Taught course

Cultural, Intellectual and Visual History

School of Advanced Study · The Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study

Entry requirements

The normal minimum entry requirement is an upper second-class honours degree from a British university, or an equivalent qualification from a foreign institution, in any discipline in the humanities which is related to the course. The course requires a working knowledge of a European modern language and knowledge of Latin or a willingness to study it. All students whose first language is not English must provide recent evidence that their written and spoken English is adequate for postgraduate study.

Months of entry


Course content

What does this course cover?

The Warburg Institute MA in Cultural and Intellectual History aims to equip students for interdisciplinary research in Medieval and Renaissance studies and in the reception of the classical tradition. Students will become part of an international community of scholars, working in a world-famous library. They will broaden their range of knowledge to include the historically informed interpretation of images and texts, art history, philosophy, history of science, literature, and the impact of religion on society. Students will improve their knowledge of Latin, French and Italian and will acquire the library and archival skills essential for research on primary texts.

This twelve-month, full-time course is intended as an introduction to the principal elements of the classical tradition and to interdisciplinary research in cultural and intellectual history from the late Middle Ages to the early modern period. Although it is a qualification in its own right, the MA is also designed to provide training for further research at doctoral level. It is taught through classes and supervision by members of the academic staff of the Institute and by outside teachers. The teaching staff are leading professors and academics in their field who have published widely. Research strengths include: the transmission of Arabic science and philosophy to Western Europe; the later influence of classical philosophy (Aristotelianism, Platonism, Epicureanism and Stoicism); and religious nonconformism in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. For further details on the research interests of teaching staff please visit the Warburg website.


All students take two compulsory core courses and two optional subjects. The core courses are taught in the first term and the optional subjects in the second term and the options available vary from year to year.

Core modules:

  • Reviving the Past
  • Art History and Renaissance Culture: Image to Action
  • Language and Palaeographical Studies

Optional modules:

  • Artistic Intentions 1400-1700
  • Cosmological Images: Representing the Universe
  • Curating Renaissance Art and Exhibitions
  • The History of the Book in the Renaissance
  • Islamic Authorities and Arab Elements in the Renaissance
  • Italian Mural Painting and the Making of Visual Cultures
  • Mapping Worlds: Medieval to Modern
  • Renaissance Material Culture
  • Renaissance Painting and the Workshop Tradition

*Please note that the availability of option modules varies each year dependent on student demand*

For full module details and descriptions please visit our website...

In addition, there is a regular series of classes throughout the three terms on Techniques of Scholarship. Subjects dealt with include: description of manuscripts; palaeography; printing in the 15th and 16th centuries; editing a text; preparation of dissertations and photographic images. Some of these classes are held outside the Institute in locations such as the British Library or the Wellcome Library.

Reading classes in Latin, Italian and French are provided and are offered to all students. Students are also encouraged to attend the Director’s weekly seminar on Work in Progress and any of the other regular seminars held in the Institute that may be of interest to them. These at present include History of Art and Maps and Society.

The third term and summer are spent in researching and writing a dissertation, under the guidance of a supervisor from the academic staff.

For information on assessment methods please visit our website...

Mode of study

This course can be taken over 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.

Information for international students

For more information for international students please click here.

Fees and funding

UK students
£6,965 (2018/19 fees)
International students
£15,545 (2018/19 fees)

The School of Advanced Study has a range of funding opportunities for home, EU and international applicants. Find out more about funding opportunities here. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

The American Friends of the Warburg Institute Scholarship is available for citizens of any country in north America and is judged on academic merit at undergraduate level, with an outstanding mark achieved in the final-year project/dissertation. Find out more about the American Friends scholarship.

The Peltz Scholarships are open to students who have applied to study on either of the Warburg Institute’s MA Programmes and who are self-funded and domiciled in the UK or European Union (EU), judged on exceptional quality and academic merit. More information on the Peltz Scholarships.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

School of Advanced Study Enquiries
+44 (0) 207 862 8835