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English and Drama


Click here to view the main course catalogue entry for QW34 English & Drama BA.|
Click here to visit the Department of Drama & Theatre's home page.|

English and Drama are natural partners; the study of each augments, enriches and illuminates the study of the other. At Royal Holloway two highly distinguished departments have come together to create an integrated degree programme and have devoted themselves to the creation of an extremely varied and stimulating academic undergraduate experience. Holders of degrees from either of these departments have proved employable in a wide spectrum of careers; acting, Christie Carson research|directing, theatre management, film, media & television, teaching, management, journalism, law, administration, accountancy, PR, as well as further postgraduate study to MA and PhD levels. Both departments have impressive research communities and are leaders in their research fields.

Be part of two top-ranked departments

The departments of Drama & Theatre and English at Royal Holloway are among the strongest in Britain; both achieved a top award of level 5 in the most recent research assessment exercise. English is, according to the latest THES league tables, solidly in the list of top ten English departments nationally, while Drama has consistently been placed near to or at the head of such polls in its field. In addition to deepening the companionate nature of the two disciplines, this degree programme also represents the development of a much closer working relationship between two of the most prominent departments in the country. Core courses will be convened and taught by a joint team of lecturers from both departments.

The combined resources of both departments are outstanding. There are around forty members of staff in addition to visiting experts, and (in Drama & Theatre) six technicians, enabling students to chose from a vast array of optional courses in most areas of Drama and English literature, from Shakespeare to Stanislavski, from science fiction to Japanese Noh Theatre, and from playwriting to poetic practice. The new degree uses a variety of teaching methods, reflecting the pedagogic emphasis of each department, and we are fully committed to enabling our students to develop their potential, whether in practical work or more theoretical modes of expression. The course enables those who take it to foster an identity as a joint honours student whilst retaining the same opportunities for specialism as their single honours counterparts; practical work in Drama, for example, is open to those on this degree.

Why Royal Holloway?

Royal Holloway is ranked among the UK's top university institutions for both teaching and research. One of the larger colleges of the University of London, we are strong across the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. Our 6,000 students work with internationally renowned scholars in 21 academic departments. The University of London degree gained by our talented, high-achieving graduates is valued the world over.

As a small cosmopolitan community, with students from 120 countries, we focus on the support and development of the individual. Our lively country campus, just 19 miles west of central London, provides a unique environment for university study. Campus life revolves around the Students' Union, which runs over 75 societies and sports clubs, and we are recognised as London's best sporting college.


The departments occupy five substantial buildings in the heart of the campus, encompassing three theatres, substantial IT facilities, a Digital Studio and Design cottage. We also teach at premises in central London, owned by the College. The  Library and the Computer Centre are close to hand and are an essential local resource.

Teaching and asessment 

How will I be taught and assessed?

The basic teaching session is two or three hours long. During that time there may be a formal lecture or a screening, followed by small group discussions, seminars and practical workshops, or students may work co-operatively for the whole period on practical and theoretical projects. Research is presented, ideas are developed, texts are read and their problems and challenges tested. The full range of assessment techniques is used. We predominantly employ assessed and timed essays written as part of the work in each course, dissertations, practical presentations of all kinds, and a small number of formal unseen examinations. Classes typically consist of about 15-18 students. Each student is assigned to a particular personal advisor, with whom they maintain contact for the duration of the course. The role of the advisor is to be the first point of contact should queries or difficulties arise concerning a student's participation in their programme of study.

Can I study abroad as part of my course?

There are opportunities for students to study abroad during their time at Royal Holloway. Students wishing to take advantage of these should consult the relevant contact in both departments.

Entry requirements and application process

How do I apply for admission?

Applications for entry to all our full-time undergraduate degrees must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). To make an application you will need a UCAS application form and directory. Your school or college should have these materials, otherwise you can write to UCAS, Rosehill, New Barn Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52 3LZ, telephone 01242 223707 or visit the UCAS website at: http://www.ucas.co.uk|

The UCAS form requires an institution code and a course code. The institution code for Royal Holloway is R72, RHUL. The course code for English/Drama is QW34. A student applying to this degree programme may be invited to spend a day visiting both departments, on the basis of which an offer may be made.

What we are looking for?

For the BA English & Drama  programme we require AAB at A level, normally with A in English and A in Theatre Studies or Drama. The other subject should be another subject relevant to the study of Drama and English. Appropriate subjects include, but are not restricted to, the following: English Language; a foreign language (classical or modern); History; History of Art; Art; Music; Politics; Psychology; Social Studies or Sociology; Classical Studies; Dance. Please note that General Studies at A-level is not acceptable as one of our A-level requirements. A foreign language, classical or modern, at GCSE is preferred but not essential.

Special consideration is given to mature student applicants and students without a conventional educational background. We look favourably, for example, upon students who are returning to study through an Access course. We also consider appropriate overseas qualifications. Overseas applicants are expected to have considerable proficiency in the English language; the minimum levels we usually consider are an IELTS score with minimum sub-scores of 7, or a TOEFL score of 570.

Who will teach me?

Department of Drama & Theatre

Rosie Alabaster BA hons (Theatre Design) and MA (Scenography) (Central St Martins School of Art, London University for the Arts)
Designer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: Theatre design in practice, history of Scenography, set and costume design, scenic painting, technical drawing, model making and prop making.

Gilli Bush-Bailey|, BA (Kingston), MRes, PhD (London).
Lecturer in Drama and Theatre, Director of Graduate Studies
Teaching areas include: Restoration theatre, 19th century melodrama, stand-up comedy & the one-woman show, west-end & commercial theatre (1979-1999).

Richard Cave, MA, PhD (Cantab), FRSA
Professor of Drama and Theatre Arts
Teaching areas include: modern drama and theatre since 1850, Renaissance theatre (especially Jonson, Webster, Brome), Irish theatre (especially Yeats, Wilde, Boucicault, McGuinness), forms of dance, drama and physical theatre.

Matthew Isaac Cohen|, AB (Harvard), PhD (Yale)
Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: Southeast Asian theatre and performance, world puppetry, anthropology of theatre, intercultural theatre.

Enzo D Cozzi, BA (Santiago), MA (CNNA), PhD (London)
Lecturer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: the anthropology and ecology of performance, ritual theatre traditions, education and therapy, story-telling and masking traditions.

Christine Dymkowski|, AB (Bryn Mawr), MA (Oxon), PhD (Virginia), MA (Leeds)
Professor of Drama and Theatre History
Teaching areas include: Shakespeare, modern feminist playwrights, radio drama, theatre history.

Helen Gilbert|,| BA (British Columbia), PhD (Queensland)
Professor of Theatre
Teaching areas include: Australian Theatre and film, postcolonial theatre, theatre in the Americas.

Lynette Goddard|, BA, MRes, PhD (London)
Lecturer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: contemporary Black British women's performance, feminist cultural theory and performance practice, the uses and impact of integrated casting, the politics of race in British theatre, gender, sexuality and film.

Emma Govan, BA (Lancaster), PGDip (Roehampton), MRes, PhD (London)
Lecturer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: live art, medicine and performance, theatre and therapy, devising.

Ali Hodge|, BA (Exeter)
Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: directing, actor training, physical theatre.

Jonathan Holmes, BA, MPhil, PhD (Birmingham)
Lecturer in Drama
Teaching areas include: Shakespeare and Renaissance drama and poetry, Stanislavski and early twentieth century actor training, poetry and verse drama in performance, twentieth century film (particularly 1930s Hollywood, French New Wave cinema and film aesthetics).

Elaine McGirr| BA (Rochester, NY) PhD (Washington)
Lecturer in English and Drama
Teaching areas include: eighteenth-century novels, eighteenth-century drama and opera, popular culture and advertising, critical theory.

Chris Megson|, BA (Hull), MPhil (Glasgow), PhD (London)
Lecturer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: the naturalist theatre, directing, post-war British theatre, modern American drama.

Helen Nicholson|, BA (London), PGCE (Bristol), PhD (Warwick)
Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: theatre education, reminiscence theatre, devising theatre, portable theatre and education outreach.

Katie Normington|, BA (Exeter), MA (South Carolina), PhD (Exeter)
Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: medieval drama and modern revivals, contemporary theatre practice, devising, adapting fiction.

Dan Rebellato|, BA (Bristol), PhD (London)
Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: modern British theatre, playwriting, critical theory, modernism.

Elizabeth Schafer|, BA, PhD (London),
PGCE (Nottingham), MA (Birmingham)
Professor of Drama and Theatre
Teaching areas include: Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, Australian drama and theatre, New Zealand and Canadian drama and film.

David Wiles|, MA (Cantab), PhD (Bristol)
Professor of Theatre
Teaching areas include: Greek theatre, playwriting, theatre spaces, mask and performer.

Libby Worth|, BA, MA (Surrey)
Lecturer in Theatre Practice
Teaching areas include: physical theatre and dance drama, twentieth century dance and choreography, site specific performance, theatre and therapy.

Department of English

Tim Armstrong|, MA PhD (London)
Reader in Modern English and American Literature
Teaching areas include: Modernism and modernity, American literature and culture, and the poetry of Thomas Hardy.

Roy Booth|, BA (Oxon), PhD (London)
Lecturer in English
Teaching areas include: Renaissance poetry and drama, especially Donne, Shakespeare, Spenser, the Elizabethan presence in Ireland, and Donne and his circle.

Christie Carson|, MA PhD (Glasgow)
Lecturer in English
Teaching areas include: The application of digital technology to teaching and research in the field of dramatic performance history.

Doug Cowie|, MA PhD (UAE)
Lecturer in Creative Writing
Interests include: American poetry and fiction fo the 20th Century, in particular the work of Nelson Algren

Robert Eaglestone|, MA (Soton), PhD (Lampeter)
Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature
Teaching interests are in contemporary literature, literary theory, European philosophy, mainly in the phenomenological tradition, and pedagogy.

Ewan Fernie|, MA PhD (St Andrews)
Lecturer in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature
Teaching interests include: Shakespeare, renaissance literature, Shakespeare on film and literary theory.

Sophie Gilmartin|, MA (Yale), PhD (Cantab)
Lecturer in English
Teaching interests include: nineteenth-century literature, art and cultural studies.

Robert Hampson|, MA (Toronto), PhD (London), FRSA
Professor of English Literature and Head of Department
Teaching areas include: nineteenth and twentieth-century literature, Conrad, Joyce, Ford, contemporary English and American poetry, and (post)colonialism.

Judith Hawley|, MA (Cantab), DPhil (Oxon)
Senior Lecturer in English
Teaching interests include: eighteenth-century literature, medicine and science; Laurence Sterne; encyclopaedias; and late eighteenth-century women writers.

Betty Jay|, BA PhD (London)
Lecturer in English
Teaching interests include: twentieth-century literature and theory, E.M. Forster and Anne Bronte.

Ruth Kennedy|, MA PhD (Bristol)
Lecturer in English
Teaching interests include: Old and Middle English, particularly Chaucer and Ricardian poetry, early English drama, Middle English alliterative verse and early Scots poets.

Ruth Livesey|, MA PhD (Warwick)
Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century English Literature
Teaching interests include: gender and the history of ideas in later nineteenth century culture.

Ben Markovits| BA (Yale), MPhil (Oxford)
Lecturer in Creative Writing

Elaine McGirr| BA (Rochester, NY) PhD (Washington)
Lecturer in English and Drama
Teaching interests include: eighteenth-century novels, eighteenth-century drama and opera, popular culture and advertising, critical theory.

Jennifer Neville|, MA (Toronto), PhD (Cantab)
Lecturer in Medieval English
Teaching interests include: Old English literature.

Redell Olsen|, BA (Cantab), MA (Staffs), PhD. (London)
Lecturer in English
Teaching interests include: contemporary English and American poetry and poetic practice.

Adam Roberts|, MA (Aberdeen), PhD (Cantab)
Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature
Teaching interests include: nineteenth-century literature (particularly poetry), Dickens, contemporary popular culture, including science fiction and postwar Arthurian fantasy.

Kiernan Ryan|, MA (Cantab), PhD (Amsterdam), FRSA, FRSL, FEA
Professor of English Literature
Teaching interests include: Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, literary theory, twentieth-century Irish writing and modern British fiction.

Anne Varty|, MA (Glasgow), PhD (Oxon)
Senior Lecturer Teaching
Interests include: modern British and European Drama; Victorian literature, especially Pater, Wilde and the development of Aestheticism; women's writing of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, contemporary Scottish literature, and nineteenth-century children's literature.


First years undertake a foundation year that is designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge we consider fundamental to the combined study of English and Drama. To this end, students take two units in each department, and study alongside single honours students. These courses focus on the acquisition of the theoretical, practical and methodological skills necessary to develop a sophisticated understanding of the subject. Courses in the English department will introduce students to the study of the novel and to the study of poetry. The foundation course in Drama offers historical and anthropological approaches to the study of drama, and introduces students to the elements of theatrical performance.

In the second year students take compulsory courses in Critical Theory and in Shakespeare. Each of these courses is worth a single unit, and will be jointly taught throughout the year by staff from both departments. These courses have been specifically designed for the English/Drama degree. Students will also choose optional courses to the combined value of two units from the established menu of (currently up to fifty) half and full unit courses available in both departments. Please see the departmental brochures for Drama & Theatre and English for details of these options. Please also note that not all of these options will run every year.

In the third year students will again take two compulsory single-unit courses, and again select options to make up the remaining two units. The first compulsory course is a dissertation, to be undertaken in either or both departments under the supervision of an appropriate member of staff. The final compulsory course offers a small selection of pathways in key areas of both disciplines from which the student can choose one course. A similar 'pathway' unit has been a particular strength of the single honours English degree programme for many years. Pathways can and will alter from year to year, so students should not expect a particular course always to run. Examples of these may include: medieval drama and the alliterative tradition, Shakespeare, Victorian literature and melodrama, fin de siècle writing and performance, postmodernism in fiction and drama, adapting fiction, poetry and performance, gender, literature and theatre, and children's literature and drama.



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