Thursday, June 24, 2004

Early Modern MA courses in UK universities

It's that time of year again: newly-fledged graduates are considering whether to take the plunge into taking post-grad courses - whether because they've been enthused by inspirational teachers, are putting off finding a 'real' job, or even think the 'real' job for them might just lie in academia - and there's an ever growing range of early modern options. Here's a list (in no particular order) for you, or anyone you know who's that way inclined. I'm sure it's not complete, of course.

MA in Early Modern History, Sussex University. Core courses include 'Society and Culture' and 'Literature, Politics and Religion'; options include 'Heretics, witches and jews'; 'France under Louis XIV'; 'The Atlantic World'. There is also a Early Modern Literature and Culture MA based in the English department.

MA in Early Modern History, Kings College London. The core course is 'Approaches to early modern history'; options include 'Composite monarchies and consensual states'; 'Ritual in early modern society'; 'The body and society'.

MA in Comparative History of Early Modern European Societies, Birkbeck University of London. Core: 'Themes in Early Modern History'; options including 'Early Modern London'; 'Death, Disease and the Early Modern City'; 'Power and Communication from the Reformation to the Enlightenment'.

MA in Medieval and Early Modern History, University of Bristol. Core: 'Themes and Problems in Medieval and Early Modern History'. Most of its early modern content focuses on the period to about 1600, eg: 'The English Reformation'; 'The first globalisation, 1400-1600'; 'The decline and fall of the GAelic World: Ireland and Scotland, 1300-1600'.

MA in British and European Cultural and Political History c.1400-1800, Manchester University. The core is 'Issues and debates in early modern history'; options include 'First Century of Spanish America'; 'Church, society and religion in seventeenth-century France'; 'People, work and wealth in English towns'.

MA in Early Modern History, University of East Anglia. Core courses include 'Authority and ideology in early modern England', 'Society and culture in early modern England'; options, 'Political cultures of eighteenth-century Britain', 'Colonial America', 'Landscape history'.

Interdisciplinary MA, Texts in History, 1500-1750, Reading University. Core courses focus on 'history and literature'; options include 'Riot, rebellion and popular protest'; 'Mid-tudor political narratives'; 'The early modern midwife'.

MA in Early Modern History, University of York. Focus on 'social and cultural' history; options include 'The radical reformation in Germany'; 'From the body beautiful to the body politic'; 'The politics of the parish'.

MA in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, Royal Holloway, University of London. There is a core course on methodology, theory and skills; again ranges over medieval and early modern, options include 'The material culture of domestic life'; 'The body in culture/society'; 'Eighteenth-century women'.

MA in Seventeenth-century Studies, University of Durham seventeenth-century studies centre.

The Centre for 18th-century Studies at York runs several interdisciplinary MA courses, mainly on the period 1750-1850.

Think and look around carefully. Even if you're certain that you want to do early modern, you don't necessarily have to do a dedicated early modern history course. I didn't (my MA was in Women's and Gender History at York, which gave plenty of opportunities to do early modern subjects). It can be healthy to do something else from time to time! Apart from courses designated as 'early modern', there are many more 'general' Masters courses that include early modern 'pathways' or substantial early modern components. For example:
University of Durham
University of Sheffield
University of Wales Aberystwyth
Or, as with the different options at Sussex, there are plenty of early modern Literature courses in English departments - worth thinking about if you have strong interests in that direction. The Guardian online provides a very good postgraduate course search facility.

It's worth making sure that the course includes strong research training and preferably auxiliary skills training too (languages especially Latin, palaeography, computing skills). A dissertation, which may be up to 20,000 words long, is a key part of all Masters courses. And if you're planning to go on to a PhD, it will be essential preparation. Visit the department and the location if you possibly can. Find out from other students what the prospectus doesn't tell you, not least about IT and library facilities. And research resources for that all-important dissertation.

Bear in mind, if you're thinking about it for this year, that you've missed the competitions of the two governmental funding bodies in this area, the AHRB and ESRC. There may still be university and departmental opportunities, however. And I'm sure these courses will still be around next year.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Hello Sharon,
    Good idea to do this list. The Durham Centre for 17th-century studies page is out of date as the centre has been substantially rejigged. Anyway interested in it should get in touch with the History dept and not the chap listed on the page.
    :) Claire


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