Short course

Spring into Shakespeare

Start date
28 March 2023
Duration
6-8 Weeks
Time commitment
8 hours per week
Mode
Online
Cost
£350 for 6 weeks (not including Research Skills), £400 for 8 weeks (including Research Skills)
Subject
Shakespeare
Level
Postgraduate Short-Course (CPD)
Assessment
Individual assignment

Spring into Shakespeare is a short course designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to study Shakespeare at postgraduate level. 

You will develop a strong understanding of key concepts relating to the study of Shakespeare, such as language, genre, early modern playing practices, and contemporary performance.

Successful completion of the course may be used as an alternative qualification to those listed as entry requirements for the Shakespeare Institute MA programmes in Shakespeare, Shakespeare and Education, and Shakespeare and Creativity.

This short course is also an opportunity for those who wish to study Shakespeare for pleasure. If you do not intend to continue onto a Masters programme, you will still acquire significant knowledge of Shakespeare, which can be applied in a variety of educational, outreach, and cultural settings.

What will you study?

This course is delivered by the Shakespeare Institute and features lecture content from leading scholars in Shakespeare Studies. Drawing on the University of Birmingham’s collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Spring into Shakespeare also provides multiple opportunities for students to discuss productions with RSC theatre practitioners.

Each week will focus on a particular approach to studying Shakespeare:

Weeks 1 to 4

  • Analysing Shakespeare’s language
  • Defining genre
  • Exploring early modern playing practices

Weeks 5 and 6

  • Shakespeare in contemporary performance (seminars held in collaboration with Royal Shakespeare Company theatre practitioners)

Weeks 7 and 8 (optional)

  • Research Skills A: Using digital and physical resources to conduct research
  • Research Skills B: Academic writing and referencing

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss key areas of Shakespeare Studies, including genre, text, Shakespeare in performance, Shakespeare’s language, characters, plot, and themes
  • Demonstrate a strong understanding of Shakespeare’s writing in the broad context of the early modern period.
  • Write in an academic style appropriate for MA-level study in Shakespeare
  • Use an academic referencing system (such as MLA or MHRA) with confidence
  • Undertake research at the level required for MA-level study, using online databases, academic books, and journals

The course content will include weekly lectures, optional virtual seminars, discussion boards, Q&A sessions with RSC practitioners, and access to a wide range of resources. 

Who is the course for?

This course is for those who wish to undertake MA-level study in Shakespeare but may not have the necessary qualifications for entrance to one of our programmes. It will also be of interest to people who are interested in the language and legacy of William Shakespeare more generally.

How to apply?

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for Spring into Shakespeare. You will create an account with the University application system and complete a short form to register onto the course.

What will you receive?

Spring into Shakespeare will allow you to focus on specific areas in order for you to develop your career in the way that you want to. The course is designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge that are necessary to undertake a postgraduate degree in Shakespeare. These skills include:

  • Analysing early modern plays
  • Researching Shakespeare on the page and in performance
  • Academic writing
  • Academic referencing
  • Discussing ideas in virtual seminars, one-on-one meetings, and in writing

A Certificate of Participation will be awarded to participants who contribute constructively to weekly discussions and exercises/assignments for the duration of the course.

Fees

The tution fee for this course is £350 for weeks 1 - 6.
You can decide to register for the two optional 'Research Skills' weeks after the start of the programme. You do not have to decide whether you wish to study for 6 or 8 weeks at the admission stage. Should you chose to study the two Research Skills weeks, an additional fee of £50 will be charged separately via the University of Birmingham online shop.

Entry requirements

A BA Hons in any subject OR professional experience of working with Shakespeare.
You should have a high level of proficiency in the English Language across all language learning areas (reading, writing, speaking and listening). It is your responsibility to ensure that you can cope with the language demands of this short course.

This program enabled me to learn from the phenomenal instructors at the Shakespeare Institute and make connections with other early modernists from all around the world. You will glean new things about each play that is covered even if you have read the play many times before.

Amanda Marie, Spring into Shakespeare student

In order to be accepted onto the Spring into Shakespeare, you must possess:

  • A BA Hons in any subject OR professional experience of working with Shakespeare.

You should have a high level of proficiency in the English Language across all language learning areas (reading, writing, speaking and listening).  It is your responsibility to ensure that you can cope with the language demands of this short course.

 If you are currently studying at a Chinese university, please view our specific entry requirements including our list of acceptable universities for further study at Birmingham.

Please note we will also consider candidates without a first degree or professional qualification but with at least ten years’ work experience including significant managerial responsibility.

This course is delivered by the Shakespeare Institute and features lecture content from leading scholars in Shakespeare Studies. Drawing on the University of Birmingham’s collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Spring into Shakespeare also provides multiple opportunities for students to discuss productions with RSC theatre practitioners.

Each week will focus on a particular approach to studying Shakespeare:

Weeks 1 to 4

  • Analysing Shakespeare’s language
  • Defining genre
  • Exploring early modern playing practices

Weeks 5 and 6

  • Shakespeare in contemporary performance (seminars held in collaboration with Royal Shakespeare Company theatre practitioners)

Weeks 7 and 8 (Optional)

  • Research Skills A: Using digital and physical resources to conduct research
  • Research Skills B: Academic writing and referencing

Spring into Shakespeare will allow you to focus on specific areas in order for you to develop your career in the way that you want to. The course is designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge that are necessary to undertake a postgraduate degree in Shakespeare. These skills include:

  • Analysing early modern plays
  • Researching Shakespeare on the page and in performance
  • Academic writing
  • Academic referencing
  • Discussing ideas in virtual seminars, one-on-one meetings, and in writing

You will learn from leading academics and theatre practitioners renowned for their work in the study and performance of Shakespeare. The course content will include lectures about key aspects of the playwright’s works, optional virtual seminars, discussion boards, and access to a wide range of resources.

A Certificate of Participation will be awarded to participants who contribute constructively to weekly discussions and exercises/assignments for the duration of the course.

The skills you will gain

Discuss key areas of Shakespeare Studies, including genre, text, Shakespeare in performance, Shakespeare’s language, characters, plot, and themes

Demonstrate a strong understanding of Shakespeare’s writing in the broad context of the early modern period

Write in an academic style appropriate for MA-level study in Shakespeare

Use an academic referencing system (such as MLA or MHRA) with confidence

Undertake research at the level required for MA-level study, using online databases, academic books, and journals

Meet your instructors

Dr Ella Hawkins

Dr Ella Hawkins, Teaching Fellow in Early Modern English

I am a Shakespeare scholar and design historian interested particularly in stage and costume design for contemporary theatrical performance.  My monograph, Shakespeare in Elizabethan Costume: ‘Period Dress’ in Twenty-First-Century Performance (Bloomsbury, 2022), explores how Elizabethan and Jacobean styles of dress have been used to reinterpret Shakespeare’s plays for modern audiences.

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