English Literature MA

Religion, Politics and Philosophy in Early Modern English Literature ENGLIT4102

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines how early modern literary writers engage with a variety of political, religious, and philosophical ideas. We will consider subjects like the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the idea of Rome ancient and modern, women and prophecy, self-writing, the 'New Science', speculative thought/poetry, and anti-Catholicism.


1 x 1hr workshop and 1 x 1hr seminar per week over ten weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses

ENGLIT4078  Religion, Politics and Philosophy


Essay (2000 words): 35%

Essay (3000 words): 50% 

Seminar presentation of 5 minutes: 10%

Seminar contribution: 5%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ study a wide range of literary works by early modern men and women writing from a variety of ideological perspectives

■ explore and explain some of the major religious, political, and philosophical debates in early modern England

■ develop the necessary writing and research skills needed to discuss early modern literature in context.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ contextualise and discuss early modern literature in relation to at least two of the ideological perspectives covered on the course

■ analyse a number of literary and rhetorical methods commonly used by early modern writers

■ critically evaluate an appropriate range of primary and secondary sources

■ communicate responses to the material studied on the course both orally and in written form through coherent and sustained argument.

■ demonstrate resilience and time management through effectively planning, undertaking and submitting coursework.

■ deal with change and new challenges by applying their disciplinary skills and knowledge to previously unfamiliar research areas and questions.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.