This programme, delivered by and taught at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, offers an unrivalled opportunity for the study of Shakespeare. It develops a critical but appreciative understanding of Shakespeare’s contribution to literary and theatrical history, and the place his works occupy in today’s cultural landscape.
It provides you with a rigorous and wide-ranging knowledge of approaches to the study of Shakespeare, with emphasis on criticism, textual studies, the plays in performance, and the history of Shakespeare's reception. It has proved invaluable for students heading towards a variety of careers, and it provides a solid foundation for research at a higher level.
You will study four core modules:
- Plays and Poems of Shakespeare A
- Plays and Poems of Shakespeare B
- Textual Studies in Shakespeare
- Research Skills in Shakespeare
You will also take one module in performance studies, chosen from the following:
- History of Shakespeare in Performance
- Shakespeare and Early Modern Playhouse Culture
- Shakespeare and Theatre Practice
- Shakespeare's Legacy
You will also choose one optional module from a range of Shakespeare Institute modules, including the modules in performance studies shown above.
Each module is assessed by written assignment with the exception of the optional module in Shakespeare and Theatre Practice, which is assessed by either two performance assignments and a 2,000-word research paper, or by one 4,000-word research paper.
You will also submit a 15,000-word dissertation at the end of the programme. The dissertation will focus on a relevant topic of your choice, agreed with the programme convenor earlier in the year.
Why study this course
- Location – studying at the Shakespeare Institute in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon offers you an academic experience unequalled by any other university. You will study within walking distance of Shakespeare's birthplace, school and grave, and the theatres of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
- Shakespeare Institute and Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) collaboration – you will benefit from our exciting five-year collaboration with the RSC at The Other Place which has seen the reinstatement of the iconic studio theatre. You will be able to access creative and teaching spaces at The Other Place, as well as the expertise of RSC artists and practitioners.
- Access to fantastic resources – you will be surrounded by a number of resources to develop your learning. The Shakespeare Institute’s own library is a renowned collection of international importance and you will also have access to the outstanding picture collections, records and library holdings of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Learning and teaching
As a full-time student, you will typically take three modules in each term, followed by your dissertation. Depending on the modules you take, you can typically expect five to eight hours of classroom time per week.
In addition, all students are expected to attend the weekly Thursday Seminar for all Institute members.
The programme allows access to the unique Shakespearian resources of the Shakespeare Institute Library, the Library of the Shakespeare Centre that curates the archives of the RSC, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Study materials for this programme are enhanced by the close ties that the Shakespeare Institute has with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the archives associated with both of these institutions.
In addition to the usual supporting documents, when you apply for this course we ask you to submit an example of your written work; this will preferably be an essay on Shakespeare, of about 2,000 words. If you do not have a piece of work that is of the right length it is better to send something that is longer rather than shorter so that we have a better chance to assess your critical writing on a literary topic.
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
- by holding an English language qualification to the right level; for this course we require IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
- by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students