BA Drama and English Literature / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

BA Drama and English Literature - Cara Looij

The TiPP (Theatre in Prisons and Probation) course unit in my final year was predictably life-changing.

I always wanted to explore how drama can be used in other contexts. This gave me that chance.

Cara Looij / Graduate

Our BA Drama and English Literature course embraces all forms of drama across stage, screen and beyond, while exploring a wide range of texts from a variety of periods.

In your Drama units, you will explore everything from literary adaptation to street theatre, from activist performance to audio design, from playwriting to directing and experimental film cultures.

For English Literature, you'll explore written forms ranging from illuminated manuscripts and graphic novels to poetry and postmodern fiction, covering areas from the Anglo-Saxon period to American literary and cultural studies, from the Renaissance to the contemporary.

You will benefit from teaching informed by recent innovations in theatre, performance and film studies, as well as by historical practices. You will also become part of a thriving community of students, lecturers and writers at The University of Manchester, based in the heart of a UNESCO City of Literature that has produced some of the world's greatest writers and has a thriving literature and arts scene, including major events like Manchester Literature Festival.

Our comprehensive facilities include the purpose-built Martin Harris Centre, home to the John Thaw Studio, a fully staffed, adaptable performance, rehearsal and workshop space.

Drawing inspiration from the creative beating heart of the city itself, you will study in a city that is home to countless ground-breaking arts organisations and events - from Manchester International Festival, the world's first festival of original work, to HOME, the largest multidisciplinary arts centre outside of the capital.


We aim to:

  • produce students capable of independently evaluating and engaging creatively and critically with performance and, as appropriate, capable of developing technical and artistic skills, critical analysis and argument for themselves; 
  • provide you with a knowledge and understanding and some experience of drama and performance as cultural process and artistic discourse, through the study of theatre and media history, text, dramatic theory and performance practice;
  • offer substantial opportunities to pursue, in parallel, the study of English Literature from the Medieval to the Modern period;
  • approach the two subjects as discrete but complementary areas of study;
  • facilitate and support the development of your learning skills, critical perception and dramatic imagination;
  • provide you with coherent programmes that reflect the diversity of expertise within, and available to, the subject areas of Drama and English and American Studies;
  • foster independent learning, evaluation and research;
  • foster a knowledge, understanding and, where appropriate, experience through outreach activities, of the contribution drama can make to the local community;
  • equip you with the necessary critical tools and relevant practice to begin to make a worthwhile contribution to contemporary theatre, film, television or related fields.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks. 

Study abroad

You may apply to spend one semester studying abroad during Year 2. Exchange partners are offered through the Erasmus Exchange scheme (in Sweden) and the Worldwide Exchange scheme (eg USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore).

Partner links

You can take advantage of strong links to partner organisations throughout the city, including TiPP (Theatre in Prisons and Probation Research and Development Centre), based here at the University, and Community Arts North West.

Networking opportunities

You'll have the opportunity to engage with professional practitioners working in the cultural industries through your coursework and through extracurricular events.

Teaching and learning


Manchester is distinct from an acting conservatoire; rather than offering purely vocational training, we bring together theory and practice in the study of Drama as cultural process and artistic discourse.

Your studies will encompass stage and screen, the ancient and the contemporary, the mainstream and the avant-garde.

You'll develop skills in critical thinking, creative problem solving, and the clear articulation of ideas, learning through lectures, seminars, practical workshops, masterclasses and group work.

You will engage with the theories and techniques of practitioners past and present in our dedicated studio spaces.

Practical work is generally workshop-based and not all projects culminate in public performance.

English Literature

Teaching takes the form of tutor-led sessions, lectures and seminars.

A significant part of your studies will be spent reading, taking notes, preparing presentations, and writing essays.

Classroom time is frequently supplemented by new media, such as the virtual learning environment, Blackboard. You will also have access to other digital resources to support your learning

For some course units, you'll join in group work and other forms of collaborative learning.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment includes:

  • coursework essays;
  • written examinations;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • learning logs;
  • web contributions;
  • oral presentations;
  • small-scale practical assignments;
  • a final-year dissertation or research essay.

The final degree result is based on 25% from Year 2 and 75% from Year 3.

Course unit details

Students who wish to continue the study of literary forms other than Drama might consider this joint course, where you can have a choice of studying the two subjects together in a variety of flexible permutations.

You may therefore take Drama as your 'major' subject (up to 80 credits in any one year) with English as your 'minor' subject (40 credits), or vice versa. Or you may study the two subjects equally (60/60 credits). 

Joint Honours students who are not majoring in Drama still have the same access to practical courses as single honours students.

It should also be noted that, should you wish to do a PGCE secondary course in English and Drama after your degree, you may experience difficulty if you have done a 80/40 degree with Drama as the major subject.

This is because some institutions (but by no means all) will only take students who have completed 50% of their studies in English.

Course content for year 1

Study core units in the theory and practice of drama, as well as exploring key topics in English literary and cultural studies, covering poetry, prose, drama and popular culture. Select from optional units in both fields, from literature and history to concepts in film and new media.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Theatre & Performance 1 - Texts DRAM10001 20 Mandatory
Reading Literature ENGL10021 20 Mandatory
Theory and Text ENGL10062 20 Mandatory
Literature and History ENGL10072 20 Mandatory
Theatre & Performance 2 - Concepts DRAM10002 20 Optional
The Art of Film DRAM10031 20 Optional
Performance Practices 1 DRAM10101 20 Optional
Performance Practices 2 DRAM10102 20 Optional
Introduction to Early and Classical Cinema DRAM13331 20 Optional
Mapping the Medieval ENGL10051 20 Optional
Introduction to World Cinema SALC11002 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Explore drama practitioners in their historical, cultural, and political context from the birth of modernism to the present day. Weight your studies according to your interests with optional course units ranging from Shakespeare to gender studies. Opt to develop practical skills in writing for performance or another creative discipline. Choose an area of research in either subject for your final year dissertation project.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Theatres of Modernity: the Popular and the Avant-Garde DRAM20051 20 Mandatory
Theatre of Spontaneity DRAM21402 20 Mandatory
American Literature and Social Criticism, 1900-Present AMER20481 20 Optional
Contemporary British Cinema DRAM20032 20 Optional
Screen, Culture and Society DRAM20041 20 Optional
Black on Screen DRAM20091 20 Optional
Post-Thatcher British Theatre: New Writing Since 1992 DRAM20102 20 Optional
Dramaturgy: Professional Practices DRAM20291 20 Optional
A Score is Born: History and Ideology in Hollywood Film Music DRAM20711 20 Optional
Introduction to Documentary Film Practice DRAM21091 20 Optional
Varieties of Shakespeare DRAM21131 20 Optional
Playmaking DRAM21141 20 Optional
Street Theatres DRAM21211 20 Optional
Audio Project 1: The Audio Feature DRAM21222 20 Optional
Solo Performance DRAM21231 20 Optional
Drama in Education DRAM21252 20 Optional
Horror Film: Genre, Periods, Styles DRAM21262 20 Optional
Social Acts: Applied Theatre and Engaged Arts Practice DRAM21272 20 Optional
Theatre of Spontaneity DRAM21402 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting DRAM21552 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL20002 20 Optional
Chaucer: Texts, Contexts, Conflicts ENGL20231 20 Optional
Gender, Sexuality and the Body: Theories and Histories ENGL20482 20 Optional
Writing, Identity and Nation ENGL20491 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL20901 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL20902 20 Optional
Medieval Metamorphoses ENGL21022 20 Optional
Renaissance Literature ENGL21151 20 Optional
Old English: Writing the Unreadable Past ENGL21162 20 Optional
Satire and the Novel: English Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century ENGL21182 20 Optional
Modernism ENGL21192 20 Optional
Romanticism (1790-1860) ENGL21521 20 Optional
Nature in Crisis: Reading Environmental Change ENGL21761 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 33 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Continue to weight your studies according to specific fields of interest. Specialise in areas such as poetry, modern literature, Old and Middle English, applied theatre, directing or playwriting. Research and write your dissertation or research essay.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Occupy Everything AMER30422 20 Optional
Climate Change & Culture Wars AMER30572 20 Optional
Beat Writing AMER30791 20 Optional
Long Essay in Drama DRAM30000 20 Optional
Docufiction Filmmaking DRAM30062 40 Optional
Applied Theatre: Theatre in Prisons DRAM30112 40 Optional
Writing For Performance DRAM30211 40 Optional
Performing America DRAM30222 20 Optional
Directors Project DRAM30412 40 Optional
Activist performance DRAM30821 20 Optional
Contemporary European Theatres DRAM30831 20 Optional
Dissertation DRAM30990 40 Optional
From Documentary to Mockumentary DRAM31011 20 Optional
Falstaff and Gandalf go to the Movies: Adapting Fantastic Texts to Screen DRAM31042 20 Optional
Contemporary Theatre-Making DRAM32001 40 Optional
Gender and Sexuality on the 20th Century Stage DRAM32021 20 Optional
Screen Acting & Stardom DRAM33301 20 Optional
Theatre, performance and care: studying artful care and careful art DRAM33461 20 Optional
Long Essay ENGL30002 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL30121 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL30122 20 Optional
Narrative Theory and Victorian Fiction ENGL30172 20 Optional
Culture and Conflict: Neoliberalism and Cultural Production ENGL30262 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL30901 20 Optional
Irish Fiction Since 1990 ENGL30942 20 Optional
Kipling, Forster and India ENGL31111 20 Optional
Radical Turns: Culture and Politics in the 1930s ENGL31141 20 Optional
Things that Talk: Nonhuman Voices in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture ENGL31622 20 Optional
Revenge Tragedy: Wild Justice on the English Renaissance Stage ENGL31762 20 Optional
Creative Writing Screenwriting ENGL31951 20 Optional
Gendered Experiments: Women's Innovative Writing in the Twentieth Century ENGL33061 20 Optional
Sex, Disease and the Body: 1660-1800 ENGL33081 20 Optional
Telling Tales: Verse and Narrative from Chaucer to Shakespeare ENGL34042 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Creative Non-Fiction ENGL34052 20 Optional
Romantic Venice ENGL34071 20 Optional
Global Victorians ENGL34101 20 Optional
Vital Matters: Medieval Ecologies ENGL34111 20 Optional
Humans and other Animals in Contemporary Literature ENGL34121 20 Optional
Writing Revolutions:Radicalism, Activism, Citizenship 1640-80 ENGL34131 20 Optional
Literary and Sexual Experimentalism Between the Wars ENGL34141 20 Optional
Contemporary South Asian Literatures ENGL34152 20 Optional
Literary Landscapes ENGL34162 20 Optional
Anthologizing Modern and Contemporary Poetry ENGL34192 20 Optional
World Literature and Climate Crisis ENGL34211 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30482 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 45 course units for year 3


Home to Music and Drama at Manchester, the purpose-built Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama includes:

  • the John Thaw Studio Theatre, a flexible, fully equipped performance space with seating for 150 people;
  • workshops, rehearsal rooms and screening rooms, including sound and video-editing suites;
  • the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, an acoustically designed auditorium seating up to 350 people;
  • the Lenagan Library, our dedicated performing arts library.

The University is also home to internationally renowned cultural assets such as:

  • the multi award-winning Whitworth Art Gallery;
  • the John Rylands Library, home to one of the world's finest collections of medieval illuminated manuscripts and rare books;
  • Manchester Museum, home to important prehistoric, classical and ethnographic collections.

Globally renowned for its arts and cultural offer, Manchester is home to the second highest concentration of theatres in the UK, as well as Manchester International Festival and the £110 million development, The Factory.

Learn more on the Facilities pages for Drama and English Literature .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: