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Application options include:

Full-time Part-time
On campus

Course Overview

Our MA Dramaturgy combines artistic development with academic study to offer you a unique opportunity to explore the theory and practice of dramaturgy. It will help build your career prospects in theatre, performance and the creative industries, develop your creative and critical skills, deepen your contextual and cultural understanding, sharpen your professional goals and make valuable connections within the industry.

Why choose this course?

  • This course benefits from both the wide-ranging expertise of our academic staff and our broader network of professional performers, writers, directors, producers and dramaturgs, including via a partnership with the UK’s Dramaturgs’ Network.
  • It includes a full programme of workshops from guest artists, dramaturgs and writers. In recent years, this has included notables such as Tim Crouch, Lou Cope, Zoe Svensden, and the team at Battersea Arts Centre and the Dramaturgs’ Network, who have been able to give unrivalled insights into their creative processes and guidance on pursuing a professional career in the sector.
  • It is ideal if you are a theatre or performance maker or producer seeking to develop your creative skills and deepen your understanding of contemporary theatre, performance and participatory art practice.

What you will learn

On this MA Dramaturgy you will explore the important role of dramaturgs across all areas of performance, including staging, scriptwriting, programming and audience engagement. Combining practice and theory you will develop your potential as a practitioner and thinker by working in theatre, performance and the arts, including text, live, digital and screen-based arts. You will also strengthen your knowledge of critical theories of performance and spectatorship, key areas of debate within the theatre and performance sectors, and the wider artistic, social and political contexts into which these fit.

How you will learn

You will learn through workshops, seminars and lectures (which may sometimes be offered online). In workshops you will have the opportunity to work creatively, producing dramaturgical concepts, scripts and other materials to support artistic development and learning from leading industry figures. Seminars will combine independent research and reading with discussion and dialogue, while lectures will address key historical debates and ideas. Your degree will culminate in a major independent dissertation project, including the opportunity to perform at our partner company, Camden People’s Theatre.

Discover the career opportunities available by taking Dramaturgy (MA).

Key information and modules

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  • You will have the chance to engage with the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre, including through a year-round programme of events, opportunities to meet our Artist Fellows, and invitations to our Graduate Research in Theatre seminar series.
  • We collaborate with Dramaturgs’ Network (D'N) which provides each of our students with networking and professional development opportunities and exchange events, plus a year’s free D’N membership, as well as other exclusive opportunities.
  • You can benefit from our ongoing relationships with Camden People’s Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, including opportunities for special workshops on career development, producing and programming.
  • You will be able to experience the wider research culture of the School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication, including the opportunity to take part in our annual Arts Week events programme.
  • Birkbeck was ranked 2nd in the UK for its English Language and Literature research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.
  • We offer a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.

Birkbeck makes all reasonable efforts to deliver educational services, modules and programmes of study as described on our website. In the event that there are material changes to our offering (for example, due to matters beyond our control), we will update applicant and student facing information as quickly as possible and offer alternatives to applicants, offer-holders and current students.

  • Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

    Entry Requirements

    A second-class honours degree (2:2) or above, and/or relevant practical experience in the creative industries.

    All suitable applicants will be interviewed either personally or by telephone.

    Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

    On your application form, please list all your relevant qualifications and experience, including those you expect to achieve.

    Apply now to secure your place. The earlier you apply, the sooner your application can be considered and you can enrol. You do not need to have completed your current qualification to start your application.

    English language requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this course 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 and foundation programmes 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 and funding requirements

    If you are not from the UK and you do not already have residency here, 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: Student visa
    • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

    International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

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

    Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant visa and funding requirements by country.

    Please note students receiving US Federal Aid are only able to apply for in-person, on-campus programmes which will have no elements of online study.

    Credits and accredited prior learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university, 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.

  • Fees Fees


    Dramaturgy MA: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time, on campus, starting in academic year 2024-25

    Academic year 2024–25, starting October 2024

    Part-time home students: £5,400 per year
    Full-time home students: £10,800 per year
    Part-time international students: £9,915 per year
    Full-time international students: £19,830 per year

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

    If you’ve studied at Birkbeck before and successfully completed an award with us, take advantage of our Lifelong Learning Guarantee to gain a discount on the tuition fee of this course.

    Discover the financial support available to you to help with your studies at Birkbeck.

    International scholarships

    We provide a range of scholarships for eligible international students, including our Global Future Scholarship. Discover if you are eligible for a scholarship.

  • Teaching and Assessment Teaching and Assessment


    At Birkbeck, most of our courses are taught in the evening and all of our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience.

    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.

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

    Methods of teaching on this course

    We employ a variety of teaching methods on this course including:

    • lectures and seminars
    • practice-based workshops and rehearsals
    • tutorial support and dissertation supervision
    • guest lectures and workshops with leading industry professionals, including Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellows
    • attendance at theatre and performance events
    • access to performances, readings, exhibitions, workshops and symposia across Birkbeck, especially via Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre and other research centres, as well as during Birkbeck Arts Week.

    Teaching hours

    Our evening hours are normally between 6pm and 9pm (6-7.30pm and 7.30-9pm). Some programmes also offer teaching during the day and this will be clearly signposted to you where it is available.

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Scheduled teaching sessions may include lectures, seminars, workshops or laboratory work. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and field trips. 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 (if applicable).

    Alongside your contact hours, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. The amount of time you need to allocate to study both for taught sessions (this might include online sessions and/or in-person sessions) and personal study will depend on how much you are studying during the year and whether you are studying full time or part time.

    Birkbeck’s courses are made up of modules and allocated ‘credit’. One credit is equivalent to ten hours of learning time. Modules are usually in 15, 30 or 60 credit units. A 15-credit module will mean around 150 hours of learning, including taught sessions and independent study or group work. This is spread out over the whole period of that module and includes the time you spend on any assessments, including in examinations, preparing and writing assessments or engaged in practical work as well as any study support sessions to help you in your learning.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students is encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies.


    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.

    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 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 methods include research essays, course notes, individual digital exhibition, visual demonstrations, creative writing projects, in-class presentations, critical portfolio, and an academic or practice-based dissertation.

  • Careers and employability Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    The MA Dramaturgy combines the practical and academic exploration of the promising field of dramaturgy to equip you with a wide range of highly employable skills, ideal for working in or undertaking further academic study. Graduates can also find ongoing support via the Birkbeck Theatre Alumni network, which is dedicated to creating networking opportunities for graduates of Birkbeck’s theatre programmes and celebrating their achievements.

    On successfully graduating from this course you will have gained an array of important transferable skills, including:

    • familiarity with professional practices and modes of employment within the sector
    • a critical grounding in key contemporary social, cultural and political questions
    • skills in the design, production and presentation of high-quality research
    • effective communication across different formats, from long-form text to short presentations.

    Our graduates can be found pursuing a broad range of career paths, including in:

    • dramaturgy in theatre, performance and other cultural forms and settings
    • play, theatre, performance and cultural programming, commissioning and development
    • arts policy and research
    • doctoral study.

    Some of our recent graduates include: 

    • Emily Brown (theatre-maker)
    • Rachel Gemaehling (dramaturg, theatre-maker)
    • Artemis Grympla (dramaturg, director, writer)
    • Manyang Hu (theatre-maker, theatre administrator)
    • Matthew Jameson (director, theatre-maker, theatre management)
    • Sarah Knop (theatre-maker, teacher, choreographer)
    • Clement Lee (dramaturg, teacher)
    • Olga Macrinici (writer, director, academic)
    • Nicky Napier (dramaturg, producer)
    • Liesa Refflinghaus (theatre administrator, theatre maker)
    • Erica Nicole Rothman (dramaturg, literary adviser)
    • Stephen Ryan (BASSC-certified stage combat teacher, writer, researcher)
    • Robert Mark Temple (playwright)
    • Renata Wilson (theatre maker).

    We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

  • How to apply How to apply

    How to apply

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

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.

    Apply for your course

    Apply for your course using the apply now button in the key information section.

Course structure

Course structure listing

Course structure and modules for Dramaturgy MA: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time, on campus, starting October 2024

You must complete modules worth a total of 180 credits, consisting of:

  • two compulsory modules (30 credits each)
  • two option modules (30 credits each)
  • a dissertation project which can be in the form of an academic study, a playwriting project, or a dramaturgical project (60 credits).
Compulsory modules
Indicative option modules
MA Dramaturgy dissertation project