The Shakespeare MA programme begins in late September and lasts one year for full-time students and two years for part-time students. Each of the two courses constitutes a whole unit of study and is taught in 20 weekly two-hour seminars over two terms: 10 seminars in the Autumn Term and 10 seminars in the Spring Term. The dissertation is researched and written after both courses have been completed, between the start of Summer Term in late April and early September, when the dissertation is submitted. Full-time students take both courses concurrently; part-time students take the Works course in their first year and the King Lear & The Tempest course in their second. The non-assessed Methods & Materials of Research course is taken by all MA students in the Department in the first term of study.
Each student is required to write two essays of 5,000—6,500 words for each of the two courses: a first draft of the Autumn Term essay to be submitted by the first day of Spring Term; the final draft of the Autumn Term essay to be submitted on the first day of Summer Term; and the Spring Term essay to be submitted 2 weeks after the first day of Summer Term. The topics of the essays are agreed with the course tutor. Each student is also required to submit in September, at the end of the programme of study, a dissertation of 12,000—15,000 words (excluding bibliography and appendices) on an approved topic related to any aspect of the programme.
The work each course entails is set out on the MA's dedicated websites. These specify the primary and secondary reading required for each week and suggest key topics for discussion as well as further reading. They provide direct links to downloadable copies of secondary reading and to clips of film productions available online. And they also provide printable copies of the course books, a comprehensive bibliography tailored to the MA, and up-to-date links to the wealth of Shakespeare resources on the Internet.
The seminars are designed to focus in depth on the material being studied, by combining close textual analysis and interpretation with broader discussion of the theatrical, historical and theoretical issues raised by the texts. Class presentations of seminar papers (1000-1500 words) allow students to investigate topics, develop arguments and present conclusions or pose questions for further discussion in the seminar. They also provide an opportunity to explore and test ideas for the essays students are required to write for each course. In addition to oral feedback in class the seminar papers receive prompt written feedback from the tutor on the course website, to which the papers are uploaded.
The dissertation is designed to test the student’s ability to handle a comp lex topic and to display research skills at greater length than the course essays allow. It may develop work done for any part of either course, or be on any topic approved by the student’s dissertation supervisor.
Students receive individual feedback on the problems, strengths and scope for improvement of the essays they write for their courses and detailed advice on the devising and drafting of their dissertation.
Both courses use DVDs and videos throughout to illustrate and examine key scenes from screen versions of the plays. Students have excellent departmental and college collections of film, TV and audio productions of Shakespeare’s plays at their disposal for short-term borrowing.
Seminars for both courses are held from 5pm to 7pm: the King Lear & The Tempest course is scheduled to be held on Wednesdays and the Works course on Thursdays. The Methods & Materials of Research course is also timetabled to take place in the late afternoon or early evening in the first term of study.
Professor Tiffany Stern, Professor of Shakespeare & Early Modern Literature
Dr Deana Rankin, Senior Lecturer in English and Director of MA Shakespeare
Dr Christie Carson, Reader in Shakespeare & Performance
Dr Linda Grant, Teaching Fellow in Shakespeare & Renaissance Literature
Dr Roy Booth, Senior Lecturer in Shakespeare & Renaissance Literature
Dr Harry Newman, Lecturer in Shakespeare & Early Modern Literature
Normally a second-class BA in Single or Joint Honours English, or a suitable related discipline, is required of UK applicants. Overseas applicants should have a degree of equivalent standard and must possess a high level of competence in spoken and written English.
Please submit two short pieces of written work along with your application. These can be uploaded if you are applying online.
Please apply via Embark.