The MA Early Modern History programme offers a rigorous introduction to the advanced study of early modern history, providing training in the historiographical and technical skills necessary for doctoral study, but is also designed for those who want to deepen their knowledge of the period.
King’s College London is at the forefront of new approaches to teaching and researching early modern history. Our specialisms connect the political and the social, the intellectual and the religious dimensions of the early modern world.
The MA programme bridges the conventional division between British and European history, focusing on ways in which cultural and social themes stretch across the period c.1500-1800. Through a methodological core module, a series of options drawing on the research strengths of experts in the field, and a dissertation, students examine the history of culture, religion, power, cities, ritual, bodies, science, knowledge, images and objects. Students also have the option to broaden the number of sources available to them by studying a modern European language.
The MA in Early Modern History is taught in small seminars, typically fewer than 20 students, focusing on discussion, with some student presentations. Students can also attend relevant undergraduate lecture series such as Power, Culture and Belief in Europe 1500-1800
and Early Modern Britain 1500-1750
. Students on the 1 year full-time programme attend 4-8 hours of taught classes per week, whilst students following the 2 year part-time MA attend 2-6 hours of taught classes per week. The compulsory 15,000 word dissertation enables students to research a topic of their choice, working one-to-one with an academic supervisor. Studying early modern history in London
Studying in central London provides students with a wealth of opportunities and exceptional access to the sources and material artefacts of the early modern period, including relevant buildings, libraries, archives and exhibitions. Remnants of the early modern city survive in the narrow streets and fragments of the old City Wall in the City of London, in the planned grandeur of Covent Garden, the eighteenth-century squares of Bloomsbury, in the Huguenot quarter of Spitalfields, in the oldest city churches and the newer ones built by Wren. Visits outside London are also organised, over the last few years students have visited Amsterdam, Venice, Rome, and the Pepys and Wren Libraries at Cambridge.
The archival resources in London are vast. The principal records of the City and Westminster are within easy reach at the London Metropolitan Archives. Ecclesiastical records are over the river at Lambeth Palace Library. Public records of the period are a short tube ride away at the National Archives in Kew. London is also the home of many other archival and manuscript resources for the early modern period. The British Library’s Manuscripts and Rare Books Collections are enhanced by, for example, the extensive collection of early printed books at the College’s own Maughan Library; the Wellcome Library for medical history, and many other smaller archives. Visual resources of the period are easily found at the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery, Courtauld Institute, Tate Britain and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Students on the MA have access to an excellent range of library resources. Our long-standing expertise in the early modern period means the College Library has an extensive collection of journals and books in this field. Students also use the British Library, Senate House Library (University of London) and the Institute of Historical Research. Access is provided to the most significant online collections of primary printed material, Early English Books Online and the Eighteenth Century Online and to JSTOR and other online resources for secondary material.Graduate community
London offers a strong graduate community, where students can follow up a range of interests towards further research. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the seminars at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), where there are ten regular seminars on the early modern period alone, many of them convened by members of the King’ History department.