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Renaissance studies at Birkbeck

Fascinated by the Renaissance?

Birkbeck has a range of degrees and modules which will allow you to develop your specialism in the Renaissance whether you want to pursue the pleasures of Renaissance Art, take at degree in English Literature or study as a postgraduate student. This is a taster of what is on offer – go to the course pages if you want to find out more:

Certificate in History of Art

This long-running and successful certificate is perfect if you want to pick up a qualification or just stretch yourself with a single module. Some of the options might include:

BA English Literature

This offers plenty of scope for thinking about the Renaissance. There are specialist modules taught by Renaissance researchers including Shakespeare, Elizabethan and Seventeenth-Century Drama and Elizabethan Poetry. But no study of Writing London would be complete without English drama of the Renaissance – so you can explore Renaissance from your first year.  

MA Renaissance Studies

What was the Renaissance, and what approaches are best suited to understanding it? Taking this question as its starting point, This MA is designed to allow you to research that question in terms of your area of interest.  You can specialise in English literature, even in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama. You can focus on Renaissance Art or on one of the multiple histories of the Renaissance in southern and northern Europe or in the forming nation of ‘Britain’.  And the structure which gives you three options allows you to explore two or even three disciplines.

For your dissertation, Birkbeck is perfectly placed for access to London’s unrivalled research resources – The British Museum prints and drawings and the British Library are just minutes away.

From 2021 we hope to offer students who already have an MA a way to build on their special interests in a progression degree.


The School of Arts has an outstanding record in this area. We have a record of attracting the strongest students and supporting them as they deserve. Our talented alumni hold posts in academia in Britain and abroad; many have published books and essays that shape the field.