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

Start date
Flexible – September or January encouraged
Duration
Full time: PhD – 3 years, MLitt – 2 years, MA by Research – 1 year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Distance learning, Doctoral research
Fees

Annual tuition fee 2021/22:
On campus
UK: £5,020 full-time; £2,510 part-time
International: £19,310 full-time
Distance Learning 
UK: £4,500 full-time; £2,250 part-time
International: £18,810 full-time; £9,405 part-time 
More detail.

In the heart of Shakespeare’s Stratford, with access to the theatres of the Royal Shakespeare Company and extraordinarily rich libraries and archives, The Shakespeare Institute offers postgraduate researchers an unrivalled academic experience.

You will join and lively and close-knit postgraduate community, taking part in a range of activities including weekly seminars and play readings, and an annual international conference organised by students for students.

You can study our programmes full-time or part-time, and the PhD and MA by Research on campus or by distance learning. The College of Arts and Law is experienced in delivering high quality distance learning to students all over the world.

[Lead image - Cymbeline, 2016, Royal Shakespeare Company. Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC.]

AHRC funding for PhD students

The University of Birmingham is part of the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C), offering Arts and Humanities Research Council PhD studentships for campus-based programmes. These include a number of Collaborative Doctoral Award opportunities. Each studentship includes research fees, a substantial maintenance grant and additional research training support. Applications are open until 12:00 (noon), 13 January 2021.

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COVID-19

Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

The Institute offers three options for postgraduate research in Shakespeare Studies, whether you are looking to complete your academic studies with a PhD or to pursue Masters-level research following an undergraduate degree a related field. To find out more about what to expect from your research degree, please read our detailed guidance. 

All research students take a course on the Methods and Materials of Research. 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.

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My supervisors, fellow research students, and the Shakespeare Institute’s staff have proven unfailingly caring, generous, and encouraging. My PhD experience has been an ideal balance of independent study and cohort activities: I am able to work on my project at my own pace while having access to an exciting programme of seminars, lectures, workshops, and performances.

Ella

Why Study this Course?

  • The Shakespeare Institute and Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) collaboration: You will benefit from our exciting collaboration with the RSC. The collaboration has research at its heart, and each year students and members of academic staff join RSC artists in creative and critical discourse.
  • Research expertise: In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF), 87% of English Language and Literature research at the University of Birmingham was rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent.’
  • Research culture: The Shakespeare Institute, as a single specialist unit full of scholars and students comparing notes about different aspects of closely-related topics, offers an unmatched research culture. Its activities include weekly seminars and play readings, an annual international conference organised by students for students, and regular interactions with senior RSC personnel. Life at The Shakespeare Institute
  • Access to outstanding resources: The Shakespeare Institute boasts a world-class specialist library: its 60,000 items include the archives of honorary fellow Sir Kenneth Branagh’s theatre and film projects. We also have the world’s largest collection of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century dramatic manuscripts on microfilm. Additionally, in conjunction with the nearby archives of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the rare book holdings of the Cadbury library on the main Birmingham campus, students have access to the most comprehensive Shakespeare studies collection in the UK.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

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Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

Campus-based programmes

  • UK/EU: £5,020 full-time; £2,510 part-time
  • International: £19,310 full-time

Distance learning programmes

  • UK/EU: £4,500 full-time; £2,250 part-time
  • International: £18,810 full-time; £9,405

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

* For UK postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2021.

Fee status

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

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year
The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in the 2020/21 academic year. For more information, please read the government’s guidance for EU students.

Paying your fees

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

How To Apply

Application deadlines

Postgraduate research can start at any time during the year, but it is important to allow time for us to review your application and communicate a decision. If you wish to start in September, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by 1 July 2021.

Distance learning students will attend a residential visit in September or January, and those students wishing to attend the September residential are also encouraged to apply by 1 July 2021. The visit will take place at the end of September/beginning of October and you will receive further details once you have accepted your offer.

Six steps to apply for our Postgraduate Research courses

Do you have an idea for an interesting research project? You can follow our six easy steps to apply to study for our postgraduate research courses. These include guidance on identifying funding opportunities and writing your research proposal.

Please also see our additional guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Please note: While our PhD programmes are normally studied in three years full-time or six years part-time, and Masters-level research programmes one year full-time or two years part-time, many programmes have a longer length listed in course or funding applications. This is because the course length is defined as the maximum period of registration, which includes a period of supervised study plus a thesis awaited period. The maximum period of registration for a full-time PhD is four years (three years supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For a full-time Masters-level research programme, it is two years (one year supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For part-time programmes, the periods are double the full-time equivalent.

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

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Our Standard Requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK, usually in a relevant area.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent), usually in a relevant area.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

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

Learn more about international entry requirements

International Requirements


Research in the Shakespeare Institute engages with all aspects of Renaissance Drama, on the afterlife of Shakespeare in performance, on the culture of Renaissance England and on the impact of Shakespeare on modern culture.

Please contact a staff member working in your area of interest in the first instance.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: The Shakespeare Institute

As a postgraduates at the Shakespeare Institute, you will develop a broad range of creative, research and theatre skills, as well as in-depth subject knowledge. Over the past 5 years, 88% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2012 - 2017).

In recent years, our postgraduates have successfully entered a variety of sectors from teaching in secondary and higher education to performing arts, publishing, and museum, library and archive work. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include National Trust, Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare's Globe, University of Birmingham and University of Oxford.

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