Renaissance Studies

What is Renaissance Studies? The period described as the Renaissance encompasses one of the most creative moments in the history of our culture, a time in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when developments in art, literature, religious and social thought underwent unprecedented change. The art of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci, the political thought of Machiavelli and Thomas More, the reconception of religion by Luther and Erasmus are some of the phenomena studied by majors in Renaissance Studies. Renaissance Studies majors do not limit themselves to a single discipline or country, but attempt to understand the culture as a whole and the relation between artistic, literary, philosophic, religious, and sociopolitical developments. At UCSB, the Renaissance Studies program is interdisciplinary, with faculty members representing departments across the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. Faculty members serve as advisors and help students plan individual programs of study designed to meet their special interests. A reading knowledge of a modern European language or Latin is recommended, especially for those planning to pursue a graduate degree. Students are also encouraged to complete coursework in classics (Greek and Latin literature in translation and Greek mythology), English literature of the Renaissance, and music literature.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like Renaissance Studies?

            A student majoring in Renaissance Studies should see herself or himself as an Indiana Jones of culture: an adventurer as well as an archaeologist, an explorer as well as an analyzer. Renaissance studies majors are constantly finding the roots of the present in the past. Much of our legal system and ideas on human rights come from Renaissance times. And so do some of the world’s most moving art and literature, from Dante’s Divine Comedy to Leonardo da Vinci’s rendering of Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the undergraduate advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

Art History
European Languages
Religious Studies

To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.

- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.

General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?
Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be. The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. Renaissance Studies majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study, options include:
Art Critic
Museum Curator
Museum Administrator
Renaissance Art Restorer
Foreign Service Diplomat

To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
O*Net Online

Occupational Outlook Handbook
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See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn.

Education Portal
Get a quick overview of the major and some related occupations.

Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Find out what careers are related to the study of the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

So you have a degree in Humanities?
A Canadian resource for careers in the Humanities.

Focus 2
Check out “What Can I do with a major in…?” under Focus 2.

Graduate and Professional Schools
This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Come to the Career Resources Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.

Experience Search Strategies

Get Experience
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Job Listings

UCSB Career Services “Job Search” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, Industry Specific, and UCSB Careers By Majors.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

American Association of Museums Job Board
Look for museum jobs all over the United States.
Lists internship, fellowships, and art history jobs.

San Francisco Chronicle
Summer internship program provides aspiring journalists with a diverse newsroom experience. Internships include reporting, photography, design, news graphics and copy editing positions.
A degree in Medieval Studies provides skills that can be used almost anywhere – even in the US government!

A Guide to Writing and Journalism Jobs
A site that claims to be “a collection of the best job resources for jobs in writing, journalism, and publishing”. They do have quite a few mega-sites included on their list.

Professional Associations

Renaissance Society of America
Since 1954, it has been the leading organization in the Americas for the interdisciplinary study of the period 1300-1650 in Western history.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Established in 1981 by the Arizona Board of Regents as a state-wide research unit. Located centrally on the campus of Arizona State University, ACMRS is charged with coordinating and stimulating the interdisciplinary exploration of Medieval and Renaissance culture.

Renaissance Conference of Southern California
A scholarly association dedicated to the advancement of learning in Renaissance Studies.


UCSB Resources