Drama - September 2014 entry

BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons) - combined

A-level: BBC or equivalent

This course is run by the Department of English and Modern Languages

We harness our students’ passion for drama. You will have the opportunity to perform in a range of dramas and plays, study the history of English theatre from the medieval period to the present, and develop as a critical thinker and practitioner. 

You will engage with key historical and critical questions about the theatre and performance. What did it mean to perform in 1600? Why does Victorian melodrama contain characters and plots suitable for Hollywood blockbusters? 

This is a combined honours course; for a list of subjects you can combine with see 'Combining this course with another subject' below.

Why choose this course

  • You get the opportunity to perform in a range of dramas and plays.
  • You study the history of English theatre from the medieval period to the present.
  • Development as a critical thinker and practitioner.
  • Be taught by dedicated staff who are also active researchers.
  • Enjoy workshops with our theatre-industry partners and benefit from their specialist careers advice.
  • You can take advantage of excellent performance and work placement opportunities in Oxford.
  • You get the opportunity to make use of our dedicated black box Drama Studio, as well as  spaces at Pegasus Theatre and elsewhere in Oxford.

This course in detail

You will develop the ability to understand a range of plays within their historical context and engage with key historical and critical questions about the theatre and performance such as what can the Renaissance stage teach us today about the politics of performance? Why does Victorian melodrama, which originated in a very different historical and technological period, contain characters and plots which would not look out of place in Hollywood blockbusters? What are the political pressures driving contemporary theatre today?

You engage with different forms of drama through performance and research and the course is intended to provide graduates with a solid grounding in the textual and practical study of drama and performance.

In Year 1 you will study two skills-based modules: Approaches to Performance and Texts in Performance.

Year 2 has a largely historical focus. One of the guiding principles of the course is that to understand fully the drama of a historical period it is crucial to explore it through performance and workshops as well as more traditional methods of research. Shakespeare’s theatre cannot be understood by simply reading the plays - it also has to be enacted.

In Year 3 you will have the opportunity to specialise in specific areas of study. In this year it will be possible to concentrate on written or performance work. The final module of your degree reflects this emphasis on student choice since it will allow you either to take part in a final performance, to work as a director, as a designer or in a similar creative role, or to produce a sustained piece of written work.

The course will also include modules designed to give you insights into careers in the professional theatre. Typically you will be assessed 50% by written assignments and 50% through performance/creative practice.

Drama is available as combined honours only - see the 'Combine with...' tab for the full list of other subjects that you can study alongside it.

Study modules

As we review our courses regularly, the list of modules you choose from may vary from the ones shown here. You can also read more detailed module descriptions here.

Year 1

In your first year you will study two skills-based modules:

  • Approaches to Performance: introduces you to key theatrical skills and forms, approached from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Texts studied might include: Victorian melodrama Black Ey’d Susan, Ibsen’s Ghosts, Brecht’s Mother Courage and Beckett’s Quad.
  • Texts in Performance: provides an in-depth historical understanding of performance circumstances and developments. Texts studied might range from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, through Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest to Terry Johnson’s Hysteria and Sarah Kane’s Crave.

Years 2 and 3

The second year begins with a grounding in British Theatre 1950-Present, a chance to explore modern and contemporary British text-based theatre through playwrights such as Harold Pinter and Cary Churchill and theatre makers, such as Max Stafford-Clark. Further second-year modules include:

  • Theatre and Theory - Modern and Postmodern, explores a theoretical approach to theatre using various materials including visual, textual and audio.
  • Renaissance Tragedy and Comedy exposes you to key genres and plays such as Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy and Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside.
  • a Work Placement module in Drama: such as working at a local theatre, with a theatre company, experiencing arts administration or teaching first hand, giving you valuable skills for your career post-Brookes.

In the third year you will have the opportunity to further specialise on specific areas which also inform the cutting-edge research of your tutors. Examples of modules might include:

  • People, Plays and Places: an opportunity to carry out detailed and performative research, building on issues of space, performance and historical context already encountered. You’ll focus specifically on Early Modern drama, for example performance at a specific place or time, such as at Hampton Court Palace or the Rose Theatre in London.
  • Spectacular Origins: Theatre, Medicine and Science, in which you can explore depictions of medicine and science in relation to dramatic and theatrical representation in largely practice-based ways. Topics of interest might include the birth of modern science, the theatre of Tom Stoppard, women, madness and psychiatry, or Charles Darwin onstage.

The Final Production module of your degree reflects our emphasis on student choice, enabling you either to take part in a final performance, working as a director, performer, designer or in a similar creative role.

You may also elect to create a sustained piece of written work by opting to undertake an interdisciplinary dissertation in an area of your interest.

Modules designed to give you insights into careers in the professional theatre are also included, and these are supplemented by the specialist workshops provided by our Creative Consultants, including Goat and Monkey Theatre.

Work placements

You'll have the option to take a work placement module in your second year - this could involve working at a local theatre, with a theatre company, in arts administration or teaching, giving you valuable career skills. In the past work placements have included:

  • teaching  in local schools
  • with arts companies, working on a professional show
  • backstage experience at a professional theatre
  • marketing and arts admin experience
  • community engagement projects with Pegasus Theatre.

Study abroad

You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year.

Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:

  • increasing your employability within an international market
  • boosting your language skills
  • building your confidence in adapting to new situations
  • improving your knowledge of different cultures.

While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.

We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.

 There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.

For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges

Departmental research highlights

Dr Carina Bartleet carries out research into the links between science and theatre, which directly informs her teaching of a third year module, Spectacular Origins.

Dr Eleanor Lowe and Professor Tom Betteridge both carry out practical performance research projects in Early Modern drama; some of this work is explored in the second year module, Renaissance Tragedy and Comedy. Tom's work has also opened opportunities for students to contribute to professional productions at locations such as Hampton Court Palace.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Performance opportunities

There are a number of performance opportunities at Oxford Brookes. The Students' Union has two drama societies and there is also the chance to take part in activities in the city. 

The drama department is involved in a number of community projects, and works in partnership with Pegasus Theatre. Pegasus has pioneered theatre and arts education work with young people in Oxford for the past 50 years. It has a brand-new studio theatre, rehearsal and dance studios, cafe and technical facilities.

Members of the department are actively involved in a number of local projects including the staging of plays and workshops in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace in London.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

Teaching by our staff is supplemented by exciting practical workshops by our theatre industry specialists, including Goat & Monkey Theatre. 

We have a dedicated drama studio for your use, as well as links with Pegasus Theatre, and other spaces in Oxford.

Modules are taught by way of background lectures, followed by workshops to develop practical work and discuss your ideas.

You will be taught by dedicated staff who are actively engaged in the research of key issues in theatre studies, and keen to share their ideas with you.

One of the guiding principles of the course is that to understand fully the drama of a historical period it is crucial to explore it through performance and workshops as well as more traditional methods of research.

Approach to assessment

Assessments include both written work (such as a short essay or performance analysis), presentations, and a practical performance which you develop yourself in groups with input from your tutor.

Learning outcomes

Key facts


Department of English and Modern Languages

Course length

Full-time: 3 years
Part-time: up to 6 years

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Headington Hill

Start date

September 2014

UCAS code and Key Information Sets

This course is only available when combined with another subject. Please see the 'Combining this course with another subject' heading for the available combinations, UCAS codes and Key Information Set details.

How to apply / Entry requirements

Typical offers

A-level: BBC or equivalent

IB Diploma: 29 points

Other typical offers include:

  • grades BC at A-level plus grades BC at AS-level
  • grade C at 12-unit vocational A-level with B at A-level
  • a National Certificate or Diploma at a good standard
  • a recognised access course.

Drama is available as combined honours only. Normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Specific entry requirements

A-Level: English, Drama or a related subject Grade B preferred

GCSE: English Language or Literature Grade C required

Applicants over 21 years who do not meet these requirements are encouraged to contact us to discuss their application.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Border Agency's minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

The selection procedure will typically include participation in a drama workshop and an interview. 

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Conditions of acceptance

When you accept our offer, you agree to the conditions of acceptance. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Student experience

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

There is a long tradition of performance in Oxford, with the city home to numerous performance venues including Oxford Playhouse, the New Theatre and Pegasus Theatre, as well as theatre companies including Creation Theatre and Oxford Touring Theatre Company. The department is involved in a number of community projects, the two Brookes drama societies and productions in the city.

You'll also be conveniently located for access to London, with its vibrant and diverse theatre scene. Members of the drama department have recently participated in the staging of plays and workshops at Hampton Court Palace.

Because Oxford is one of the world's great academic cities, it is a key centre of debate, with conferences, seminars and forums taking place across education, science, the arts and many other subjects.

Specialist facilities

We have a dedicated drama studio, seating an audience of 50 or 130 all standing. This is used for workshops and seminars, as well as being available for bookings by students for assessment rehearsals or other creative projects. It is extremely well-equipped for a studio of its size, and offers:

  • near-total control of lighting, allowing you to give the illusion of radically different environments, changing at the flick of a switch, or over time
  • considerable control of sound - mixing and altering sounds from many sources and delivering them from almost any location in the studio
  • extremely flexible configuration of audience seating or staging. Traverse, in-the-round and thrust stagings is possible; audience seating can be raked or the action can be raised above the audience.

Our Drama Technician, Russell Anderson, is also on hand to advise on sound, lighting and other technical aspects of putting on your performance.

Through our creative partnership, we also make use of spaces at Pegasus Theatre for teaching, rehearsal and performance. Students enjoy working in the theatre and taking advantage of the brand-new facilities Pegasus has to offer.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

After graduation

Career prospects

Drama at Oxford Brookes will prepare you for a range of careers. The skills you acquire on the course include analytical, communication, and team-working skills; the ability to write with precision and care; and the ability to think critically in challenging situations.

Career destinations include professional theatre contexts and teaching drama in schools and colleges.

The Work Placement module in the second year is designed to give you the opportunity to explore future careers at first hand and make valuable contacts, whilst also gaining credit for your Drama degree. Career advice can also be provided by our creative consultants, Goat and Monkey Theatre, who have hands-on experience of working in the theatre industry, setting up a theatre company and developing creative projects and educational opportunities.