Renaissance Literature & Culture

The MA in Renaissance Literature and Culture is aimed at graduate students who wish to pursue their interest in Shakespeare and other writers of the English Renaissance in a dynamic, engaging and research-directed programme of study.  Whether students want a strong preparation for doctoral study, or a challenging and exciting programme of modules in the literatures of Renaissance Ireland as well as Britain, this programme delivers an innovative, research-driven and supportive Masters experience.

This programme’s learning environment involves small-group seminars, workshops, lectures, visits to rare books libraries and skills-based training for research with early printed books and manuscripts. It is well-resourced and well-connected to other research environments institutionally, locally and nationally.

Teaching, learning and assessment techniques are based on the individual needs of students, and involves essays, learning journals, presentations and discussion-leading. 


On completion of the MA in Renaissance Literature and Culture, students should be equipped to:

  • Demonstrate broad and wide-ranging knowledge of Anglophone Renaissance literature, its cultural and historical contexts, and its cultural and material forms
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply that knowledge to the critical analysis of a range of literary and non-literary texts of the English Renaissance
  • Understand and explore the implications of gender and nation for early modern readers and authors, and for critical engagement with the literature of the period
  • Engage critically with current research trends in Renaissance literature and related fields
  • Think critically, argue rigorously, and articulate ideas effectively in oral and written work
  • Participate autonomously in the wider research community of Renaissance studies in Ireland, in which this MA has played a leading part
  • Demonstrate a highly nuanced understanding of forms and genres adopted by writers of the Renaissance, subtle attention to writerly craft and formal techniques, and an extensive command of literary and rhetorical terminology
  • Demonstrate advanced skills in detailed textual analysis and close reading, and highly attentive to the tensions and ambiguity of texts and language


As well as the MA core Research Methods and Dissertation modules, students on this strand take the following specialist modules in Renaissance literature:

ENG41190 Old Worlds, New Worlds

ENG40690 Writing Conflict in Early Modern Ireland

ENG41050 Poetry, Piety and Patronage

ENG41830 Renaissance Books in Context


Testimonial from Dr Ann-Maria Walsh

(MA student 2011-13; completed her PhD at UCD 2013-17)

I initially chose to specialize in Renaissance Literature and Culture because I was interested in learning in greater depth about one of the most exciting, dynamic, and richly productive periods in literature. Over the course of the MA I studied a diverse range of texts and engaged with the key concepts and critical theories associated with the early modern period, but I also benefitted hugely from the favourable student/teacher ratio in terms of building and strengthening my skills in close reading, literary analysis, how to research and better articulate and present my ideas. During workshops and field-trips I was introduced to the proper handling and reading of rare books and manuscripts, and that kind of hands-on experience and exposure to primary textual sources encouraged me to think creatively when it came to deciding my topic for the dissertation. My experience of the MA in Renaissance Literature and Culture was life-enhancing, it challenged me intellectually but it also empowered me with the confidence to go forward and make an original and substantive contribution to scholarship.


More information and link to online applications HERE 

For further information, contact the Renaissance Literature & Culture MA strand coordinator, Dr Naomi McAreavey (