The MA in Renaissance Literature 1500-1700 is an intensive and exciting survey of the literary culture of the 16th and 17th centuries. The transformations in religion, politics, the technologies of writing and publication, science and global exploration, which continue to resonate today, prompted some of the most vibrant, difficult, and rewarding writing ever produced.
You’ll be introduced to key authors, texts, and ideas from the period, and will construct a distinct, individually chosen programme of study from a wide range of options. You’ll develop your research skills and apply these to a substantial piece of independent research, taught and supervised by world-leading scholars in one of the UK’s most prestigious centres for early modern studies.
You’ll gain a foundation for doctoral research in early modern literature and culture, as well as transferable skills for related careers in teaching, publishing, arts management and journalism. You’ll engage with the research culture of the Department of English and the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, with a diverse schedule of seminars, conferences and reading groups for you to attend. You’ll be part of the Humanities Research Centre, a vibrant interdisciplinary hub which enables you to form close social and intellectual bonds over the course of your study.
In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, we had the highest proportion of world-leading (4*) research of all UK English departments.
English at York is ranked top 25 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019.
Join a team of world-leading scholars, working at the cutting edge of our discipline to explore an extraordinary world of literature, and illuminate some of its local, European, and global contexts. In our core seminars, research events, trips, and collaborations you'll build up a comprehensive set of research skills. Ambitious and imaginative option modules will extend your current interests, and open up a novel set of perspectives on well-known texts and more obscure works.
You'll study one core module (20 credits) and choose three modules (20 credits each) from a range of options offered by the Department of English and Related Literature and other arts and humanities departments. You'll study two short research skills training modules (10 credits each), and complete a research dissertation (80 credits). The total number of credits for the course is 180.
For the core module, taught by a team of specialists, you'll engage with modern and early modern theories of the text. This will equip you with a rich critical vocabulary, skill-set, and analytical approach. On the Postgraduate Life in Practice module, you'll learn valuable skills in research, writing, reflection, presentation, publishing and career development.
There are also a wide range of further option modules offered across all the Department's MA programmes which are available to you.
You may also choose available modules from other arts and humanities departments. You'll have the opportunity to work with distinguished scholars across a variety of fields. In particular, we offer specialist guidance in:
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Your dissertation offers you the chance to examine a topic in depth and to develop your research skills.
In Summer Term and over the vacation you'll work on a 14,000-16,000-word dissertation worth 80 credits with regular supervision from a member of staff.
You'll submit your dissertation in September. Recent dissertation topics have included:
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.
The teaching staff in the Department encourage us to follow our passions and provide the space to do so.Inderjit, MA in Renaissance Literature, 1500-1700
|Full-time (1 year)||£7,810||£17,370|
|Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee
Students on a Tier 4 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. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase (no more than 2% each year).
You'll need copies of the texts set for each module. Where possible, we will provide digital access. We'll let you know which texts and editions you'll need to buy (whether new or second-hand) before the start of each term.
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.
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.
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.
Join us for regional trips – destinations have included the magnificent Fountains Abbey, Castle Howard, Burton Agnes Hall, Hardwick Hall and the Castle Museum.
You'll benefit from the exciting collections of early modern books in the Minster Library and the extensive resources of the University Library.
These include the history of the book, the Reformation and the history of religious change, the early modern reception of classical texts, and the playhouses of early modern London.
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.
You'll normally attend two 2-hour seminars each week during the Autumn and Spring Terms. If you are a part-time student you'll attend one 2-hour seminar a week during the Autumn and Spring Terms of Year 1 and Year 2.
Seminar groups consist of fewer than 15 students in most modules, though some core modules may be taught in larger groups. You'll complete essential reading for each seminar, and we encourage you to read more widely around the topic.
You'll attend a series of training lectures and workshops, designed to address presenting your work, writing at MA level, transferable skills, and career development.
Over the course of the year, you'll give regular seminar presentations and attend research seminars and day conferences hosted by the Department. Many of these events will be organised through the Humanities Research Centre, a state-of-the-art facility unique to York.
The University Library has extensive resources, and you can study the exciting collections of early modern books in the Minster Library (the largest cathedral library in the UK).
York's long history and prime location makes it an excellent place to study this period. You can choose to take classes in the beautiful Minster Library, learn palaeography in one of the biggest archive repositories outside London, and study Latin or a range of other languages. There are frequent field trips – destinations have included a behind-the-scenes look at the Castle Museum, the magnificent Fountains Abbey, Castle Howard, Burton Agnes Hall, and Hardwick Hall.
Writers at York is a lively programme of readings and workshops, and aims to celebrate and explore the work of emerging and established contemporary writers. Writers at York is supported by the University of York's External Engagement Awards and the Festival of Ideas.
You will be based in the Department of English and Related Literature on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in locations nearby on Campus West.
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.
You'll submit an essay for each module of approximately 4,500 words. The Postgraduate Life in Practice module will be assessed on the completion of a series of tasks connected to your core work for the MA. Your final assessment is a dissertation of 14,000-16,000 words.
Our postgraduates go into academia and teaching, arts administration, journalism, broadcasting, public relations, social work, politics, the civil service, and management consultancy. Many alumni have also gone on to become successful novelists, poets and playwrights.
You'll develop a range of transferable skills including:
You should have, or be about to complete, a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification.
We will consider applications from students with lower qualifications, particularly if you have high marks in relevant modules or appropriate professional experience.
If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want an informal chat about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
For more information see our postgraduate 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 IELTS 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 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.
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