Hi Andrea, I am a teacher in the US and I am very interested in applying to this program. I have taught high school English and History for 10 years and I am lucky enough to teach a year long course to seniors that is entirely dedicated to Shakespeare. I'm wondering if you can tell me a bit more about the application process, particularly the paper that people who are applying need to submit. I have my Masters in Education and wrote an Action Research Paper, but that doesn't seem appropriate to submit, since there is no real humanities aspect to that particular work. I guess what I am wondering is what sort of topics do people write about for this paper or even what you wrote about? Also if you have any other advice, that would be amazing! Thanks so much for your time. I appreciate it.

It is some years now since I took this course but I really enjoyed every minute of it. For my application, I contacted the Shakespeare Institute for advice as I had been out of academia for many years and had nothing relevant to submit. They were extremely helpful and made the application clear and simple. I wrote about a piece of Shakespeare text and analysed it linguistically, then related it to various methods of performance and then wrote about how I had used this text for performance with my own students and what the practical implications/difficulties were that I had encountered in the classroom in realising my ideas and helping students understand the text. I hope this helps.

Dear Andrea I have spent 3 years at drama school, 20 teaching and have obtained a PGCE. I am keen to take an MA Distance learning, but what I want to know is how can we get hands on with this course? Can you kindly send me the course spec? Thanks.

Your background seems pretty much as mine was before I did my MA. The full details of the course spec are on the University of Birmingham website if you want to have a look. In terms of hands-on, I did mine by distance learning and the only in-person module was the Shakespeare and Pedgogy and I had a fantastic week in Stratford working on this with the rest of my group (and going to the theatre!). The other modules were as interactive as you want to be really as there was lots of opportunity to be involved online. I am sure that this has increased with the current situation too. Go for it!

Hello Andrea, I am considering applying for the MA Shakespeare in Education or Shakespeare and Theatre via distance learning. Besides the plays themselves, can you give some recommended reading in terms of books and materials studied so I can get a taster for what the course is like? Many thanks!

Hi. You will be sent a reading list but the ones I found most useful for me for general preparation were:
A Companion to Shakespeare and Performance edited by Barbara Hodgdon and W.B. Worthen (Pub. Wiley-Blackwell)
The Shakespearean Stage 1574-1642 by Andrew Gurr (Pub Cambridge)
The Arts Good Study Guide 2nd ed by Ellie Chambers and Andrew Northedge (Pub Open University)

The last one above was particularly helpful as I not be in an academic learning environment for a long time and really helped to get my head back in the right way of studying.

Have fun reading.

I am hoping to join the Shakespeare and Creativity MA course and would like to know the different career opportunities available to me once I complete this course? I have admired and read the writings of Shakespeare since junior school. This course is everything I could ask for, therefore I would like to pursue it as a career as well.

Hello. My course was MA Shakespeare and Education and so career prospects are a little different. As I was already teaching, I hoped the course would give me a greater depth of knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays and how to turn this knowledge into improving my skills as a teacher. This is what it did achieve. I now feel much more confident in understanding Shakespeare, working with the texts and techniques to help students understand the plays for themselves. The course also gave me skills in research which are useful when moving on. It also gave me confidence in myself to undertake new projects in other areas. For more specific information, it might be helpful for you to check out some videos by students and staff on Youtube concerning the course you are interested in or visiting the Postgraduate Open Days where you can ask specific questions. The information is available on the university website page for MA Shakespeare and Creativity.

Hi, I want to know about the course structure and fees as I am from India. I badly want to pursue the MA in Shakespeare Education. Can you please help me?

The structure is in modules and it depends on whether you are studying part-time, full-time or distance learning as to which modules you can do. I was a part-time distance learner and only had to attend one module in person which was the Shakespeare and Pedagogy one which took place over 6 consecutive days and we had several people who had come from other places in the world. There are some compulsory modules which give the foundation to the course and then the others are optional and whichever you feel you would benefit most from. I found them all to be amazing and I made sure to take a variety of modules to give me more understanding of aspects of Shakespeare and I also got to study more plays that way.

The fees and specific modules can be found on the website to give you more accurate information.

Good luck and I hope it works out for you.

You are in the very course I'm interested in! I have so many questions for you, but this one is top of the tree: How high is the level of interaction among your fellow distance-learning students? I ask because I've completed online college courses using the Canvas platform, and student-to-student engagement was relatively low; most people met the instructor's minimum requirements for commenting and left it at that.

Generally I found the level of online student engagement pretty high. Most modules had students who were committed to the set work and would use the Canvas platform to raise engaging and challenging issues for discussion if you wanted to participate that way.

It really depends on individuals and how much time they have available. I didn’t post many comments myself but was happy to think about ideas raised and use them for further study options. Some modules required specific engagement such as Shakesperience and this turned out to be my most rewarding module for this reason.

It has now been a couple of years since I completed the course so the situation may have changed, though.

Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

I chose the University of Birmingham as both the course and style of delivery suited my particular situation. Working full-time as a teacher in Kent meant that full-time studies were not possible for me and doing the course by distance learning meant I was not tied to a local university. The obvious expertise of the staff of The Shakespeare Institute was a big appeal too.

What, for you, are the best things about the course?

The best things about the course is its relevance to my professional work as a teacher but also, introducing me to aspects of Shakespeare study that were very unexpected. The quality of teaching could not be faulted. The ease at which I was able to access all course work and seminar sessions online was extremely helpful and made me feel I was part of this academic community although many miles away. The course structure also took account of my other commitments to allow me to study in the way that was best for me.

What has been the highlight of your time at Birmingham?

The highlight of my time was the module on Shakespeare and Pedagogy as this was the only module not done by distance learning. Attending lectures, workshops and sessions in Stratford for an intensive week and finally getting to meet others on my course was very exciting. Working with professionals from the RSC Education Department was inspirational. I even got to the theatre twice during the week.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?

My advice for others is to take the plunge. I had been out of studying at this level for a very long time and was not sure that I could cope academically at first. However, before the course began, study skills sessions and resources were available and this gave me the confidence to tackle the work presented to me. Being well organised is really helpful too, in managing coursework, essay deadlines and a full-time job and family commitments.

What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

My main motivation for undertaking post-graduate study was the desire to become really involved in one aspect of Drama rather than have a little knowledge about many different areas. I was also looking for a course which focused primarily on Drama and not education philosophy or management. My children were both now at university themselves and so I had the time to pursue my own interests.

Hi Andrea, I am a full time teacher considering a distance learning part time masters course and wondered whether you are doing yours in 2 or 3 years, and roughly how many hours of study per week you do?


I completed my course in 2 years as that suited me best.  It’s difficult to work out how many hours a week I spent on it as it depended on whether it was reading or essay writing.  I used Sundays for watching Panopto recordings of seminars and commenting on them and preparing for the next week’s session.  I would spend about an hour each evening reading in preparation for the sessions or essays.  I needed to be quite well organised to fit the essay writing around school holidays but it wasn’t too difficult if I kept on top of everything.  As my dissertation was directly linked to my teaching there were overlaps of time too.  I really enjoyed the experience and found it could be managed around full time teaching.  Good luck.