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.

Unique to the course it 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.


Course fact file

Type of Course: Combined research and taught

Study Options: Full time

Duration: 1 year full-time

Start date: September


mres directing coursefinder image

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.

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 preapres 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.


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 2015/16 are as follows: 

  • Home / EU: £5,152
  • Overseas: £14,295

*NB: Due to the nature of this course, it is subject to a £1,100 bench fee which is included in the fee quoted above.

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 postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme

For 2015 entry the University has 224 new £10,000 scholarships available for Masters students from under-represented groups. These scholarships have been jointly funded by the British Government; the allocation of the awards, which is the fourth highest in the UK, further cements Birmingham?s place amongst the very best higher education institutions for postgraduate study. The application deadline is 31 July 2015.

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.

Please note that for the 2015 entry MRes Directing will not be offered on a part time basis.

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

Learning and teaching

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 of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

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.

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.