PhD with Integrated Study in Shakespeare Studies

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This innovative programme, delivered by the Shakespeare Institute, combines taught coursework with a full-length doctoral thesis. It allows students to combine a broad foundation in Shakespeare studies and its research methods through taught and assessed coursework, with the full research training and experience of the traditional PhD.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Combined research and taught, doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 4 years full-time; up to 8 years part-time

Start date: September


You will begin the programme with the core research skills module (20 credits) before creating your own package of 100 credits (normally 5 x 20 credit modules) from a choice of modules from the MA in Shakespeare Studies and/or MA in Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cultural History of Renaissance England; English Department and other Departments/Schools.

In addition to Research Skills, a minimum of 40 credits should be taken from modules available at the Shakespeare Institute, such as:

  • Shakespeare, the Playwright and his Drama
  • Plays and Poems of Shakespeare
  • History of Shakespeare in Performance
  • Textual Studies in Shakespeare
  • History of Shakespeare Criticism  

Further credits can then be taken from modules available in either the Department of English or by special arrangement (to a maximum of 40 credits), modules from other departments in the University.

In summary, you will complete 120 credits from taught M-level, plus successfully complete a supervised 80,000-word PhD thesis .

Please note: The modules on the MA Shakespeare and Theatre and the MA Shakespeare and Education are not available to students on the PhD with Integrated Study.

Visiting the Shakespeare Institute

We welcome prospective students to visit the Shakespeare Institute. We usually arrange open afternoons to coincide with two of our weekly Thursday seminar series a term which gives you a good opportunity to experience the Shakespeare Institute and to meet our staff and students. The next open afternoon will take place on Thursday 12 March 2015.  If you would like to visit us at another time, please contact us.

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £4,590 full-time, £2,295 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,695 full-time

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Research interests of staff

Shakespeare in performance; Shakespeare in culture since 1623; Shakespeare and opera; the writings, representation and reputation of Elizabeth I; notions of authorship and nation; the representation of Shakespeare
Contact: Professor Michael Dobson
Director of The Shakespeare Institute and Professor of Shakespeare Studies
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9508

Bibliography, editing, textual criticism, textual theory, Renaissance theatre culture and print culture, and Shakespeare’s contemporary dramatists
Contact: Professor John Jowett
Deputy Director and Professor of Shakespeare Studies
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9507

Literature and experience, religion, philosophy, and creativity; aesthetics; Shakespeare and poetry; Shakespeare in conjunction with great art and thought from other times and places
Contact: Professor Ewan Fernie
Professor of Shakespeare Studies
Tel: + 44 (0) 121 4149506

The full corpus of dramatic works written in the British Isles, and by ‘British’ authors overseas, between the English Reformation and the English Revolution, including both commercial and literary plays, masques and entertainments, and drama in Latin, Greek, Cornish, and Welsh
Contact: Dr Martin Wiggins
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9514

Medical and religious beliefs in early modern England, in particular their intersection. The body and metaphor, illness narratives, early modern life writings, the history of human experience. Shakespeare’s cultural legacy.
Contact: Dr Erin Sullivan
Tel: +44 (0121) 4149513

Cultural history, visual arts and material culture of early modern Britain; Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture.
Contact: Dr Tara Hamling c/o Department of Modern History
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9510

Associated Members of English, Drama and American and Canadian Studies:

Ben Jonson and his contemporaries; The relationships of Renaissance and Romantic writers; The relationships of manuscript and print; Early modern poetry and drama.
Contact: Dr Tom Lockwood c/o Department of English
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2763

Women's writing in the 17th century; Manuscript Studies; History of Translation.
Contact: Dr Gillian Wright c/o Department of English
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5671

Shakespearean performance, Anglo-European theatrical relationships, Victorian and Edwardian theatre and the History of Film.
Contact: Professor Russell Jackson c/o Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5790


The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Postgraduates at the Shakespeare Institute are able to develop a broad range of creative, research and theatre skills, as well as in-depth subject knowledge.

In 2013, 99% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation.

In recent years, our postgraduates have successfully entered a variety of sectors from teaching in secondary and higher education to performing arts, publishing, museums and library and archive work. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Imperial College London; National Trust; Royal Shakespeare Company; Shakespeare Birthplace Trust; The Grove Theatre; and University of Bristol.