For full information about life in the School and the programmes we offer, please see the School of English and Drama Website.
Drama at Queen Mary asks you to critically evaluate a variety of theatre and performance practices, such as Renaissance drama, naturalism, or contemporary performance art. It also asks you to approach other cultural practices - such as political protest, tourism, and sport - as varieties of performance. Through analysing these practices, you will become a culturally informed critic of performance.
During your degree, you will explore historical and contemporary performance practices through a combination of theory and practice. You will develop the skills to articulate and argue a position through writing, and you will also use your own performance practice as a way of exploring questions about the world we live in.
Why study Drama at Queen Mary?
Queen Mary offers you the opportunity to study Drama in one of the world’s greatest theatre cities and one of the world’s most important cultural hubs. We have well-established links with key national institutions - such as Shakespeare’s Globe, the Barbican, and Tate Modern - and with community groups in London’s East End. This means you will work with active practitioners and arts professionals. As well as enhancing your studies, these links will increase your employability through networking and work placement opportunities.
You will also be studying alongside academics who are leaders in their field; the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) ranked QMUL's Drama Department as first in the country for the quality of our research. Our academics are committed to using this world-leading theoretical and practical research to inform their teaching. Our diverse faculty offers a wide range of modules so you can pursue the varieties of performance that most interest you.
Teaching and Assessment
We aim to develop graduates who are scholar-artists who excel in the world of ideas as well as on stage and in the studio. Your teaching will be active and dynamic, involving collaborative work with other students, while remaining focused on individual development. Teaching happens in small seminars, workshops, small lectures, and tutorials at Queen Mary. Some modules will also include field trips and workshop activities outside Queen Mary (such as visits to local schools or arts organisations).
Assessment includes written and practical assignments, which might include lecture-demonstrations, essays, critical reviews, funding applications and performances. As Drama frequently involves working with others, some assessment is based around group work.
This list gives some general guidance on which modules you will study during your degree, although these may vary from year to year. Visit our website to read fuller descriptions of these modules.
- Making Theatre (DRA116)
- Interventions (DRA120)
- Popular Theatre and Performance (DRA119)
- Cultural Histories of Theatre (DRA115)
- London/Culture/Performance (DRA114)
- Practices (DRA117)
- Performance Texts in Practice (DRA118)
Second and Final Year
Compulsory modules (Year 2):
- Cultural Politics and Performance (DRA259)
- Group Practical Project (DRA242)
- London/Archives/Resources (DRA260)
Compulsory modules (Final Year):
In your final year you take at least one research project. You can choose from:
- Written Research Project (DRA329)
- Practice-Based Research Project (DRA344)
- Performance Company Research Project (DRA353)
You also take the compulsory but unassessed module Livelihoods (DRA346).
What you study in the rest of your degree is up to you. After consultation with your advisor, you will design a programme of study for yourself by choosing from a list of optional modules. This programme of study will include a mixture of practice-based and seminar-based modules.
See our website for a full list of modules that may be on offer.
Typical grades required: At least 3 A-levels at AAB-ABB grades. A typical offer would be made to a student with AAB grades although we review every application carefully to consider whether we think our course is suitable for you.
Excluded subjects: General studies
Additional information: Students must gain grade A or above in at least one arts/ humanities /social sciences subject.
Subjects and grades: At least 34 points overall. Must include at least 6 in arts/humanities/social sciences subject at Higher Level.
Vocational and other qualifications:
The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as; Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. Please visit our further information page below.
Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration.
Learning and teaching
Drama teaching happens in small seminars, workshops, small lectures, field work, tutorials and some workshop activities outside Queen Mary (for example, in local schools). You will do group work and work independently. Theory and practice are integrated across the curriculum so that in seminars you will also do some practice-based learning and in workshops you will also discuss critical reading. As well as working with Drama staff, you will also have the opportunity to work with experts and theatre professionals from outside the College. You can expect to be in taught classes eight hours per week but also to do additional unsupervised practice in dedicated studio time four hours per week. You will sometimes dedicate additional time to preparing performance work and extra studio space is bookable for you to do this. You will also be responsible for preparing assigned reading, doing independent research and attending theatre and other cultural events across London as well as preparing work for assessment.
For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.
Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
Assessment includes written and practical assignments, which might include lecture-demonstrations, essays, critical reviews, funding applications and performances. As Drama frequently involves working with others, so some assessment is based around group work. However, we always try to find means of assessment that suit the subject matter being studied. We offer a wide range of practical and seminar-based module options, as well as required core modules, including, in the final year, either a written research project or an independent practical project. Drama modules involve a high level of commitment to the collective work done in practical classes and with other students outside of usual working hours.
Fees and finance
Tuition fees for Home and EU students
Tuition fees for International students
You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.
Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.
For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.
See more general information about fees.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.
Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.
Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.
Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students
There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.
Find out more about international scholarships.
Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.
Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs
Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.
Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):
- A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
- A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
- Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
- You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.
Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:
- How to apply for student finance
- What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
- What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
- What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance
Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
- Additional sources of funding
- Planning your budget and cutting costs
- Part-time and vacation work
- Money for lone parents
For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.
Graduates from Queen Mary’s BA Drama course go on to work in a wide variety of roles in a range of sectors including the arts, publishing, the media, charity and education.
The national 2014 destination survey confirmed that 92% of graduates from the School were in employment or study six months after graduation, with 71% of graduates already working or studying at graduate level.
The broad range of skills gained through undergraduate courses in the School, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, have enabled students to move into careers such as:
- Junior Producer - ITN
- Actor - Self employed
- Script Reader - Writers Avenue
- Fundraiser - Amnesty International
- Editorial Assistant - Dazed & Confused Magazine
- Associate Producer - Idle Motion
- PR Assistant - Proud Gallery
- Research Assistant - Tatler
- Programme Compiler - Channel 4
- Global Mobility Project Assistant - Diageo
- Marketing Coordinator - News Quest Ltd
Drama students can build work experience via the department’s student run Queen Mary Theatre Company or with one of Queen Mary’s creative agencies such as People’s Palace Projects. Drama students also work with for QMSU media (which produces QMTV, The Print newspaper, and CUB Magazine from the Students’ Union).
Throughout the course, students also have access to an annual QM Careers and Enterprise Centre programme, to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes employer led workshops on job applications and interviews as well as over 90 employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options. Recent events include an Experience Journalism workshop run by News Associates, Experience Teaching with TeachFirst, Careers in Law for non-law students and Start Up Stand up for those aspiring to start their own social enterprise or business.
Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village. Students are encouraged to build their work experience throughout their period of study. Opportunities can be found through QProjects, a local work experience scheme, QRecruit, which advertises internships and temporary work, Experience Works, a part time work fair, and volunteering with QMSU Provide. Queen Mary’s extensive campus also provides over 1200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities ranging from Student Journalist to Library Assistant and from Society President to School Mentor. There are also over 1400 vacancies to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.
Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers and Enterprise Centre pages.
Name: Liam Mortell
Studied: BA Drama
Currently: Since graduating, Liam has completed an MA in Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary, and has worked as a technical manager at Chessington World of Adventures. As of September 2013, he will be a teacher and technician in an independent school just outside London.
When did you graduate from the BA programme, and what was your final-year undergraduate research project on?
I graduated in 2010, with a First. My written research project was on the history and future of the People's Palace, the building/institution that grew to become Queen Mary. It was a really interesting project because I was able to do a lot of first hand research in the QMUL archives, and in others throughout London.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
When I came to the interview day I felt the environment, staff and students were really friendly and welcoming. Plus the Pinter Studio has an amazing technical rig that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on!
What was the highlight of your time at Queen Mary?
The performance module ‘Staging the Screen’ in the first semester of my final year. We created a really ambitious piece that had around 30 screens and was performed simultaneously across 3 spaces using all 12 of us as actors. By that point we all knew each other really well and it was a great experience led by dedicated and interesting lecturers.
How did you find life on campus and in London? Queen Mary offered the perfect balance between and campus and city university. I loved the area, and being able to live so close to my seminars. (Especially when you have to move out of halls for the 2nd and 3rd years). The campus is really lively and there is always lots to do. It’s also really pretty, especially by the canal in the summer!
What have you been doing since graduating, and how did studying at Queen Mary prepare you for it?
After completing the BA, I took the MA in Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary. Straight after the MA I started working as the technical manager of the Entertainment department at Chessington World of Adventures. Many of the practical courses helped with the production elements but I was surprised that I was bringing in a lot of the theory elements to shape the ‘guest experience’ and increase satisfaction.
In September I’m about to take on my next challenge as a teacher and technician at an independent school just outside London. I’m going to be bringing some elements of the courses I was taught during my time at QM to the students as I get to design my own schemes of work.
Please visit the School of English and Drama website to see more student and alumni profiles.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
“I decided to study at Queen Mary because it was based in the heart of London, one of the most diverse, experimental and culturally packed cities in Europe. Everything from theatre shows, to late night comedy clubs is on your doorstep.
How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?
“I love the way our lecturers approach teaching. In one session we may start by looking at the reasons people visited the original 1599 Globe theatre, and finish with a discussion of how contemporary live art performances have pushed the boundaries of theatre to offend, judge and perhaps even reconfigure modern day theatre goers.
“I live at home but try to get involved in the social side as much as I can. There is always something taking place on campus and all societies are very open to recruiting new members.”