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This course is ideal for students that have an interest in cultural, intellectual, and visual history, who are looking for an intellectual challenge but do not want to commit to a full MA. The course focuses on the survival and transmission of culture across time and space, with an emphasis on the afterlife of antiquity.

This seven-month programme aims to:

  • Give students an understanding of current methodological and theoretical approaches to cultural, intellectual, and visual history of Western Europe
  • Cover the key elements of the history of philosophy, science, literature, the arts, and visual culture, rooted in the Renaissance and the early modern period but embracing material from the Middle Ages to the advent of modernity
  • Develop advanced research and analytical skills that are highly valued transferrable skills as well as good preparation for further academic study
  • Provide a stepping stone for those who wish to progress to further postgraduate study, as students will gain 60 credits towards a master’s degree.

Contact the Institute

Key Information

Degree overview

As a student at the Warburg Institute, you will have access to the best resources for the study of Renaissance art and culture in London. Unparalleled staff contact hours are combined with access to the Warburg Library, with its unique cataloguing system specifically designed to aid research, and the National Gallery’s collection and archives.

Through the Institute’s research projects, fellowship programmes and events, and its informal collegiate atmosphere, students have extensive opportunities for networking with an international community of scholars, which significantly enriches the learning experience and can provide ideal connections for the future careers.

Studying in Bloomsbury at the centre of an academic and cultural hub, you’ll also benefit from visits and training sessions at neighbouring institutions including the British Museum, the Government Art Collection, the Wellcome Trust, and the British Library, and further afield the V&A, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Courtauld Gallery. 

Modules and structure

Students on this course will study one core module and one optional module. The modules selected are taken from those on offer on the MA programme. The course is examined as follows:

  1. Core module: Reviving the Past – 4,000 word essay
  2. One optional module – 4,000 word essay
Optional modules

Students will be able to choose from five or more modules on a specific topic. These vary from year to year, but have included such topics as “Renaissance Political Thought”, “Religion and Society in Renaissance Italy”, “Renaissance Sculpture”, “Cosmological Images” and others.”

Additional modules may be offered depending on student numbers (a minimum of three students required per option) and teaching staff availability.

About the institute

The Warburg Institute is renowned across the world for the interdisciplinary study of cultural and intellectual history, particularly the role of images in culture. It is dedicated to research on the history of ideas; the dissemination and transformations of texts, ideas and images in society; and the relationship between images, art, and their texts and subtexts. Its work is historical, philological, and anthropological.

The Institute houses a research library of international importance, a photographic collection organised according to a unique iconographic classification system, and the archive of Aby Warburg, which also holds the papers of other major thinkers of the twentieth century who were connected to the Institute. Situated in the heart of Bloomsbury, the Institute is a stone’s throw from the British Library, the British Museum, the Wellcome Institute, and the National Gallery, providing students with access to a wealth of academic and cultural resources.

Entry requirements

The normal minimum entry requirement is an upper second-class honours degree from a British university, or an equivalent qualification from a non-UK institution, in any discipline in the humanities related to the course.

All students whose first language is not English must provide recent evidence that their written and spoken English is adequate for postgraduate study.

Find out more about our entry requirements

How to apply

For more information on how to apply, including deadlines and the documentation you will need to provide on the application form, visit our How to Apply page.

The School of Advanced Study is a unique environment in which to study the humanities.  The School strives to reflect the latest developments in thinking across the humanities disciplines it supports and to ensure that its programmes reflect this.   We are also aware that the needs of our students are constantly changing.  With that in mind, the School continually reviews the its programmes and, as part of that process, reserves the right to alter or discontinue them. 

We assure you that we carry out these exercises at no detriment to any enrolled students. Students enrolled on any programme that we discontinue will be able to complete that programme within a reasonable timeframe and with all the necessary resources at their disposal. The School will communicate any anticipated changes with students as early as possible.