Theatre and Drama Studies (BA): 4-year, part-time

Are you passionate about live performance and theatre practice? Would you like to study in central London, at the heart of the city’s vibrant theatre culture? BA Theatre and Drama Studies at Birkbeck will enable you to investigate the theatre in all its aspects: as live performance, as dramatic text, in its historical contexts, and through a range of practices and ideas that have informed the making and understanding of theatre.

Alongside academic explorations of theatre history, theory and practice, you will create new performance work as a group. Whether devised from scratch, staging text, responding to a site, or working under the directorship of a guest artist, your work will ask questions about the world we live in.

To complement your study of theatre, you can choose options in English literature, arts and humanities, creative writing and arts management. Throughout your degree, your work will be informed by visits to some of the world’s most exciting theatre institutions, asking questions about how theatre is presented in London now. BA Theatre and Drama Studies at Birkbeck does not offer actor training, but the chance to experiment with practices and ideas, to create theatre with a group of like-minded people, and to gain access to knowledge with world-leading academics and artists working in the theatre industry today.

This course is also available for full-time evening study over three years.

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked fourth best in London and 18th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2017-2018 World University Subject Rankings.
  • In the 2017 National Student Survey, our English courses came top in London and third in the country for overall course satisfaction.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality.
  • You could be studying in a building that was once home to Virginia Woolf and frequented by members of the Bloomsbury Group - now home to our School of Arts - and be taught by leading novelists, dramatists and artists. The building houses our own creative hub which includes the Peltz Gallery, the Gordon Square Cinema and a theatre and performance space. Join us for Arts Week 2018, 14-18 May.
  • Based at the heart of one of the world's most exciting cities, we combine lectures, seminars and workshops with visits to theatres and other cultural and artistic institutions, and we frequently collaborate with leading arts, cultural, theatre and dance and performing arts organisations, allowing you to ground your studies in real-world practice. You will be able to attend events and seminars hosted by the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre, enabling you to hear about and experience the latest research and practice from leading scholars and practitioners in the field. 
  • Read the Department of English and Humanities blog to keep up to date with our research activities.

Course structure

During this course you will study theatre and drama practices, theories, institutions, companies and artists from across the world, from Ancient Greece to the present day. You will also receive essential training in performance analysis, theatre and performance history, cultural theory and research methods. Options allow you to study specific subjects in depth, for example, tragedy, the body, arts management, cinema, journalism, museum studies, playwriting, seventeenth-century drama, and contemporary theatre and performance in London. Option modules are drawn from subjects across the School of Arts, including arts and humanities, English, creative writing, and film and media studies.

In Year 1, you take two compulsory modules and write a portfolio on Theatre in London.

In Year 2, you take three compulsory modules and write a portfolio on Theatre in London.

In Year 3, you take one compulsory module, write a portfolio on Theatre in London, and choose two option modules.

In Year 4, you complete an independent research project, write a portfolio on Theatre in London, and choose one option module.

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

    Module groups

    Year 1 compulsory modules

    Year 2 compulsory modules

    Year 3 compulsory modules

    Year 4 compulsory modules

    Option modules

    This programme is not designed to equip you with vocational performance skills or to provide technical training. However, it will develop significantly your knowledge of the histories and ideas of theatre in London through lectures, seminars and workshops.

    • Entry Requirements

      Entry requirements

      We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

      Alternative entry routes

      Access to Higher Education Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in humanities units.

      Credits gained on certain Certificates of Higher Education may be considered towards the degree.

      International entry requirements

      If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

      If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

      Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

      Visa requirements

      If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

      The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

      • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
      • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
      • Pre-sessional English language courses.

      International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

      For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

      Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

      If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

      Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

    • Fees

      Fees

      Part-time home/EU students: £ 6935 pa
      Part-time international students: £10025 pa

      Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

      Tuition fee and maintenance loans

      Eligible full-time and part-time students from the UK and the EU don’t have to pay any tuition fees upfront, as government loans are available to cover them.

      Maintenance loans are also available for eligible full-time and part-time UK students, to assist with covering living costs, such as accommodation, food, travel, books and study materials. From 2018, maintenance loans are available to part-time students for the first time. The amount you receive is means-tested and depends on where you live and study and your household income.

      Find out more about tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time and part-time students at Birkbeck.

    • Teaching and assessment

      Teaching

      At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

      Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

      Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

      In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

      Methods of teaching on this course

      During this course you will learn by engaging with theatre and drama studies through a variety of modes, including lectures. In seminars, you will analyse and discuss plays and performances. In group workshops, you will explore skills in theatre and drama towards the realisation of group performance projects. You will also learn through developing independent research projects with the support of staff, theatre visits and in class with guest speakers from the theatre industry. You will also access public events hosted by the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre.

      Contact hours

      On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

      On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

      On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

      The following information gives an indication of how many contact hours you can expect for each year of this course:

      Year Contact hours
      1 90
      2 135
      3 117
      4 72

      Timetables

      Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

      Indicative class size

      Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

      Independent learning

      On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

      Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

      On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

      Study skills and additional support

      Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

      • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
      • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
      • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

      Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

      Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

      Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

      Assessment

      Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

      Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

      Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

      Methods of assessment on this course

      Assessment is through a combination of essays, research essays, group presentations, performance presentations, group vivas, individual vivas and written portfolios.

      Breakdown of assessment on this course

      The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework will often depend on the option modules you choose. The approximate percentages for this course are as follows:

      Year % Exams % Practical % Coursework
      1 0 30 70
      2 0 13 87
      3 0 33 67
      4 0 17 83
    • Careers and employability

      Careers and employability

      Graduates can pursue careers in education, theatre or the media and creative arts. This degree may also be useful in becoming a journalist, arts administrator, charity officer, theatre director or higher education lecturer.

      We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

      Graduate Destinations

      Average salary six months after the course: £27000

      Go on to work and/or study:

      Go on to work and/or study
      Now working: 55%
      Doing further study: 0%
      Studying and working: 0%
      Unemployed: 5%
      Other: 40%

      Read more of the statistics for this course on the Unistats website.

    • How to apply

      How to apply

      You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link.

      Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

      Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

      Application deadlines and interviews

      We accept applications throughout the academic year, with final interviews for entrance at the end of September.

      Applicants are selected by application and may also be asked to provide a sample of written work or to attend an interview.