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MARenaissance, Reformation and Early Modern Studies

University of Birmingham
United Kingdom, Birmingham
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This programme combines the approaches of religious, social, cultural and political historians to take a fresh look at early modern history. It is taught by leading scholars whose expertise covers the cultural and religious landscape of the late-medieval world, the Catholic and Protestant Reformations, new world discoveries and the political and cultural worlds of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England and Europe. This gives you a rich variety of options, and a wide range of possibilities for your dissertation topic. The programme also offers comprehensive research training opportunities, providing the ideal grounding for going on to undertake a PhD in this area.

Programme structure

This programme is run out of the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies, one of the most dynamic concentrations of early modern historians in the country. We have more than half a dozen full-time academic staff with expertise in the period c.1500-1800 in History alone, with geographical coverage including local (West Midlands) history, Germany, Italy, and the wider world. CREMS also has excellent links with staff in English, the Shakespeare Institute, History of Art, and elsewhere.

This MA is designed to give you a firm grounding in current themes and debates in early modern history, with a focus on the religious and cultural history of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Britain and Europe. A wide range of options allow you to specialise in an area of your choice, and comprehensive training opportunities will help to prepare you to embark upon a significant research project. In recent years, scholars have moved beyond a traditional, narrow concern with elite religion and high politics to explore the cultural, material and social histories of the early modern period, including the Renaissance and the Reformation.

The whole subject has becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, with researchers drawing on the insights of anthropology, sociology, cultural and literary studies, art history, and musicology, as well as history. Topics such as violence, clothing, gender, exploration, art, drama, music and material culture have come to be seen as crucial to an understanding of the transformations that were taking place. These new approaches are integral to the teaching and research training provided on this course. There is also an annual field trip, designed to explore key themes and issues outside of the classroom, in the context of key buildings, documents and historical artefacts.

You will study two core modules (full descriptions available below):

Religious Reformations in Early Modern Britain and Europe
Research Methods and Skills
You will also choose an optional special subject module and complete a 15,000-word dissertation on an agreed topic which relates to the history of any of the areas covered by the course..

Career opportunities

Over the past five years, over 92% of History postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museum or archivist work. Others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance to civil service to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Alcester Heritage Network; HSBC; KPMG; Ministry of Defence; and the National Trust.

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
Application period has ended

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
Application period has ended

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States