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Masterclass Days at St Mary's University

The St Mary’s Schools and Colleges team, in collaboration with academic departments, are delighted to offer a wide range of Masterclass Days to learners considering applying, or have applied, to university.

Each offered event includes workshops specific to that subject area, giving learners a chance to experience seminars, lectures, and sessions at university level. Our Masterclasses are great if students are looking to include extra academic evidence on their personal statement application or are keen to prepare themselves for university discussion this coming September. Delivered by St Mary’s expert academic staff and supported by our current students, learners will have the opportunity to ask all the questions they need prior to attending or applying to university.

These day events usually run between 10am-2.30pm, but we are more than happy to be flexible. They are suitable for post-16 learners and can be hosted at St Mary’s University all year round.

If you’d like to book a cohort or class to attend one of the below opportunities, please do reach out to us at

From H G Wells to Aldous Huxley, George Orwell and beyond, writers have imagined dystopias in order to express anxieties, to satirise, and to critique aspects of contemporary society. This day-long session is designed to introduce students to University-level study in the humanities and encourage students studying dystopian fiction at A Level to develop extended understandings of key texts, their historical and cultural backgrounds, and their relationship to other media forms during the period. Interactive sessions will guide students through the following topics:

  • dystopian fiction and its cultural and historical contexts (from Fritz Lang to Aldous Huxley)
  • dystopian fiction and its literary contexts (Huxley, Orwell, and beyond)
  • writing dystopian fiction (creative writing workshop).

The 1960s was a decade of great change in Britain, across society, politics, and culture. Students on this workshop will explore the different approaches and sources that University-level study of the period involves, as well as considering some of the principle historical debates that have shaped how we think about the decade. Through a series of interactive sessions delivered by members of faculty, students will explore the following topics:  

  • Britain in the 1960s: continuity, change, and historical interpretation  
  • the making of multi-racial Britain: restrictionism and race relations  
  • the ‘Swinging Sixties’: popular culture and historical change.

The best known and most studied dynasty in the History of the British Monarchy – for good reason! The Tudor period saw religious dispute, courtly intrigue, and political transformation, offering both profound constitutional legacies and a window into a world that remains fundamentally different from the present day. This day-long workshop will introduce students to University-level study of the Tudor regime and its historical context, covering the principle historical debates, making use of relevant sources, and considering its impact in literature and culture. Sessions will include:  

  • Tudor Britain: rulers, resistance, and crises in governance 
  • sources and approaches in the study of Tudor Britain
  • Tudor rule, literature, and propaganda.

Come and discover Shakespeare with fresh eyes. Explore the historical and cultural context of his plays, and discover new themes and aspects of his writing, from food to love and emotions. Bring Shakespeare to life through performance. This day-long session is guaranteed to give your students new insight into, and enthusiasm form, the work of the bard. Sessions will include:  

  • Shakespeare: his life, times, and context  
  • reading Shakespeare at University (a session in close literary analysis exploring a theme such as food or love in one of his plays)
  • performing Shakespeare (a facilitated session allowing students to consider the connection between performance and meaning in Shakespeare’s’ plays).

Discover Gothic literature and culture in the home of the Gothic. Ranging from Horace Walpole’s classic, Castle of Otranto, to contemporary film and fiction, this study day will explore key themes in Gothic literature and culture. With sufficient notice, tours of Strawberry Hill House can be facilitated, allowing students to understand the connections between Walpole’s writing and the enduringly influential aesthetics of Gothic revivalism. Sessions will include:  

  • Horace Walpole, Castle of Otranto, and the invention of Gothic  
  • tour of Strawberry Hill House (subject to availability)  
  • Gothic legacies and contemporary literature and film.