Taught course

Shakespeare and Theatre (on-campus or by distance learning)

University of Birmingham · The Shakespeare Institute

Entry requirements

2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject

Months of entry


Course content

This is an innovative Shakespeare Institute programme that focuses on how Shakespeare's plays work in performance. It encourages a historical approach to interpretation and styles of presentation and it promotes the value of close reading as the basis for evaluating the plays on the page, stage, and screen. You will have the opportunity to look at different productions and adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays in their historical, political, and cultural contexts and to think about the performance choices actors and directors make when approaching Shakespeare’s texts. You can also study how the textual history of Shakespeare’s plays influences performance today. You can study on campus (full-time or part-time) or by distance learning (part-time only).

You will study two core modules:

  • Shakespeare’s Theatre
  • Research Skills

You will also choose four optional modules (see module information below). Each module is assessed by one 4,000 word essay with the exception of Research Skills and Creative Practice which are assessed by 2–3 shorter assignments (Creative Practice includes performance pieces in addition to written assessment). While completing all six taught modules will lead to a Diploma-level qualification, MA students will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation.

The flexible structure of this course allows study in a wide variety of ways, on a full- or part-time basis. Modules are available to study through a variety of routes that may include:

  • Three long weekends at the Shakespeare Institute at approximately monthly intervals
  • One day a week throughout a semester at the Shakespeare Institute (ten days).
  • Distance-learning option via online WebCt

Full-time study is on site in Stratford-upon-Avon and part-time students can choose to study the whole programme either on site, via online distance learning or a combination of the two. You are also encouraged to visit the theatre and cinema to benefit from the excitement of Shakespeare's plays in performance.

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days.

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year.

Fees and funding

Please visit our website

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
72 months
full time
12 months
part time
72 months


part time
72 months
distance learning
72 months
full time
12 months

Further details of qualification

Students study 4 x 30 credit modules. Those who progress to MA write a 12,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits.

Course contact details

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005