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English and Drama 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
English »
Drama and Theatre »

English and Drama are natural bedfellows. Combining the two, you can study Shakespeare to Stanislavski, science fiction to Japanese Noh Theatre, and playwriting to poetic practice.

From Beowulf to the Booker Prize, English offers you the opportunity to study the full historical range of literature in English as well as the latest developments in the field, and even to pursue your own creative writing.

You can discover the earliest works in English, deepen your knowledge of Shakespeare, find out what is great about Renaissance literature, darken your view of the 18th century, and unpack the Victorians. The course's structure allows you to develop a sound understanding of key periods, genres, authors, and ideas as well as choosing from a huge range of options. You can study Modernism, Postmodernism and American literature, explore literary criticism, develop your own creative writing, and analyse the latest developments in global literatures in English.

  • You will gain a solid knowledge of the whole range of English literature from its beginnings to its latest developments, ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and Salman Rushdie.
  • Study unusual, non-traditional subjects such as the body in the 18th century or time in modern literature or courses incorporating visual arts and cinema.

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 theindustry 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.

Core modules

Year 1

The core modules in English Literature are:

Critical Foundations - Thinking as a Critic

The aim of this module is to help you make the transition into university level work by introducing you to reading, writing and thinking as a critic. The module focuses on developing the abilities and skills of literary criticism and introducing the concepts, ideas and histories that are central to English as a discipline, including questions about interpretation, periodization, form, genre, canon, value, intention, narrative, voice, framing and identity. 

Re-orienting the Novel

This module introduces you to the origins, developments and innovations of the novel form through a range of contemporary, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels. Organised thematically, the module considers earlier novels in relation to contemporary examples. 

Introduction to Poetry

This module is designed to introduce you to a variety of major poems in English from the Renaissance to the present day. By the end of the course you will be able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a wide range of poems from Shakespeare to the present; a familiarity with a variety of poetic forms; an understanding of how poetry functions; and the necessary skills for analysing poetic technique.

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.

Year 2

English: Shakespeare - Page to Stage

This module aims to promote the interdisciplinary study of Shakespeare. It provides you with the opportunity for dedicated study of a limited number of plays both from the perspective of theatre studies and literary criticism. It also explicitly encourages you to reflect on the creative tensions and cross-fertilisation between the two halves of your joint degree.

Drama and Theatre: Theatre and Ideas 2 - Interdisciplinary Encounters

You will choose an option that further develops the dialogue between theatre and other disciplines by exploring key ideas to theatre practice. You might choose to explore casting, cultural heritage, ecology, gender, or money.

Year 3

All modules are optional

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 English Literature include:

Middle English Poetry


Medieval Drama


Tolkien's Roots - Old English Poetry and Modern Medievalism


Medieval Dream and Vision


Medieval Epic and Romance


The Gawain-Poet


Myths of Origin in Old English Literature


Old English Riddles


Love, Honour, Obey' - Literature, 1525 to 1670


Intensive Shakespeare - Comedy, History, Tragedy


Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642


Theatre and The City, 1590 to 1625


Early Modern Bodies


Paradise in Early Modern Literature


Gender and Writing in the Eighteenth Century


Eighteenth Century Bodies


The Age of Oppositions - Literature, 1660 to 1780


Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel


Fictions of Sensation


Victoria Literature




Creative Writing - Structure and Style


Writing Migrant Identities


Enivornmental Literatures


Four National Poets - Gillian Clarke, Carol Ann Duffy, Liz Lochhead and Paula Meehan


Literature of The Fin de Siècle


British Drama from Shaw to Priestly


Dark Reform - Scandal and Satire in American Culture


Contemporary Debates in Literary and Critical Theory


Modernist Literature


Drama and Theatre: Theatre and Performance Making 2


Drama and Theatre: Theatre and Text 2


Year 3

Optional modules in English Literature include:

A Marriage of Minds?


Special Author Project - Joseph Conrad


Special Author Project - Virginia Woolf


Special Author Project - Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales


Special Author Project - The Brontes


Special Author Project - John Donne


Special Author Project - Charles Dickens


Special Author Project - Thomas Hardy


Special Author Project - J.M. Coetzee


Special Author Project - Samuel Beckett


Special Author Project - Christopher Marlowe


Special Author Project - Oscar Wilde


Of Circumference - Reading Emily Dickinson


Rewriting Mythologies in 20th Century Literature


Character - Literary Persons, Selfhood and Interiority in Early Modern Literature


Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture


Special Topic - The Girl in the Book


The Post-Colonial Novel - the Art of Resistance


The Pre-Raphaelite Movement in Art and Literature


Byron, Modernity and Europe, 1780 to 1830


Sex, Death and Celebrity - Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama


African-American Literature


Science Fiction


The Literature of Chicago


Theatre and the City - 1590 to 1730


Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century


The New York Schools - Poetry, Painting and Music in the 1950s


The Nineteen Thirties, Fiction and the Road to War


Vernacular Writing


Tolkien's Roots - Old English Poetry and Modern Medievalism


Old English Riddles


Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642


Paradise in Early Modern English Literature


Middle English Poetry


Medieval Epic and Romance


Beowulf and The Critics


Literature and Philosophy


Fictions of Sensation


Writing Migrant Identities


Advanced Romanticism - The 18teens


Children's Literature


The Art of Noise


A Year in the Life of Victorian Fiction - 1855


The Lives of Writing


Ethics and Aesthetics in the novels of J.M. Coetzee


Reading Beowulf


Medieval Drama


Old English Literature


Advanced Shakespeare - The Problem Plays


Early Modern Bodies


Medieval Dream and Vision


Painting / Writing


Gender and Writing in the Eighteenth Century


Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel


Everyday Literature


Queer Histories - Contemporary Gay and Lesbian British and Irish Fiction


Odysseus' Scar - Time in Modern Literature and Film




Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century


The Great American Novella


Exploring James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake




Literatures of Genocide and Atrocity


Shakespeare in Stages - Shakespearen Adaptation across Four Centuries


Shakespearean Echoes, Off shoots and Responses


Special Topic: Ideas in Contemporary Fiction


Poetic Practice


The Brontës


Reading The Waste Land


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


Drama and Theatre: Love, Gender and Sexuality on Stage and Screen


Drama and Theatre: Race Relations in Theatre, Film and Television


Drama and Theatre: Shakespeare


Drama and Theatre: National and Folk Dance at the Boundaries


Drama and Theatre: Modern European Directors


Drama and Theatre: Research Seminar - Naturalist Theatre and its Audiences


Drama and Theatre: Research Seminar - Black British Playwriting


Drama and Theatre: Research Seminar - Theatre and Globalisation


Drama and Theatre: The Birth of Experimental Theatre


Drama and Theatre: A Violent Act - Women, Performance and Historiography


Drama and Theatre: Contemporary British Theatre - Politics and Philosophy


Drama and Theatre: Spectacle and Politics in International Performance


Drama and Theatre: Race Relations in Theatre, Film and Television


Drama and Theatre: Medicine and the Body in Performance


Drama and Theatre: Final Year Project - Dissertation


Drama and Theatre: Final Year Project - Group Performance


Drama and Theatre: Final Year Project - Special Study


You’ll be taught through a combination of lectures and seminar/workshops, and participate in study groups, essay consultations and guided independent study, plus for Drama, presentation of your research and practical experimentation, with or without written texts. In your first year, you will also work in small groups of just four or five students focusing on study skills such as close reading, essay writing and presentation and self-editing. As you progress through your degree, these tutorials focus on your own personal development, for instance working on your CV. IT applications are used to explore many aspects of the subject, and we support your capability in this area through an Information Technology Skills course. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 12 course units at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory, while others are elective, thereby offering flexibility and some choice. During your second and third years you accumulate the marks that make up your final degree award.

This system provides an effective and flexible approach to study, while ensuring that our degrees have a coherent and developmental structure.

You will take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

We use a variety of assessment methods, including long and short essays, formal examinations at the end of each year, online tests and exercises, presentations, commentaries and portfolios of creative work. For Drama, assessment will include practical assignments such as a seminar presentation or a performance, and you will sometimes 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 20% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 80% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 18% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 82% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 17% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 83% in guided independent study.


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

Year 1

Written exams account for 30% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 70% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Practical exams account for 10% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 90% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

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

Typical offers

Typical offers

ABB including B in English
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

A Level Grade B in English Literature or English Language & Literature

At least five GCSEs graded A*- C or 9-4 including English and Maths

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including English Literature with a minimum of 32 points overall
BTEC National Extended Diploma

Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in relevant subject, including distinction in all essay units plus Grade A in GCSE English Literature

Distinction, Distinction in relevant subject, plus Grade B in A Level English Literature or English Language & Literature
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction in relevant subject, plus A Level Grades B,B including B in English Literature or English Language & Literature
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

ABB including English Literature or English Literature & Language,

Scottish Highers

AABBB including English Literature or English Literature & Language

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2,H2,H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level, including English Literature or English Literature & Language at Higher Level

Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 24 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 7.0 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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