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 with strong language skills for academic research the opportunity to study the survival and transmission of culture across time and space (with an emphasis on the afterlife of antiquity). The programme also equips students with advanced theoretical and methodological research skills to enable them to undertake and complete a substantial piece of original academic work.

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

  • Give students comprehension of the current methodological and theoretical approaches to understanding the cultural, intellectual, and visual history of Western Europe
  • Train students to recognise, critique and articulate complex ideas about 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
  • Draw on already established language skills that are relevant to their chosen area of academic research
  • 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 cultural, intellectual and visual history and to develop skills including: designing research questions, selecting appropriate advanced methodological approaches while critically evaluating their effectiveness, undertaking their own analysis of historical evidence and generating their own arguments.


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 Institute’s Photographic Collection.

This course is ideal for students who have strong academic language skills and 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 North American students. The School of Advanced Study offers Master’s Studentships to 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 when you have identified your dissertation topic, and alongside your taught modules you will work with your supervisor to undertake and complete a this substantial piece of original academic work.
Option Modules 
  • Cosmological Images: Representing the Universe
  • Renaissance Political Thought from Erasmus to Campanella
  • Mapping Worlds: Medieval to Modern
  • Renaissance Painting and the Workshop Tradition

Option modules are subject to change. 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. The programme is also 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 and prepare you, through a term of workshops, to choose, develop, and research the topic that forms the subject of your dissertation. 

The part time MRes programme is arranged so that you take the core module (Reviving the Past) and Methods and Techniques of Scholarship in year one and also begin conceptualising, researching and writing your dissertation. In year two, you take the Option module and complete the dissertation. Supervision is altered to reflect the part-time nature of the course and support your research and writing.

Mode of study

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

Contact hours

Full-time is 4-5 taught hours a week, along with independent study this would come to 35 hours per week

Part-time is 2-3 taught hours a week, along with independent study this would come to 17.5 hours per week



Full-time:  £7680 | Part-time: £4610 per year


Full-time: £16335 | Part-time: N/A

 For further information on when and how to pay tuition fees please read the SAS tuition fee policy.

Alumni Discount 

If you graduated from SAS you will be eligible for an alumni discount. If you progress directly without a break, you will receive a 15% discount, otherwise you will receive a 10% discount. More details are available in the SAS Tuition Fee Policy. 

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.

Applications are now open. Click here to apply.