A distinctive feature of the course is its close engagement with the works themselves and with what they say now about our world as well as what they reveal about Shakespeare’s.The critical, historical and theoretical issues raised by his plays and poetry are allowed to emerge out of your direct encounter with them, rather than being prescribed in advance as avenues of approach.
The Shakespeare programme is offered at the Royal Holloway University of London. The principal aim of this course is to study the full range of Shakespeare’s dramatic and poetic works more closely and comprehensively than is possible at undergraduate level, while also allowing you to focus in depth on a single major play.
The MA is designed to provide you with both breadth of coverage and depth of focus, and the course is ideal whether you wish to pursue research at PhD level or simply wish to develop your knowledge of Shakespeare and your critical skills.
The Department has an impressive record for placing graduates in academic jobs and in prominent positions outside academia. In the field of Shakespeare and Renaissance studies alone, our postgraduates have recently secured positions at the Universities of Edinburgh, Sussex and Leeds, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National University of Ireland. The English Department also prepares postgraduates for successful careers in a variety of other areas, such as teaching, writing and journalism, administration and marketing.
You will study the two core course units and complete a dissertation under the supervision of one of the course tutors.
The Works: Plays & Poetry
This unit spans Shakespeare’s entire career as a dramatist and poet. You will explore in detail, through close reading and class discussion, every kind of play he wrote and his greatest poetry, engaging throughout with the most important recent critical accounts of them. After focusing on the romantic comedies, the key history plays and the Sonnets, you will go on to explore the problem plays, the major tragedies and the haunting romances Shakespeare wrote at the end of his career.
King Lear: Critical Debate & Creative Response
This is an intensive study of Shakespeare’s supreme tragic masterpiece, the critical controversies it has provoked, and the diverse ways in which it has been adapted and transformed since Shakespeare’s time, on stage and on screen as well as in later fiction, poetry and drama.
The dissertation (12,000—15,000 words) is designed to test your ability to handle a complex 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 unit, or be on any Shakespearean topic approved by your dissertation supervisor.
You can apply until:
Always verify the dates on the programme website.
You only need to take one of these language tests:
The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.Take IELTS test
StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more
The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).
We also directly support 100 postgraduate students through a variety of scholarships, bursaries and assistantships. Our sources of funding page gives you a full list and eligibility criteria for these awards, which vary in the level of funding provided. Some cover both tuition fees and living expenses in full: others make a contribution towards a portion of the cost of study. In some cases, a combination of funding is possible, for example if a Departmental Assistantship is held with a Research Scholarship.
As well as our awards, a wide range of funding is open to postgraduate students from different sources. Competition for these awards is intense and there are often strict deadlines. Our Directors of Graduate Studies in each department will offer guidance on how to make an application.We also provide financial advice and support to ensure your time here is as stress-free as possible when it comes to money.
StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
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