MA (Res) Early Modern History


This new programme offers students a broad introduction to recent work on Britain during a period of time of enormous change. It then allows them to study some of the keys areas of recent research in depth. The course emphasises the breadth of early modern history, placing recent research and scholarship within context which is both British and European, economic and social as well as political. The range of modules offers the possibility of more specialised pathways in such areas as political thought, religious history and rural history. The course also places a great stress on teaching students how to access the copious materials that survive - whether printed or manuscript - for themselves. Palaeography is taught as a matter of course: students can also take an option in Latin or computing. There is also the opportunity to take a module in Modern History or in English literary studies. We invite students to take part in a reading circle and the interdisciplinary seminars and annual conference arranged by the Centre for Early Modern Studies.

Overall, this MA (Res) has the same structure as the MA (Res) in Modern History with which it shares some modules. The MA (Res) offers a core module in Historical Skills and Resources which is orientated towards the specific needs of early  modernists. The second core module, Early Modern History: Theory, Practice and Themes acts as an introduction to the diversity of recent work on the period and leads into the study of two options in the Spring Term. Options available may include Republicanism, The Anglo-Dutch world, Thomas Hobbes, The Beggar's Opera, The Scottish Enlightenment, Religious conflict in England, 1660-1730, Queenship in England 1660-1737, Power in the English countryside 1500-1750, The conundrum of enclosure, The state and its opponents 1500-1600 and The Levellers.

Students on this MA will:

  • develop post-graduate level study, research and writing skills
  • develop the ability to present and analyse information in written and oral form
  • be able to analyse and think critically about complex texts and issues.
  • develop the ability to evaluate and discuss a variety of sources
  • be able to communicate clearly to others their own thinking and the reasons for it
  • be aware of methods and resources to develop their knowledge and understanding further, as part of an ability to learn independently.

Aims and objectives

Early Modern  History aims to develop students' knowledge of the early modern period and to enable them to analyse and appraise a variety of kinds of texts or documents within their historical contexts. The MA will provide students with the skills and confidence to undertake an original piece of research in their chosen area, and will provide appropriate training for those who wish to proceed to doctoral work in the period. The MA aims to augment students' existing skills and knowledge in order to enhance their personal development and to enable them to further an existing career in a cognate profession.

Career prospects

The MA(Res) in Early Modern History offers both useful knowledge and skills appropriate for a number of careers, and an excellent grounding for those wishing to undertakefuture research. Those who wish to become , or who already are teachers of History, English or the Humanities will find their specialist knowledge of the early modern period greatly enhanced, and their awareness of approaches and analytical techniques sharpened and developed.Skills of research, presentation, self-reflection and presentation will serve graduates well in a range of kinds of employment outside the classroom.The course also provides excellent preparation for PhD research in terms of the emphasis on working with early modern texts and documents in detail, on archival skills, and on critical and analytical thinking and writing.

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