Shakespeare Studies PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

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The Shakespeare Institute offers promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in a dynamic environment in the very place where the great playwright was born and died - Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Situated within walking distance of Shakespeare’s birthplace, school and grave, and the theatres of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Institute offers postgraduate students and scholars an academic experience unrivalled by any other university.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Distance learning, doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MLitt – 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time; MA by Research – 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Start date: September

Details

At the Institute, you are able to study for full-time and part-time research degrees at all postgraduate levels (MA by Research, MLitt, and PhD). You will work towards writing a thesis on a topic of your own choice, agreed with the Institute at the time of admission, and are supervised by a member of the Institute's teaching staff. There is also the opportunity for split location registration.

The PhD - the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words. If you have not already completed a research Masters, you will normally register for an MA by Research in the first instance, and apply to upgrade your registration to a PhD on the basis of progress made.

You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by Distance Learning.

The MLitt involves undertaking research on a chosen topic leading to the preparation of a thesis of 60,000 words.

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words.

If you like the idea of conducting independent research but feel like you need some taught and assessed coursework to support your study, you may be interested in our PhD with Integrated Study (Shakespeare Studies).

All research students take a course on the Methods and Materials of Research, which is taught during the first five weeks of the academic year. The aim is to provide an initial training in the methodologies of research in the various fields associated with Shakespeare Studies. There are no other compulsory courses, but research students are expected to attend Thursday Seminars and the Research Seminars; they are also given the opportunity of undertaking specialist training in palaeography.

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:

Campus-based programmes

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

Distance learning programmes

  • Home / EU: £4,090 full-time, £2,045 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,195 full-time, £6,597.50 part-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

All students registered for research degrees will have an honours degree in a relevant subject, such as English or History, normally at least at an upper second class level (or its equivalent for overseas’ students). Applicants for direct admission to PhD study will also have completed a Masters degree in a relevant subject at a high level.  Other qualifications and evidence of research experience may be considered as alternatives to the qualifications cited.

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

We welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students, particularly those who wish to work in the following fields of study:

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
Email: m.dobson@bham.ac.uk

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
Email: j.d.jowett@bham.ac.uk

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
Email: e.fernie@bham.ac.uk

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
Email: m.j.wiggins@bham.ac.uk

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
Email: e.sullivan@bham.ac.uk

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
Email:t.j.hamling@bham.ac.uk

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
Email: t.e.lockwood@bham.ac.uk

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
Email: g.wright.1@bham.ac.uk

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
Email: r.b.jackson@bham.ac.uk

Employability

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.