Shakespeare and Renaissance Literary Culture (MLitt) 2023 entry

The MLitt in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literary Culture offers a course of study that takes in one of the most exciting and formative periods in European history, and centres on the key writer in the English literary tradition: William Shakespeare.

Unavailable for 2023 entry

The Shakespeare and Renaissance Literary Culture programme will not be available for 2023 entry. It is expected that this programme will be available again for those starting their studies in September 2024. Please register your interest to be updated when information is available. 

Duration
One year full time
School
School of English

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • Supplementary application to School of English (Word)
  • CV or résumé - this should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date. 
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic writing on a Renaissance topic (2,000 words) 
  • two original signed academic references 
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates 

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MLitt in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literary Culture is an intensive one-year taught programme run by the School of English. The course offers an all-round introduction to the literature of the 16th and 17th centuries, with particular focus on the work of William Shakespeare. 

Highlights 

  • Covers both elite and popular writing, the influence of other continental vernaculars, and the importance of print and manuscript media.  
  • Expert paleography classes are offered within the School, and students have access to unique manuscript materials provided by the University’s Special Collections.  
  • Develop your skills as a researcher within a specific area of study by taking special topic modules in manuscript, print, speech and the editing of Renaissance texts.  
  • Become part of a welcoming and lively academic community. St Andrews is a consortium member of the Folger Shakespeare Library Institute in Washington DC and also hosts a number of research groups relevant to the English Renaissance. 
  • Explore the key developments in modern and contemporary literary studies in dialogue with leading scholars in the fields of Shakespeare studies, Shakespearean book history, Renaissance popular literature and 17th-century literary culture. 

Further course information

Modules

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details about each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue, which is for the 2022-2023 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2023 entry. 

  • Literary Research: Skills and Resources: trains students in the understanding and use of the essential skills and resources of research in English Studies; it also provides preparation for the MLitt dissertation. 

and at least three of: 

  • The Continental Renaissance: investigates the relationship between English and European writing of the period.  
  • Learned Culture: Rhetoric, Politics and Identity: explores the influence of Renaissance humanism and the implications of its distinctive interest in rhetoric for 16th and 17th-century culture. 
  • Renaissance Popular Culture: looks at the popular culture of the period: popular festivity, clowning, jestbooks, ballads, romances and grotesquerie. 
  • Shakespeare and Textual Culture: considers the material contexts of Renaissance literary production, including manuscript, print, speech and the editing of Renaissance texts. 

Students will choose either one or two optional modules out of the following three choices: 

  • Special Topic in English Studies: a directed reading programme which allows students to explore topics in greater depth than is possible in compulsory modules. 
  • a core module from another English MLitt (see module catalogue). 
  • an approved postgraduate-level module outwith the School of English (arranged independently with another school such as Classics, Modern Languages, Divinity or Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies). 

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University's position on curriculum development). 

Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August.  

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt. 

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Taught modules consist of weekly seminars and cover both elite and popular writing, the influence of other continental vernaculars, and the importance of print and manuscript media. Class sizes typically range from three to ten students. 

During the course of the year, but with particular focus during the last four months, students will research and write a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choosing. 

Modules are assessed through coursework essays. 

The School of English prides itself on its support of student work through detailed feedback and commentary. 

Events

The School of English hosts research events through its four research groups: 

The School of English normally also hosts an annual colloquium. Recent themes have been: 

  • Reading Scotland before 1707
  • Reimagining Andrew Marvell: The Poet at 400  
  • The English Legal Imaginary, 1500-1700 
  • Bannockburn, 1914: Anniversary culture, war and national identity in Scotland 
  • Opera and Fiction 
  • World Literature and Dissent 
  • (Un)Civil War? 
  • John Keats and Romantic Scotland 
  • Libraries in Literature 
  • Devouring Men: Food, Masculinity and Power. 

The Postgraduate Forum offers postgraduates the opportunity to present research in progress to a group of their peers.  

Fees

Home
£11,120

Overseas
£23,530

More information on tuition fees can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Find out more about the scholarships and postgraduate loans available.

All School of English study applicants will be given access to the My Application portal. The Scholarships and Funding area of the portal includes an online catalogue through which you can apply for available relevant awards.  

All taught postgraduate scholarships

After your degree

Careers

Graduates of the course go on to pursue careers in a range of sectors including journalism, marketing, publishing and teaching. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.


Further study

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews.  

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literary Culture. 

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate virtual days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

Phone
+44 (0)1334 46 2668
Email
pgeng@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address
School of English
Castle House
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

School of English website