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The Renaissance Studies Certificate Program at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, brings students and faculty from the participating Ph.D programs together through courses, events, and participation in organizations to share and enhance common interests in the Renaissance and Early Modern period through cross-disciplinary contact.

The RSCP is designed to enable students pursuing doctorates in any Graduate Center Ph.D. program in any aspect of the Renaissance or Early Modern period (c. 1350-1700) to expand their studies in an interdisciplinary way.

The courses are offered in a broad range of areas including European literature and history, early modern colonialism, gender and sexuality, the transmission of the Greek and Latin classics, Atlantic history, Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and the Global Renaissance. All students are trained in how to work with early modern manuscripts and printed books and have hands on experience at the New York Public Library’s Rare Books Collection and the Morgan Library.

Participating CUNY Ph.D. Programs

Art History, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, French, Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures, History, Music, Philosophy, and Theatre.


Requirements for the certificate consist of

  • two core courses (RSCP 72100: Introduction to Renaissance Studies and RSCP 82100: Research Techniques in Renaissance Studies),
  • two elective courses outside the student’s home discipline (may include special topics courses in the Certificate Program);
  • reading proficiency in Latin, which can upon appeal to the RSCP Advisory Committee be substituted with another language related to the student's research;
  • and a dissertation, which need not be in the area of Renaissance Studies.

Several participating Ph.D. programs accept the two core courses toward their own requirements.

Students are welcome to take RSCP courses even if they are not completing a certificate.

The Renaissance Society of America (RSA) at The Graduate Center

The RSA and its interdisciplinary journal, Renaissance Quarterly, have their offices at the CUNY Graduate Center and employ CUNY doctoral students. CUNY faculty and doctoral students participate in the annual RSA conference.  Two annual student awards are funded by the RSA: The Graduate Student Essay Prize in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and Renaissance and Early Modern Travel and Research Grants.

The Folger Institute Consortium

The Renaissance Studies Certificate Program is the contact program for CUNY’s membership in the Folger Institute consortium, which meets at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. CUNY doctoral students are eligible for funding to travel to, and participate in, Folger Institute seminars, colloquia, and conferences. For program and application information, see <>.

Society for the Study of Women in the Renaissance

Affiliated with the Renaissance Studies Certificate Program, this society has monthly speakers at The Graduate Center, organizes major national conferences, and sponsors major publications. Information: Susan O'Malley

The Early Modern Interdisciplinary Group (EMIG)

A student-run organization, emphasizing connections between thought, culture, politics, society, language, and art, EMIG provides a forum for the exchange of ideas related to the period between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. The group serves as a bridge between the Ph.D. Program in English and the Renaissance Studies Certificate Program and its participating programs in Art History, Comparative Literature, French, Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages and Literatures, History, Music, Philosophy, and Theatre. EMIG meets monthly during the academic year. Information

Awards and Grants

The following awards are open to students enrolled in the program:

Graduate Student Essay Prize in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, an annual award of $300.00 for an essay on a Renaissance or Early Modern-topic. The purpose of the prize is to encourage future Renaissance scholarship by recognizing scholarly promise in a doctoral student. Funds for the award are provided by the Renaissance Society of America (RSA), whose offices are located at The Graduate Center. 2016-2017 Deadline:  Friday, April 7, 2017.

Renaissance and Early Modern Travel and Research Grants, a limited number of grants to help students travel to collections or conferences in connection with projects related to research in Renaissance and Early Modern studies. The award is supported by funds contributed by the Renaissance Society of America. 2017-2018 Deadline:  TBA.

Guidelines and applications for these awards will be available soon.

New York Resources for Renaissance Study

With its rich cultural resources, New York is especially suited to serve students interested in the Renaissance. In addition to the Mina Rees Library of The Graduate Center and the libraries of the eighteen CUNY college campuses, CUNY graduate students have access to a broad range of resources, including

New York Academy of Medicine Library
American Numismatic Society
Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library
General Theological Seminary--St. Mark’s Library
Hispanic Society of America, Museum and Library
Jewish Theological Seminary Library
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Museum, Libraries, and Research Resources
New York Public Library-Research Libraries
Pierpont Morgan Museum and Library
Union Theological Seminary--Burke Library


The Certificate in Renaissance Studies is available to students matriculated in Ph.D. programs at The Graduate Center. For admission to The Graduate Center, write to individual programs, or, for general information, write to Admission Office, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4309 or see

Students already at the Graduate Center, or planning to attend, should contact the program coordinator.