Referencing early modern English play texts alongside contemporary records, accounts and statutes, this study offers an overdue assessment of the relationship between the dramatic efforts of the universities and early modern male identity. Taking into account the near single-sex constitution of early modern universities, the book argues that performances of university plays, and student responses to them, were key ways of exploring and shaping early modern masculinity. Christopher Marlow shows how the plays dealt with their academic and social contexts, and analyses their responses to competing versions of masculinity. He also considers the implications of university authority and royal patronage for scholarly performances of masculinity; the effect of the literary traditions of classical friendship and platonic love on academic representations of male behaviour; and the relationship between university drama and masculine initiation rituals. Including discussion of the Parnassus trilogy, Club Law and works by Thomas Randolph, William Cartwright, John Milton and others, this study shines new light on long neglected aspects of the golden age of English drama.