This programme combines the approaches of religious, social, cultural and political historians to take a fresh look at the Reformations in Britain and Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. It is taught by leading scholars whose expertise covers the cultural and religious landscape of the pre-Reformation church, New World discoveries, the Catholic Reformation in Europe and the political and cultural worlds of 16th and 17th century England.
This programme combines the approaches of religious, social, cultural and political historians to take a fresh look at the Renaissance and the Religious Reformations in Britain and Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. It is taught by leading scholars whose expertise covers the cultural and religious landscape of the late-medieval world, the Catholic and Protestant Reformations in Britain and Europe, new world discoveries and the political and cultural worlds of 16th and 17th century England.
Scholars have moved beyond the traditional concerns with religion and politics to explore the cultural, material and social histories of the Renaissance and Reformation. The whole subject has becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, with researchers drawing on the insights of anthropology, sociology and cultural and literary studies, as well as history. Topics such as violence, clothing, art, drama and music have come to be seen as crucial to an understanding of the transformations that were taking place. These new approaches are integral to the teaching and research training provided on this course. It offers the opportunity to study the period of Renaissance and Reformation in all its richness, working with a team of leading scholars within the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies.
To achieve this MA, you will study two core modules (see below), an optional special subject module and complete a 15,000-word dissertation an agreed topic which relates to the history of any of the areas covered by the course.
Why study this course
Birmingham’s central location, within easy reach of archives and seminars in London and Oxford, makes it ideal as the base for early modern studies. The West Midlands and Birmingham are rich in associations with the history of the early modern period. The regional cathedrals (Lichfield, Gloucester and Worcester) and parish churches still reflect many of the religious changes of the period; the country houses and castles (such as Kenilworth and Warwick) offer fascinating insights into its material culture; and nearby Warwick and Stratford Upon Avon contain wonderful examples of early modern domestic and religious architecture.
Birmingham has excellent resources for this programme. The library is particularly strong in local history material and the university’s Special Collections contain a wide range of early printed books, especially sixteenth and seventeenth century sermon material. The microfilm resources include a large collection of early Reformation ‘flugschriften’ and Early English Books are available on line. Students also have use of the Shakespeare Institute’s excellent research library in Stratford Upon Avon, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust library and Record Office, and the on-campus resources of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
You will study two core modules:
Religious Reformations in Early Modern Britain and Europe
This offers a broad introduction to the religious developments in the early modern period, followed by more specialised study which focuses on the cultural, social, literary and political histories of the Reformations. You will have the opportunity to explore the ferment of religious ideas and the ways in which these shaped many areas of early modern life, ranging from the role of women and the rise of the persecution of witches, to the layout of churches and the material culture of clothing. Some of these aspects may be explored further in a field trip.
Research Methods and Skills
This provides training in research skills relating to studying sixteenth and seventeenth century history. Training is available in research, languages, IT, palaeography (reading early modern handwriting) and the use of a wide variety of types of early modern document relating to English local history. This will be provided at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Record Office in Stratford-upon-Avon, and you will have the chance to work on the original documents.
You will also choose one optional special subject from a selection, subject to availability. Examples include:
• The English Church The Reign of Henry VIII: This offers the opportunity to study in detail the processes of change in Henrician England and the early growth and impact of Protestantism
• Saints and Stormtroopers: Catholicism in Early Modern Europe: This looks at the ways in which the Catholic church adjusted to the transformations of the period, especially in Mediterranean countries and the Holy Roman Empire
• The English Civil War and Local Society: This explores political and religious changes in early Stuart England and the effects these had on local societies during and after the English Civil War.
Modules and courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.
Fees and funding
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2013/14 are as follows:
Home / EU: full-time - £5,130
Overseas: full-time - £13,200
Part-time programme fees are one half of the full-time programme fees.
Learn more about fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available.
For further information, visit the College of Arts and Law scholarships page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
Learn more about entry requirements
We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
How to apply
When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages