MA History: Early Modern History pathway

Programme features

  • One of the largest groups of Early Modern researchers at any UK university
  • Learn about the latest research through presentations from Exeter staff and invited speakers
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary study in the dissertation through the Centre for Early Modern Studies
  • Excellent study resources in addition to the newly re-furbished main library, including the rare Syon Abbey Collection of of manuscripts and incunabula, the Devon and Exeter Institute which preserves an extensive collection of early modern printed books and the Cathedral library which houses a unique collection of early modern scientific materials.


The early modern centuries saw large-scale social, political, religious and technological change. Those living in the period witnessed the rise of nation states, the development of the first European colonies and the inception of science as we know it today.

Our MA History: Early Modern History offers focused exploration of the period from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (1500-1800). The programme is taught by specialists whose areas of research expertise include the history of gender, medicine and science, the Mediterranean, maritime historical studies, the social history of England, and local and regional history. These interests are reflected in the option modules on offer.

As student studying the MA, you will benefit from small class sizes (often no more than ten), one-to-one tuition and teaching from those who are at the cutting edge of research in their subject and regularly publish papers and books.

As part of the degree, you will be required to write a dissertation. This provides a great opportunity to research an area of particular interest. You can choose from a wide range of topics that include: witchcraft; religious beliefs; popular rebellion; crime; poverty; marriage and the family; sexuality; masculinity; women’s work; material culture and consumption; rural and urban society; class and social status; medicine, science and culture; maritime trade and empires and the Navy.

On completion of the MA, you will have developed methodological skills and specialist knowledge. This could lead to advanced study or research in various areas of historical study, be used for professional development, or to enhance employability.

Total credits required: 180

Compulsory modules

HISM169 Theory and Practice of History I 15
HISM170 Theory and Practice of History II 15
Dissertation in History
Dissertation in History


Optional modules

You will be able to select two option modules from the choice available - please note the selection does vary annually.

If you prefer, you can select one of these modules from another discipline, such as English studies, or opt to take two modules which introduce skills to enable you to understand interpret manuscripts and historical texts.

Examples include:

  • Religion and Society in Early Modern Europe (30)
  • Gender, Society and Culture in Early Modern England (30)
  • Medicine in Medieval and Early Modern England (30)
  • Organising Knowledge in Early Modern England: Writing, Reading and Collecting, 1500-1800 (30)
  • Organising Knowledge in Early Modern Europe (30)
  • British Naval Power in the Era of Sail 1660-1815 (30)
  • British Maritime Expansion 1450-1700 (30)
  • Empires: Europe’s Expansion Overseas 1450-1800 (30)
  • Witchcraft in History (30)
  • Introduction to Early Modern English Palaeography (15)
  • Introduction to Latin (15)

Please visit our modules page for further details.