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Postgraduate Taught

MA Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year September 2024
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline English
Typical offer

View full entry requirements

2:2 Honours degree

Contextual offers


  • Specialise in Shakespeare and Renaissance studies whilst also deepening your knowledge across a wide range of optional modules
  • Develop an enhanced understanding of Renaissance literature in its historical and cultural contexts, and improve your communication and analytical skills
  • Taught by internationally recognised scholars specialising in Shakespeare and performance, Milton and Civil War writing, manuscript studies, and other areas.
  • Ideal for those interested in progressing to doctoral research
  • Exeter is an UNESCO City of Literature and you will have access to our outstanding Special Collections relating to English Literary Studies, The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum and our Digital Humanities Lab, as well as collections in Exeter Cathedral Library and Devon and Exeter Institute.

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View 2024 Entry

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Programme Director: Dr Rob Turner

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Our English research environment is 100% world leading

Based on 4* research environment submitted to REF 2021

Top 50 in the world for English Language and Literature

QS World University Subject Rankings 2024

A supportive interdisciplinary research community, with an active and welcoming Centre for Early Modern Studies.

Top 10 in the UK for English

9th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

Entry requirements

We are looking for graduates with a 2:2 Honours degree with 53% or above in their first degree in a relevant subject area. While we normally only accept applicants who meet this criteria, if you are coming from a different academic background which is equivalent to degree level, or have relevant work experience, we would welcome your application.

Applicants will be asked to submit a sample of academic work. We require roughly 2000 - 3000 words of prose (this could be in the form of a critical essay or part of a critical essay that you have already produced for an undergraduate degree).

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile E. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

Course content

This MA is devoted to the study of Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies and embraces the particular strengths of the Department of English and Creative Writing at Exeter. Students on this programme choose 60 credits of modules and a dissertation in Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies. Remaining credits can be selected from an expansive list of options. 

The programme is specifically designed for those seeking high level training prior to embarking on doctoral research, recent graduates wishing to extend and enhance their studies by a year before taking up a career, individuals already in employment who are interested in career development, and those who simply wish to broaden their intellectual horizons.

Please note that this course requires you to read and analyse complex English literary texts, but we do not teach English language skills on these modules. You will need a near-native level of English to participate fully in classes and complete assessments successfully.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

120 credits of compulsory modules and 60 credits of optional modules

Compulsory modules

All students must take EASM023 Dissertation, and take two of the three modules listed below

a - students must take two of the following three modules - EASM109, EASM191, EASM192

CodeModule Credits
EASM023 Dissertation 60
EASM109 Bodies Politic: Cultural and Sexual Politics in England, 1603-1679 [See note a above]30
EASM191 Environments of Early Modern Drama [See note a above]30
EASM192 Global Voices: Shakespeare and the Early Modern World [See note a above]30

Optional modules

Students must choose 60 credits of option modules

CodeModule Credits
MA ELS Shakespeare and Renaissance options 2024-5
EASM150 Empire, Decadence and Modernity: Literature 1870-1910 30
EASM151 Modernism and Material Culture 30
EASM157 The Literature of Cold War America 30
EASM169 Publishing and Power: Black and Asian Literary Networks in the UK 30
EASM180 Crossing Medieval Boundaries 30
EASM184 World Literature and Postcolonial Studies 30
EASM152 Criticism and Theory: Critical and Literary Theory in a Global Context 30
EASM167 World Cinema / World Literature 30
EASM171 Expanding Queerness: Critical Debates in Theory, Literature, Film and Television 30
EASM174 Writing Women in the English Middle Ages 30
EASM177 The Global Publishing Marketplace: Creating Audiences 30


2024/25 entry

UK fees per year:

£12,000 full-time; £6,000 part-time

International fees per year:

£24,300 full-time; £12,150 part-time


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students. This includes over £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*.

For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

Teaching and research

Learning and teaching

We believe in collaborative, small group learning and teaching for your modules will be delivered through seminar groups. Each module has one two-hour seminar per week, with independent work set that involves intensive, self-motivated research and writing.

You will be encouraged to discuss your ideas and interact with your fellow students and academic staff through visiting speaker seminar series, postgraduate conferences and activities organised by the Centre for Early Modern Studies. You will be expected to play an active role in debating and presenting your work. Throughout your programme you will develop and enhance your communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills.


On your modules you will be assisted by the coursework you produce such as critical essays, commentaries and literature reviews. The final assessment piece will be your dissertation, the culmination of your programme of study. You will conceive, plan, research and write an independent 15,000 word piece that will display your subject knowledge and methodological skills. The dissertation is your opportunity to explore a topic that interests you in greater detail, something which may form the basis of further research or other portfolio.

Research areas

When you study on the MA in Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies, you will join a world-leading English and Creative Writing Department that regularly hosts talks, workshops, and conferences spotlighting prestigious visiting speakers and the Department’s own experts. As members of our learning community, postgraduate students are warmly included in such events. These activities are coordinated by the Department’s many research groups and centres. You will benefit from staff at the forefront of their fields, stretching from medieval literature all the way up to contemporary culture.

Research Centres

Dedicated research centres and groupings within our department include:

Research Groups


You will join a vibrant postgraduate and research community. All our staff belong to one or more research group which plan and develop research initiatives across the humanities. Research activity is carried out collaboratively by staff at our Exeter and Cornwall Campuses.

The Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences also houses the Digital Humanities Lab, a state of the art facility offering unique spaces, equipment and training for staff and students. A specialist team conducts and supports innovative Digital Humanities research, offers training and teaching, and undertakes the digital preservation and display of historic material and artefacts using advanced technologies. For more information view our Digital Humanities Lab page.

At Exeter, research is at the heart of what we do, and we hope you will become an active member of our research community.

To find out more about our staff research interests have a look at our staff profile pages.

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A postgraduate degree in English equips you with a range of skills that will put you in a great position to succeed in a variety of careers. Alongside in-depth subject knowledge, you will develop advanced and highly transferable skills in researching; analysing and assessing primary and secondary sources; written and verbal communication; managing and interpreting information; developing ideas and arguments; teamwork; problem solving and the ability to make informed decisions. For some of our students the MA is a step on the path to doctoral study, for others it opens a range of career paths in areas such as teaching, publishing, media, journalism, advertising and communications.

In recent years the positions some of our graduates have gone on to include:

  • Copywriter
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Assistant Editor
  • Publishing Assistant
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Freelance Journalist
  • Writer

Careers and employment support

While studying at Exeter you can also access a range of activities, advice and practical help to give you the best chance of following your chosen career path. For more information visit our Careers pages.

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