This is a question about available courses.  I hope REED-Lers will not feel
that it is inappropriate to post it here, and apologise if anybody does.

Please E-Mail any responses to these questions directly to me at
[log in to unmask] , as I do not think they are likely to be of
interest to the list as a whole.

Does anybody know of any Universities or Colleges that run stand-alone
courses (without requiring a student to enrol for a full Degree course, and
without requiring graduate status) that could give academic credit for
research work (something like a long essay, thesis or dissertation) on
Renaissance Theatrical, Literary or Historical topics?  Or even courses that
would supervise such research without awarding academic credit?

Alternatively, does anybody know of any Universities or Colleges that run
stand-alone courses on Theatrical, Literary or Historical topics - from any
period - that give academic credit at the equivalent to a CATS level 2 (the
British "Credit Accumulation and Transfer System" at the level of the 2nd
year of a 3 year degree; so I suppose an equivalent would be the 2nd or 3rd
year of a four year non-British degree)?

I should perhaps explain exactly what I am looking for, although I do not
know whether it exists.  I am a 29 year old "mature" Part-Time undergraduate
student at the University of Kent.  I have just completed enough work to
obtain a "Certificate in English Literature" (a 2 year Part-Time course,
equivalent to the First Year of a Full-Time British 3 year BA) which, unless
some problem arises, I will be granted in June 2003 (although I finished the
necessary work in December), but health problems which are affecting my
ability to work mean that I will not be able to return to the next stage of
the course (the Diploma - equivalent to the 2nd year of a Full-Time British
3 year BA) until September 2004 at the earliest.  This leaves me with a gap
of almost two years without being able to work on my formal degree course.

If it is possible, I would like to be able to take an additional course (to
keep myself in practice and test my recovery) which - if I am successful
despite my health problems - I could add to my CV or even use by Credit
Transfer as part of my University of Kent Diploma, but which would not
affect my University of Kent qualification if I was forced to drop out or
received a poor mark as a result of my illness.  As far as I am aware the
Continuing Education departments of most British Universities only offer
CATS "Level 1" courses, which are the equivalent to modules from the First
Year of a Full-Time British BA degree, and do not offer anything equivalent
to the Second Year of a Full-Time degree or above.  The only exception to
this rule that I know of is Birkbeck University's "Diploma" courses - which
are both level 2 and can be based on research work, but which unfortunately
require a Birkbeck Certificate as pre-qualification, which I do not possess.

I live in Kent, England, a short journey from London, and courses that would
be most useful to me would either be within travelling distance (although as
far as I know no such courses are run at any of the local Universities) or
would have limited residential requirements (I might be able to attend a
Summer School, or a course that only required a week or two of residency for
a module and was otherwise based on distance learning - even if these were
based in other countries - but anything requiring full-time residence away
from Kent for a term or a year would be unrealistic).

I would be particularly interested in courses - at whatever academic level -
that allowed me to carry out a research project of same kind based on
Renaissance Drama or related Literary or Historical topics, or courses
equivalent to CATS "Level 2" that I could possibly transfer to my Kent
degree.  Due to my health problems, I am unlikely to be able to cope with 3
hour examinations or the equivalent, and would hope to be able to find
courses which were assessed on coursework or similar submissions.

I realise that I am probably looking for the impossible, and that no course
is likely to exactly fit my rather exacting requirements, but I would be
very grateful if anybody could suggest anything that might even possibly be
suitable, or any similar alternatives.

Thomas Larque.

"Shakespeare and His Critics"