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Eva Lauenstein

MA Renaissance Studies

After graduating with a BA in History and Politics, Eva Lauenstein knew she wanted to work in the heritage sector and chose the MA Renaissance Studies at Birkbeck because of its broad historical scope and multi-disciplinary approach.

Eva says: ‘I primarily chose the course in Renaissance Studies due to my passion for the heritage sector in which I began to volunteer shortly after completing my undergraduate studies. I liked the variety of modules offered by the Birkbeck Renaissance Studies MA – it covered literature, art history and philosophy and wasn’t restricted to just one short period of history. It offered enough scope for us to find our own niche interest.

‘I moved to London to do the MA full time, and began working part-time for the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich in the visitor experience area. I’m sure I only got this volunteering work – and eventually a full time job there – because of the relevance of my MA.

‘The MA course was very hands-on from the start. We learned how to write a critical bibliography and literature review, and the core module sets up your skills in writing essays and doing research. A lot of the work I was doing at the time was project based and relied on good presentation skills. It helps a lot to have those tools – they are transferable and very useful skills.

‘We had lots of contact with the academic staff, who are all highly qualified in their field. The cutting edge research that was going on in so many different fields actively influenced our seminars.  You also get to know your peers, which at Birkbeck is a really important factor; the majority have established careers in the industry and the networking just happens.

‘Some people on my course just wanted to study that period of history, while others were teachers building their knowledge, or already working in heritage or related areas such as publishing or writing. There’s a very vibrant postgraduate community – there were always different reading groups being established, or film screenings happening – and the busy environment is great as it just makes you more ambitious!

‘Studying in this part of London is also excellent – you have the British Museum, the British Library, Senate House library – it’s all just there!

‘Doing such a relevant MA helped get ahead in my career but made me ambitious for more. I’ve now started a PhD at Birkbeck in the Dept of English and Humanities and am very fortunate to have this funded by a Birkbeck Anniversary Scholarship.

‘I am striving towards an academic career, but ideally I’d like to combine it with the applied work in the heritage industry that I have come to love. There are so many career paths that you can follow in this field, I’m keeping my options open!’

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'Doing such a relevant MA helped me get ahead in my career - and made me ambitious for more.'