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MA Early Modern History

Benefit from a wealth of archival resources, extensive expertise and a city rich in early modern history

2018/19 entry


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

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Our distinctive MA in Early Modern History combines thorough research training with opportunities to explore new approaches to the history of early modern Britain, other European countries and their overseas empires.

You can take advantage of the research strengths of the Department, which include the political, religious and cultural history of early modern England and Europe, gender and social relations, science and material culture and the history of ideas. With full access to our excellent library, the Borthwick Institute for Archives and the York Minster library, specialist resources will be available at your fingertips.

You'll quickly become a part of our lively departmental community. We encourage you to attend seminars, masterclasses and research training sessions throughout the year. You will have full access to the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies which provides an active programme of academic seminars, small conferences and reading groups involving both academic staff and graduate students.

The MA in Early Modern History at York allowed me to study fascinating topics that I had never explored before, as well as giving me the opportunity to expand on a subject I already felt passionate about in the form of the final dissertation. Staff were incredibly supportive and encouraging of all my studies.
Ben, MA Early Modern History (2016)

Leading research

History at York has been ranked 2nd in the UK for the quality, significance and impact of our research in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

Top 100 in the QS World Rankings

QS ranks our Department of History as one of the best in the world

Skills training

Our skills modules are unique to our courses, and will give you practical knowledge of professional research methods.

Course content

The course consists of:

  • a core module (20 credits)
  • two taught option modules (20 credits each)
  • a research training module (10 credits)
  • 20,000 word dissertation (90 credits)

In addition to this, you will complete one of:

  • two skills training modules (10 credits each) or
  • a placement (20 credits) or

In the Autumn Term, you'll complete the core module and one option module.

The research training module runs over the Autumn and Spring Term.

In the Spring Term, you'll complete one further option module and either two skills training modules or a placement.


Core modules

Approaches to Early Modern History (20 credits) introduces you to the key concepts, methods and practices essential to analysing and understanding the early modern world. Through weekly seminars, you will focus on a selection of key topics such as new approaches to the Reformation, early modern globalisation, crime and the law, and the scientific revolution. You will be encouraged to read closely and think reflectively, developing your own critique of individual texts.

Research Training (10 credits) will prepare you for your dissertation. This will provide you with essential training in graduate-level research skills: selecting research topics, large-scale project management, locating secondary and primary materials, storing and ordering findings and presentation techniques.

Option modules:

You'll choose two taught option modules (20 credits each).

We offer the following option modules focussing on the Early Modern period:

You will also be able to choose from other option modules in the department:

Please note that these option modules are provisional and may be subject to change.

Skills modules

You'll also complete two modules which will provide you with invaluable skills training across a range of fields. You can elect to do a placement instead of the two skills modules.

Part-time students normally take the skills modules during their first year, but they can arrange to take these in the second year if required. 

Examples of skills modules include:

  • Technics of Print, 1500-1800
  • Oral History Methods
  • Things in History: Researching Material Culture
  • Mapping the Past
  • Lies, Darn Lies, and Statistics - for Historians
  • Early Modern Palaeography

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


During the Summer Term and the summer vacation, you will write a research dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a topic of your choice. You'll start planning for your dissertation in the Autumn Term, supported by the Research Training module.

You will be under the supervision of a member of staff in the Department of History, who will provide you with specialist advice and guidance. Our range of expertise and wealth of source material means we can provide supervision on a wide range of topics, both chronologically and geographically.

Past dissertations:

  • ‘Understanding Credit Relations Through Attitudes Towards Bankruptcy, 1688-1720', ‘Representations of Japan in Early Modern English print: A challenge to English self-perceptions and national identity’
  • ‘English Catholic Recusant Women, 1574-1640: The Household, Convents and Underground Mission'
  • ‘French Humanism and Print in Strasbourg 1527-1593’
  • ‘The comforts of whoring/the pleasures of a Town life', Attitudes towards prostitution and masculinity, 1680 to 1760’
  • ‘Literature and politics: Responses to royal power in the court of Henry VIII’
  • '“He was Looking as Cheerful as any Man could do in that Condition”: Traitors on the Early Modern Scaffold, c.1580-c.1750’

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,580£16,780
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

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.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

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

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

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

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. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

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.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of History in Vanbrugh College on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place in or close to Vanbrugh College.

Course location

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 be primarily assessed by essays and your dissertation. You will have the chance to submit assignments for formative assessment, enabling you to get and use feedback before the final summative assessment. 

Careers and skills

While completing your MA, you will gain essential skills in research, presentation and analysis. These skills are invaluable for progressing to a PhD and for a diverse range of careers.

Career opportunities

Our graduates have gone on to careers within the following sectors:

  • Journalism
  • Heritage
  • Research
  • Education
  • Law
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Government

Transferable skills

  • Analytical thinking
  • Formation of original arguments
  • Effective time management
  • Communication skills
  • Efficient organisation, use and management of electronic research resources
  • Ability to carry out independent research in primary sources
  • Professional presentation skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade

We typically ask for a 2:1 degree in History or a related discipline.

If you are an international student please check the minimum requirements for your country or region..

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want to enquire informally about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

English language

  • IELTS: 7.0, with no less than 5.5 in each component
  • PTE: 67, with no less than 51 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with no less than 162 in each component
  • TOEFL: 96, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all component


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

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Natasha Glaisyer

Learn more

Department of History

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