You might think that in an age dominated by computer games, Pop Idol, and the action thrillers that pour out of Hollywood, interest in the works of William Shakespeare would be on the wane. Not a bit of it - you only have to look at the number of his plays that were performed last year across the world to realise that Shakespeare is going through something of a renaissance.
And you'll be pleased to note that the postgraduate sector is doing its bit. There are a handful of universities providing dedicated MAs to study the bard and his work, but the two headline courses are arguably those offered by Birmingham and King's College London. So what can you expect?Those signing on at Birmingham will spend most of the year at its Shakespeare Institute in Stratford upon Avon.
Its course breaks down into two main areas of study - the analysis of Shakespeare and his work in the context of the society in which he lived, including a detailed exploration of Shakespeare's Stratford; and the dramatic social and cultural change he would have been influenced by. Students can also expect to learn research skills relating to the study of Shakespeare, which covers topics such as bibliography and criticism. They even get some instruction in palaeography - the reading of early modern handwriting - and the chance to work on early documents.
If that all sounds rather theoretical for you and you would prefer to study at the Globe Theatre in London, King's College London offers an equally interesting syllabus that focuses more on the performance of Shakespeare's plays. Students have the chance to work with actors, directors, set-designers and costumiers in "order to develop an understanding of the ways in which the plays have been presented both then and now". At St Andrews the year is made up of four core areas of study: literary research, Shakespeare and the English renaissance, the reception of Shakespeare (1660-1900), and Shakespeare in the twentieth century.
Most of the course providers are looking for a first degree in English, history, or in some cases drama, and it goes without saying that this is not the most vocational postgrad course you could choose. That said, many students use the masters as a springboard to a PhD, and a host of jobs in academia. There are plenty of teaching posts at universities in the US, and there are opportunities here to work for educational trusts taking Shakespeare into schools and the like.
There are also some jobs in theatre, although this is harder to quantify Need to order a college shakespeare studies essay 3 hours Editing Premium Popular personal essay writers for hire usa buy astronomy presentation write my .
Finally, it's worth noting that there are a host of universities offering MAs in the English renaissance if you decide that Shakespearean studies are too narrow a field. These cover the whole social and literary movement that occurred at the time - and would probably enable you to come up with a reasonable idea of whether Shakespeare actually wrote any of his plays.