BA English and Drama

UCAS codeWQ34
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAA–AAB; IB: 36–34; BTEC: DDD
  • Drama
  • English
Location Streatham (Exeter)


This course brings together two internationally-renowned centres of excellence to offer a challenging, yet hugely rewarding course for any student wishing to pursue a career in the Arts. In English, you will explore over 1,500 years of the written word, examining 18th century texts, rethinking the works of Shakespeare and analysing contemporary authors who have been instrumental in defining the modernist literary movement. In Drama, a course that has been running at Exeter for over 50 years, you will discover the practices of acting, scriptwriting, voice, applied theatre, live art, digital theatre crafts, music theatre, puppetry, dance and intercultural performance training. By combining these two disciplines, you enjoy almost limitless opportunities to create a programme of learning that focuses on areas you are most passionate about.

When it comes to university league tables, Exeter is the third best institution in the country to study Drama and the fifth best university to study English as noted in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. Our world-class faculty staff are actively engaged in a diverse range of research projects and we are 4th in the UK for research power in English. Utilising a combination of effective learning techniques such as seminars, studio sessions, collaborative group work, lectures, web-based learning and workshops, our expert academic staff will guide you through your studies to help you make the most of your time at university.

As a student at one of the top 100 universities in the world to study English, you will gain access to our Special Collections and Digital Humanities Lab as well as the unique Bill Douglas Cinema. You will also benefit from the recent £3.7 million investment in industry-standard drama facilities, with up-to-the-minute production equipment for video, sound and scenography design with a dedicated technical team to provide support. Not to mention Exeter’s thriving drama society and the University’s 460-seat Northcott Theatre on campus, which produces and curates a vibrant programme of work for students to enjoy and get involved in. From a vibrant city centre location with coast and countryside on your doorstep, you will evolve to become a confident independent researcher with a defined creative style.

Studying English and Drama at university gives you a range of skills sought after by many employers in the Arts sector and beyond. Our recent graduates are working with award-winning institutions such as ITV, English Heritage and Amnesty International in areas such as education, arts management publishing, journalism, marketing, finance and events. We’re proud to say that 95% of our graduates are in employment or further study six month after graduation.

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 English and Drama degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.

Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.

Year 1

You’ll study four core modules which will give you a solid foundation in the skills, methods and principles involved in English and Drama: Beginnings: English Literature before 1800; Acting and Not Acting: the Dialectics of Performance; Theoretical Interpretations: Practitioners; and Shakespeare. You will also take a studio-based module designed specifically for our English and Drama students, Research, Text, and Performance, in which you will engage theoretically and practically with a particular area of research and particular texts, and develop your own group performance from that exploration.

Year 2

The core module, Performance and Interpretation, develops our interpretations of the complex and contested idea of performance drawing on current staff research expertise. Other optional modules enable you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics.

Final year

In the final year of your degree you will have the opportunity to focus your studies on particular areas of individual interest.

You will take four modules from a wide range of options in both English and Drama. In addition you will write a Dissertation in the areas of either English or Creative Writing or Drama, giving you a chance to explore a passion of yours in real depth, with guidance from an academic supervisor.

If the dissertation is in English or Creative Writing, two optional Drama modules (i.e. 60 credits in total) should be taken.

If the dissertation is in Drama, two optional English modules (i.e. 60 credits in total) should be taken. However your final year must be equally weighted between English and Drama.

Full module descriptions

For full module descriptions from previous years, please visit our Humanities student website.

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


Required subjects

GCE AL English Literature grade A; IB English HL6.

A level applicants may offer either GCE AL English Literature or English Language and Literature.

BTEC applicants require an additional GCE AL English Literature or English Language and Literature grade A.


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 a day-long workshop and an interview. A short interview with an individual member of staff is combined with staff-led and separate student-led studio sessions along with a chance to explore our facilities. Working and talking with each other and with present students are important features of this experience. The day runs from midday to 6pm.

Additional selection criteria

We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.

In addition to the specific requirements listed above, we look for excellent A level* results/predictions and we may also take into account results up to and including GCSEs* and AS Levels* as part of our holistic assessment of an application.

*Equivalent qualifications will be considered. For more information about our equivalencies for specific qualifications please contact our Admissions Office.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements

If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.

International Foundation programmes

Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:

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 research-active staff. We use a wide variety of techniques and approaches to help you learn and get the most out of your degree. Our teaching methods make full use of seminars, studio sessions, study groups, workshops, lectures, and web-based learning. In English, all our modules centre the learning experience on seminars, involving groups of between 10 and 20 students, typically running for two hours. In Drama, you will be involved in studio-based learning, typically in 3-hour studio sessions of 10-20 students, in each year of the degree. At the start of the programme the emphasis is on collaborative group work which becomes the basis for development of your individual interests and skills later on.

Option modules in your second and third years allow you to specialise in what most interests you.


You will be assessed in all years through a variety of assessment methods. Assessment in English is through a mixture of methods that includes essays, examinations and group presentation work. The ratio of formal examination to coursework is on average 40:60. Assessment in Drama includes continuous assessment, essay, performance and portfolio, or viva interview. Most work is assessed as coursework through studio practice, seminar and essay and there are currently no formal examinations for Drama modules.


English graduates from the University of Exeter benefit from a degree which is internationally recognised and compete very successfully in the employment market. 

Graduating with a degree in English will put you in a great position to succeed in a range of different careers. Oral and written communication is at the heart of our programme and you will learn to present your ideas in a range of formats. You will also develop strong research and analytical skills and the ability to problem solve and make informed decisions. Through a balance of independent study and teamwork you will learn to manage your time and workload effectively.

Our students have progressed to a broad range of work sectors including education, arts management, publishing, journalism, marketing, finance and events management, working for companies such as:

  • Barclays
  • Palgrave Macmillan
  • English Heritage
  • O2
  • Haymarket Media
  • ITV
  • Amnesty International

Other recent graduates have progressed to postgraduate courses in:

  • MA Cultural Heritage Management
  • MA English Literary Studies
  • PGCE English primary
  • MA Magazine Journalism
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills

Career Zone

The services offered by the Humanities careers and employability team are complementary 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. 

Find out more about careers in English and Drama

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 724202

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the English website