Postgraduate opportunities with The Shakespeare Institute

This online chat event is designed to inform prospective postgraduate students, applicants and offer holders about study opportunities and how to prepare for your course at the Shakespeare Institute:

Being based in the heart of Stratford upon Avon, the Shakespeare Institute enjoys close and developing relations with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. It has its own purpose-built world-class research library, run by a priceless team of expert librarians. It plays host to the most prestigious international Shakespeare conference in the world.

Dr Erin Sullivan (Senior Lecturer and Tutor for Distance Learning at The Shakespeare Institute) will be available for the Live Q&A between 15:00-16:00.

Fourteen of our postgraduate mentors have studied at the Shakespeare Institute:

You are welcome to ask them any questions you have about what it’s like to work in the School.

More Information on Postgraduate study at the Shakespeare Institute

View related Virtual Tour

Speaker profiles

  • Dr Erin Sullivan

    Erin is a Senior Lecturer and Tutor for Distance Learning at The Shakespeare Institute. (Live Q&A 15:00-16:00)

Q&A Archive

These were the questions asked during the Postgraduate opportunities with The Shakespeare Institute live event.

We’ve come to the end of our Q&A session today. Thank you very much to everyone who took part – I hope we managed to be of assistance and provide the information that you were looking for.

We will hold many more of these online chat events over the coming months so please check www.pg.bham.ac.uk now and again to see what we’ve got lined up for the future. If you’d like to visit our campus (in real life!), our next Postgraduate Open Day will take place on Saturday 23 November 2019. We also run bespoke campus tours throughout term time and Cafés at which you can meet current students.

Helen Russell asked:

No question this time, just want to say thank you for your patience and detail. I have North Face of Shakespeare, as well as many, many other RSC teaching guides etc – I can’t visit the RSC without buying something, and as a Patron, I visit a lot! Thanks for your help, I’m feeling more prepared to tackle the writing sample now.

Erin replied:

Wonderful! Please do apply. You sound like you’re an excellent candidate for the programme. Good luck with the writing sample.

Helen Russell asked:

Would you be able to give examples of scholarly research – I’ve read widely in what might be called “pop” Shakespeare: Jonathon Bate, James Shapiro etc. I assume their popular books are written for the lay reader rather than experts though. Any challenging titles or authors you could recommend? Thanks in advance.

Erin replied:

For the application writing sample, books by Bate and Shapiro would be fine, even if they are written for broader audiences. For the MA Shakespeare and Education you could also draw on pedagogic research if you have read any studies as part of your professional work and training. James Stredder’s The North Face of Shakespeare, or publications from the Globe/RSC relating to teaching, would also be appropriate. If there is a particular topic that you are curious about then let me know and I can try to recommend more targeted readings in that area.

Helen Russell asked:

I haven’t applied yet but want to apply for the Shakespeare & Education MA before this year’s deadline. My degree is BA joint hons Drama & Technical Theatre and I have 10+ years teaching experience as Head of Drama – but my degree was a 2:2. Is there anything I need to consider when applying that can help my application, and is it still possible for me to apply? Thanks

Erin replied:

I would definitely encourage you to apply. We take professional experience into consideration when we look at applications, and we have definitely accepted candidates whose qualifications are somewhat different from our standard requirements. I would suggest that you spend some time in your personal statement talking about your experiences as a teacher and as head of drama, and also that you give special attention to the writing sample that you are asked to submit as part of the application. The writing sample is a particularly important part of what we might call ‘non-standard’ applications. Try to include some references to scholarly research, and do your best to cite them using an academic citation style (like MLA). This will help show that you understand some of the conventions of academic writing and research. We will teach you more about these on the course, but a certain baseline knowledge is needed to begin. In terms of application deadlines, if you are UK/EU based, or if you are interested in the distance learning option, then there is still time to apply for this year. I would just encourage you to get your application in as soon as possible.

Helen Russell asked:

Is there a reading list that can be accessed prior to the start of the course, and would it be useful to start this reading before the course starts?

Erin replied:

Hi Helen, thanks for your question. A suggested reading list is usually sent out to applicants who have accepted their offer of a place on one of our MAs in mid/late summer. If you haven’t yet received this (and you have accepted your offer), then it will probably be coming soon. We don’t expect students to complete extensive preliminary reading, however. Generally speaking we would encourage you to revisit as many of Shakespeare’s plays as you can, either through reading them or through performance (stage or film). There are also some good, higher-level introductory books that you might find helpful: the Oxford Companions (to Shakespeare, Shakespeare and Performance, etc.) are usually a good bet.