BA/BA (Hons) Drama

Are you passionate about theatre? See yourself as a future director, performer, playwright, deviser, stage manager, scenographer, workshop leader or producer? Our exciting and innovative mix of theoretical and practical modules will enable you to try out all of these roles and then focus on your career aspirations.

Visit the theatre in Scotland and you will probably see the work of a QMU graduate. 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.

QMU has 97% overall student satisfaction for Drama

QMU has 97% overall student satisfaction for Drama (Source: NSS 2020)

Why QMU?

  • 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.
  • 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.

About the course

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. On this course you will learn the collaborative skills and process involved in creating and staging plays, and will experiment with key contemporary performance practices.

You will explore all aspects of theatre front and back stage, including the audience. Who are they? (they may not be like you!) What do they want from a performance? How can you reach your audience? We challenge conventional assumptions of what the performing arts can be and who they are for, from both a practitioner and audience perspective.

You will engage with a vibrant diversity of practical and theoretical approaches that balance practice, history, research, critical thinking and employability skills. 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.

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 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.

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.

In Years One and Two you will work in collaborative experimental workshops, finding creative solutions to the staging and performance of classic and contemporary genres and texts. Bringing a range of interests and skills (performing, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy and scenography), students share their different perspectives and insights. Lectures cover theatre history and critical and performance theory, which will inform the decisions you make in your creative work.

In Years Three and Four you will study core modules plus optional modules allowing you to focus your interests in specific areas. You will also have the opportunity to study abroad* or go on placements. In Year Four you will complete a personal final project, which can be a practical or a written dissertation.


You can study for an honours degree over four years or an ordinary degree over three years. You will complete a range of modules each year as outlined.


Year One

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

Years Three and Four options

  • Photography and Visual Culture Screenwriting
  • Student Initiated Module
  • Scotland on Screen
  • Film and the Family
  • Photography Practice
  • Storytelling in Convergent Media
  • The American West in Popular Culture Problematic: Criticism, Culture and Social Justice
  • Experiential Learning Placement
  • 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
  • Decoding Dress: The Cultural Significance of Costume
  • Staging the 20th Century: How Scenography Built the Modern Imagination
  • Advanced Theatre Production
  • Devised Physical Theatre
  • Devising Practices
  • Theatre Laboratory Practices
  • Drama in Education (Community Workshop Placement)
  • Arts Funding in its Policy Context

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

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, post-show discussions and exams. You will complete a Year Four honours project. There will be individual and group assessments. 

Below you can read about Teaching and Learning Activities and Assessment Activities. We believe this will give you a good indication of what the course will be like, but the exact balance of activities may differ depending on the academic year and on the modules you choose.

Teaching and learning activities

Our Teaching and Learning Activities are focused on building your confidence, developing your problem-solving skills and preparing you for a successful career. Here you can read about how much time you should expect to spend undertaking these activities for this course along with a general description of the activity for all courses.


You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and in some cases practical workshops or laboratories. Seminars enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

Independent Learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, practicals or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the Learning Resource Centre, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. You independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities, including the Learning Resource Centre and the Hub.


Courses with placements give you the opportunity to put what you are learning into practice and to observe and work with a wide range of individuals and groups of people in diverse settings. Some courses offer placement opportunities in the UK and overseas.

Assessment Activities

Assessment Activities provide you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject and receive feedback on your performance. Here you can read about how much of your final mark is based on each type of formal assessment for this course along with a general description of the activity for all courses.


Assessment by written examinations normally takes place at the end of each module or semester, but they may also happen during modules.


Coursework assessments take place in a variety of ways, including assignments, essays, reports, portfolios, project output and your level 4 Honours project. We aim to provide you with feedback on your assessment within 20 working days of the submission date.


Practical assessments can include oral presentations, performance, practical skills assessment, costume design and construction, film making, lab work or clinical practical skills depending on the nature of the course.



You will have the opportunity to complete a placement in the Community Theatre 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

In Year Three you have the opportunity (subject to availability) to study for one semester at a university overseas. For more information, see Exchanges and Study Abroad.



You may know that you want to work in the theatre, 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.

Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: Standard: AABB, Minimum: BBBB*

A Level: BBB

Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H3 H3 H3 H3

International Baccalaureate: 30 points

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5

Required subjects: English and/or Drama at Higher/ A Level preferred. English required and Maths preferred at Nat 5/GCSE.

Mature/Access: Related Access course, see: www.qmu.ac.uk/college-qualifications. We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications and/or experience.

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 www.qmu.ac.uk/college-qualifications

* NB the entry requirement in the printed UG Prospectus 22 had a typo. The information here is correct. 

Associate student places


Professional registration/ accreditation


Awarding body

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

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

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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.

QMU is in the top 3 in Scotland for student satsifaction in Drama

QMU is in the top 3 in Scotland for student satisfaction in Drama (includes QMU’s Drama, Costume Design & Construction and Acting for Stage and Screen courses) (Source: NSS 2020)

Course Overview

3 or 4 years full-time
Start Date
September 2022
On campus
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Fees & Funding

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 Find out more about Diane's story