The Applied Shakespeare graduate certificate is an interdisciplinary program offered in partnership with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the departments of English and Theatre & Dance. Explore acting, directing, interpreting, and teaching Shakespeare in an immersive context with your peers.

This program is designed to benefit a wide range of students:

  • Lifelong Shakespeare enthusiasts enroll for a deeper dive into Shakespeare’s plays, a behind-the-scenes look at Shakespeare in production, and an opportunity to consider new ways in which Shakespeare might apply to their own careers and lives
  • Teachers take away new tools for making Shakespeare fun, accessible and engaging in their classrooms
  • Theatre artists enroll to learn more about the innovative work that other theatre arts practitioners are doing in their communities

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Certificate Program

The program is delivered in a hybrid online and in-person format. Complete the certificate in two semesters, with one online course in the spring and one in the summer, plus a one-week summer intensive with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival:

 Meets Mondays 3 - 5 pm Mountain Time, January 22 - April 29, 2024
 Taught by Associate Professor Teresa Nugent
 Three credits
 This course focuses on answering the question: What is Applied Shakespeare? You analyze and discuss plays featured in Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s upcoming season. You also spend time brainstorming initial ideas for your individual capstone projects. Previous guest artists have included CSF Artistic Director Timothy Orr and Managing Director Wendy Franz, as well as directors of the summer season’s productions.

 Meets Mondays 3 - 5 pm Mountain Time, May 6 - July 15, 2024
 Taught by Associate Professor of Theatre Kevin Rich
 Three credits
 This course focuses on examining Applied Shakespeare in the community, education, and new work. You learn more about the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s season from its directors, dramaturgs, and designers and begin developing your own Applied Shakespeare capstone project. Previous guest artists have included Curt Tofteland (Shakespeare Behind Bars), Nancy Smith-Watson (Feast of Crispian), Sarah Enloe (American Shakespeare Center), and Kevin McClatchy (Shakespeare and Autism at OSU).

 Meets Sunday through Sunday all day, July 28 - August 4, 2024 (dates subject to change)
 Three credits
 This course offers a variety of hands-on master classes taught by CU Boulder faculty and CSF guest artists, which include acting, directing, voice, pedagogy, and guest lectures. You have the opportunity to watch rehearsals and performances for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and have in-depth discussions of individual Applied Shakespeare capstone projects.

Capstone Project

The program culminates in the completion of your own Applied Shakespeare capstone project, in which you create a presentation, workshop, paper, solo performance or script that intersects Shakespeare with a topic, specific population, or social issue of your choosing. You have up to one month following the intensive to complete and submit your individual capstone project.

Online courses meet synchronously to facilitate discussion, but recordings of each class are posted in Canvas and available for review following the scheduled class time for students unavailable for real-time classes.

Standalone Courses

You also have the option to take any course independently of the certificate program for three graduate credits per course. Dive into a particular facet of applied Shakespeare or test out the program before committing. If you are interested in this option, please email us at

Teaching Shakespeare is another course available to students interested in learning how to make Shakespeare accessible to all students. It is offered online each fall semester. The course can be used to supplement the in-person one week summer intensive if you would like to make the certificate a fully online experience; however, the availability of this course depends on sufficient enrollment.

Meets Mondays 3 - 5 pm Mountain Time, August 26 - December 9, 2024
 Taught by CSF Director of Outreach Amanda Giguere
 Three credits
 This course focuses on pedagogies, lesson plans, and exercises for making Shakespeare accessible for students of all ages and across multiple content.

How to Apply 

You can apply to a certificate program as a degree-seeking or non degree student. In either case, you must possess an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.

Non Degree Students

If you intend to pursue a certificate exclusively (and not as part of a degree), complete the Continuing Education non degree certificate application which includes:

  1. Unofficial Transcript - documenting completion of an undergraduate degree.    

  2. Statement of Purpose - one page in length (this is your writing sample).

Note: Please include in your statement whether you are applying for: a) the hybrid online/in person graduate certificate including THTR 7004 (the on-campus summer intensive); or b) the entirely online graduate certificate including Teaching Shakespeare in lieu of THTR 7004. If you wish to take any course as a standalone, three-credit course (rather than the full certificate), please DO NOT apply using the link below. Instead, email a statement of interest directly to the program director at

  1. Reference Contact Information – a message will be sent to your academic or professional reference requesting a letter of recommendation.

Complete the Certificate Application Form. (Application is available on June 6, 2023.)

The application deadline for the 2024 program is December 1, 2023.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. You will be notified of a decision via email as soon as your application is reviewed by the program director. Your completed application will be reviewed by the program director and you will be notified of the decision via email.

Degree-seeking Students

Students who wish to add a certificate to their graduate degree program must contact their department to discuss the process.


The program tuition is $665 per credit hour or $5,985 for the nine-credit program. This cost applies to both Colorado resident and non-resident students.

Financial aid or scholarships are not available for this certificate program, however, we do offer a four-month payment plan for students who enroll prior to January 4, 2024. To learn more, visit this page and scroll down to Spring 2024 information. 

Have Questions?

If you have questions about the program or the application, contact us at We are here to help!

Additional Programming

In addition to our nine-credit certificate, we offer other ways for you to engage with Shakespeare at CU Boulder.

Applied Shakespeare Weekend Comprehensive at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival 

On Coursera: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet: An Actor's Perspective