Renaissance Studies (MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Two evenings a week full-time or one evening a week part-time, October to June

MA Renaissance Studies explores the question of what the Renaissance was and what approaches are best suited to understanding it. The programme considers different aspects of Renaissance culture, particularly the social and intellectual histories of England, France, Italy and Spain. You will study with Birkbeck's internationally recognised experts in Renaissance English literature and culture, history of art, French, history and Spanish, tailoring your module choices towards chosen specialisms. By the end of the course you will be able to demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the questions associated with the study of the Renaissance and will have had the opportunity to either specialise or work in an interdisciplinary way. From the start, you will undertake training in postgraduate research skills. For example, in the second term of your degree you are offered practical study of palaeography. The summer core course is based around the materials of Renaissance evidence: objects, painting, manuscript and print. We explore a range of methodologies.

You begin with a core course which examines the way the Renaissance has been understood and then you go on to take three options in areas of specialist interest. You can see detailed descriptions of our core course and all the option modules below. Finally, you will be individually counselled in your choice of dissertation topic.

In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many Birkbeck Renaissance events. This includes the London Renaissance Seminar, which brings many internationally renowned academics to Birkbeck, and events specific to the Birkbeck Renaissance group, including our day on 'Researching the Text'.

Read more

Highlights

Book an open evening Order a prospectus Contact us

Course structure

You will take a core course which examines the various ways the Renaissance has been understood and then go on to choose three option modules in areas of special interest to you. Finally, you will develop a dissertation topic under the expert guidance of one of our academics.

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

Read more about modules

Core module

Indicative option modules

One reason for the course’s enduring success is that students decide whether to make their route diverse or disciplinary. Here are four sample paths to show what that means.

Route 1: English Literature

Route 2: Renaissance Studies

Route 3: Renaissance Italy

Route 4: Shakespeare

Throughout the MA you work with tutors individually as well as in seminars. One-to-one tutorial time is structured into the programme. Tutorial support covers a wide range of topics from the use of the Renaissance in a career to the more obvious support with essays.

Whether you undertake disciplinary study (e.g. in English literature) or take modules in several disciplines will depend on how you decide to use the MA and staff will work with you on establishing a route that suits you. Students use it in both ways and develop strong contacts throughout the School of Arts.

    • Entry Requirements We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.

      Entry requirements

      Good second-class degree or higher, preferably in a subject relevant to Renaissance studies (for example, classics, history, history of art, literature and languages, philosophy or political science). We also welcome students with backgrounds in other disciplines too (e.g. medical, commercial, scientific).

      International entry requirements

      If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

      If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

      Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

      Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

      If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

      Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

    • Fees We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students.

      Fees (2017/8)

      Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
      Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
      Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
      Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa
    • Teaching and assessment Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.

      Teaching

      At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

      Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.

      Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

      In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.

      Methods of teaching on this course

      Teaching is by lectures and seminars. The teaching staff, from both Birkbeck and other London colleges and institutions, are specialists in Renaissance and early modern literature, cultural studies and history of art.

      Research skills seminars provide an introduction to bibliography and palaeography, and to the use of libraries and archives.

      Support is provided by a personal tutor for the duration of the degree and by a specialist adviser for the dissertation.

      Timetables

      Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

      Indicative class size

      Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.

      Academic support

      Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

      • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
      • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
      • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

      Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

      Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

      Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

      Assessment

      Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

      Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.

      Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

      Methods of assessment on this course

      The core module is assessed by a critical bibliography of 2000 words and a critical review of a core text (2500-3000 words).

      Option modules are each assessed by an essay of 4000-6000 words.

      Dissertation of 14,000-15,000 words.

      Feedback

      As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.

      Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.

      Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.

      Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.

    • Careers and employability To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.

      Careers and employability

      Graduates go to careers in museums management and curating, academia, journalism and publishing, research, marketing and public relations. Possible professions include management, curating, or publishing. This degree can also be useful in a variety of roles within the creative sector, such as journalist or public relations officer.

      Find out more about these professions.

      Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

      We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

    • How to apply Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.

      How to apply

      You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link below.

      Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

      Application deadlines and interviews

      We recommend you apply as early as possible in the admissions cycle (November to July). Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.

    Visit the Department of English and Humanities