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V1K607 Early Modern History MA Postgraduate Taught 2012


UCAS code V1K607
Degree MA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time)
Start Date 2012-10-01
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 6570

Course Content


The MA in Early Modern History is designed to introduce you to the advanced study of the Early Modern period. 

The course explores issues of critical thinking, guided research through seminars and individual sessions, and independent learning. The coverage of subject and area is broad, from Qing Dynasty China, to Colonial America, from religious and political thought to architectural and medical history, from the court of Elizabeth I to the study of diplomacy and emotion. Durham's early modern specialists include British, European and Chinese historians, as well as experts in archival sources and material culture. The Early Modern History MA will allow you to engage directly with a wide variety of approaches to the discipline, from the archaeological, to the study of political discourse, art historical methodologies and economic history. You will have the opportunity to develop the technical skills for study of the Early Modern period with courses in Palaeography that include Early Modern documentation and hand-writing. Language courses (Latin, Greek; modern French and German) can also form part of the course.

Durham is exceptionally well served for Early Modern resources with the manuscript collections and archives of the Cathedral Priory and Diocese of Durham, as well as the documentary holdings and collections of papers within the University Library. Bishop's Cosin's library, now part of the University collections, includes a collection of French and English early printed books. The MA in Early Modern History will open your experience to all of these.

Course Structure

The course consists of 180 credits, divided between modules, some of which are core, some of which are optional.

  • You must take two 15 credit core modules, and complete the 30 credit module, Issues in Early Modern History
  • You may then take an optional module for 30 credits from the list below
  • In addition you may take a skills module for 30 credits
  • With an optional module AND a skills module you then take a 60 credit dissertation
  • With an optional module ONLY you then take a 90 credit dissertation.

Core Modules

  • Archives and Sources (15 credits)
  • Critical Practice (15 credits)
  • Issues in Early Modern History
  • Dissertation (60 credits or 90 credits).

Optional Modules

Medieval optional modules are:

  • Courts and Power in Early Modern Europe and the New World
  • Negotiating Life in the Early Modern World
  • Worship and Reform in Britain 1530-1662 (a Theology Dept module)
  • Gender, Medicine and Sexuality in Early Modern Europe
  • The Wealth of Nations
  • History and the Idea of Politics: 1500-1900.

Other optional modules that can be taken are:

  • The Anglo-Saxon World AD 400-1100
  • The Anglo-Norman World
  • Byzantium and the West, 300-1200
  • Power and Society in the Late Middle Ages
  • The Archaeology of the Book: Codicology and Culture from Antiquity to the Renaissance
  • Tradition, Change and Political Culture in Modern Britain
  • Totalitarian Cultures? The Arts and Society in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany
  • Cultures of Consumption in Modern Europe
  • Race in Modern America
  • Tribe and Nation in Africa
  • Media, Culture and Society in Weimar and Nazi Germany
  • Modernity and Identity in Modern East Asia
  • Modernity, Religion and Identity (a Theology Dept module).

Skills Modules that may be taken are:                                     

  • Palaeography: Scribes, Script and History from Antiquity to the Renaissance
  • Latin for Research
  • Greek for Research
  • Old Norse
  • German Reading Skills for Research
  • French Reading Skills for Research. 

Teaching and assessment details

Assessment takes place within the constituent modules of the course, and is by a variety of methods dependent on the nature of the module.

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

A 2.1 degree or equivalent in a relevant first degree.

English Language Requirement

IELTS of 7.0 (with no element under 6.5) or equivalent.

English Language requirements


Requirements and Admissions

You can apply to our postgraduate programmes via our online application process.

Fees and Funding

Fees have not been set for this academic year.

Career Opportunities


For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and
details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.

Open days and visits

Campus tours

Are you interested in studying at Durham University? Then why not come along to one of our Campus Tours? They run regularly at Durham City and Queen's Campus, Stockton on Wednesday afternoons. For further information, please click here.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits

Department Information



The Department is ranked highly in national assessments of teaching and research. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise judged 60% of our research as internationally excellent or world-leading (3* and 4*). We are consistently ranked in the top three UK history departments by The Complete, indicating excellent University Guide levels of teaching provision and student satisfaction.

Durham is a thriving place to study History (as evidencedby theDepartment's consistently high ranking in research and student satisfaction surveys). We employ around 35 leading academics whose expertise stretches from early medieval to contemporary history, and crosses Africa, Britain and Europe, North America and China. We foster an active and lively research environment at both staff and postgraduate level, and for MA and PhD students alike.

The Department runs and participates in numerous seminar programmes and discussion groups which run throughout the academic year. These provide an excellent opportunity to share ideas within the Durham academic community with guest speakers from outside.

The taught Masters courses and research degree programmes provide a balance between guided and selfdirected study and research, tailored to the individual needs of students. Between the University Library and the Cathedral library, Durham holds a wealth of archival andmanuscriptmaterial (from the medieval and seventeenth century holdings to the Sudan Archive and other modern collections, for example the Earl Grey Family Papers). The Department works closely with library staff to ensure its research needs are met; library staff also provide specialist training in archival research and in the full range of resources, including electronic, available at Durham.


Teaching Staff

Dr Elif Akçetin: specialises in Qing Dynasty China, especially on corruption, frontiers and empire-building. 

Dr Alex Barber: specialises in early modern British history with a particular focus on the intersections between intellectual and religious culture and on the transmission of ideas

Professor Chris Brooks: has wide-ranging research interests in the history of early-modern England, with a particular focus on the law and its social and cultural implications.

Dr Adrian Green: is a specialist in the social and economic history and archaeology of the period 1450-1750, Adrian Green's main research topic is housing in Britain and its colonies.

Dr Cathy McClive: specialises in the social and cultural history of medicine, gender and sexuality in early modern France.

Dr Natalie Mears: is a specialist in Elizabethan political culture and religion.

Dr Toby Osborne: specialises in early-modern court history and diplomatic culture. His work has a strong international character, with a focus on Catholic Europe and the Italian peninsula.

Dr Nicole Reinhardt: researches on early modern European political culture, particularly in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.

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