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Culture of the European Renaissance

Full-Time Course structure

The course begins with a pre-sessional induction and introduction to the course. This takes place from mid-September, in the two weeks before the beginning of the autumn term, and allows students to get to know the department and the university before leaving for Venice (if this is the chosen route). Once there, students will spend a term studying Italian Renaissance art in situ, engaging directly with the city’s galleries, libraries, and museums, and exploring the history and culture of the Renaissance. There you will benefit from Warwick’s forty year association with the city, and from the expertise of our specialists in Venetian art, history and culture. Seminars are combined with site-visits, study sessions in Venetian workshops (for example, to a traditional printing shop, or a bronze foundry), and behind-the-scenes visits to the warehouses of Venetian museums. We teach as much as possible in the presence of original objects, and within period settings.

During the Autumn term in Venice, students will take two modules examining the history and the art of the Italian Renaissance. The History CORE module is:'Order and Disorder: Culture, Society and Religion in Early Modern Venice' and the History of Art CORE module is 'Research in Medieval and/or Early Modern Art/Architectural History'. Should students wish to remain at Warwick for term 1 and not go to Venice, other module options will be available, but these will change each year.

During the Spring term in Warwick students take two further modules, providing an opportunity to explore the dissemination of Italian culture in Europe. The first module, 'Renaissance Culture and Society', aims to provide an interdisciplinary framework for studying the Renaissance across Europe. It introduces students to key debates and methodological issues. The module also assists in acquiring the skills necessary to undertake research and extended writing on the Renaissance. An outline is available here. The second module will be selected from among those offered by participating departments: for examples, click here.

A series of skills sessions on Palaeography and research resources ('From Manuscript to Print'), currently offers training in reading Renaissance documents in English, Italian and Latin and helps students to acquire the skills necessary to undertake research and extended writing on the Renaissance. The Centre also offers a weekly seminar in Renaissance Latin in terms 1, 2 and sometimes 3.

During the Summer term and over the summer vacation, students work closely with their supervisor on researching and writing their dissertation on a topic related to their studies on the course.


There are no final examinations on the MA programme. Our aim is to develop your research and writing skills to the point where you are able to present cogent, complex and original arguments based on your research of images, buildings, artefacts, documents and other primary sources.

To this end, each individual module is assessed through essays. You will write four essays in total, the first two linked to the two modules you study in Venice in autumn, and the next two linked to the two modules you take in the spring term.

The four module essays (each of 5,000 words), and the extensive feedback you will receive for them, will equip you to research and write your dissertation, which you will prepare over the late spring and summer to submit in September. During this time you will be requested to submit draft research proposals and one chapter (literature review) at the beginning of term 3. You will receive close one-to-one tuition from members of staff to guide you through your programme of research and writing. The dissertation is 15,000 words long.

The final mark for the degree is calculated according to the following weighting: the dissertation is equal to one third of the mark; the four module essays together make up two-thirds of the mark.