Undergraduate

Drama - BA (Hons)

Are you passionate about making theatre? See yourself as a director, performer, playwright, deviser, stage manager, scenographer, workshop leader or producer? The exciting and innovative mix of theory and practice on the BA (Hons) in Drama will enable you to take on all of these roles and then focus on your chosen career pathways.

The course offers placement opportunities which is a great way to develop your skills and knowledge.

Why QMU?

  • Location: 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.
  • Focus on the areas that interest you: 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.
  • Graduate success: Our graduates play an active role in theatre, in Scotland and beyond - 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.
  • Ranked highly in the UK: QMU is ranked 1st in Scotland and 9th in the UK for Drama in the Guardian University Guide 2024 and we are in the top 2 Scottish higher education institutions for overall satisfaction for courses in Drama  (National Student Survey 2023).

Drama - BA/BA (Hons): The course in brief

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. 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. 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.

On this course you will:

  • learn the collaborative skills and process involved in creating and staging plays;
  • experiment with key contemporary performance practices;
  • explore all aspects of theatre, front and backstage, including the audience. Who are they? What do they want from a performance? How can you reach your audience?;
  • challenge conventional assumptions of what the performing arts can be and who they are for, from both a practitioner and audience perspective; and
  • engage with a vibrant diversity of practical and theoretical approaches that balance practice, history, research, critical thinking and employability skills.

How will I be taught?

Structure

All students enrol onto the honours degree, but you can choose to exit with an ordinary degree after three years.

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, performances, post-show discussions and exams. You will complete a Year Four Honours project (practical or theoretical). There will be individual and group assessments.

Facilities

Our fully resourced studio theatre and smaller black box studio are fully kitted out with sound, lighting, and projection equipment for your use. In addition we have a scenic workshop for building sets and props, a scenography studio for set design, and a costume studio and store. You will have access to five bookable rehearsal studios (two with sprung floors), as well as to our dance studio and gym hall.

Media resources include access to our edit and post-production suites, our infinity green screen studio, and equipment including cameras, photographic equipment, VR and motion capture kit.

Placement

You will have the opportunity to complete a placement in the Creative Learning, Drama in Education 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

Studying abroad through our exchange programme can be one of the most exciting and rewarding challenges for a student to experience. The opportunity to travel and live in another country, learn different customs and traditions, meet new people and future career draws many students into the exchange programme. In Year Three you have the opportunity (subject to availability) to study for one semester at a university overseas. Please visit the Exchanges and Study Abroad pages for more information.

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.

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

What will I learn each year?

Year One

You will:

  • work in collaborative experimental workshops, finding creative solutions to the staging and performance of classic and contemporary genres and texts;
  • explore a range of roles (performing, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy and scenography) and share your different perspectives and insights with fellow students; and
  • learn foundational voice, movement, acting and production skills.

Modules

  • 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

You will:

  • work in collaborative groups to make work for performance in both new media and live theatre;
  • investigate key historical and contemporary practitioners and create original performance work based on their research; and
  • learn more about theatre history and critical and performance theory, which will inform the decisions you make in your creative work.

Modules

  • 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

You will:

  • study core modules plus two optional modules allowing you to focus your interests in specific areas;
  • have the opportunity (subject to availability) to study for one semester at a university overseas. For more information, visit Exchanges and Study Abroad; and
  • learn about research methods to prepare you for your personal final Honours dissertation.

Modules

  • 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

You will:

  • study core modules plus two optional modules allowing you to focus your interests in specific areas;
  • learn about how to maximise your employability opportunities alongside developing your creative practice; and
  • complete a personal final project, which can be a practical or a written dissertation.

Modules

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

Year Three and Four options may include:

  • 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
  • Staging the 20th Century: How Scenography Built the Modern Imagination
  • Advanced Theatre Production
  • Screenwriting
  • Student Initiated Module
  • Scotland on Screen
  • Film and the Family
  • Photography Practice
  • Experiential Learning Placement
  • Devised Physical Theatre
  • Devising Practices
  • Theatre Laboratory Practices
  • Drama in Education (Community Workshop Placement)

NB The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (Feb 2024) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2025. Please check back here for any updates.

Careers

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, which is called the BIZ. The world’s largest arts festival happens right here in Edinburgh and many students successfully perform, produce or get involved in the Festival Fringe.

You may know that you want to work in the performing arts, yet do not 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.

You can find out about the careers of some of the graduates of our various drama and performing arts graduates on our dedicated website.

Drama - BA (Hons): Entry requirements and application information

Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: Standard: AABB Minimum: BBCC

A Level: BCC

Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H3 H3

International Baccalaureate: 28 points

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5.

Required subjects: English is required at Higher/A Level. Drama at Higher/A Level preferred. Maths preferred at Nat 5/GCSE. We can also accept National 5 Application of Maths or Lifeskills at the same grade.

Am I a Widening Access student?: We apply the minimum entry criteria to applicants who meet one or more contextual factor. To see if this would apply to you, please refer to the access and application page.

Disability/health conditions

If you have a disability, long-term physical or mental health condition, or learning disability, it should not stand in the way of your studying at QMU. However, if you are not sure whether your disability might be a barrier in your studies or in relation to the professional standards, please contact the disability service who will be able to have a conversation with you about reasonable adjustments and supports available to you.

Mature/Access: We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications and/or experience. See our College Leavers and Mature Students pages for more information. 

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 our College Leavers and Mature Students pages for more information. 

Other requirements

A satisfactory criminal records check from the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme will be required if you select the optional module Drama in Education later in your studies.

Other costs

  • The cost of the PVG check is the responsibility of the student. For more information on this, visit the UG 2025 fees page on our website.
  • The additional costs associated with placement travel and accommodation are the responsibility of the student. Students who receive SAAS funding may be able to claim for some of these expenses to be reimbursed.

Terms and Conditions

  • The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2025/26 Entry Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate).
  • The course information on this page is correct at the time of posting (Feb 2024) but may differ slightly for 2025 entry. Please check back here for updates.

Awarding body

QMU

Film, communication and creative industries specialist facilities at QMU

Course Overview

Duration
4 years full-time
Start Date
September 2025
Location
On campus at QMU
Study Abroad
Yes
School
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Division
Subject Area
UCAS Code
W490
SCQF Level
10

Opportunities to meet us: open days and more

As well as open days, we offer campus tours and online events throughout the year to help you find out more about student life and studying at QMU.

Open days and other ways of meeting us: more information