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Drama and Music (BA)

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Course details

This course offers the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and skills in two complementary areas of the performing arts.  

The course is evenly divided between the two subjects, allowing you to make connections between them. In the drama course units you will benefit from practical engagement with performance texts, integrating theory and practice throughout your studies. As Royal Holloway is one of the country's largest drama departments it can offer an unusually wide range of subject areas, all taught by specialists – from areas as diverse as Shakespeare and Renaissance theatre to theatre and therapy, and dance drama.

For Music you will have access to Royal Holloway's well-equipped studios and recording facilities and have the opportunity to make invaluable industry contacts. Performance opportunities include the chamber orchestra, the sinfonietta (for new music) and the big band. Some of the main areas of teaching include Western music history, ethnomusicology, music theory and analysis of tonal music, performance, and composition of various kinds.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
UCAS code WW43
Qualification Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Duration Three years full time
Typical A-level offer ABB or equivalent, including grade A in Music or pass Music Theory grade 8
Department Drama and Theatre; Music

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time undergraduate degrees must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Further information on making your application through UCAS is available on the Applying section of our website.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. The College runs three annual Open days which give you the chance to meet our students and teaching staff, and get a taste of what university life is really like.

Prospective students who receive an offer of a place are invited to attend a UCAS day, where they are shown around the department, given the opportunity to speak with academic members of staff and meet current students.

Our Drama degrees involve a high degree of critical analysis and written work in addition to practice. Students who are not studying traditional academic high-school qualifications (such as BTEC Extended Diploma) will be invited to an Interview to ensure that they are applying for the right kind of course before an offer is made.  During the interview day, you will have the opportunity to take part in group activities as well as attending an individual 10-minute interview with a member of staff. This interview is not an audition and does not involve any testing of your performance skills: the emphasis will be on the critical analysis of performance. Applicants who meet this profile and are unable to attend an interview, such as overseas students, will be asked to submit a written piece of work before an offer is made.

Entry requirements

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels ABB or equivalent, including grade A in Music or pass Music Theory grade 8
GCSE At least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C, including Maths and English.
English language
IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores, for equivalencies see here
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including 6 at Higher Level Music with a minimum of 32 points overall. Music Theory grade 8 is acceptable if Higher Level Music not taken
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject area plus evidence of A2 grade A in Music, Music Theory grade 8
BTEC National Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus A2 grade A in Music or Music Theory grade 8
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma Distinction in a relevant subject plus A2 grade A in Music and one further A2 grade B, or two A2 grades B, B plus Music Theory grade 8
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 Level Core.
Scottish Advanced Highers AABBB at Higher Level plus AB at Advanced Higher inc grade A in Music or pass Music Theory grade 8
Scottish Highers  
Irish Leaving Certificate AABBB at Higher Level inc A in Music at Higher Level or pass Music Theory grade 8
Access to Higher Education Diploma  

Other UK Qualifications

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International and EU Entry Requirements

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The specific offer that will be made will be based on the strength of the personal statement.

Performance Requirements
To ensure the practical musical understanding necessary for this programme, we require all students who receive an offer to provide evidence of adequate musical performance skills. We accept either:
(a) Grade 7 or higher (ABRSM, Trinity/Guildhall, Rock School), or
(b) an audition video demonstrating performance of two contrasted pieces (in genres in which you feel comfortable).

Applicants come from a diverse range of backgrounds and we accept a broad range of qualifications. Special consideration will be given to mature applicants, and we are happy to consider applicants with other qualifications, including QAA-approved Access to HE courses. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant is 21 or over at the time of application and has had a considerable break from education.

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for further information on the entry requirements from their country and English language requirements.  Royal Holloway International offers an International Foundation Programme and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their undergraduate degree.

We make decisions based on achieved or predicted grades, personal statements and references. More information on how your application will be assessed, and tips for your personal statement can be found on our Applying pages.

All applicants will be invited to a UCAS day, where you will have an interview with the Department of Drama and Theatre.  You will take part in various group activities and a half-hour small group seminar interview with a member of staff; the interview is not an audition and does not involve any testing of your performance skills. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Department of Music and speak with academic members of staff and current students.

Applicants who are unable to attend the interview day, such as overseas students, will be asked to submit a written piece of work before an offer is made.

Why choose this course?

  • The Drama Department has a strong research culture: all staff are active researchers and over 95% of our research is recognised internationally (RAE 2008).
  • The Music Department received the highest rating for research in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.
  • Our Drama resources include a workshop, three major performance spaces (the Studio Theatre, the Boilerhouse, and the Handa Noh Studio), two rehearsal rooms and a digital studio.
  • You will have access to major performance spaces on campus as well as several music technology spaces with the latest industry-standard hardware and software.
  • Our proximity to central London offers students easy access to the capital's many theatre productions.

What you'll learn

In the first year foundation course you only take four of the eight components covering areas such as contemporary theatremaking and critical theories. In your second and your final years you study alongside single honours students, taking half the number of courses in Drama.

In Music you will study core areas such as tonal music and the history of music, as well as choosing from a wide variety of options comprising subjects such as composition, performance and theory and analysis.

Throughout the course, you will:

  • explore the complex relationship between texts and performance
  • work with industry standard equipment in specially designed music studios and rehearsal facilities
  • acquire critical, analytical and group-working skills
  • work alongside practising professionals from different musical traditions

The websites of the Department of Drama and Theatre and the Department of Music give detailed lists of the course units taken for each different degree.

View the full course specification for Drama and Music (BA) in the Programme Specification Repository

How you'll learn & be assessed

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.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminar/workshops, and for Drama, presentation of your research and practical experimentation, with or without written texts. For Music, you will also have voal.instrumental lessons. 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. You will also have the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of musical amd performance activities supported by the departments, including performances by orchestras, choirs and other ensembles.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.

You will also 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.

All undergraduate degree courses at Royal Holloway are based on the course unit system. This system provides an effective and flexible approach to study, while ensuring that our degrees have a coherent and developmental structure.

Assessment methods match the course content. For most Drama course units, you will be assessed on two pieces of work, one of which is usually an essay, while the other might be an assignment such as a seminar presentation or a performance. You will sometimes be assessed as part of a group, and a portfolio of practical work.


Employability & career opportunities

Choosing Drama and Music at Royal Holloway means you will gain considerable experience of the combination of technical, intellectual, imaginative, and practical skills valued by a wide range of employers. You will develop skills in research, project management, written and oral communication, critical reasoning and leadership. We offer a range of activities and opportunities to help enhance your employability and prepare for the choices ahead.

Our recent graduates have successfully entered a wide range of careers including acting, writing, broadcasting, literary agency, arts management, sound design, marketing/PR, teaching and community theatre work, as musicians, composers, technicians, publishers,  lawyers and policy makers as well as gone onto postgraduate study in a variety of fields. Please visit the Drama and Music webpages for more information.


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