Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module ENGL53130: Renaissance Humanism

Department: English Studies

ENGL53130: Renaissance Humanism

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap 20


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to enable students to engage directly with some of the most influential writings of the Renaissance (e.g. the works of Petrarch, Boccaccio, Pico, Ficino, Machiavelli, Castiglione, Erasmus, More);
  • to enhance students' appreciation of Renaissance English literature by introducing them to the dominant intellectual and literary movement of the Early-Modern Period;


Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • to be able to trace Humanist themes and debates in a range of works of imaginative literature;
  • to be able to reflect on: the uses of Antiquity; the Renaissance 'Philosophy of Man'; the emergence of a 'Republic of Letters' (Respublica litterarum); and the relations between 'Renaissance Humanism', the Reformation and modern senses of the word 'humanism';
Subject-specific Skills:
  • to write competent essays on questions raised by this module;
Key Skills:

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Through a variety of teaching activities and approaches, seminars will facilitate the development of communication and critical skills. Sessions will introduce broad topics and genres, contexts and frameworks to aid conceptual understanding and specific texts for analysis as well as encourage individual interpretation and enquiry. Formative written work and consultation with the module tutor will operate as learning tools, allowing the investigation and testing of ideas and readings. Two summative assignments will assess the competencies and outcomes outlined above and foster advanced independent study.
  • Typically, directed learning may include assigning student(s) an issue, theme or topic that can be independently or collectively explored within a framework and/or with additional materials provided by the tutor. This may function as preparatory work for presenting their ideas or findings (sometimes electronically) to their peers and tutor in the context of a seminar.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 9 Fortnightly 2 hours 18
Independent student research supervised by the Module Convenor 10
Preparation and Reading 272
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 50%
Essay 3,000 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

One essay (2,000 words maximum).

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University