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MA Renaissance Literature 1500-1700

Explore one of the most exciting periods of English literature and history

Year of entry: 2019

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

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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.

World-leading research

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, we had the highest proportion of world-leading (4*) research of all UK English departments.

Global top 30

English at York is ranked top 30 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

Course content

Watch our video.

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.

Historic map of York

Modules

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.

Core modules

Option modules

You'll choose three option modules:

As a Renaissance Literature student you will be given priority for these modules if they are available:

  • Why Read Literature?: Lessons from the Renaissance
  • Religion and the Book
  • Theories of Everything

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:

  • History of the book and textual cultures
  • Religion, literature, and politics
  • The reception and transformation of the Classics
  • The poetics and pragmatics of translation
  • Shakespeare, Heywood, and the drama of the English Renaissance
  • The history and literature of science and medicine
  • Material culture
  • Women and literary production
  • The history of emotions

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

Dissertation

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:

  • Sweating in the Renaissance
  • Darkness Visible: Milton’s Moon in Paradise Lost
  • Play Frameworks and the Construction of Childhood on the Early Modern Stage
  • Londinopolis and the Making of Early Modern London

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

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • analyse significant literary and cultural texts from the Early Modern period closely and critically, interpreting them with reference to the social, political, economic and/or aesthetic contexts in which they were produced, reproduced, and received
  • evaluate and contribute to scholarly debates around Renaissance literature and its antecedents in classical and medieval cultures
  • deploy knowledge of specialist fields within the broader remit of renaissance literature and culture - for example Shakespeare, religion and the book, classical and early modern revenge theatre, Renaissance objects, early modern theories of knowledge - in order to ask and answer innovative questions regarding the origins, contexts and underlying conditions of the early modern world
  • initiate, conduct, and take responsibility for independent research, drawing on skills honed by graduate-level research training, research-led teaching, and the completion of a substantial dissertation project
  • communicate sophisticated written arguments in a clear, accurate and persuasive fashion, synthesising evidence from multiple sources so as to convey information creatively and convincingly
  • engage in verbal discussion of complex textual material, demonstrating versatility, rigour, and confidence in the reception, appreciation, and articulation of high-level ideas and perspectives
  • direct their own development, bringing new knowledge and skills to bear upon a range of contexts including (but not limited to) doctoral study in early modern English literature and related fields
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

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
£3,905
year 1 fee
£8,685
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

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.

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

Department scholarship information

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.

Field trips

Join us for regional trips – destinations have included the magnificent Fountains Abbey, Castle Howard, Burton Agnes Hall, Hardwick Hall and the Castle Museum.

Research strengths

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.

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

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 that 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.

Facilities

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.

Teaching location

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.

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'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.

Elizabeth I
Historic library collection

Careers and skills

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.

Career opportunities

  • Academia
  • Advertising, marketing, and public relations
  • Arts administration
  • Civil and diplomatic services
  • Government and law
  • Heritage and conservation
  • Journalism and broadcasting
  • Publishing
  • Teaching

Transferable skills

You'll develop a range of transferable skills including:

  • Developing your creativity
  • Improving your ability to filter and analyse complex information
  • Intellectual independence and independent working
  • Time management and people skills
  • Communicating your research
  • Methodological skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Degree

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.

The international equivalents of UK qualifications are shown on our country-specific pages. You can also contact the international team for guidance.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

Pre-sessional courses in English Language skills, to be taken before the commencement of the degree courses, may be recommended or required.

  • IELTS: 7.0, no less than 6.0 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 6.5 in Reading, and of 7.0 in Writing
  • PTE: 67, with no less than 55 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 61 in Reading and of 67 in Writing
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of 169 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 176 in Reading, and of 185 in Writing
  • TOEFL: 96, with a minimum of 21 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 23 in Reading, and of 24 in Writing
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all components

Applying

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 Jane Raisch

Learn more

Department of English and Related Literature

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