Performance - BA (Hons)

Focusing on practice, this two-year BA (Hons) in Performance course offers you the knowledge and skills to make innovative, relevant and engaging new work for contemporary audiences and communities. It is an ‘articulation route’ for students who have already achieved an HND in Acting and Performance.

Focusing on the breadth of forms that performance can take, the course 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.

This course offers a placement opportunity. 

Why QMU?

  • A history of experience and success: 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.
  • Perfect location for studying performance: We are well placed for easy access to the year-round performance opportunities that Edinburgh, the Festival City provides, and our students often use the festivals as springboards for their own careers.
  • 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).  

Performance - BA (Hons): The course in brief

On this course you will:

  • develop your knowledge of the field of performance and be equipped with the practical skills that are essential for developing a career in this sector;
  • experience a tailored route to a degree level qualification;
  • learn through physical exploration of the subject;
  • experience a combination of learning and teaching methods including workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, demonstrations, simulation exercises, embedded skills training, field trips and projects; and
  • gain valuable placement experience through our continually growing links with external stakeholders. 

How will I be taught?


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

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course adopts a blended learning approach and workshops are the primary form of student-staff contact, with students engaging in practical activities facilitated or supervised by the lecturers, either individually or in groups. Peer teaching is enabled through the use of seminar presentations, and collaborative devising or workshop generation processes. Students are encouraged to be enquiring, critical and innovative. In addition, students also initiate and lead individual tutorials/workshops with members of staff related to coursework or dissertation supervision.


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.


You are offered the opportunity for industry-based learning through placement opportunities in the module Drama in Education and also if you elect to take the 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

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 Three

You will:

  • extend your understanding of performance through practice, learning the principles of contemporary devising practices in semester one, and adapting existing texts to create an original ensemble piece in semester two;
  • develop an awareness of the contexts within which theatre currently operates in Scotland, in order to understand potential career trajectories, and develop key academic skills;
  • learn how to research through performance, to create a basis for your practice-based dissertation;
  • gain valuable placement experience in the Drama in Education module and/or the optional module 'Experiential Learning Placement'; and
  • have the opportunity (subject to availability) to study for one semester at a university overseas. For more information, see Exchanges and Study Abroad.


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

Year Four

You will:

  • create an original group performance work and understand how to make it an entrepreneurial activity, as a basis for an independent career in the arts;
  • research and produce a practice-based dissertation, in an area of study of your choice (for example education, contemporary performance, textual interpretation, community practice, playwriting, directing); and
  • develop a performance project with and for a specific community in the Creative Learning and the Community module.


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

Year Three and Four module options 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

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.


This course is particularly suited to those who wish to pursue a career through applied performance practice (drama teacher, community outreach workshop leader, freelance performance maker, director, producer etc). For those interested in pursuing a career as a professional actor, we would instead recommend our BA (Hons) 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. 

You can find career stories of QMU's various drama and performing arts courses on our dedicated website.

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

Entry requirements

Standard entry

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

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

Non-standard entry

Our admissions team will manage applications for standard entry, to ensure consistency of decision making 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

Other requirements

A satisfactory criminal records check from the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme will be required for the module 'Drama in Education'.

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.

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.

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).

Awarding body


View specialist facilities film

Become your best you: study at QMU

Course Overview

2 years full-time (Years Three and Four of an honours degree)
Start Date
September 2025
On campus at QMU
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Subject Area
SCQF Level

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

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