Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon

Undergraduate Summer School

Academic programme

Your teaching will be split equally between academic lectures and seminars at The Shakespeare Institute, and practical workshop sessions (no prior experience necessary), exploring the RSC's professional practice.

Each year the Undergraduate Summer School will focus on a different set of core plays, drawn from the RSC's productions that year; as part of the course you will see the plays in performance and reflect upon them academically through performance-studies, practice-based, text-based and historical approaches. In years where appropriate plays by Shakespeare's contemporaries are in performance, they may also be studied.

There will be field trips to local Shakespearean sites such as: the Birthplace, New Place, and Holy Trinity Church (where Shakespeare is buried), accompanied by classroom reflection on their historical significance and cultural use. You will also visit the Cadbury Research Library and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, located at the University of Birmingham.

  • View sample programme (please note: this is subject to change; the plays studied will differ each year, based on the repertoire of the Royal Shakespeare Company each summer) 


By the end of the Undergraduate Summer School, students will be able to:

  • Develop arguments and critically analyse plays by Shakespeare (and his contemporaries)
  • Engage with current critical approaches to the study of Shakespeare, such as close reading, historicism, performance studies, textual studies, or cultural and heritage studies
  • Identify and make use of relevant secondary criticism in the development of their own arguments about Shakespeare
  • Demonstrate understanding of key terms and concepts used in contemporary Shakespeare Studies


The Undergraduate Summer School has a credit value of 20 UK credits (equivalent to 5 US credits).

You will submit a 1,000-word essay (25%) part-way through the course, and a 3,000-word essay (75%) due two weeks after the course finishes.

In each week of the Undergraduate Summer School there will also be a short formative task designed to develop skills, knowledge or understanding relevant to the assessment. Tasks may be written or performative in form, and feedback may include written, oral and/or peer feedback.

Further information

The full module specification can be viewed in our programme and modules handbook.