School of Arts | Study here | Student Profiles
Document Actions

David Cooper

MA Renaissance Studies

Teacher David Cooper enjoyed doing a BA in English Literature at Birkbeck so much that he went on to complete the College’s Renaissance Studies MA, gaining a Distinction.

David says: ‘I’d greatly enjoyed the intellectual stimulation and social interaction which Birkbeck promotes, and having just completed the four year BA in English Literature, I was reluctant to go without this.

‘I wanted to construct a sort of Art History course, perhaps with a literature module, under the umbrella of the Renaissance Studies MA. In particular I wanted to turn a passive, ill-informed response to art into something more active and articulate. As I researched more deeply into selected areas, I believe I found new things to say about them.

‘Just as with my BA, it was vital that I could combine my full time teaching job with my studies. The big reading and essay writing tasks were able to be done within my end of term holidays – and the long school holidays in general helped in coping with the pressures of studying! My family and colleagues were supportive – some even read my essays!

‘Birkbeck is full of really good teachers – as a teacher myself, you know when someone has or hasn’t prepared themselves properly! The MA course also gives the lecturers a chance to share some of their own research interests: ‘cutting edge’ is a cliché, but it’s true!  The lecturers were never less than good, and were sometimes outstanding.  For my dissertation they invariably found the right blend of criticism and encouragement.

‘I have also very much enjoyed studying in the heart of academic London. Birkbeck itself has a very good library, but it is also close to resources such as the Warburg Institute – a wonderful place to work.

‘I would recommend Birkbeck and the MA Renaissance Studies unreservedly. Just as my BA has opened the door to some English teaching where I work, so my (effectively) Art History MA may make it possible to run an Art History course for sixth formers.

‘In the immediate short term, I’m planning a holiday in Italy, to visit some of the places and pictures I encountered on the MA course. I said when I finished my BA that I wanted to put my English knowledge to use and in the long term possibly even write a book.  My supervisor thinks that elements of my dissertation might be worked up for publication – we’ll see! And who knows, I may even end up doing a PhD at Birkbeck.’

Find out about our courses

‘The MA gives lecturers a chance to share their research; ‘cutting edge’ is a cliché, but it’s true!’