UCL Graduate degrees


Early Modern Studies MA

The Early Modern Studies MA offers an innovative blend of skills training (palaeography and historical bibliography), object-based learning and museum visits. The core modules cover a wide range of disciplines, giving you a broad understanding of the early modern period. You can then tailor your programme to suit your interests, with over thirty optional modules, covering early modern culture, history and society.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2019

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 15 October 2018
Close: 26 July 2019

Tuition fees (2019/20)

UK/EU: £10,440 (FT) £5,275 (PT)
Overseas: £21,790 (FT) £11,060 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.

Fee deposit: All full time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000 for this programme. All part-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £500.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

The MA will teach you critical reading skills, the ability to assess and weigh evidence, and construct persuasive arguments. It combines training in book history, bibliography, and paleography with a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the early modern period.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (45 credits), either two or three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation (90 credits).

Compulsory modules

  • Reframing the Renaissance
  • Forging the Early Modern
  • Unstitching the Early Modern: Archival and book skills

Optional modules (indicative list):

Students choose up to 45 credits from a list which varies each year. A list is available on our department website. Below is an indicative list, showing modules that have been offered previously.

  • Continental Connections: Britain and Europe in the Eighteenth Century
  • Early Modern Science
  • Enlightenment Histories: History and Time in 18th Century Thought and Culture
  • From Archive to Hard Drive: Technology for Early Modern Research
  • Identity and Performance in Renaissance Italy
  • Men on the Moon: Cosmic Voyages in the Early Modern Period
  • Metamorphosis: The Limits of the Human
  • Paradoxes of Enlightenment: German Thought from Leibniz to Humboldt
  • Political Thought in Renaissance Europe
  • Seeing Through Materials: Matter, Vision and Transformation in the Renaissance
  • Sex and the Body in Early Modern Europe
  • Shakespeare in his Time
  • Web 0.1: Early Modern Information Culture, c.1450-c.1750


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 18,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of tutorials, seminars, workshops, presentations, class discussions and library, archive, museum and gallery visits. Assessment is through essays, annotated bibliography and the dissertation.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


Several funding options are possible for applicants including: Arts & Humanities Faculty Awards and UCL Scholarships for UK/EU & Overseas Students.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates may find employment within the cultural or heritage sector, as well as library work, the arts, and other roles which require intensive research and/or information management. Many graduates have been accepted to undertake further study as research students both at UCL and elsewhere.


This MA will give you a very specific skill set, including archival research skills. Depending on the optional modules you select you may also develop manuscript handling skills, language skills and knowledge in information technologies and database use.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This is a bespoke programme of study, unique to your interests with over thirty optional modules, all taught by leading scholars, in a wide range of subjects including art, history, law, literature, politics and science.

Practical, hands-on modules, with ‘traditional’ skills such as palaeography and textual bibliography are taught alongside the latest techniques in databases and XML. The programme includes field trips to museums, archives and galleries.

Our central London location provides privileged access to a wide range of world-class museums, rare-books libraries and archives. Located in Bloomsbury, it is a short walk to the exceptional resources of the British Library and the British Museum.

Department: Centre for Multidisciplinary & Intercultural Inquiry

What our students and staff say

Staff view

"My research focuses on two main areas: relations between England and Spain in the early modern period (1500–1700), and secondly the Spanish Empire. I aim to change conventional understanding of the Tudor period by demonstrating how Mary Tudor's reign was far from being an anomaly, but in fact saw many developments, cultural, economic and political that laid the foundations for her sister Elizabeth I's celebrated reign. In relation to the Spanish Empire, I hope to offer an account that unites both the Atlantic world and the Americas with colonial adventures in Europe from Holland to Naples, as well as the Far East, from Goa to the Phillippines. I most enjoy the variety of activities that I am involved in, from spending time in the archives bringing to light documents and letters that have lain there for over four centuries to communicating about my research to new audiences whether at Shakespeare's Globe or doing stand up comedy for UCL's Public Engagement Bright Club."

Dr Alexander Samson

Early Modern Studies MA, Comparative Literature MA, Medieval and Renaissance Studies MA, Hispanic Studies MA
Lecturer in Golden Age Literature
Staff view

"My focus of research is mainly book and manuscript collections of the early modern period. At the moment this interest is focused on two major projects, both of which are interdisciplinary.The first is to map the network of donors to the Bodleian Library in the early years of the seventeenth century, in order to reveal who was donating and how they were connected in their communities, what kind of books were being donated and how the Librarians organised them. The second project also focuses on books and libraries, but goes beyond textual interaction to examine the material traces readers leave behind them, i.e. hair, skin, pollen, blood, tears. Being situated in London means that I am on the doorstep to collections of international importance. The size of the collections at the British Library or the National Archives in Kew for example, means that there is always something new to discover. I particularly enjoy rummaging around in historic collections and making new discoveries."

Dr Robyn Adams

Early Modern Studies MA
UCL Centre for Editing Lives and Letters
Student view

"I'd really enjoyed my experience as an undergraduate at UCL (BA French and Russian). The teaching had been outstanding and I'd cultivated productive relationships with my tutors who were always more than happy to offer me their time and suggestions for my studies. UCL was then my first choice for graduate study as I knew I could rely on its standard of teaching and on the commitment of its tutors to their students. The location of UCL also made it an attractive destination since it is so near to the British Library, the Wellcome Collection and other research institutions such as Dr Williams's library. This enables you to follow up lectures with a trip to nearby research libraries only a short walk away."

Lisa Nicholson

Early Modern Studies

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

The programme is aimed at students with a good degree in a relevant subject who wish to gain the key bibliography, paleography and research skills necessary for a future career in academia or in the heritage or cultural industries.

Application deadlines

All applicants
26 July 2019

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Early Modern Studies at graduate level
  • why you want to study Early Modern Studies at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Contact information

Page last modified on 14 November 2017 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing