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Eighteenth-Century Studies MA

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Our Eighteenth Century Studies course is co- taught with the British Museum in London and by lecturers from eight different departments across Arts & Humanities, making it a truly multi-faceted degree, looking at all aspects of the eighteenth century. 

You can explore the Enlightenment through race, gender, class, intellectual networks and material culture; analyse ideas, objects, texts and arts and have access to unique, diverse and rich collections in central London, all close to King’s, including the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Society, the Foundling Museum, and Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Key benefits

  • Joint degree with the British Museum

  • Unrivalled access to British Museum expertise

  • Unrivalled location for access to London's cultural collections

  • Located in the heart of London

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake No set number.

Course leaders

Dr Rowan Boyson
Dr Emrys Jones 

Further details

Course contact for further information Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

DepartmentDepartment of English



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Course detail


The MA in Eighteenth Century Studies is offered under the joint auspices of King’s and the British Museum. Drawing on the expertise of scholars from eight Departments in the Faculty of Humanities at King’s, and senior staff at the British Museum, the MA offers exciting opportunities to explore 18th century textual, material and visual cultures.

The MA consists of a core module, a dissertation and (normally) four modules chosen from a wide range of options, including ones taught by the Departments of English, History, Comparative Literature, French, German, Music and Philosophy. The core module is taught in part by experts from the British Museum, with special reference to the Enlightenment Gallery and its history. Students will also be able to engage with the unique, diverse and rich collections of cultural institutions in central London, all close to King’s, including the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Society, the Foundling Museum, and Sir John Soane’s Museum.

The core module explores constructions of Enlightenment, then and now, through frameworks such as race, gender, class, the body and intellectual networks; it invites students to analyse ideas, objects, texts and arts of the 18th century. A focus on ideas of the Enlightenment and about the Enlightenment is combined with the freedom to research a wealth of 18th century materials under the guidance of world-leading curators and experts.

We particularly welcome applicants who may continue to a PhD, and those looking to deepen their understanding of the 18th century through creative interdisciplinarity.

Course purpose

Provides teaching and research training in a wide variety of disciplines relating to the study of the 18th century. As the programme will be offered jointly with the British Museum special emphasis will be placed on relevant collections held by that institution. Includes opportunities for training in any of the basic technical skills necessary for those who wish to go on to study for a PhD in 18th century subjects.

Further literature

Course format and assessment


If you are a full-time student, we will provide you with six to eight hours of teaching through lectures and seminars each week. We expect you to undertake an additional 34 hours of self-study each week.

If you are a part-time student, we will provide you with four hours of teaching through lectures and seminars each week in your first year, and two to four hours per week in your second year. We will expect you to undertake 23 hours of independent study each week in your first year and 11 hours in your second.


We assess our modules entirely through coursework, normally in the form of 4,000-word essays. We will assess your dissertation through a 15,000-word essay.


Year 1

Required Modules
  • Representing the Eighteenth Century (40 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

If you are a part-time student, you will take Representing the Eighteenth Century in your first year, along with 40 credits of optional modules from the list below. In your second year you will take your dissertation module, along with a further 40 credits of optional modules.

Optional Modules

Choose four modules totalling 80 credits from a list of options that typically includes:


  • London: Great Fire to Great Exhibition (20 credits)
  • The Body in Early Modern Europe (20 Credits)
  • The Construction of Modern Heroism 1725-1930 (20 Credits)
  • Early Capitalism from Reformation to Enlightenment (20 Credits)
  • Eighteenth Century Writing Gender & Culture (20 Credits)
  • The History of the Senses: 1680-1820 (20 Credits)
  • Imagined Communities: Utopian Discourse & Political Dissent in the French Enlightenment (20 Credits)
  • Life Writings 1700-1850 (20 Credits)
  • London Histories of Medicine & Science (20 Credits)
  • Melancholia and hypochondria in the 18th century (20 Credits)
  • Music and Enlightenment (20 Credits)
  • People, Portraits & Things, 1660-1800 (20 Credits)
  • Political Thought in the British Atlantic World (20 Credits)
  • Religion & Radicalism in France & Germany, c.1750-c.1850
  • Religion, Science and the Production of Knowledge (20 Credits)
  • Rethinking the Age of Reform in Britain (20 Credits)
  • Rights before Human Rights: Eighteenth-Century Theories & Representations (20 Credits)
  • A Second Confessional Age? Religion & Society in Modern Europe (20 Credits)
  • Women and the poetics of liberty (20 Credits)
  • Women, Sex & Society: Literatures of the Long Nineteenth Century (20 Credits)

We regularly review the list of modules we offer to make sure our programmes are as relevant and innovative as possible. Therefore, some modules may change, and we recommend that you check here for the most up-to-date information:

Entry requirements & how to apply

Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

General entry advice

Minimum 2:1 BA honours degree or equivalent in any appropriate discipline (e.g. English literature, European literatures, history, music, philosophy, history of art, some social sciences).

Application procedure

Your application will be carefully read by the convenor, and second read where appropriate by a second academic. We do not interview all applicants, but you are welcome to call the programme leader to arrange a visit. We aim to process all complete applications within four to six weeks although this may take longer in February and March, and over holiday periods.

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal and a non-refundable application fee of £50 applies.


Personal statement and supporting information

Please include a writing sample of your work of up to 4,000 words preferably on an Eighteenth-Century Studies related topic and a personal statement that includes your reasons for applying to the course.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline was the 31st March 2017.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full.  For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 30th July 2017 or from UK/ EU nationals after 3rd September 2017.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time UK fees: £9,450 p.a. (2017/18)*
  • Full time overseas fees: £18,420 p.a. (2017/18)*
  • Part time UK fees: £4,725 p.a. (2017/18)*
  • Part time overseas fees: £9,210 p.a. (2017/18)*

Please note: Current regulations allow some students to pay UK tuition fees on the basis of their EU citizenship or residency. Until these eligibility criteria are changed, the EU tuition fee will remain the same as the UK tuition fee.

*These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2017, payment is due by 30th April 2017.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2017 and 30th June 2017, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2017 and 31st July 2017, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2017, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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Page last modified on 16 May 2017.