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RS903-60 Dissertation in Renaissance Studies

Centre for the Study of the Renaissance
Taught Postgraduate Level
Module leader
Caroline Petit
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module forms a core part of the taught MA in the Culture of the European Renaissance, offered by the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance. As the capstone of such a course, it invites students to develop and display their research and writing skills within the context of an original study of materials related to the Renaissance. The dissertation is developed in consultation with an academic supervisor; normally t its scope is established and the research takes place between the end of Term 2 and over the summer term.

Module web page

Module aims

-To provide students with a significant opportunity to identify a major research question
-To enable students to develop their knowledge of the Renaissance period by studying original or secondary materials in an original way
-To provide students an opportunity to display the knowledge and skills acquired during the course

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

A dissertation is normally expected to show a measure of originality. This is a concept which scholars find easier to recognise than to define. It may be helpful to think of originality as residing either in source-base (when a dissertation is based on the analysis of a set of usually primary sources which have not been analysed from a particular angle before), or in treatment (when you are offering a novel view of historiographical problems and topics), or in writing (the ‘voice’ will be your own - and total unoriginality [ie plagiarism] is obviously to be avoided). Your supervisor will be able to monitor the originality of your work at all levels, but it is also something you will want to think about too.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • An understanding of key personalities, events, and criticism for the Renaissance period [subject knowledge and understanding]
  • Communication skills in the area of academic writing [key skills]
  • Ability in critical analysis regarding the opinions and research of other scholars [cognitive skills]
  • Ability to engage in close reading and interpretation of texts, objects, or art products [cognitive skills]
  • Use of Palaeographical and/or language skills and of library research skills [subject-specific skills]
Research element

sustained study of a research question and development via a lengthy dissertation


the dissertation provides the opportunity to receive supervision (or, if desired, co-supervision) from academic members of staff across multiple departments. Cohort will typically comprise students with backgrounds in different disciplines.

Subject specific skills

With reference to Renaissance Studies, this module allows students to develop
-the ability to carry through a concept from ideation to research and writing phases
-a sense for the expectations of originality in the field
-linguistic and palaeographical skills
-the skill to communicate one's research findings clearly and cogently

Transferable skills

-research skills
-communication skills
-skills in reading and using other languages

Study time

Type Required
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (2%)
Project supervision 5 sessions of 1 hour (1%)
Private study 586 hours (98%)
Total 600 hours
Private study description

This module is largely conducted through self-study, in addition to a series of skills-sessions and presentations.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
Dissertation in Renaissance Studies 100%

A sustained piece of writing demonstrating some measure of originality in research ideation and findings.

Feedback on assessment

Feedback from two academics familiar with the field.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of TRSA-V1PF Postgraduate Taught Culture of the European Renaissance

This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 1 of TRSA-V1PF Postgraduate Taught Culture of the European Renaissance