Renaissance Studies

Chronologically, the Renaissance sits between the Middle Ages and the Modern Era (from about 1350 to about 1650). As such, it partakes of both the ancient and the modern world and serves as a hinge on which Western Civilization turns. It also marks one of the high points of Western civilization in art and literature, in social and political development, and in technological discoveries that were to transform the European picture of the universe.

Many aspects of our modern world had their origin in this period: our emphasis on the study of human affairs; our irrepressible interest in the exploration of the universe, in science, and in medicine; the institutions of church and state as we know them today. The Renaissance is also a period of unparalleled European contacts with non-European civilizations – from the powerful Islamic world of the Near East and North Africa to the great pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas, from the uncharted forests of equatorial Africa to the exotic lands of the Indian subcontinent and the Far East, nothing seemed too distant or too inaccessible for the European mind or merchant.

Some of the best known figures of the Renaissance are Michelangelo, Raphael, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Columbus, Magellan, Luther, Calvin, John Knox, King Henry VIII, Queen Elisabeth I, Isabel and Ferdinand, St Theresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier.


Admission Information

  • Apply to either the Humanities or Social Sciences admission category on the St. George campus
  • Six Grade 12 U or M courses, including English are required
  • Students outside of Ontario should have the equivalent senior high school credits


Honours Bachelor of Art Program

  • Renaissance Studies (specialist, major and minor options)


First-Year Courses

No first-year courses are offered in Renaissance Studies.


Advice for First Year

Students interested in pursuing Renaissance Studies are advised to take VIC 240Y1 – The Civilization of Renaissance Europe as an introductory course. This course is open to first-year students.



A Major or Minor in Renaissance Studies is attractive to students with a wide variety of interests. If you are considering a future in teaching, law, politics, journalism, or the arts, the program’s offerings will broaden your knowledge and intensify your understanding of your discipline and its related fields.


Learn more about the Faculty of Arts & Science by reading our Viewbook


First Year