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 75 with a minimum of 70 in each component
KITE 495-526, with 459-494 in all other components
Skills for English C1: Pass overall, with Pass in each component
PTE Academic 67, minimum 61 in each component
TOEFL 96, minimum 23 in each component
Trinity ISE III Distinction in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

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