Taught course

Early Modern and Renaissance Studies

Birkbeck, University of London · School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication

Entry requirements

Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry


Course content

The MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies offers you the opportunity to explore this era from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including the study of:
  • literature
  • history
  • material culture
  • the visual arts.

This postgraduate degree pairs the broader study of current scholarly approaches to these periods with more focused study of Early Modern and Renaissance cultures. It considers the riches of these pasts from an integrated, holistic perspective in which you will be guided by experts in interdisciplinary research methods.

You will be able to follow your interests with option modules that give you the chance to dive deeper into ongoing discussions, whether focused within the Medieval, Early Modern or Renaissance periods, or exploring interdisciplinary themes that link across this dynamic time period.

Our MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies provides you with rigorous preparation for pursuing PhD research. It is also equally well suited to those who wish to deepen their knowledge of the Early Modern and Renaissance era, and those who are returning to study to pursue a personal passion.


  • Our students have access to some of the best resources in the world for research relating to this period, being close to many renowned research libraries, galleries, museums and manuscript repositories. The MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies teaches you the skills you need to explore these rich resources in original and scholarly ways.
  • In addition to core teaching and individual research support, you will have the opportunity to attend the London Renaissance Seminar, a forum held at Birkbeck where you will be able to hear some of the best scholars in the field presenting and discussing their newest research in all aspects of early modern literature, history and culture.
  • Birkbeck was ranked 2nd in the UK for its English Language and Literature research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.
  • We offer a number of master's bursaries and studentships.

Careers and employability

You will find MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies graduates following career paths in roles such as:

  • archivist
  • researcher
  • teacher or lecturer
  • journalist
  • publisher
  • arts administrator
  • museum/gallery curator
  • museum education officer
  • librarian
  • information officer
  • heritage manager
  • editor.

Birkbeck’s MA Early Modern and Renaissance Studies graduates also successfully complete the degree with a set of valuable, transferable attributes, including:

  • high-level oral and written communication skills
  • postgraduate research skills
  • postgraduate skills in evaluating and assessing information
  • the ability to present an argument at postgraduate level.

We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44 (0)20 3907 0700