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BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons) - combined

Department of English and Modern Languages

What did it mean to perform in 1600? Why does Victorian melodrama contain characters and plots suitable for Hollywood blockbusters? On this course you’ll explore drama through a mix of historical analysis, theory and performance. You’ll study the history of British and European theatre, develop as a critical thinker and have plenty of opportunities to perform.
We've reviewed our combinations for this course for 2018 entry - please check the current list of combined honours options in 'Combining this course with another subject'

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 - to include English Language and/or English Literature

Available start dates

September 2018 / September 2019

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Headington Hill

Course length

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

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Theory, history and performance  this varied course blends together theoretical, historical and performance-based approaches in a way that will deepen your understanding of drama.
  • Be taught by experts – you’ll be taught by tutors who are active researchers meaning what you learn will be informed by the latest academic thinking. You’ll also enjoy workshops with our theatre-industry partners who will share their expertise with you.
  • Space for Drama – we make use of our dedicated black box drama studio, as well as spaces at the Pegasus Theatre and elsewhere in Oxford.
  • Get involved – you’ll have plenty of opportunities for performance both inside and outside the course. There’s an in-house professional, touring theatre company, Re:Conception, and there are student-led drama and musical theatre societies on campus you can get involved in. 
  • Past or present – you’ll get to grips with a broad range of plays and performances, with a focus on Renaissance and post-1850 drama. You’ll also be able to specialise in the area that interests you the most.

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 gain a solid grounding in the textual and practical study of drama and performance. You will explore theatricality, textuality, and performativity through the works of playwrights such as Shakespeare, Beckett and Wilde. You’ll study Naturalism, Expressionism, Renaissance and 21st century playgoing. 

Year 2 has a largely historical focus. You’ll study Renaissance tragedy and comedy and examine modernist and post-modernist drama in more depth. You will develop the ability to understand a range of plays within their historical context, and engage with key historical and critical questions about theatre and performance. You’ll spend a semester working with a team of other students on a performance of a modern British play.

In Year 2 you can opt to take an independent study module to explore a topic that particularly interests you. You can also choose to complete a Work Placement module.

In Year 3 you will have the opportunity to specialise in specific areas of study, for example theatre and madness or Renaissance plays of the Rose Theatre. During the final module of your degree you will take part in a final production, and will contribute to the project's directorial, design and associated creative visions to produce a sustained piece of performance work.

You may also choose to complete an interdisciplinary dissertation. You’ll produce a sustained piece of research which focuses on a topic of your choosing that draws together the two parts of your combined honours degree.

The course also includes modules designed to give you insights into careers in the professional theatre.

Drama is available as combined honours only - see the 'Combining this course with another subject' 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 Sarah Kane’s Crave.

Years 2 and 3

Year 2 begins with a grounding in British Theatre 1950-Present and Modern British Theatre in Performance, 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 or with a theatre company, experiencing arts administration or teaching first-hand - giving you valuable skills for your career post-graduation.

In Year 3 you will have the opportunity to further specialise in specific areas which also inform the cutting-edge research of your tutors. Modules include:

  • People, Plays and Places - you’ll 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 Hampton Court Palace or the Rose Theatre in London.
  • Spectacular Origins: Theatre, Madness and the Mind - theatre and science are deeply interwoven. In this largely practice-based module, you’ll examine those connections by exploring depictions of medicine, madness and science in dramatic and theatrical representation.  Topics of interest may include the criminality on the stage, women, madness and psychiatry, and cognitive approaches to theatre and staging neuroscience. 
  • Staging the past: Histories, Memories and Imagination – this module explores the interplay between theatre, history, memory and imagination and questions the line between truth and perspective. You will investigate the ways in which writers and performers deploy received narratives, historical documents, personal testimony, and invented material as means of making theatre which dramatizes history, constructs biographies, and tells the stories of communities.

The Final Production module of your degree enables you to take part in a final performance, working on performing, directing, designing, and technical skills.

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 in teaching. Previous students have gained placements such as:

  • Teaching in a local school
  • Working backstage at a West End musical 
  • Working on a professional show with an arts company
  • Working in marketing and arts administration 
  • Community engagement projects with Pegasus Theatre
The module involves 12 to 14 hours of direct teaching and learning (depending on the size of the cohort), as well as some online learning, additional email support, and assessment.

Students organise placements themselves, and Oxford Brookes Careers Centre is on hand to provide students with assistance in finding their own placements. Students are responsible for their own travel and associated costs, therefore it is advised that they organise placements bearing this in mind. Oxfordshire based placements, such as at Pegasus Theatre, are accessible via public transport – a trip which is included on the Brookes Bus route, whilst placements in London will incur higher travel costs. It is encouraged that students explore opportunities for their placement provider to cover travel costs if they opt for a placement which is not local. 

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

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 offers studio theatre, rehearsal and dance studios, cafe and technical facilities which we can use.

Members of the department are actively involved in a number of local projects including consultancy with The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Additional costs

We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading this is at their own discretion.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Teaching and learning

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. 

As such, you’ll be taught through a mixture of  lectures, practical workshops and seminars to discuss your ideas. You will be taught by dedicated staff who are actively engaged in research and who keen to share their ideas with you.

Teaching by our staff is supplemented by exciting practical workshops by our theatre-industry specialists, including Goat and Monkey Theatre company

On the course you’ll be able to learn technical skills. Our dedicated Drama technician runs sessions, and offers support and advice to students, from how to rig a light to the theory of light and sound in theatre. 

Time spent in different learning activities

Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 18%82%0%
2 20%80%0%
3 12%88%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 15%85%0%
2 14%86%0%
3 11%89%0%

Approach to assessment

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

Typically you will be assessed 50% by written assignments and 50% through performance/creative practice.

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 0%10%90%
2 0%0%100%
3 0%25%75%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 20%10%70%
2 25%10%65%
3 0%25%75%

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module

International - full time: 2017/18: £12,890 2018/19: £13,150

*Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 - to include English Language and/or English Literature

A-Level: BBC or equivalent

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

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: grade B English Language or Literature

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 Visas and Immigration 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.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. 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.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

There is a long tradition of performance in Oxford. The city is home to numerous performance venues including Oxford Playhouse, the New Theatre and Pegasus Theatre, as well as theatre companies including Creation Theatre and Oxford Theatre Company. The department is involved in a number of community projects, the two Oxford 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 consultancy for The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

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.

Support for students studying Drama

There is extensive support available. Our student support coordinators are there for you from the day you arrive to the day you leave, helping with anything from module planning to supporting you with any personal issues you may experience. They organise induction programmes and events throughout the year, and offer a friendly face when you need one.

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 and 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 are possible; audience seating can be raked or the action can be raised above the audience.

Our drama technician, Russell Anderson, is 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 and facilities at Pegasus Theatre for teaching, rehearsal and performance. 

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.

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 clarity, and the ability to think critically in challenging situations.

Recent graduates have taken roles in areas such as professional theatre, arts administration, and teaching drama in schools and colleges. Other graduates have continues their studies at a postgraduate level at RADA and other institutions. 

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, while also gaining credit for your Drama degree. Career advice can also be provided by our creative consultants, Goat and Monkey Theatre company, who have hands-on experience of working in the theatre industry, setting up a theatre company and developing creative projects and educational opportunities.