MRes Directing

The MRes Directing is a masters level qualification, in the same way as an MA Directing or MFA.

Our programme is structured to ensure you gain credit for the taught and theatre industry placement elements, as well as significant credit for the practical project at the completion of the programme. This includes a linked thesis, both supported by a clear artistic research element.

Find out more about our Drama postgraduate opportunities at our virtual chat event on Thursday 8 October from 12 noon - 14:00. Find out more HERE.

Unique to the course is the opportunity to complete a placement with our local and regional theatre company partners, including the BE Festival, Birmingham REP, Stans Cafe, Theatre Absolute, the New Vic and Talking Birds. The final practical project will be performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company through our collaboration with the new The Other Place and there will be further placement opportunities with the RSC during the programme.


Sarah Talbot

Sarah Talbot

“The placement was extraordinary. To be in a room with RSC actors, the Director and other creatives was an amazing experience.”

This course allows you to research and direct your own work as part of a final practical project and written thesis, supported by staff and professional-level facilities.

mres directing coursefinder image

It is delivered in partnership with several local and regional theatre companies, providing placement opportunities alongside the practical and academic study of theatre directing. This prepares you practically and intellectually for a career in theatre directing. We only recruit a small cohort to ensure you have access to the support required.

Modules include Dramatic Structure, Directors Workshop, and Professional Preparation. Dramatic Structure is undertaken alongside students on our long-standing MRes Playwriting course, enhancing collaboration with writers.

Over the course of the year you will work towards a Dissertation Portfolio, which will comprise a short, focused creative practice project and an extended piece of writing.

Interested? Please get in touch with the Course Convenor Dr Adam Ledger. We are also happy to receive a draft research proposal should you wish to submit this prior to your formal application.

Why study this course

  • The department celebrated excellent Research Assessment Exercise 2014 results. 30% of research at the University of Birmingham for Drama was top 4* rated as ‘world-leading’. A further 39% was rated 3* ‘internationally excellent’.
  • You can take advantage of Birmingham's exceptional resources for theatre research as well as the University and Department links with world-class theatre in Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, London and beyond.
  • This course allows you to research and direct your own work, and is delivered in partnership with several local and regional theatre companies, providing placement opportunities alongside the practical and academic study of theatre directing.
  • Only a small cohort is recruited to the course each year to ensure you have all the support you need.


Directors Workshop

Through tutor-led and small group exercises you will explore advanced analysis of text in relation to the practical demands of directing, explore skills in staging, experience working with elements of technical choices and consider different approaches to working with actors and the collaborative process of producing performance.

Dramatic Structure

This module addresses key dramaturgical terms, introduces you to a range of dramatic approaches and centres on three case studies. It is taught in collaboration with MRes Playwriting.

Professional Preparation

This module takes the form of an assistantship placement with a local or regional company. Our partners include the BE Festival, Birmingham REP, Stan's Cafe, Theatre Absolute, the New Vic, and Talking Birds. Students are also able to negotiate their own placements, either in the UK or abroad, and a small bursary is available to support this.

Dissertation Portfolio

The Dissertation Portfolio represents the culmination of the year’s work in practical and theoretical approaches to the creation and/or facilitation of live performance. The Portfolio will comprise a short, focused creative practice project and an extended piece of writing. Each piece of work is weighted equally in the final assessment of this module, and they will be developed, undertaken, and examined together.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £5,210 full-time*
  • Overseas: £14,780 full-time

* For UK/EU postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2016.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

Additional information:

As well as demonstrable previous theatre directing experience, the typical entry requirement is a good 2:1 undergraduate degree or above. International applicants should also take note of the English language requirements. Successful applicants will also be called for interview.

References and a personal statement will be required as part of the online application form, along with a research proposal. Although to some extent provisional, the research proposal should demonstrate what practical project you would wish to undertake at the end of the degree programme, its aims and how it will be written about in the accompanying thesis. The Graduate School’s pages give further information as to how to structure the research proposal.

There are regular announcements as to potential funding and bursaries: please look closely at the Graduate School and University Postgraduate Funding Database for the latest information.

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

There will be opportunities for collaboration with the MRes in Playwriting Studies - Britain’s leading programme dedicated to the craft of the dramatist.

You will also be able to draw on our undergraduate students as actors, and have the support of our highly qualified academic staff, as well as having the professional technical support available for performance in our newly refurbished studio and theatre facility in the George Cadbury Hall. Unique to this course is the opportunity to complete a placement with our local and regional theatre company partners, including the BE Festival, Birmingham REP, Stans Cafe, Theatre Absolute, the New Vic and Talking Birds.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

Birmingham's Drama and Theatre Arts postgraduates develop a very wide range of skills and qualities during their degree. Performance develops communication, team working and confidence, whilst all of our postgraduates also develop time management, critical and analytical skills, the ability to formulate and solve problems, develop opinions and new ideas, and an aptitude for thinking and working creatively with others.

Over the past five years, over 94% of Drama and Theatre Arts postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Some of our graduates enter roles for which their programme has especially prepared them, such as playwriting, screenwriting or teaching drama; others use their transferable skills in a wide variety of occupations ranging from media sales and management to events and arts administration; and some choose to pursue careers in academia. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Arts Council England; Imperial College London; Musicleader West Midlands; National Theatre; North Warwickshire Council; University of Gloucestershire.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.


Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.