BA Drama and English Literature / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

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.

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.


Join The University of Manchester Filmmaking Society, which exists to provide a platform for aspiring filmmakers attending the university to meet, exchange ideas and create their own cinematic productions.

Join The University of Manchester Drama Society, which is for anyone with an interest in drama, be that acting, directing, writing, filmmaking, costume, set building, stage managing or just watching. One of the largest in the Student Union, the society has links with many of Manchester's award-winning theatrical venues, including the Contact Theatre and the Royal Exchange Theatre. Each summer the society showcases at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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.

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 have trouble if you have done an 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
Drama and Film Study Skills DRAM11111 0 Mandatory
DRAM12220 - Drama and Film PASS DRAM12220 0 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 Film Histories DRAM13331 20 Optional
Mapping the Medieval ENGL10051 20 Optional
Introduction to World Cinema SALC11002 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 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.

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 DRAM20051 20 Mandatory
Black on Screen DRAM20092 20 Optional
Post-Thatcher British Theatre: New Writing Since 1992 DRAM20102 20 Optional
Performing America DRAM20221 20 Optional
God at the Movies DRAM20632 20 Optional
A Score is Born: History and Ideology in Hollywood Film Music DRAM20711 20 Optional
Devising for Performance DRAM21041 20 Optional
Introduction to Documentary Film Practice DRAM21091 20 Optional
Varieties of Shakespeare DRAM21131 20 Optional
Playmaking DRAM21141 20 Optional
Audio Project 1: The Audio Feature DRAM21222 20 Optional
Solo Performance B DRAM21232 20 Optional
Drama in Education DRAM21252 20 Optional
Horror Film: Genre, Periods, Styles DRAM21261 20 Optional
Social Acts: Applied Theatre and Socially Engaged Arts Practice DRAM21272 20 Optional
Virtual Reality (VR) Film Making DRAM21282 20 Optional
Television Drama DRAM21291 20 Optional
Cultures of Performance Training DRAM21302 20 Optional
Theatres of Spontaneity DRAM21401 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting DRAM21551 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting DRAM21552 20 Optional
Performance and Climate Change DRAM21882 20 Optional
Discipline and Punish: The Modern Prison on Stage and Screen DRAM21902 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL20002 20 Optional
Chaucer: Texts, Contexts, Conflicts ENGL20232 20 Optional
Shakespeare ENGL20372 20 Optional
Gender, Sexuality and the Body: Theories and Histories ENGL20481 20 Optional
Writing, Identity and Nation ENGL20492 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL20901 20 Optional
Medieval Metamorphoses ENGL21022 20 Optional
Renaissance Literature ENGL21151 20 Optional
Old English: Writing the Unreadable Past ENGL21161 20 Optional
Satire and the Novel: English Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century ENGL21181 20 Optional
Modernism ENGL21191 20 Optional
Romanticism (1776 - 1832) ENGL21521 20 Optional
Victorian Rights: Victorian Wrongs ENGL22102 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 36 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 extended dissertation in Drama or long essay in English.

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 AMER30571 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30811 20 Optional
Dissertation in Drama/Film (Semester One) DRAM30001 20 Optional
Dissertation in Drama/Film (Semester Two) DRAM30002 20 Optional
Docufiction Filmmaking DRAM30062 40 Optional
Applied Theatre: Theatre in Prisons DRAM30111 40 Optional
Writing For Performance DRAM30212 40 Optional
Queer Bodies and the Cinema DRAM30331 20 Optional
Directors Project DRAM30412 40 Optional
Social Lives of Cinema DRAM30842 20 Optional
Extended 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
Global Television Industries DRAM32012 20 Optional
Contemporary Documentary Film Making DRAM32102 40 Optional
Performing England: Race, Class and the English Nation from 1945 to the present DRAM33001 20 Optional
Screen Acting & Stardom DRAM33301 20 Optional
Theatre, performance and care: studying artful care and careful art DRAM33462 20 Optional
Postcolonial African Theatres DRAM33541 20 Optional
Long Essay ENGL30001 20 Optional
Long Essay ENGL30002 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL30121 20 Optional
Narrative Theory and Victorian Fiction ENGL30171 20 Optional
Culture and Conflict: Neoliberalism and Cultural Production ENGL30261 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL30901 20 Optional
Irish Fiction Since 1990 ENGL30941 20 Optional
Eros: Love and Desire in Victorian Poetry ENGL31202 20 Optional
Transnational Shakespeare: Texts, Places, Identities ENGL31211 20 Optional
Things that Talk: Nonhuman Voices in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture ENGL31622 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting ENGL31951 20 Optional
Culture and Politics in the Contemporary British Novel  ENGL32301 20 Optional
British Fiction and Empire in the Twentieth Century   ENGL32551 20 Optional
Gendered Experiments: Women's Innovative Writing in the Twentieth Century ENGL33061 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Creative Non-Fiction ENGL34052 20 Optional
Romantic Venice ENGL34071 20 Optional
Vital Matters: Medieval Ecologies ENGL34111 20 Optional
Humans and other Animals in Contemporary Literature ENGL34122 20 Optional
Literary and Sexual Experimentalism Between the Wars ENGL34141 20 Optional
Contemporary South Asian Literatures ENGL34152 20 Optional
Imaginations of the Future: People, Earth and Power ENGL34172 20 Optional
World Literature and Climate Crisis ENGL34212 20 Optional
Interdisciplinary Literature and Theology: Empathy, Ethics, Liberation ENGL35111 20 Optional
Culture and Marginality ENGL35312 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30482 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 46 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: