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PhD/MA by Research Shakespeare Studies (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

By taking the Shakespeare Studies (On-Campus or by Distance Learning) programme at University of Birmingham, you will join a lively and close-knit postgraduate community, taking part in a range of activities including weekly seminars and play readings, and an annual international conference organised by students for students.

Quick Facts

Full-time Duration: PhD – 3 years
MLitt – 2 years
MA by Research – 1 year
Starting in: January, September
Tuition Fee: £20,820 full-time
£10,410 per year part-time
Location: Online

You can study our programmes full-time or part-time. Both the PhD and MA by Research are offered on campus or by distance learning. The College of Arts and Law is experienced in delivering high quality distance learning to students all over the world.

The Institute offers three options for postgraduate research in Shakespeare Studies, whether you are looking to complete your academic studies with a PhD or to pursue Masters-level research following an undergraduate degree in a related field. To find out more about what to expect from your research degree, please read our detailed guidance.

There are dedicated research courses for MA students; PhD students have research sessions alongside their graduate seminars. Specialist training is offered as necessary – we have expertise in editing and palaeography, as well as theoretical, educational, historical, digital, philosophical and EDI approaches to Shakespeare. All students are warmly invited to attend the weekly Thursday seminar in which leading academics or practitioners share their cutting edge work (after which we all have tea together).

Programme Structure:

  • The Shakespeare Institute offers a very large range of expertise from theoretical to practical, as well as a vast library of resources to rely on for my research.
  • Being immersed in a Shakespeare-focused environment, not just at the Institute but also in Stratford-upon-Avon, helps in discovering and understanding the historical contexts of Shakespeare’s works.

“The transition from undergrad to postgrad can be a big step up in terms of workload and what is expected of you, but there is so much support available to you as a postgrad student, from academic writing support (if you’ve been out of education for a few years or just want a bit of extra help) to mental health and wellbeing services. The careers support is fantastic – the uni puts on employer fairs throughout the year and you have access to one on one support from the Careers Network team, who can help you develop your skills ready for your next step!”

Emma Sutton // PhD Psychology


The Shakespeare Studies (On-Campus or by Distance Learning) programme at University of Birmingham will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University’s Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.


The requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK, usually in a relevant area.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent), usually in a relevant area.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

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