BA Art History & Visual Culture and Drama

UCAS codeWW42
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAA-AAB; IB: 36-34
  • Drama
  • Art History and Visual Culture
Location Streatham (Exeter)


This programme provides an excellent grounding in the main themes and methods of Art History & Visual Culture while developing your critical, imaginative and practical engagement with the social, historical and cultural contexts of theatre.

In Art History & Visual Culture, you will learn how to interpret works of art (including architecture and design) as well as images, objects and practices in order to understand contemporary and past societies.

Your first year will consist of four core modules, two in each discipline. This will give you a solid foundation in the skills, methods and principles involved in both subjects. During your second and third years you will be able to follow your interests through a wide range of optional modules with the opportunity to undertake a relevant fieldwork and placement module. You can choose to study art and material culture in ancient societies; look in detail at the way art history works; or focus on visual culture within a specific society or time period right up to the modern day. You will have the opportunity to take part in field trips to collections in London and elsewhere, including an intensive study trip to immerse yourself in the art, architecture and visual culture of a specific location in Europe. In Drama you will develop your study of key theoretical approaches: analysing contemporary performance and the place of performance within culture, as well as undertaking an in-depth independent study in your final year of a chosen area of theatre and performance. This will give you a chance to explore a passion of yours in real depth, with guidance from an academic supervisor.

Drama modules are taught by staff with expertise in theatre, drama and performance theory from the classical era to the present, and in practice fields including directing, contemporary performance, music and theatre, actor training, applied and socially engaged theatre, dramaturgy, creative industries management, cultural theory and theatre history and technical theatre crafts.

Our lecturers in Art History & Visual Culture are at the cutting edge of art, historical and visual culture research. Key members of staff specialise in the history of art and architecture, from the Renaissance to the present, the history, theory and practice of museums and collections, aspects of performance, installation, photography and video arts, and visual culture from antiquity to the present day.

Programme variations

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The BA Art History & Visual Culture and Drama degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are usually worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year: 60 credits from Drama and 60 credits from Art History & Visual Culture.

Depending on your programme, you can take up to 30 credits per year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons. For this programme, level 1 modules are compulsory.

Current students - please note that modules lists for module choice are on the Student Intranet.

Year 1

The first year comprises of two core modules from Drama, and two compulsory and an optional module from Art History and Visual Culture. Modules at this stage will offer a solid grounding in both subject areas, providing critical tools and knowledge which will be built on in the following years.

Year 2

In your second year you will build from the learning and skills developed in your first year through a range of option choices. In Drama you will take a core module, which will extend and deepen your critical and theoretical vocabulary of theatre.

You will also take one core module in Art History and Visual Culture, that will introduce you to current issues in visual culture and the links between past and contemporary works, and critical perspectives.

Year 3

In the final year you will choose between one of two core dissertation modules. If the dissertation is studied in Visual Culture, 60 credits must be chosen from optional Drama modules; if the dissertation is studied in Drama, 60 credits should be chosen from optional Visual Culture modules.

Full module descriptions

For full module descriptions please visit the Drama website and Art History and Visual Culture website.

Entry requirements 2017

Typical offer

AAA-AAB; IB: 36-34


We try to see as many applicants as possible before making an offer, and normally interview applicants who may be offering alternative qualifications. A large proportion of applicants are invited to attend two days of workshops and an interview. A short interview with an individual member of staff is combined with staff-led and separate student-led studio sessions. Working and talking with each other and with present students are important features of this experience. This involves an overnight stay in Exeter.

Programmes with Study Abroad

Entry for programmes ‘with Study Abroad’ is offered on the basis that you will spend your time abroad at an institution where the teaching and examining is delivered in English. However, we also have partners that teach in French, Spanish and German. Should you wish to study at one of these institutions you will need to take modules through the Foreign Language Centre up to ‘Advanced’ standard in the appropriate language. In order to reach this standard before the year abroad, students usually need to have entered the University with the equivalent of a good GCSE or AS level (or higher) in that language.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

You will be taught by internationally respected staff who are leading researchers in their specialisms. We use a wide variety of techniques and approaches including seminars, lectures, study groups and webbased learning, as well as valuable field study. We integrate the latest approaches with traditional learning and teaching to give you a varied and challenging programme. As you study the compulsory modules, you will learn through individual practical and project work, teamwork and a research project, all of which are designed to help you develop key skills for success throughout your degree and into your future career. In Drama, we teach mainly through studio sessions, which means you will practise the subject as you learn. At the start of the programme, the emphasis is on group collaborative work, which becomes the basis for the development of your individual interests and skills later on. Practical class sizes are limited to around 20.

You should expect your total workload to average about 40 hours per week during term time. As well as attending sessions and writing essays and assignments, you will be expected to deliver presentations and lead workshops. We encourage presentation work because it involves you actively in the teaching and learning process as well as developing important life skills such as good verbal and visual communication and effective interaction with other people.

We are committed to enhancing and developing your key personal and transferable skills. You will develop a range of professional skills, for example, time management and team-working. You will gain valuable critical, analytical and communication skills. Technical skills will include accurate note taking from presentations, research and IT skills and you will also learn a wide range of subject-specific skills appropriate to your module choices.


Drama is based on two sites on the Streatham Campus. All of the practical spaces we use are reserved solely for Drama students, giving us a high degree of flexibility. Our facilities include two digital media suites and upgraded technical facilities. We have six studios fully equipped for stage lighting and sound, 10 other studios and seminar rooms, two sound studios, a video and multimedia studio, state-of-the-art computer facilities for lighting and sound design, costume and props stores and workshops for set construction, costume and prop-making.

Museums, galleries, and field trips

We believe it’s really important for you to gain first-hand exposure to works of art and other visual artefacts. You will profit from engaging with the museums and galleries in the region, in addition to field trips to collections in London and elsewhere. You will also have the opportunity to develop expertise in curation through the University’s Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.

Art History and Visual Culture field trip abroad

In the second year of the programme we offer a core module, Art History & Visual Culture Field Study, which involves an intensive study trip abroad to immerse our students in the art, architecture and visual culture of a specific location in Europe. This year our study abroad trip took place in Florence Italy*.

Other opportunities

The Term Three Festival is a fringe-style experience, providing Drama students with exciting opportunities to showcase additional self-directed, non-assessed work. Students produce their own performances, take part in workshops, receive technical and practical training, participate in careers and employability sessions and watch over 50 brand new performances as part of the event. All students have the option to get involved with the Drama Society and a number of student-run theatre companies supported by the Students’ Guild.

Research-inspired teaching

Teaching that is inspired by research ensures lectures are up-to-date and relevant: you will benefit from access to the latest thinking, equipment and resources. All options are taught by staff with expertise including art history, architecture, film, photography, visual media, art and technology, curation and exhibition, mixed and virtual realities, performance art and visual culture in the UK and abroad. In Drama, all staff teach second and third year options which are linked to their own interests, including areas such as theories of actor training, non-western performance, 20th and 21st century theatre practitioners, site-specific performance, applied performance, gender and performance, theatre history, music theatre, arts management and the politics of culture.

Academic support

All students have access to a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.

Assessment for Art History and Visual Culture

You will be assessed in a variety of ways but primarily through exams and coursework. Coursework includes essays, a dissertation and presentation work. The ratio of formal exams to coursework is on average 40 : 60 (depending on your choice of modules). Your first year doesn’t count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress. In order to be eligible for ‘with Study Abroad’ programmes, you will need to attain an average of 60 per cent or more in your first year. The assessments in the second year, year abroad (if applicable) and final year will contribute to your final degree classification.

Assessment for Drama

Assessment of each module varies and may include continuous assessment, essay, performance and portfolio or viva interview. In the first year, most work is assessed continuously through studio practice, seminars and essays. There are currently no written exams for Drama Single Honours Drama students, however Combined Honours students should refer to the relevant subject’s entry for their other subjects. You are required to pass your first year in order to progress, but these results do not count towards your final degree classification. In order to be eligible for ‘with Study Abroad’ programmes, you will need to attain an average of 60% or more in your first year. The assessments in the second year, year abroad (if applicable) and final year will contribute to your final degree classification.

Study abroad

Studying for your degree at Exeter offers you the exciting possibility of spending up to one year abroad. You could learn a new language and experience different cultures, become more self-confident and widen your circle of friends. This year over 700 Exeter students are currently studying at one of our partner universities, located in more than 40 countries around the world. You could also get the chance to specialise in areas that are not available at Exeter, and when it comes to a career, your skills and knowledge of another country will prove invaluable to many employers.

The opportunity is available to study for one semester at an overseas partner institution at the beginning of your third year.

In the second year of the programme we offer a core module, Art History & Visual Culture Field Study, which involves an intensive study trip abroad to immerse our students in the art, architecture and visual culture of a specific location in Europe. This year our study abroad trip took place in Florence Italy*.

* Field course destination subject to change.


Drama graduates from the University of Exeter benefit from a degree which is internationally recognised. Our graduates compete very successfully in the employment market; 6 months after graduation 97%* of our Drama graduates are in work and/or further study.

Graduating from the University of Exeter with a degree in Drama will put you in a great position to succeed in a range of different careers. Should you want to progress into careers in the Arts sector, a degree in Drama will give you with both the theoretical and practical skills which you will need to succeed. Our recent graduates have gone on to work for companies such as the English National Opera, Spa Theatre Company and the BBC, with job titles such as:

  • Assistant Producer
  • Casting Director
  • Freelance Director 

Other recent graduates have progressed to postgraduate courses in:

  • MA Theatre Practice
  • Applied Theatre
  • PGCE English secondary
  • MA Acting
  • MA Acting for Stage, Screen and Radio

Studying in Drama will also equip you with valuable skills for graduate-level work in other sectors. Alongside your performance skills, you will learn to critically engage with the social, historical and cultural contexts surrounding theatre. Through studio-based work, you will become a highly capable communicator who will be able to adapt to individual and team work scenarios. Our recent Drama graduates have since secured jobs for companies such as Hearst, Universal Records, and Think Jam. Others have pursued careers in:

  • Public Relations
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Higher Education
  • Teaching 

Career Zone

The services offered by the Humanities careers and employability team are complimentary to the services offered by our central Career Zone, where you can participate in practical sessions to develop your skills; access paid internships and volunteering opportunities; explore postgraduate study options; meet prospective employers; get one-to-one advice and learn how to secure the right job for you.  

*First–degree University of Exeter graduates of Drama. HESA Performance Indicator sourced from the DLHE survey 2013/14.

‌Find about more about careers in Drama and Art History and Visual Culture

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 722427

Website: Visit the Drama website