Drama (Including Placement Year)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Drama (Including Placement Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Dance, Drama and Performance
BA W403


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: ABB, including one essay based subject

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655. Either must include a Higher Level essay based subject grade 5
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied -advice on acceptability can be provided.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Christina Papagiannouli

Research Fellow

University of South Wales

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  TH141-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Theatre Studies  Core  30  30 
02  TH142-4-SP-CO  Theatre Making: Autobiography  Compulsory  15  15 
03  TH143-4-AU-CO  Devising  Compulsory  15  15 
04  TH145-4-SP-CO  Theatre Production and Technology  Compulsory  15  15 
05  LT705-4-SP-CO  The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways  Compulsory  15  15 
06    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  TH241-5-FY-CO  Theatre and Performance Makers  Compulsory  30  30 
02    (TH207-5-AU and option) OR Theatre Studies option(s) from list  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
03    2nd year Theatre Studies option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    2nd year Literature, Film or Theatre Studies option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  LT702-6-FY-CO  Placement Year  Compulsory  120  120 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  TH831-6-FY-CO  Independent Practical Theatre Project  Compulsory  30  30 
02    Final year Theatre Studies option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
03    Final year Theatre Studies option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    Final year Theatre Studies, Film or Literature option(s) from list or Independent Study possible  Optional  30  30 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • To enable students to study a wide range of dramatic texts, ranging from Ancient Greek times to the present day.
  • To provide students with an understanding of the principal developments in European Theatre.
  • Provide a detailed examination of the history, function and structure of Comedy and an overview of Contemporary Writing and Performance Art.
  • Understand the methodology necessary for undertaking a close analysis of a text passage or film extract.
  • Acquire the critical terminology to identify and name the literary devices at work in a text.
  • Work in a small group to prepare a presentation that demonstrates the skills involved in the close reading of an unseen text.
  • Appreciate the relationship between the written and the spoken language.
  • Develop students' understanding of the relationship between the various theatre forms of the past and the theatre of the present.
  • Introduce students to a variety of primary and secondary sources.
  • Enable students to create their own group performance projects.
  • Develop their skills of analysis, argument and rational thinking to equip them for a wide variety of careers and/or further study.

  • Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

    On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

    A: Knowledge and understanding

    A1: A selection of dramatic texts from Ancient Greek times to the present day

    A2: Major theatre genres which might include: Didactic theatre, Expressionism, Naturalism, Surrealism, Epic, Theatre of the Absurd

    A3: A range of Western theatre theorists, which might include: Aristotle, Brecht, Artaud, Grotowski, and Stanislavski

    A4: The various forms of Theatre Comedy including an introduction to key secondary critics e.g.Bakhtin and Freud.

    A5: Performance Art

    A6: Contemporary Theatre writing.

    A7: To provide the opportunity to apply academic learning outcomes in a work-related context

    A8: To develop essential work-based skills throughout the placement

    Learning methods

    The principal methods of delivery for A1 to A6 are lectures, seminars, and practice-based theatre seminars.

    Understanding is reinforced by a combination of class assignments, group project work and continually assessed course work.

    A5 and A6 are developed through a programme of seminars and workshops delivered by academic staff and theatre practitioners.

    Assessment methods

    Knowledge and understanding is assessed through closed-book examinations, written course work group practical projects, and oral presentations.

    B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

    B1: Integrate and evaluate information and data obtained from a variety of sources including books, journal papers, the Internet and theatre performances.

    B2: Analyse and evaluate a wide range of dramatic texts

    B3: Synthesise relevant information in order to develop a rational, coherent argument

    Learning methods

    Intellectual and cognitive skills are developed through seminars, practice based seminars and workshops.

    Final year projects allow students to apply these skills.

    Assessment methods

    B1 is assessed through written examinations and course work.

    The main assessment methods for skills is through group theatre presentations

    C: Practical skills

    C1: Apply a critical methodology to the analysis of playtexts

    C2: Use accepted conventions of presenting references and bibliographies in writing

    C3: Develop an individual style of writing

    C4: The ability to present effective practical theatre projects

    C5: Apply the principles of research to appropriate secondary reading

    C6: The ability to plan, manage and conduct a group activity

    Learning methods

    Practical skills are developed during workshops (C4.C6).

    Students develop their creative practice and production skills through a cycle of practice, feedback and critical reflection(C1)

    Assessment methods

    The main assessment method for practical skills is marked practical theatre course work.

    C6 will involve peer group assessment.

    D: Key skills

    D1: Present ideas and evidence, both orally and in writing, effectively and clearly

    D2: Use appropriate IT to research and present materia

    D3: Analyse relevant materials, identifying problems and creatively proposing solutions

    D4: Participate effectively as a member of a group. Contribute to the management of practice-based projects

    D5: Under guidance, working independently, demonstrating self-organisation and time-management, and being receptive to feedback in the form of written comments on coursework and oral communication; an ability to reflect on their own work and to respond constructively to the comments of others.

    Learning methods

    Generic skills are taught and learned throughout the degree through a range of strategies.

    These include - requiring students to give oral presentations, specific assignments requiring bibliographic and web searches, class discussion class preparation essay preparation.

    Assessment methods

    Key skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed course work and examinations.

    Communication skills are assessed by course work and examinations including theatre presentations and oral presentations.

    IT skills are a component in the evaluation of most assessed work which requires bibliographic and web searches.

    Problem solving skills are assessed in almost all assignments.

    Skills in improving learning and performance are also assessed through the related structured progression of formal assessed work.


    The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

    The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


    If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing admit@essex.ac.uk, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing pgadmit@essex.ac.uk.

    If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

    If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing crt@essex.ac.uk.