Are you interested in exploring the history of sixteenth and seventeenth century British, European and the Wider World?
The MA Early Modern History, taught out of the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies (CREMS), 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. It combines political, religious, social, cultural and material approaches to introduce the early modern period in all its richness and complexity, and to equip students with the knowledge and skills to take a fresh look at early modern history.
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 to undertake a PhD in this area.
Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications.
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
by holding an English language qualification to the right level
by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students
You will study two core modules in early modern history:
Introduction to Early Modern History
In the first semester, this module offers a broad introduction to early modern history, and in particular to some of the main historical and historiographical debates which are key to understanding sixteenth- and seventeenth-century society, culture, politics and religion. This will include important concepts surrounding religious and popular belief, the early-modern state, gender and sexuality, material culture, and the non-European world. As such, it will provide you with a broad knowledge base to draw upon as you begin thinking about the area of early modern history you would like to focus on.
Writing Early Modern History: Sources and Approaches
In the second semester, this module introduces in more detail the hands-on study of early modern history by interrogating a range of important sources, from ecclesiastical documents and court records, through state papers, printed books, diaries and letters to maps, music, and visual and material approaches. These sessions will familiarise you with important practical and methodological issues, as well as giving a sense of how these kinds of material have been used by historians to enhance our understanding of the past.
You will also study two other core modules:
This module, which runs throughout the autumn semester, is your chance to meet students from across the range of masters programmes offered within the department, from ancient and medieval through to modern and contemporary history. Together, you will consider the key approaches, theories and concepts that have shaped historical practice since the Second World War. These include developments such as the Annales School, historians’ response to Marxism and to anthropological theory, cultural history, the linguistic turn, gender and critical social theory. The focus is on the application of ideas to historical practice. You will investigate how early-modernists have adapted these theories and methods to their particular field of study.
This module, which consists of a number of different elements, runs throughout the academic year, and provides important training and support as you develop your research skills, and devise your own unique dissertation topic. In the autumn you will receive intensive training in palaeography (reading old handwriting), and in the spring you will be allocated to a supervisor, who will help prepare you to give an oral presentation on your dissertation topic, alongside an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and an outline dissertation plan.
You will also choose 40 credits of optional modules: either a special subject, a pair of advanced options, or an advanced option and further training, such as a foreign language, or a relevant module from another department (such as classics, art history, English etc):
Please note: In previous years, students have studied optional modules in the following areas. The availability of modules changes annually. Please contact the programme convenor for the most up-to-date information.
Protestants, Papists and Puritans: Religious Change under Elizabeth I and James I
Histories of Hate: Fear and Loathing in Early Modern Europe
A History of the Tudors in 100 Objects
The English Civil War and Local Society
Toleration and Persecution in Early Modern Europe
Piracy, Plunder, Peoples and Exploitation: English Exploration in the Tudor Period
Religion and Religious Change in England during the reign of Elizabeth I
Witchcraft, Magic and Power in Early Modern Europe
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.
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