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; or relevant professional experience.
In your application, you should use your personal statement to indicate your creative potential and reflect on your existing creative work.
All prospective students must also submit a sample of written work as part of the online application process.
Your application must also be supported by two letters of recommendation, either from academics or equivalent authorities from creative industries as appropriate.
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
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