MA Shakespeare and Education (on campus or by distance learning)

Start date
September
Duration
1 year full-time, 2-3 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Distance learning, Taught
Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2021 entry:
UK: £9,500 full-time
International: £20,160 full-time
Part-time/distance: £1,055 per 20 credits
More details.

Immerse yourself in the works of Shakespeare with our MA in Shakespeare and Education.

This distinctive MA explores pedagogy and the ways in which Shakespeare has been used in the classroom at different historical and cultural moments.

Our unique and flexible programme is particularly appropriate for practicing teachers, offering the opportunity to enhance expertise in different aspects of Shakespeare’s work. Throughout the programme you will incorporate the study of Shakespeare's plays in performance and adaptation.

This programme offers you the opportunity to enhance your expertise in different aspects of Shakespeare's work, while maintaining a pedagogical focus.  It also benefits from the Institute's collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) through collaborative teaching across the Shakespeare and Pedagogy Module allowing you to learn first-hand from world leading Shakespearean practitioners.

There are three ways in which this course can be studied:

Students have the opportunity to study this programme on-site at The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon or by online, distance learning. Studying via distance learning, means you can continue in employment alongside studying for your Masters. You will however be required to visit Stratford-upon-Avon for our Shakespeare and Pedagogy module due to its interactive nature. One part of this module is delivered as an intensive block over 4 days, scheduled to coincide with the Easter holidays (the remainder is taught online in April/ May).

[LEAD IMAGE: The Taming of the Shrew, 2019, Royal Shakespeare Company. Photo by Ikin Yum © RSC.]

Explore the Shakespeare Institute

Masters Scholarships available for September 2021 Entry

From £1500 discounts for current students, £1500 scholarships for our very best candidates, to our College of Arts and Law Masters Fees Scholarship, there are lots of funding opportunities available to study with us in September 2021.

Full details and application forms

Student life at the Shakespeare Institute is wonderful as the staff are all extremely talented, knowledgeable and supportive. Being in the centre of Stratford-Upon-Avon really enhances the student experience as we can take advantage of the amazing links the University has with the Royal Shakespeare Company theatres.

Ella

Why study this course?

  • Location – studying at The Shakespeare Institute in the heart of 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.
  • Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) collaboration – Our exciting collaboration with the RSC offers students a truly unique learning experience, blending academia and creativity in an exciting new way to foster innovative methods of theatre and learning. Since its launch, students on the MA Shakespeare and Education programme have experienced unique and extensive opportunities to work with RSC artists on a variety of projects and modules. To find out more, you can listen to some of our students talking about their experiences of the collaboration. 
  • 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.
  • Be a part of a vibrant and active community – the Institute provides an intense learning experience in the study of Shakespeare from a range of perspectives, with the support and encouragement of the Institute’s staff, who are all respected in their own field. Read more about life at The Shakespeare Institute.
  • Attend postgraduate conferences – the Institute plays host to a number of national and international conferences. The highlight of the academic year is the annual Britgrad conference organised by students for students. You will be able to join postgraduate students from all over the world to give and hear short papers on all aspects of Shakespeare and early-modern drama. Britgrad provides a unique opportunity for graduate students to share their work with their peers and to hear what other graduates in similar and related fields are working on.

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Modules

Students will study three core modules plus three optional modules and an education-focussed dissertation. Core modules include:

  • Shakespeare and Pedagogy (delivered on-site as 6 full days over Easter)
  • Shakespeare’s Theatre 
  • Research Skills (delivered on-site in Semester 1, 2 hours per week or online)

Full module descriptions are available below.

On-site study is in Stratford-upon-Avon. Distance learning students can choose to study through a combination of on-site modules and online distance learning modules (please note that it is not possible to combine these methods of study within a single module). The schedule of delivery allows access to all modules through a range of modes over any three-year period, although some are not available to study via distance learning. 

Core modules

You will study three core modules:

Shakespeare and Pedagogy (on-site and distance learning students)

This module is an opportunity to explore the history, philosophy and pedagogy of ‘teaching Shakespeare.’ You will consider the different elements of Shakespeare’s work that are taught and the methods and resources used to teach them. You will have the chance to prepare practical teaching activities and assess learning outcomes. The Pedagogy module is taught collaboratively by the Royal Shakespeare Company Education department and the Shakespeare Institute. (One part of this module is delivered as an intensive block over 4 days, scheduled to coincide with the Easter holidays (the remainder is taught online in April/ May). 

Please note: because of the nature of this module you will need to attend classes in Stratford-upon-Avon and it cannot be delivered soley via distance learning.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Shakespeare’s Theatre (on-site and distance learning students)

There are three components of this module. The first is a close reading of text that will lead to a consideration of the theatrical function and distinctive qualities of Shakespeare's language. The second is a study of Elizabethan and early Jacobean stages and performance; and the third is an extension of the historical perspective, including Shakespeare's medieval inheritance, that will inform inquiry into the contemporary and continuing theatrical life. Plays studied include some or all of Hamlet, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, Richard II, Titus Andronicus, Henry V, Cymbeline and The Tempest. 
Assessment: Two 2,000-word essays

Research Skills (on-site and distance learning students)

This module will provide you with essential research skills training applicable in the fields of Shakespeare studies, with a particular emphasis on performance studies. You will actively assess the different kinds of evidence and methods used in these fields and critically evaluate the epistemological assumptions that underline them. The work undertaken in this module will help inform the direction and methodology of your research during the MA, particularly in the dissertation stages.
Assessment: Two written assignments

Optional modules

You will then choose three optional modules from a range which typically includes:

History of Shakespeare in Performance (on-site and distance learning)

This module will consider trends of acting and directing Shakespeare from the Restoration to the present day, and will exploit the Stratford archives to undertake studies of individual actors and directors from the eighteenth century onwards. Subjects of study might include Colley Cibber, David Garrick, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, Laurence Olivier, Peter Brook, John Barton and Sam Mendes. There will be opportunities to analyse and interpret primary evidence and to consider the cultural context(s) of performance. Plays studied include some or all of Richard III, Hamlet, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.  
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Shakespeare and Early Modern Playhouse Culture (on-site and distance learning)

Early modern dramatists typically wrote with particular companies, performance spaces and audiences in mind. This module therefore approaches Shakespeare through the culture of the early modern playhouse. Our central aims will be to ask how the social, cultural, spatial, professional and technological make-up of venues such as the Globe and Blackfriars shaped early modern drama by Shakespeare and others, and to consider the significance of the playhouse to wider early modern culture and society. Using a range of methods drawn from literary criticism, cultural history, theatre history, sensory and affect studies, textual studies and material theatre, we will examine plays in relation to the conditions of playing at outdoor amphitheatres and indoor candlelit venues, always keeping in mind the social dimensions of play-making, involving countless interactions amongst playgoers, actors, musicians and other company members. We will give particular consideration to playhouse sensations, stage technologies, effects and spectacle, audience expectations, actorly skill, company practices, music, documents of performance, and repertory, among other topics. A range of plays by Shakespeare will be studied in direct conjunction with other early modern drama both canonical and less familiar.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Shakespeare's Legacy (on-site and distance learning)

This module considers the adaptation and appropriation of Shakespeare’s plays, persona, and possessions from 1660 to the present day, paying particular attention to how changes and developments in theatre practice, aesthetic tastes, social concerns, political events, the heritage industry, and commercial markets have shaped the history of Shakespeare’s ‘afterlife’. The module looks at trends broadly chronologically, focusing on particular examples as it traces how the plays (and other Shakespeariana) were received and reinterpreted in light of different artistic, intellectual, and commercial movements from the late seventeenth to early twenty-first centuries. The distinction between ‘adaptations’, ‘appropriations’, ‘translations’, and ‘versions’ will be questioned, and you will be invited to consider the extent to which the different adaptations you read or see rely upon the original Shakespearian text for context and meaning. 
Assessment: 4,000-word essay or 3,000-word creative writing project and 1,000-word reflective commentary

Textual Studies in Shakespeare (On campus and distance learning)

What do we mean when we refer to ‘the text of Shakespeare’? This module investigates the production of the text in the theatre and in print, explores controversies surrounding the interpretation of this material, and introduces students to the techniques of editing. Topics include: the relationship between a modern edition of a play and the earliest printed texts; the nature of the printing process that first made the plays available to readers of books; the characteristics of Shakespeare's dramatic composition; the treatment of the text in the theatre (including censorship, revision and adaptation); and Shakespeare as a collaborator. Plays studied usually include: HamletTroilus and CressidaSir Thomas MoreRomeo and JulietRichard IIKing LearMeasure for MeasureThe Merry Wives of Windsor, and Timon of Athens.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Performing Shakespeare in Asia (distance learning only)

Shakespeare is by far the most produced and adapted western playwright in East Asian theatre cultures. Approaches to translating, performing and re-writing his plays have changed over time, and are now at their most diverse and experimental. Correlatively, connections and relationships between Asian and Anglophone performance histories have also matured. Using translated and annotated archival recordings, this module examines the historical contexts and theatrical concerns of East Asian Shakespeare performances, relating them comparatively to Anglophone and European textual and performance histories. It is jointly taught by the National University of Singapore and The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham as a distance learning module.
Assessment: 1,500-word assignment (40%), 3,000-word research paper (60%)

Shakespeare and Theatre Practice (on-site but available to DL students)

This module will provide you with experiential knowledge that will inform the way that you interrogate and interpret performance evidence in a variety of media. Through a series of workshops and performance assignments, you will explore three different systematic approaches to performing the language of Shakespeare: the first approach is rooted in the verse and text work of John Barton, Peter Hall, Cicely Berry and Patsy Rodenburg; the second approach explores the legacy of Stanislavski in Shakespearean performance; the third approach brings the work of key movement practitioners to a creative examination of Shakespeare’s text.
Assessment: Two performance assignments and a 2,000-word research paper, or a 4,000-word research paper

Plays and Poems A (on-site)

You are encouraged to engage with, and to see the relationship between, the plays and poems Shakespeare wrote in the sixteenth century, in which the dominant genres were comedies and histories, with tragedy an emergent presence towards the end.  The module will cover the first half of Shakespeare’s career in chronological order, from 1591 to 1600.  Learning is via student presentation and response, with a preliminary lecture on each study day.  This module can be studied as a standalone module or with Play and Poems B.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Plays and Poems B (on-site)

You are encouraged to engage with, and to see the relationship between, the plays and poems Shakespeare wrote in the seventeenth century, in which the dominant genres were tragedies and tragicomedies.  The module will cover the second half of Shakespeare’s career in chronological order, from 1601 – 1613.  Learning is via student presentation and response, with a preliminary lecture on each study day. 
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Dissertation

All students will complete the programme with a dissertation. The dissertation is an opportunity for you to extend ideas encountered in the 'Shakespeare and Pedagogy' module. Thus the dissertation will have a primary focus on methods, materials, or the philosophy/sociology/history of 'teaching Shakespeare'. It is possible, therefore, that a student (particularly if a practising teacher or lecturer) may be undertaking a practical project and the dissertation will be a report and assessment of the project. There should be some element of originality in the research and the research may make a contribution to the field of study. You will report the research in a dissertation of 15,000 words in appropriate academic English. In designing, carrying out and writing up the study, you will be supported by a supervisor.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee for campus-based, full-time study. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,500 full-time
  • International: £20,160 full-time

Fees for part-time and distance learning modes are £1,055 per 20 credit module and £3,166 for the dissertation.

Fee status

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

Paying your fees

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


Are you an international applicant?

All international applicants to this course will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £2,000 on receipt of an offer, to secure their place.

Find out more about the deposit >>.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. 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.

How To Apply

Please review our Entry Requirements before making your application.

Application routes

Please note that the duration of this programme is one year full-time, while part-time study can be up to three years. However, part-time programmes are only eligible for Government Masters Loans if they are no more than twice the length of the full-time version. Therefore any UK part-time students wishing to apply for Government Masters Loans must complete the programme within two years. If you plan to study over two years and/or would like to apply for a Masters Loan, please select the fixed two-year part-time application route shown. If you would like the flexibility to study over up to three years, and are not seeking funding, please select the standard part-time application route.

How to Apply for a Postgraduate Degree - Taught programmes

Application deadlines

The deadline for International students (including EU) to apply is Thursday 1 July 2021. The deadline for UK students is Thursday 9 September 2021.

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

Our Standard Requirements

Our usual entry requirement for this programme is a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in English or a related subject.

However, if you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we would still encourage you to apply and we will consider you for our Affiliate entry route. This enables you to register for the programme’s core modules initially, and upon successful completion you are able to register for the full programme.

Please note that all applications are treated on their merits, and we will review your references, personal statement and past experience alongside your qualifications when considering your application.

All prospective students must also submit a sample of written work as part of the online application process. You can do this before you submit your form, or return to the application to upload your sample at a later date; however, we will need to see an example of your work before an offer is made. The writing sample should focus on Shakespeare and be around 2,000 words in length. If you do not have an existing piece of writing to submit, please take a short passage of up to 60 lines from any Shakespeare play and write an essay of around 2,000 words which discusses the performance possibilities of this extract and how it contributes to the play as a whole.

PGCE Accredited Prior Learning:  Unfortunately, we are unable to accept PGCE credits towards the MA, as the only module against which this is appropriate, Shakespeare & Pedagogy, is a core module and cannot be waived.

International/EU students

Academic requirements: 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


The programme allows access to the unique Shakespearian resources of the Shakespeare Institute Library, the Library of the Shakespeare Centre that curates the archives of the RSC, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Study materials for this programme are enhanced by the close ties that the Shakespeare Institute has with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the archives associated with both of these institutions.

Course delivery

We have two teaching terms per year, the autumn term and spring term. Term dates can be found on our website.

Full-time study is on site in Stratford-upon-Avon and you will typically take two or three modules in each term, followed by your dissertation. The sixth module, Shakespeare and Pedagogy, is delivered via an intensive six-day course around Easter to coincide with the school holidays.

Part-time students can choose to study the whole programme either on-site, primarily by online distance learning or a combination of the two. The schedule of delivery allows access to all modules through a range of modes over any three-year period, although some are not available to study via distance learning. The compulsory Pedagogy module, which is co-taught with the Royal Shakespeare Company, must be studied on-site due to its interactive nature. As above, it is delivered via an intensive six-day course.

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation, as well as teaching time.

Studying by distance learning

Many of the programme’s modules are also available via distance learning, meaning that you can study online from anywhere in the world. Distance learning modules will combine print, audio, and video teaching methods in order to give students a varied and enriching educational experience.

This means that you can study for a Masters degree (MA) almost entirely by distance learning, with the exception of the core Pedagogy module.

Although self-study is central to doing a programme by distance learning, support is always available. 

You will have a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor to guide you and answer any questions, and you have access to a wide range of online resources too. You also have the opportunity to meet other students and academic staff through online chats and discussion forums and at the Easter residential.

Read more about distance learning with the Shakespeare Institute

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

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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