Studying Drama and English allows you to explore many aspects of culture, performance and society.
Your Drama modules will develop your practical theatre-making skills as well as giving you an understanding of the historical and political context of theatre.
On the English side of your programme you can choose to follow either a Literature or Language pathway. On the Literature pathway you would investigate the ways in which literary culture has engaged with and shaped society and continues to do so today. On the Language pathway, your English study would provide you with a deep understanding of the linguistic, social and political issues surrounding language and its use.
At Birmingham you will benefit from internationally renowned research and teaching in all of these disciplines, as well as unparalleled resources including those for the study of Shakespeare through our world-leading Shakespeare Institute and exciting new collaboration with the RSC.
Elinor Mary Davies
“I chose the University of Birmingham because of the multitude of choices it has to offer – from modules, to facilities and extra-curricular events and societies. I loved the campus and the open days were very enjoyable and really helpful and informative. I would most definitely recommend studying here as, in all honesty, I have had the time of my life in the years that I have spent here, so much so that I never want to leave! ”
Our Joint Honours Drama and English programme offers you the opportunity to combine Drama with one of two English pathways, either Literature or Language.
In your Drama studies you will be given a thorough grounding in theory, performance and technical crafts, with a roughly equal balance between practical and theory work. In your final year you can opt to take part in one of a series of public performances, directed by experienced members of staff or visiting professional directors and supported by our full-time production staff.
If you take the Literature pathway you will be given a strong foundation in all major periods and genres and will be able to specialise in a huge range of different areas from medieval poetry to twenty-first century digital literary culture. You will also have the opportunity to take our specialist second-year Shakespeare modules and participate in our study residential in Stratford-upon-Avon.
If you choose the Language pathway you will gain a thorough appreciation of the technical aspects of the English language and its social and political context. We have a wide range of different specialisms to pursue which can prepare you for a wide range of different careers from speech therapy to journalism.
- Well-respected departments - The Department of Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham is one of the most respected and established of its kind, having celebrated our fiftieth anniversary in 2015. We currently rank 1st overall in the Guardian University League Table for Drama. We also have one of the largest concentrations of Literature and Language expertise in the UK, withover 85% of our academic research judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
- Vibrant and inspiring environment - you will benefit from plenty of extra-curricular opportunities, from working alongside members of staff on their research projects on our Undergraduate Research Scholarships to regular social events such as end-of-term parties and summer balls. You will also be able to enjoy regular guest lectures and readings from visiting writers. Recent guests have included novelist David Lodge, poet and writer Jackie Kay, poet Simon Armitage, playwright Simon Stephens, theatre director Greg Doran and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
- Local theatre - Birmingham is an ideal place to study Drama as it has one of the highest concentrations of live theatre in the country. It is home to many theatres ranging from the Birmingham Hippodrome and the Birmingham Rep to the mac (Midlands Arts Centre) and the Old Joint Stock (which is a pub and a theatre), as well as being within a convenient distance of Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick.
- Shakespeare Institute and RSC collaboration - we have a unique provision for the study of Shakespeare: the Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, is a world-leading centre for international Shakespeare scholarship. You will also benefit from our exciting five-year collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) which will see the reinstatement of the iconic studio theatre, The Other Place. You will be able to access creative and teaching spaces at The Other Place, as well as the expertise of RSC artists and practitioners; you will also have the opportunity to attend RSC productions and events.
- Student Societies - we have a range of very active student societies including BEDSoc (Birmingham English Department Society), English Language Society and seven different drama and theatre societies including: Article 19 (innovative productions of ‘classical’ theatre); Footnotes (comedy); Three Bugs Fringe Theatre; Watch This (original and experimental plays); and Guild Musical Theatre Group. You will have many opportunities to be involved in performing, writing, directing and technical support in productions performed in the Guild, in the local area and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Open day talks
Four full videos on YouTube of recent open day talks relevant to this course:
The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.
Your first year of study is split equally between your two disciplines (60 credits in each subject). Following this, you have flexible options to alter your balance of study, meaning that you could take 80 credits in one subject and 40 in the other in either or both of years 2 and 3, or stay with the 60/60 balance. This flexibility allows you to tailor the course throughout your degree programme, once you have had the time and experience to consider where your strengths and interests lie. You can also write a Link Dissertation combining your two subjects in your final year.
You can see more information about the different modules and options on the links below. Within the English side of your programme you can follow either a Literature or a Language pathway.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- Required subjects and grades:
- See 'Additional information' below.
For the English Literature pathway, A level English Literature or English Language and Literature grade A is required.
For the English Language pathway either English Language, English Literature and Literature or English Literature is desirable but not essential; if taken it will be required at grade A. We also consider other candidates who demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for the study of language. In this case, an A level in a modern language would be an advantage.
A level Drama or Theatre Studies is desirable but not essential. If taken, it will be requested at grade B.
International baccalaureate update
Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.
We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
Please note: When making your selection on UCAS please specify ‘Literature pathway’ or ‘Language pathway’ in the ‘Further details’ box.
Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com.
Learn more about applying.
Key Information Set (KIS)
Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.
The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.
The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.
University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.
You will have a diverse learning experience, including:
- small group tutorials
- independent study
- and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates
You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.
- Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
- Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
- Academic Skills Centre - the centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
- Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
- Student experience - our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.
Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:
- coursework, such as essays
- group and individual presentations
- and formal exams
Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.
You will develop fantastic skills for your future career, such as presentation delivery, confidence, communication, teamwork, intellectual analysis, critical thinking and articulate expression.
These are skills that last a lifetime and qualify you for many possible careers.
Our graduates have a higher than average rate of employability for the subject and we are ranked in the Top Ten universities nationally for graduate employability. Over 90% of our graduates go into work or study within six months of graduation, with 75% in a professional or managerial job. Our graduates start careers with employers, include:
- the BBC
- the RSC
- The National Theatre
- Headline Publishing Group
- Birmingham Hippodrome
- Mirror Group Newspapers
- The Royal Court Theatre
Roles include theatre choreographer, editorial assistant, marketing assistant, performing arts tutor, TV production assistant director and events co-ordinator.
The Department of Drama and Theatre Arts has a long-established relationship with the BBC and Heartbreak Productions which regularly leads to work experience placements for our students.
Famous University of Birmingham Drama alumni include:
- Tamsin Greig, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1998: Olivier-winning actor
- Matthew Goode, Drama and Theatre Arts, 1999: Actor in British and American film and TV including The Imitation Game, The Good Wife, Watchmen and Downton Abbey
- Phyllida Lloyd, BA English and Drama, 1979: Director of plays, opera and film including Mamma Mia! on stage and screen and the recent film The Iron Lady.
- Victoria Wood, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1974: comedian, actor, singer-songwriter, screenwriter and director.
- Ben Shephard, BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1997: television presenter currently working for Sky Sports and ITV.
- Patsy Ferran,BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 2011: stage actor, including playing Jim in the 2014 National Theatre production of Treasure Island and Portia in the 2015 Royal Shakespeare production of the The Merchant of Venice
Developing your career
Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
- Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
- Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
- Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
- Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.
There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.
- Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
- Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
- Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.
Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.
Clubs and societies
The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.
Student Experience Officers
Our Student Experience Officers will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.
Coming to Birmingham 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 culture, 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.