BA/BA (Hons) Drama

Are you passionate about theatre? See yourself as a future director, performer, playwright, deviser, stage manager, scenographer, workshop leader or producer? Our exciting and innovative mix of theoretical and practical modules will enable you to try out all of these roles and then focus on your career aspirations.

Visit the theatre in Scotland and you will likely see the work of a QMU graduate. Whether you see them performing, hear the words of their script or view their artistry as director, scenographer or producer, they are building a successful and exciting career in drama thanks to their time at QMU.

QMU has 97% overall student satisfaction for Drama

QMU has 97% overall student satisfaction for Drama (Source: NSS 2020)

Why QMU?

  • Edinburgh is known as the Festival City, and with the world’s biggest arts festival happening on your doorstep every year, this is one of the best possible places to start your theatre career.
  • Your career path will be unique, and this course is flexible to help you direct your learning in the areas you’re interested in. Module options in Years Three and Four allow you to focus your interests to suit your own career aspirations.

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About the course

What is theatre? Why did it develop? What role does it play in society? To have a successful career in the theatre, you need to understand its historical context, techniques and craft. On this course you’ll learn the collaborative skills and process involved in creating and staging plays, and will experiment with key contemporary performance practices.

You’ll explore all aspects of theatre both front and back stage, including the audience. Who are they? (They may not be like you!) What do they want from a performance? How can you reach your audience? We challenge conventional assumptions of what the performing arts can be and who they are for – from both a practitioner and audience perspective.

You’ll engage with a vibrant diversity of practical and theoretical approaches that balance practice, history, research, critical thinking and employability skills. Whether you intend to be a theatre maker, scholar or teacher, the course will guide you in the development of your creative and critical prowess while providing very distinct routes into the professional world.

<p">Creative entrepreneurship and employability is something we are passionate about and it is embedded throughout our course. Many of our students have formed their own theatre companies and are supported by QMU as they set up their businesses – including the chance to be located in our graduate start-up space called the Business Innovation Zone. The world’s largest arts festival happens right here in Edinburgh and many students successfully perform, produce or get involved in the Festival Fringe.

By the time you graduate you will know how and why a theatre team brings a performance to life, and the many ways in which drama can be understood and made relevant to contemporary audiences.

In Years One and Two you will work in collaborative experimental workshops, finding creative solutions to the staging and performance of classic and contemporary genres and texts. Bringing a range of interests and skills (performing, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy and scenography), students will share their different perspectives and insights. Lectures will also cover theatre history and critical and performance theory, which will inform the decisions students make in their creative work.

In Years Three and Four you will study core modules plus optional modules allowing you to focus your interests in specific areas. You’ll also have the opportunity to study abroad or go on placements. In Year Four you will complete a personal final project, which can be a practical or a written dissertation.

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You can study for an honours degree over four years or an ordinary degree over three years. You will complete a range of modules each year as outlined in the following modules section.


Year One

  • Play and Performance
  • Introduction to the Study of Theatre and Performance
  • Introduction to Theatre Production
  • The Origins of Theatre
  • Analysing Texts and Performance
  • Performance Practices

Year Two

  • Theatre of Ideas and the Stage (From Romanticism to Theatre of Absurd)
  • Making Theatre
  • Contemporary Scottish Theatre in Context
  • Practitioner Researchers
  • British Theatre Since 1945
  • Creative Writing for New Media

Year Three

  • Devising Practices
  • Current Debates in Performance Theory OR Arts Funding in its Policy Context
  • Performance Project
  • Designing a Research Project Plus two optional modules

Year Four

  • Creative Practice and Enterprise
  • Honours Project
  • Plus two optional modules

Years Three and Four options:

  • Photography and Visual Culture
  • Screenwriting
  • Student Initiated Module
  • Scotland on Screen
  • Film and the Family
  • Photography Practice
  • Storytelling in Convergent Media
  • The American West in Popular Culture
  • Problematic: Criticism, Culture and Social Justice
  • Experiential Learning Placement
  • The Only Way is Ethics: Art, Participation and Ethics
  • Performance Art Practices
  • Site and Sound
  • Playwriting
  • Writing for Radio
  • Creative Learning and the Community
  • Producing for the Stage
  • Directing for the Stage
  • Directing, Designing and Performing Shakespeare
  • Directing, Designing and Performing Contemporary Plays
  • Decoding Dress: The Cultural Significance of Costume
  • Staging the 20th Century: How Scenography Built the Modern Imagination
  • Advanced Theatre Production
  • Devised Physical Theatre
  • Devising Practices
  • Theatre Laboratory Practices
  • Drama in Education (Community Workshop Placement)
  • Arts Funding in its Policy Context

The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (Feb 2020) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2021. Please check back here for any updates.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will be taught in lectures, seminars and through practical workshops. There is a strong focus on group work and on independent study outside timetabled sessions. You will be assessed in a variety of ways, including essays, reports, portfolios, vivas, post-show discussions and exams. You will also complete a Year Four honours project. There will be individual and group assessments. Please check the course entry on our website for full details. 

Please see below for an idea of teaching, learning and assessment for this course for 2020 entry. 2021 information will be added when it is available. 

>>Click for more information on 'Teaching, Learning and Assessment'


You’ll have the opportunity to complete a placement in the Community Theatre and Experiential learning options in Years Three and Four. Students will source a placement host with support from QMU staff. Placements are usually in the creative sector but we will consider other options suggested by students if we feel they offer an opportunity for you to develop your practical skills. 

Exchange opportunities

In Year Three, you have the opportunity (subject to availability) to study for one semester at a university overseas. For more information, see Exchanges and Study Abroad.

Please note that exchange opportunities are subject to availability. In addition, please note that where exchange opportunities are arranged in the EU, Erasmus+ funding is available for 2021/22 only.


You may know that you want to work in the theatre, yet don’t know exactly which route you can take to make this happen. This course will literally take you behind the scenes and open your eyes to a broad range of theatre-based careers, including playwriting, directing, scenography, producing, screen industries, acting, community theatre, contemporary performance practice, and drama teaching, as well as communications professions and postgraduate study. At QMU we have a lively and dynamic careers service who will help guide you through your choices. 

Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: Standard -  AABB, Minimum -  BBBB

A Level: BBB

Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H3 H3 H3 H3

International Baccalaureate: 30 points

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5

Required subjects: English and/ or Drama at Higher/ A Level preferred. English required and Maths preferred at Nat 5/ GCSE.

Mature/Access: Related Access course — see www.qmu.ac.uk/college-qualifications. We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications and /or experience.

Direct Entry: Year Two

  • HNC/ HND in related subject with B/CB in the graded unit
  • Scottish Higher: BC at Advanced Higher in relevant subjects plus BB at Higher
  • A Level: BBB in relevant subjects

For details of related HNC and HND courses, see www.qmu.ac.uk/college-qualifications

Associate student places


Professional registration/ accreditation


Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

For more information, please see ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’.

Awarding body

Please note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2021/22 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate).

Teaching staff may be subject to change.

QMU is in the top 3 in Scotland for student satsifaction in Drama

QMU is in the top 3 in Scotland for student satsifaction in Drama (includes QMU’s Drama, Costume Design & Construction and Acting for Stage and Screen courses) (Source: NSS 2020)

Course Overview

3/4 years full-time
Start Date
September 2021
On campus
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Fees & Funding

Student Story

Diane Stewart The lecturers at QMU were very supportive and helped me to find the element of theatre that I wanted to turn into my career Find out more about Diane's story