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Drama and Creative Writing BA

Please note that information shown below may be subject to change.

UCAS code
Year of entry
View 2018 entry »
Course length
3 years full time
Drama and Theatre »
English »

By combining the study of Creative Writing with Drama, you'll gain a deeper understanding of how theatre performance and creative writing interact - whether you specialise as a playwright, or choose to take the the poetry or fiction options in creative writing.

Choosing to study Drama at Royal Holloway will put you at the centre of one of the largest and most influential Drama and Theatre departments in the world. You'll create performances, analyse texts, and bring a range of critical ideas to bear on both.  On this course the text and the body, thinking and doing, work together. There's no barrier between theory and practice: theory helps you understand and make the most of practice, while practice sheds light on theory. By moving between the two, you'll find your place as an informed theatre-maker, and by studying a variety of practices, by yourself and with others, you'll get knowledge of the industry as a whole, and learn how your interests could fit into the bigger picture.

We are top-rated for teaching and research, with a campus community recognised for its creativity (rated 14th in the world, and 6th in the UK, for Performing Arts in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016). Our staff cover a huge range of theatre and performance studies, but we're particularly strong in contemporary British theatre, international and intercultural performance, theatre history, dance and physical theatre, and contemporary performance practices.

Studying Creative Writing at one of the UK's most dynamic English departments will challenge you to develop your own critical faculties. Learning to write creatively, you'll develop your own writing practice.

Course units are taught by nationally and internationally known scholars, authors, playwrights and poets who are specialists in their fields who write ground-breaking books, talk or write in the national media and appear at literary festivals around the world.

  • Find your voice as a writer and develop writing techniques.
  • Learn how to create, criticise and shape an artistic work: a valuable life skill with uses beyond writing poetry, plays or novels.  From journalism and website creation to advertising and academic publishing – you'll be able to use the skills you pick up in character, voice, ambiguity, style and cultural context.
  • Join the ranks of our creative writers who have gone on to national recognition, taught by high-profile authors and poets including Jo Shapcott, Douglas Cowie and Ben Markovits.
  • You'll have access to 11 Bedford Square, Royal Holloway’s campus in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury, a hub for creative work.

Core modules

Year 1

The core modules in Drama and Theatre are:

Theatre and Performance Making

You will encounter a range of creative methods for work-shopping practice, and produce a 20-minute performance as a response to one company.

Theatre and Culture

This module looks at the ways in which theatre reflects, intervenes and questions the culture around it. It will expand your horizons and introduce you to a range of unfamiliar practices.

Creative Writing: Introduction to Creative Writing

This module is designed to introduce you to the problems and challenges of writing creatively generally and to the specific problems and challenges connected to writing in specific genres: fiction, drama and poetry. In the first term you will look at all three genres as part of a general introduction, while beginning to focus on fiction – and the short story – towards the end of term. The second term is split into two five-week sessions, one on poetry and one on drama. 

Creative Writing: Why Write?

This course introduces you to a range of historical perspectives on the function, forms, and value of creative writing. You will investigate the genesis of particular genres such as the short story, the novel and the manifesto, and will have an opportunity to work to the templates and prescriptions set out by these historical thinkers, as a means both to understand their demands and to investigate the relationships between historical genres and the contemporary writer. The course aims to encourage you to interrogate your own assumptions about creative writing and think critically about the relationship between creative writing and society.

Year 2

The core modules in Drama and Theatre are:

Theatre and Performance Making 2

You will choose an option that enables you to focus on a particular creative skill, such as acting for camera, dance, playwriting, physical theatre, site-based performance or scenography.

Theatre and Culture 2

You will choose an option that enables you to consider the ways in which theatre and culture reflect and resist each other within a particular context, including feminism, popular theatre, theatre for young audiences, dancing bodies and global culture.

Year 3

Creative Writing: Creative Writing Special Focus

The Creative Writing Special Focus concentrates on a particular mode of writing, genre, theme, issue or idea. Each focus draws on an individual staff area of interest and expertise, with the focus changing each term. You will take one particular focus in the Autumn term and one in the Spring and will be encouraged to make creative work in relation to the focus, and to develop your writing practice in relation to wider contexts relevant to the contemporary writer. This will make an important connection between the creative ambitions of the module and writing beyond the University.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only core modules are taken

Year 2

Optional modules in Drama and Theatre include:

Theatre and Text 2


Theatre and Ideas 2


Creative Writing: Playwriting

Creative Writing: Fiction

Creative Writing: Poetry

Year 3

Optional modules in Drama and Theatre include:

Methods and Processes


Culture and Creativity


Asylum Seekers in the 21st Century - Theatre, Film and Activism


Love, Gender and Sexuality on Stage and Screen


Race Relations in Theatre, Film and Television




National and Folk Dance at the Boundaries


Modern European Directors


Research Seminar - Naturalist Theatre and Its Audiences


Research Seminar - Black British Playwriting


Research Seminar - Theatre and Globalization


The Birth of Experimental Theatre


A Violent Act - Women, Performance and Historiography


Contemporary British Theatre - Politics and Philosophy


Spectacle and Politics in International Performance


Race Relations in Theatre, Film and Television


Medicine and the Body in Performance


Final Year Project - Dissertation


Final Year Project - Group Performance


Final Year Project - Special Study


Creative Writing: Playwriting 2

Creative Writing: Fiction 2

Creative Writing: Poetry 2

Each year, you'll take two modules in each subject. Drama explores a whole range of dramatic and theatrical forms, conventions, periods, traditions and activities. You'll learn how to get intellectual ideas across in presentations and through performance. You'll also learn to work well in teams. In your first year, a foundation course, you'll get a grounding in contemporary theatremaking and critical theories. In your second and final years, you'll study alongside single honours students, taking half of your modules in Drama.

In your first year of Creative Writing, you'll take two introductory modules, before going on in your second year to specialise in two literary forms. In your final year, you'll wrap up by taking one of those forms to honours level.

The course has a flexible structure: students take twelve course units, four per year. Some are compulsory, and others you can choose. In your second and third years, you'll make up the marks that count for your final degree award. You'll also take a study skills course during your first year, to equip you with writing skills to make your degree count. This course won't count towards your final degree, but you'll need to take it to pass on to second year.

You'll be assessed through examinations, essays, seminar presentations, practical assignments and creative portfolios. In Drama modules, you'll often be assessed as part of a group.

Study time

Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

You will spend 17.75% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 82.25% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 17.75% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 82.25% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 10% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 90% in guided independent study.


Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

Coursework accounts for 100% of the total assessment for this year of study.

Year 2

Coursework accounts for 100% of the total assessment for this year of study.

Year 3

Written exams account for 0% of the total assessment for this year of study, 20% will be assessed through practical exams, and 80% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers

AAB-ABB including English grade A
How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.
  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Required/preferred subjects

Required: A Level Grade A in English Literature or English Language & Literature and at least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C or 9-4 including Maths and English 

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including 6 in  English with a minimum of 32 points overall.
BTEC National Extended Diploma Not accepted
Distinction, Distinction in relevant subject, plus A Level Grade A in English Literature, English Literature & Language.
BTEC National Extended Certificate

Distinction in relevant subject, plus A Level grades A,B including A in English Literature, English Literature & Language.

Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.
Scottish Advanced Highers AAB including A in English Literature or English Literature & Language.
Scottish Highers AAABB including A in English Literature or English Literature & Language.
Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level including H2 in English Literature or English Literature & Language at Higher Level.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit. All level 3 English studies units must be passed with Distinction. The Access to Higher Education Diploma is only acceptable if you have had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
 IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore. For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

There are plenty of performance opportunities to get stuck into while you're here, and they'll stand you in good stead when you graduate. You'll be familiar and confident in performance situations (skills which are vital for leading meetings and make you viable for visible leadership roles). You'll come off as credible and composed. You'll also walk away with considerable experience of technical, intellectual, imaginative, and practical skills, valued by most employers. Aside from these performance skills, you'll also get skills in research and project management from the academic side of the course. 

Our industry links mean you'll be able to pursue work experience with theatres and creative arts agencies. Recent graduates in the Department of Drama & Theatre have gone into careers in acting, writing, broadcasting (including at the BBC), literary agency, arts management, sound design, marketing/PR, teaching and community theatre work, as well as postgraduate study in different fields. Lots of our graduates also start their own performing arts companies. Find out more about what our graduates are doing now.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year**: £16,500

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs with studying this course greater than £50 per item. It is a requirement to purchase a pair of safety boots in the first year, for which a range of cost options are available. Ticket costs for mandatory theatre trips are capped at £10.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates has not yet been confirmed for students starting a degree in the academic year 2019/20.

**Fees for international students starting a degree at Royal Holloway in the academic year 2019/20 have not yet been set, and those for 2018/19 are shown for reference purposes only. Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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