BA/BA (Hons) Performance

Focusing on practice, this two-year course offers students the knowledge and skills to make innovative, relevant and engaging new work for contemporary audiences and communities.

The programme aims to develop students knowledge of the field of performance when equipping them with the practical skills that are essential for developing a career in this sector. It is a two-year programme is intended for Direct Entry to Year Three.

Why QMU?

  • Our teaching draws upon a vast experience and legacy of successfully preparing students for entry into the field of professional performance, there are QMU graduates in most of the major theatre and performance institutions in Scotland, and, of course, many have gone on to successful careers further afield.
  • Just a six-minute train ride from the centre of Edinburgh, we are well placed for easy access to the year-round performance opportunities that the Festival City provides, and our students often use the festivals as springboards for their own careers.

About the course

The BA (Hons) Performance award offers a new articulation route for students who have already achieved an HND in Acting and Performance. Building on the performance modules that we successfully deliver on our Drama programme, it provides a tailored route to a degree level qualification for those students who find they learn best through the physical exploration of the subject. Focusing on the breadth of forms that performance can take, the programme will be of interest to those who wish to explore the potential of performance beyond the conventional modes and spaces with which it is most traditionally associated.

Teaching on the programme is comprised of a combination of workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, demonstrations, simulation exercises, embedded skills training, field trips and projects. The methods used vary from module to module. Students’ performance is assessed through a variety of methods including performances, presentations, essays, reports, reflective portfolios, group work exercises, and a practical dissertation or project.


You can opt to study for an ordinary degree, completing one year of this course or an honours degree, completing two. You will complete a range of modules each year as outlined below.


Year Three

  • Contemporary Scottish Theatre in Context
  • Devising Practices/Drama in Education*
  • Performance Project
  • Designing a Research Project
  • Optional module

Year Four

  • Creative Practice & Enterprise
  • Honours Study
  • Creative Learning and the Community*
  • Optional module

Optional modules change annually, but may include:

  • Playwriting
  • Site-Specific Performance
  • Site & Sound
  • Experiential Learning Placement
  • Devised Physical Theatre
  • Performance Art Practices
  • Theatre Laboratory Practices
  • Directing, Designing and Performing Shakespeare
  • Directing
  • Designing and Performing Contemporary Plays
  • Student Initiated Module

The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (April 2021) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2022. Please check back here for any updates.



Teaching, learning and assessment

The course adopts a blended learning approach with teaching and learning activities mostly falling into two broad categories, each best suited for particular types of activities: seminars and workshops, which comprise the majority of the hours of staff-student contact on the course.

In seminars students will participate in active debate on theories, concepts and ideas in this academic field, collaborate on problem solving and engage in critical analysis of performance.

Workshops are the primary form of student-staff contact for this course, with students engaging in practical activities facilitated by the lecturer (or supervised by members of the staff team) either individually or in groups, as best befits explorative learning within this collaborative art form. The teaching team recognises that student-to-student interaction can be a highly effective learning activity and use various forms of group work, problem-solving groups, case based learning and project production teams, to enable this.

Peer teaching is enabled through the use of seminar presentations, postings of individual and group research processes on the Hub and/or PebblePad, and collaborative devising or workshop generation processes. Students are encouraged to be enquiring, critical and innovative. Emphasis is placed on analytical, divergent ways of thinking. In addition to their own independent learning, students also initiate and lead individual tutorials/workshops with members of staff related to coursework or dissertation supervision. Most modules on the BA (Hons) Performance are core, with one optional module in Year Three and one in Year Four.




Students are offered the opportunity for industry-based learning through placement opportunities in modules marked * and also if they elect to take Experiential Learning Placement. Industry-based learning can occur in a diversity of areas (community and youth theatre organisations, schools, arts organisations, charities and community groups).

Our links with external stakeholders continue to grow and develop. Examples of placement opportunities range from the Edinburgh International Festival to working with independent theatre companies or the Brunton or Lyceum theatres as well as a range of local primary and secondary schools. The mix of student placements is very diverse and we aim to accommodate all student aspirations.

Exchange opportunities

In Year Three, you have the opportunity (subject to availability) to study for one semester at a university overseas.

On December 24th 2020, the UK Government announced that as an outcome of Brexit negotiations, the United Kingdom would not be seeking to participate in the Erasmus+ successor programme.

Going forward Queen Margaret University hopes to be able to offer grants to students undertaking qualifying mobilities under the Turing scheme. The breadth of financial support available under Turing will not be confirmed until the Summer of 2021 when Turing application outcomes for the 2021/22 academic year are expected.

From 2022/23 Queen Margaret University will no longer operate under the Erasmus+ scheme. Over the coming year we will be working with new and existing partners on study abroad and exchange opportunities for the 2022/23 academic year and beyond.


This course is particularly suited to those who wish to pursue a career through applied performance practice (education, community outreach, independent performance and work). For those interested in pursuing a career as a professional actor, we would instead recommend our Acting and Performance course.

Employability is built into the course through modules like Creative Practice and Enterprise, as well as through the practical skills taught to students and the transferable skills of research, communication and independent learning that are delivered across the curriculum. Students are encouraged to liaise with QMU’s careers service to identify further opportunities for professional and personal development.

During the course, students are introduced to the on-campus Business Gateway and Business Innovation Zone (BIZ). The BIZ provides business incubation space for any student or graduate led start-up companies. 

Entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

• HND in Acting and Performance OR Musical Theatre OR Performing Arts with CB in the graded unit
• Successful completion of years one and two of a undergraduate performing arts degree in a relevant subject area

Non-standard entry

Our admissions team will manage applications for standard entry, to ensure consistency of decisionmaking the programme leader or admissions officer will assess applications for non-standard entry. An interview with the applicant may be arranged in order to gather evidence. Entry would normally be based on the following criteria:

• Evidence of aptitude in written English, which is essential for ensuring applicants will be able to cope with the written assessments required.
• A personal statement demonstrating a realistic anticipation of the challenges presented by the degree and a sense of their potential to meet these.
• Experience of/enthusiasm for drama whether as an audience member or as a theatre-maker that is gauged within what was accessible to the candidate. In some parts of Scotland there is little youth theatre, little offer of drama within secondary education and limited access to professional theatre performances.
• Qualifications demonstrating the ability to engage in sustained, systematic study even if this is not within the standard entry requirements (see below for the recognition of prior learning).

Applications for entry with general advanced standing (ie credit for previous study) are referred to the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning Panel. Credit may be given for prior experiential learning. Normally, credit given will be specific rather than general (ie on a subject for subject basis).

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5

Awarding body

QMU. Please refer to the 'External Review' section of our ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’ page of our website.

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

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

Please note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2022/23 Entry Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate).

Teaching staff may be subject to change.

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Course Overview

On campus
2 years
Start Date
September 2022
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Fees & Funding