MRes in Cultural, Intellectual and Visual History

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About the degree

If you are interested in applying for the MRes in Cultural, Intellectual and Visual History please contact us at

The MRes in Cultural, Intellectual and Visual History gives students mastery over the skills required to study the survival and transmission of culture across time and space, with an emphasis on the afterlife of antiquity.

This full-time or part-time programme aims to:

  • Give students a deep and systematic understanding of the current methodological and theoretical approaches to understanding the cultural, intellectual, and visual history of Western Europe
  • Display mastery over 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
  • Provide the advanced methodological skills required to enable the reading, understanding and critical analysis of primary source materials.
  • Enable students to undertake a significant piece of research in art history and Renaissance culture, including: designing research questions, selecting appropriate advanced methodological approaches while critically evaluating their effectiveness, and undertaking their own analysis of the evidence and generating their own arguments.
  • Facilitate students to draw on their existing competencies in languages that are relevant to their chosen research area.


I would unreservedly recommend the Institute as a place of study. It offered me a unique understanding of the interactions between image and word, art history, religion, literature and philosophy, across space and time.

Dr. Laura Popoviciu, former MA and PhD Student

Why study with us?

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.

This course is ideal for students who wish to research and write on a complex, specialised area of cultural, intellectual and visual history that interests them, whilst still having the support of taught modules to help develop the theoretical and methodological skills necessary for such a project.

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, students 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.  

The Warburg Institute has a range of full fee bursaries available to both home/EU and international students. The Institute also has an excellent record in securing external funding, and is happy to work with prospective students on funding applications.



Teaching and Learning

Modules are taught by experienced, research-active academics at the Warburg Institute. All students take one core module and one option module. The programme is supported by an unassessed Methods and Techniques of Scholarship module that will introduce you to the nuts and bolts of the historiography and methods of scholarly work in early modern cultural history. It will support you through workshops to develop and research the topic that forms the subject of your dissertation.

While the study of palaeography is not required for this degree, the Institute’s module in palaeography will be open to any MRes student whose chosen research project would benefit from taking the course.

Throughout the programme of study, students undertake an intensive independent research project through the dissertation, which is completed under the supervision of a Warburg Institute academic who will be an innovator in their field of research.

The course is examined as follows:

  1. Reviving the Past – 4,000 word essay
  2. One option module  – 4,000 word essay
  3. Dissertation - 30,000 words. You will be allocated a dissertation supervisor at the start of the academic year, and alongside your taught modules you will work with your supervisor to undertake and complete a substantial piece of original academic work.
Option Modules 

  • Cosmological Images: Representing the Universe
  • Islamic Authorities and Arab Elements in the Renaissance
  • Mapping Worlds: Medieval to Modern
  • Renaissance Painting and the Workshop Tradition

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


Course Summary

Degree structure

One core module and one option module chosen from a range of topics, plus a dissertation of 30,000 words.

Mode of study

12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.


Please see our Fees page for full details


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 which is related to the course. In addition a reading knowledge of any European language that is required to facilitate the completion of the proposed research project.

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

Application deadline 31 August 2019.