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Postgraduate Degrees

The Centre for Early Modern Studies at the University of Oxford draws together an unparalleled range of opportunities for postgraduate study of the early modern world. The Faculties of English, History and Modern Languages all run Masters programmes that focus on or incorporate the study of Early Modern European culture, while the Faculty of Oriental Studies offers a number of graduate courses on early modern Eastern languages, arts, cultures, religions and philology.

These programmes are taught by distinguished scholars with research interests in different aspects of the literatures, histories and cultures of the early modern period across the world, so that students gain deep and broad knowledge of the primary texts and scholarly debates in their field. Experts in pre-modern languages and in the study of material texts, bibliography and palaeography also introduce students to Oxford's world-class archives, and help them develop the skills to analyse manuscripts and early printed texts.


Oriental Studies
The faculty covers regions and languages that include much of Asia, from the Middle East to China and Japan, as well as parts of North Africa and Europe. A wide range of aspects are studied, including the history, societies, art, archaeology, languages, literatures, religions and philosophies of these areas. Taught courses include the following:

Traditional China MSt

Traditional East Asian MPhil

Islamic Art and Archaeology (MSt / MPhil)

Islamic Studies and History (MSt / MPhil)


MSt English Language & Literature (1550-1700)

MSt English Language & Literature (1700-1830)


MSt/MPhil in British and European History, from 1500 to the present

MSt/MPhil in Economic and Social History

MSc/ MPhil in History of Science, Medicine and Technology

MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture

Modern Languages

MSt in Modern Languages, including programmes in Early Modern German, French, ItalianSpanish, Portuguese, and the European Enlightenment

DPhil programmes of study may also be found on the relevant faculty websites, with our current DPhil candidates doing work in a wide range of areas. 

As a postgraduate student at Oxford, you will also benefit from the best library resources in the country. The Bodleian Library, founded in 1602, stands among the world's leading research libraries: alongside its virtually unrivalled holdings of printed books, the library contains large collections of manuscript prose and poetry which have yet to be fully charted. Its resources include collections in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Irish, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian writing and autograph manuscripts by John Donne, John Milton, and Elizabeth I. Through the Centre for the Study of the Book, the Bodleian actively promotes a hands-on understanding of the material, intellectual and social history of Early Modern print and manuscript culture. The Taylorian Library offers extensive holdings in Continental printed books and secondary literature, while many college libraries also contain unique holdings of Early Modern books and manuscripts. The wide-ranging Projects currently taking place here are at the forefront of research in textual editing, material culture, and digital humanities. 

The CEMS website contains up-to-date information on the vast range of Seminars and Events on Early Modern topics taking place every term in Oxford, including forums organised specifically by and for our postgraduates. CEMS also regularly hosts Conferences with a strong graduate presence, enabling students across different faculties to engage in dialogue about their research.

It is this combination of exceptional disciplinary expertise with unrivalled opportunities for lively cross-disciplinary conversations that makes the Centre for Early Modern Studies at Oxford an ideal destination for any student interested in asking cutting-edge questions about the past that has shaped us all. 

Postdoctoral Opportunities

Applicants for postdoctoral schemes such as the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships with Early Modern topics are encouraged to mention CEMS as an indication of the fit between their research interests and current work at Oxford, and to become affiliated with the Centre upon taking up such a post. Please see individual Faculty webpages for further information on applying for postdoctoral fellowships at Oxford, with internal competitions usually preceding the application deadlines set by awarding bodies.   

In addition, many Junior Research Fellowships and teaching opportunities falling within the Early Modern period are offered by the constitutent colleges of the university every year, with early career researchers playing a vital role in the activities of the Centre. 

See also the list of current Postdoctoral Opportunities in the Humanities maintained by TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities).