(MA) Master of Arts
University of Essex
University of Essex
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
A mid 2.2 degree in Creative Writing, Theatre/Drama Studies, Literature, Film and Media Studies, Modern Languages or Art History.
Applications from students with a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code
IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.5 in writing
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.
The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.
Rules of assessment
Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.
Dr Anthony Fisher
Reader in Theatre and Philosophy
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.
• To engage with a range of theatre and performance practices, explored in a critically informed context.
• To develop advanced knowledge of different processes of theatre-making, international performance traditions, different approaches to practice-as-research (PaR), and methods of writing/devising in professional contexts.
• To deliver a programme encompassing practices such as contemporary devising and production dramaturgy, writing for performance, site-specific and locational performance, autobiographical performance, global theatres and socially/politically engaged practice.
• To encourage the development of a reflective, rigorous and critically informed approach to theatre practice.
• To extend the roles of performer, director, writer, dramaturg, puppeteer, or creative thinker in new and unexpected ways within a supportive atmosphere of discovery and innovation
• To offer cutting edge teaching in web-based technologies and digital media, building on the tradition of theatre making as a communicative medium of exchange
• To enhance acquaintance with practice and theory of creative production across genres and disciplines, providing courses that open paths to fertile areas of interdisciplinary work
• To provide students with a structured introduction to advanced material and advanced perspectives in their fields of specialisation
• To improve student’s research and performance skills by offering the opportunity to work with practising theatre-makers and arts organisations.
• To deliver research-led teaching using the professional practice of academic staff.
• To enrich and enhance student’s creative work and furthering their careers as theatre/performance practitioners.
• To create the conditions for students to extend their practice and launch their own companies and take new work to audiences beyond Essex, having opportunities to take work made on the course to festivals and events outside the University.
• To encourage students to work independently as writers and scholars in specific fields of investigation and to formulate and present a reflective and critical view of their work
• To prepare qualified students for progression to doctoral research, with a view to entering the industry or academic professions
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: Analysis of a range of creative practitioners in theatre, literature, film etc. in areas such as devising and ensemble, global theatre, dramaturgy and playwriting, applied theatre, political theatre, poetry writing and spoken word, art and curating.
A2: Context for the study of the writers and artists taught
A3: Critical understanding of key disciplinary concepts and debates in areas such as devising and ensemble, global theatre, dramaturgy and playwriting, applied theatre, political theatre, poetry writing and spoken word, art and curating.
A4: Appropriate research techniques and methodologies applied in student praxis (theory informed and theory generating practical experimentation)
A5: Advanced methods of critical and/or creative practice
A6: Appropriate research techniques and methodologies applied in student praxis (theory informed and theory generating practical experimentation)
A1-6 are met through self-led performance-making, practical workshops, lectures and seminars, which will include: reflection on work-in-progress; visiting practitioners; analysis of key texts (including performance texts/plays and scholarship); practical work and exercises; field trips, visits and viewings; in-module placements; desk-based research
The MA is built on continuous assessment to assist students towards the development and enhancement of their skills, with a final piece of assessed work created at the end of the module teaching.
Formal assessment is by coursework (five pieces) and Dissertation.
Assignments are usually the equivalent of 5000 words, normally a piece of practical work, creative writing with a commentary or accompanying essay, professional portfolio documents, or an essay.
Dissertations may be delivered as a piece of practical work with a 5,000-6,000 word commentary, or a 12,000 word written essay (excluding references and footnotes)
B: Intellectual and cognitive skills
B1: Question received thinking and practice
B2: Develop own thinking and critical and creative writing
B3: Analyse and evaluate creative and critical work at advanced levels
B4: Reason critically and creatively in an environment of complex ideas
B5: Argue coherently and persuasively
B6: Adopt critical positions in reading relevant scholarship
B1-B6 are developed through seminars, workshops, presentations, performance-making, visits and viewings, in-module placements and desk-based research.
B1-6 are assessed through essays, or creative practical outputs with a commentary or accompanying essay, and a dissertation.
Students will be required to independently create a range of practical outputs across the MA course, using their knowledge of historical and contemporary theatre making to extend and enrich their own practice. These practical pieces will be developed through the span of the module to form part of the assessment, culminating in the making and delivery of the Dissertation project.
Each module requires a critical commentary, written essay, or written creative response to the taught content. Written assessments might also include devising workshop plans, written plays and scripts, or creating professional documentation such as rehearsal plans or pitching presentations.
C: Practical skills
C1: Demonstrate an advanced deployment of practical and professional skills in their chosen module of study
C2: Utilise an advanced set of creative and critical writing skills across the course
C3: Work on simultaneous projects and outputs to allow cross-fertilisation and interdisciplinary conversations across the pieces of work
C4: Develop, structure and refine extended creative work, demonstrating clear methodological choices and adopting processes germane to desired outcomes.
C5: Evidence an ability to seek feedback and input into the making of new work, sharing outputs with others at an early stage, and planning evaluation methods
C6: Conduct independent research to create a repository of knowledge for each project, considering the work in theatrical contexts, as well as cultural, social and political frameworks
C7: Provide references according to accepted conventions and compile systematic bibliographies.
C8: Work in a collegiate and professional manner, supporting the work of others by providing thoughtful feedback and constructive criticism
C9: Organise and structure an extended written piece of work, advancing clear critical positions
Students develop C1-9 through independent research/performance-making, lecturer feedback, peer feedback, and their own critical reflection.
C9 is assessed through the submission of an original dissertation or critical reflection on a practical component.
C1-8 are assessed through essays, creative assignments and commentaries. Practice is evaluated throughout the first two terms through continuous assessment of contribution to module activity combined with performance and practical assignments, along with critical commentaries reflecting on the process of making the work in the broader context of contemporary theatre practice. Peer assessment also forms a part of the evaluation process.
The course prepares the student for the Dissertation project. Those undertaking the MA can make a Practice as Research project where a new creative work will form the majority of the assessment, accompanied by a short critical commentary, or they could also formulate other plans and interventions that could contribute towards future professional practice.
D: Key skills
D1: The ability to communicate information, arguments and ideas cogently and effectively in a range of different contexts, both orally and in writing
D2: Typing and word-processing skills; use of electronic library catalogues, online archives and email
D3: Management of projects and timetables. Researching, understanding and organising information
D4: Ability to interact with others and to understand and grasp different perspectives
D5: Leading and collaborating with others on practical work; developing independent time management skills and initiative, working autonomously and making use of feedback from others to improve the work
Students develop D1-6 in class discussion, seminars, rehearsals, class discussions, class preparation and performance making, as well as writing and interaction outside the classroom.
Key skills are assessed through class participation, workshops and rehearsals, and performance outcomes, as well as through written outputs such as essays, creative writing accompanied by a commentary and the dissertation.