Entry requirements

Good second-class degree or higher, preferably in a subject relevant to Renaissance studies (for example, classics, history, history of art, literature and languages, philosophy or political science). We also welcome students with backgrounds in other disciplines too (e.g. medical, commercial, scientific).

Months of entry


Course content

MA Renaissance Studies explores the question of what the Renaissance was and what approaches are best suited to understanding it. The programme considers different aspects of Renaissance culture, particularly the social and intellectual histories of England, France, Italy and Spain. You will study with Birkbeck's internationally recognised experts in Renaissance English literature and culture, history of art, French, history and Spanish, tailoring your module choices towards chosen specialisms. By the end of the course you will be able to demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the questions associated with the study of the Renaissance and will have had the opportunity to either specialise or work in an interdisciplinary way. From the start, you will undertake training in postgraduate research skills.

You begin with a core course which examines the way the Renaissance has been understood and then you go on to take 3 options in areas of specialist interest. You can see detailed descriptions of our core course and all the option modules below. Finally, you will be individually counselled in your choice of dissertation topic.

We are based in Bloomsbury in central London and the unrivalled resources both within and near to Birkbeck will enable you to develop advanced research skills, which will support your dissertation writing and provide a thorough preparation for PhD study. Many of our students progress to MPhil/PhD level at Birkbeck and other institutions, including other colleges of the University of London and the University of Oxford.

In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many Birkbeck Renaissance events. This includes the London Renaissance Seminar, which brings many internationally renowned academics to Birkbeck, and events specific to the Birkbeck Renaissance group, including our day on 'Researching the Text'.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

Fees and funding

UK students
Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
International students
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.

The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.

MA Renaissance Studies students have successfully applied for funds from Birkbeck. You will need to apply early in the academic year. Bursaries are available for full-time and part-time study and are competitive. Birkbeck has an excellent record in supporting students working in the Renaissance and Early Modern period. For example, in the year 2014-15 5 students in the Department of English and Humanities working towards MA or PhD study were supported by the School of Arts or AHRC. Further students are supported through other Departments and Schools.

Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.

Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44(0) 20 3907 0700
+ 44 (0)20 7631 6072