Master’s studies

Master Programme in Early Modern History 2017/2018

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The Early Modern History Master’s programme will provide you with knowledge of, and insight into the early modern world from ca. 1350-1850, focusing especially on Europe but with some attention to other parts of the world. The place of instruction is the beautiful Swedish town of Uppsala, which boasts a medieval cathedral, a sixteenth-century castle, a university dating to the fifteenth century and the famous student nations. The program stresses research skills and an independent thesis project.   

Why this programme?

The Master Programme in Early Modern History aims to provide students with a greater appreciation and understanding of the late medieval and early modern world (roughly 1350-1850) along with the theoretical and research skills needed to conduct independent historical research. Looking back at this period there is much that can seem strange and repulsive to us: devastating witch crazes, judicial torture, spectacular manifestations of power and subordination, a massive expansion of slavery,  ubiquitous religious fervour, war, riots and revolution. They all convey a sense of the past as a foreign country. At the same time, the early modern period presents phenomena and processes that look much more familiar: emerging bureaucratic states organized around the ability to tax citizens and wage war, new consumption patterns, new poor relief systems, the birth of public spheres, and an increasingly ‘global’ set of convergences that include intercontinental trade, exploration, conquest and the large scale movement of people around the globe. These developments helped form the basis of modern society, which is precisely why historians often label the period ‘early modern’.
While the main focus of the Master Programme in Early Modern History is European history, comparative approaches are encouraged. As part of the programme, you will gain a broad knowledge of the early modern history of Europe and of political, economic, cultural and social developments in the region, along with some knowledge of developments in other parts of the globe. You will acquire skills in researching and writing, and learn to analyze a wide array of primary sources, including early handwritten materials material artifacts, and digital databases.  You will be introduced to digital humanities approaches, and you will have access to a number of digital resources and databases, and to the rich early modern manuscript and book collections of the Uppsala University Library. You have the opportunity go through an internship at one of the Swedish museums or cultural institutions or to do a research internship working within a research project at the department. Finally, you will complete an original master thesis based on original historical research. The History department holds a conference every year in which both master students and international scholars participate, and at that time you will have an opportunity to present your work to experts in the field.


The programme leads to a Master of Arts (120 credits) with History as the main field of study.


The programme consists of a degree pro­ject (60 credits) and eight courses. Seven of the courses are mandatory and one is elective.

The first year ends with a workshop where you present a research proposal for your thesis in the presence of other programme students and researchers within the early modern field. The second year also ends with a workshop open to the public, where you will present and defend your Master’s thesis. During the first year you will take five courses based on various topics within the field of Early Modern Studies.

Courses within the programme

Year 1
Introduction to Early Modern Studies, 7.5 cr
War, Power, Resistance: The Rise of the State in Northern Europe, 1500-1800, 7.5 cr
Survival: Institutions and Strategies in the Early Modern World, 7.5 cr
Consumption and Material Culture in Early Modern Europe, 7.5 cr
Cultures of Inequality: Order, Visuality and Tension in the Societies of Estates of Early Modernity, 7.5 cr
Early Modern Gunpowder Empires in Global Perspective, 7.5 cr
One elective course, 7.5cr

Year 2
Workshop in Early Modern Studies, 7.5 cr
Master's thesis in Early Modern Studies, 60 cr (commenced year one)

Learning experience

The programme is structured so that both thesis work and course work take place simultaneously, focusing on courses the first year and thesis writing the second year. A more detailed programme structure will be drawn up in your individual study­ plan, which you will discuss with the programme coordinator.

The teaching methods include seminars, lectures and individual and group tutorials. Apart from other students of the programme and the teachers involved, you will have the opportunity to meet students enrolled in other Master’s programmes. The language of instruction is English.


Graduates with a Master’s degree in histo­ry will be employable in a wide variety of occupations. It provides you with a good basis for advanced positions in secondary and higher education, civil service at local, regional and national levels, personnel management, journalism, international organisations, tourism, as well as in enhancing cultural herit­age in its various manifestations including archives, museums and libraries. A Master’s degree in history is a prerequisite for a successful career in historical research.


Master Programme in Early Modern History

120 credits

Autumn 2017 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2017-01-16

Enrolment Code: UU-M5027 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The main field of study must be within the humanities or social sciences.
Also required is 60 credits in historical studies.

Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency. This is normally attested by an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS with the following minimum scores:

  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
Exemptions for students from certain countries.

Selection: Students are selected based on a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies.


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 50000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 200000

Contact and further resources

Department of History

Engelska parken, Thunbergsv 3 A

Box 628, 751 26 UPPSALA

Telephone: 018-471 1526

Fax: 018-471 1528


Mikael Byström

Telephone: +46 18 471 15 54

Patrik Winton

Telephone: +46 18 471 15 34