This programme offers a unique approach to the study of Shakespeare’s life and work, fusing traditional scholarly approaches with the thrill of being involved in new creative work. It is delivered by and taught at The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon.
It makes the most of the unrivalled resources of Shakespeare’s Stratford and involves expert tuition from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Library of Birmingham. The programme is particularly enhanced by the Institute's collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), offering unique and extensive opportunities to work on its premises with RSC artists.
This programme will attract aspiring academics, actors, writers, directors, arts administrators, as well as anyone with a lively interest in Shakespeare.
This programme brings together academic, theatrical and civic interests in Shakespeare and creativity, generating a comprehensive and forward-looking conversation about what Shakespeare is and can be in today's world.
You will produce traditional academic essays as well as creative work, all of which will explore Shakespeare’s potential in the modern world. You will make new creative work with and at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and benefit from unique and exciting access to the RSC's studio theatre, The Other Place.
You will study four core modules:
- Shakespeare and Theatre Practice
- The Shakespeare Ensemble
- Shakespeare and Society
You will choose two optional modules from a range of Shakespeare Institute modules.
You will also attend weekly Thursday Seminars at the Shakespeare Institute (term-time only), which feature papers presented by a range of established visiting scholars as well as Institute and University of Birmingham staff.
Shakespearience and optional modules are each assessed by written assignment; Shakespeare and Theatre Practice is assessed by either two performance assignments and a 2,000-word research paper, or a 4,000-word research paper; Shakespeare Ensemble and Shakespeare and Society both combine shorter written assignments with creative work.
You will complete the MA with a 15,000-word dissertation.
Why study this course
- Location – studying at the Shakespeare Institute in the heart of Shakespeare's 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. 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.
The postgraduate experience
The Shakespeare Institute is a postgraduate-only department, offering dedicated support and resources to its students. The Institute is home to teaching space, study space and a dedicated Shakespeare library, plus a range of events and activities including Thursday seminars, the annual Britgrad conference and performances from the Shakespeare Institute players.
Learning and teaching
This programme will make use of the unrivalled resources of Shakespeare’s Stratford, involving expert sessions from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Library of Birmingham.
It also particularly benefits from the Institute's collaboration with the RSC, offering unique and extensive opportunities to work with the Company and at The Other Place. Students will also have access to the Shakespeare Institute Library, the Library of the Shakespeare Centre that curates the archives of the RSC, and the Shakespeare Collection held at the Library of Birmingham.
We ask that you supply evidence of either:
- A bachelors degree (2:1) in a relevant field
- Relevant professional experience. This should be demonstrated in a portfolio which catalogues and contextualises your work in a relevant field (e.g. catalogue of a recent art installation, actor’s CV, transcript giving indication of professional training, web-based archive of recent work, folio of published poems, etc.)
In your application, you should use your personal statement to indicate your creative potential and reflect on your existing creative work. This can be up to 5,000 characters in length. In particular, your statement should address the following research questions:
- What were/are the objectives of the piece, and why? What obstacles did you/might you encounter? How might these have been/be avoided?
- To what tradition does this piece belong? To what critical conversations or bodies of practice does it contribute? What does it contribute to them?
- What are its implications for future work? What does/might your work initiate in the field of Shakespeare studies more generally?
All prospective students must also submit a sample of written work as part of the online application process. This must be provided when you make your application or within no more than two weeks of submitting your application to us. If this is not provided within the stated timeframe your application may be declined. This should be a sample of written work on Shakespeare of around 2,000 words. If you do not have an existing piece of writing to submit, please take a short passage of up to 60 lines from any Shakespeare play and write an essay of around 2,000 words which discusses the performance possibilities of this extract and how it contributes to the play as a whole.
Your application must also be supported by two letters of recommendation, either from academics or equivalent authorities from creative industries as appropriate.
Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.
English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.
IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:
- TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
- Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
- Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component