Undergraduate Course

Integrated Master in Literature: Drama and Scriptwriting

Integrated Master in Literature: Drama and Scriptwriting

Overview

The details
Drama and Scriptwriting
Q394
October 2024
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus

Studying theatre and drama at Essex enables you to examine some of the most influential play-texts ever written, and to be ready to take part in shaping the essential performances of tomorrow. This degree is a chance to unlock and explore your creativity. You will develop as a scriptwriter too, by learning with professional and award-winning dramatists. You will produce a varied portfolio of dramatic works, culminating in a full-length original play, which will enable you to hone and develop your own unique voice.

On our four-year MLitSt Drama and Scriptwriting, you will be part of an interdisciplinary department where literary critics work alongside practising poets, dramatist, film-makers, novelists and journalists.

You have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of optional modules across different topics and areas of specialism, including;

  • Dramatic literature from Ancient Greek tragedy and Shakespeare, to modern plays from around the world
  • Contemporary playwriting and devising techniques
  • Staging political ideas, human rights and social justice issues
  • Gender, identity, orientation and sexual politics on stage
  • Creating Applied Theatre in educational and community contexts
  • Emergent trends in interactive performance-making and audience participation

In your fourth year, as a post-graduate student, you will be able to choose from the following masters level modules in drama and scriptwriting;

  • The principles of dramatic structure and scene construction
  • Techniques for working as a playwright with youth and community groups
  • The origins and possibilities of poetic theatre and verse drama
  • Options for poetic practice or novel-writing
  • Radio drama

We are ranked third in the UK for drama in the Guardian University Guide 2021 and top 20 for drama and film studies in the UK (Dance, drama and cinematics, Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021).

Why we're great.
  • Produce a full-length original play which will be given a public performance in our 200-seat Lakeside Theatre in the heart of campus
  • Join our Student Company and get involved in both front-of-house and behind the scenes
  • Attend playwriting master classes led by professional playwrights and theatre practitioners

Our expert staff

Become part of the theatre industry by studying with people in the theatre industry. All staff in the Centre for Theatre Studies are professional theatre-makers as well as leading academics in our individual fields. We share a passion for creative and engaging teaching, bringing you ideas and practices informed by our global research interests.

  • Professor Jonathan Lichtenstein is a playwright who has written for Radio 4 and the National Theatre. His awards include a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival and his plays have been performed internationally. He is a recognised expert in teaching playwriting and dramatic form.
  • Professor Elizabeth Kuti is also a playwright, and is currently Writer-in-Residence for Hampton Court. She has won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Stewart Parker Radio Award; and has been commissioned by the National Theatre; the Abbey Theatre, Dublin; and writes regularly for BBC radio. She also researches in the field of eighteenth-century theatre.

We also regularly invite visiting professionals to take master classes with our students, allowing you to enter into dialogue with the leading figures in theatre. Past visitors include: Gecko Theatre, Frantic Assembly, Uninvited Guests, Clod Ensemble, Freedom Theatre, Tim Crouch, Anna Birch, David Eldridge, Jessica Swale, Melanie Wilson, Robert Holman, Clare Bayley, Lisa Goldman, David Thacker, Annie Castledine, Bobby Baker, Mike Attenborough.

Specialist facilities

  • Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre is a major venue for drama, staging productions by professional touring companies and new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
  • Additionally, the Lakeside Studio is an intimate fully equipped black box theatre. Each year, we invite proposals from current and former Essex students to make work for this space as part of our Homegrown Shows programme.
  • Our Student Company runs weekly practical workshops, enabling drama enthusiasts to get involved in both front-of-house and behind the scenes
  • Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work as it develops
  • Access the University’s Media Centre, equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite
  • Write for our student magazine REBEL or host a REBEL Radio show
  • View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
  • Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars

Your future

Be an actor, a writer, a director, a stage-manager, a producer – or something even more exciting! A drama degree opens many doors. Creativity, communication and versatility are highly valued skills in our rapidly changing world.

Our students have gone on to become actors, directors and playwrights, as well as producers, live artists, dramaturgs, stage-managers, and arts managers. Essex students have built rewarding careers as youth workers, community practitioners, drama therapists, and as teachers and academics.

The skillsets developed at Essex have also seen our students find success in a range of related creative industries including journalism, television production, broadcasting, radio presenting, gaming, magazine editing, copywriting, press relations and marketing, as well as in business, commerce and law.

Our graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of creative roles including:

  • Writer in Residence for the National Theatre
  • Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre, London
  • Artistic Director of a successful touring company
  • Director for the Almedia Theatre, London
  • Manager at a renowned regional theatre
  • Live-Artist for Art Angel
  • BBC Journalist
  • Youth Theatre Leader & Workshop Facilitator
  • Outreach and Education Officer
  • Front of House Theatre Manager
  • Stage-manager
  • Secondary School Teacher

We also work with the university's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A-levels: ABB- BBB or 128- 120 tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels, including B in one essay based subject

BTEC: DDM. The acceptability of BTECs is dependent on subject studied and optional units taken - please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk for advice on acceptability

Other qualifications that hold UCAS tariff points, and combined qualifications: 128- 120 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent including B in one essay based subject. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list below:

  • A levels

  • AS levels

  • Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

  • OCR Cambridge Technicals

  • BTECs

  • Cambridge Pre-U Certificates

  • Welsh Baccalaurate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate

  • WJEC Applied Diploma or Certificates

  • Core Maths Qualifications

  • LIBF Diploma or Certificates

  • A combination of any of the above

If you are taking a qualification on the UCAS tariff that is not included in the list above and want to check whether we can accept it as part of a tariff-based offer, please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk

IB: 32-30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655-555 including 5 in one Higher Level essay based subject


We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.

IB Career-related Programme: We can consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications. Advice on acceptability can be provided, please contact Undergraduate Admissions for more information.

QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 15 level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit– 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided, please contact Undergraduate Admissions for more information.

T-levels: We can consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied and course applied for. If a T-level can be accepted, the offer for most of our undergraduate courses would be Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core. If you are worried about meeting our offer level, please contact our admissions team on ugquery@essex.ac.uk who will be happy to discuss your options.

Contextual Offers

We are committed to supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds to access the University of Essex, as outlined in our information for schools and colleges and our Access and Participation Plan.
That is why we may make contextual offers to applicants in the following categories:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups

  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges

  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview

  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Further information, and full eligibility criteria, can be found in our contextual offers policy.

Eligible applicants will be made a conditional offer up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer. Contextual offers will be made to eligible applicants taking A-levels, a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma, a combination of qualifications that hold UCAS tariff points (e.g., A-levels alongside a BTEC) and the International Baccalaureate. Where possible, we may make contextual offers to eligible applicants holding other qualifications. For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, please contact our Admissions team on ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

What else do I need to know about applying?
We will use all of the information on your application form when making a decision about your suitability for the course you have applied for. Where possible we will look to suggest an alternative course if we cannot accept you for the course that you have applied for. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here.

What if I am a mature student?
We recognise that students come from all backgrounds and embrace the different experiences that mature learners bring to our community. Our mature students pages will help to answer your questions.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.

If you are an international student requiring a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

What if my IELTS does not meet your requirements?

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Do I need to have achieved an acceptable English language qualification before I apply?

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

What if the English language qualification I hold, or am taking, is not listed?

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please contact Admissions on ugquery@essex.ac.uk for advice.

What are the requirements for second and final year entry?

Different requirements apply for second and final year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Introduction to Theatre Studies
(30 CREDITS)

This is the foundational module for your BA Drama Degree. We enrich your existing knowledge of major theatre practitioners – Aristotle, Brecht, Artaud and Stanislavski – and complement these studies by introducing new theatre theorists, movements and styles. Examine plays from Ancient Greece to today, discussing issues like genre, representation, reception, modernism and postmodernism. This module blends together practical and theoretical classes to create the building blocks for an informed study of theatre practice.

View Introduction to Theatre Studies on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Devising
(15 CREDITS)

This module introduces you to the rehearsal processes involved in both bringing a dramatic text to life (Text into Action) and drawing on practitioner’s methodologies to devise different kinds of performance forms, from physical theatre to interactive performance (Action into Text). The module will form the foundations for understanding how plays work three-dimensionally (the journey from page to stage) and expand the boundaries of what resources theatre-makers might draw upon as a trigger to innovate inspiring live performance events.

View Devising on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Theatre Making: Autobiography
(15 CREDITS)

This module looks at how theatrical ideas developed and made into reality. The module guides you carefully through the technical expertise required, and allows you to explore lighting, sound and stage management in professionally-led workshops. Through a series of workshops, seminars and field trips, including theatre and gallery visits, students will be introduced to the variety of stimuli and strategies that theatre makers use to create a production. The content of this half-module is closely linked to the programme of the Lakeside Theatre, students will see professional performances, be introduced to visiting professional theatre makers and will experiment with a range of practical processes that they use. Students will be introduced to a variety of rehearsal processes and techniques commonly used by contemporary theatre and performance makers.

View Theatre Making: Autobiography on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Theatre Production and Technology
(15 CREDITS)

Theatre is a collaborative art form. A company of theatre practitioners gathers to make a production, comprising of a producer, director, designers, composers, production manager, performers, technicians, musicians, stage management, promoters, choreographers, scenic artists, set builders etc. according to the needs of the production and the confines of the budget. Each person plays a key role and makes an individual creative contribution to the whole. In this module, you will develop work related to Technical Theatre Arts. Through hands-on practical workshops, exercises, reflection and seminars this module introduces you to the basic principles of technical theatre, which will be crucial knowledge for use throughout your degree. You work through the basic concepts of lighting, sound, video, stage & production management, along with understanding health & safety in the theatre space. The conclusion of the module is an assessment that will see you working collaboratively with the goal of staging the technical aspects of a given performance piece on the main stage of Lakeside Theatre.

View Theatre Production and Technology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways
(15 CREDITS)

This interdisciplinary module serves several functions. Firstly, you will develop an understanding of your degree in the context of the wider world and specifically the graduate jobs market. You will come to understand the employability and career-development opportunities that are available to you during and after your time at Essex, and you will begin the life-long process of continuous professional development with a firm grounding in the practical skills and reflective practice involved. The module is divided into two parts: career-development learning; and Speaker Weeks, when a member of staff will interview guest speakers about their careers in fields that are allied to the arts and humanities. These will cover a range of career areas that may be of interest to humanities graduates in general: from media, arts, journalism, education, publishing, to entrepreneurship in related areas. These weeks are intended to be inspiring but also full of practical tips and ideas, with an emphasis on showing how careers develop over time, and what pathways students can explore to get to where they want to be; as well as what kinds of extra-curricular activities students can engage in now to open more doors professionally before and after graduation. In the career-development learning part of the module, you will cover topics such as the Graduate Labour market, the Humanities graduate, self-reflection and personal development, and how to research and apply effectively for jobs. Skills such as CV writing and interview technique will be covered. Two-hour interactive lecture/seminars will introduce students to careers resources and ideas, but will also include discussion and group work.

View The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: OPTIONAL

LT111-4-FY or option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Theatre and Performance Makers
(30 CREDITS)

What are the links and connections between texts? Do these exist even if the plays seem diverse? Explore a range of texts from the medieval period to the 1980s, analysing genre, dramatic form, language, narrative and dramatic debate. Through practical sessions, consider approaches like staging, verse-speaking, montage and character development.

View Theatre and Performance Makers on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

Theatre Studies option(s) from list
(60 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Literature, Film or Theatre Studies option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

TH831-6-FY or LT832-6-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

Theatre Studies option(s) from list
(60 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Theatre Studies, Film or Literature option from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Dissertation Preparation: Postgraduate Research and Writing Skills
(20 CREDITS)

Are you ready for your dissertation? Examine a variety of research methods and methodologies, building the research skills and understanding needed to complete your postgraduate-level research project.

View Dissertation Preparation: Postgraduate Research and Writing Skills on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Dissertation
(40 CREDITS)

Your dissertation or final project is the centrepiece of your integrated MA work. It gives you the opportunity to develop and to demonstrate your knowledge, understanding and skills as an academic researcher and scholarly author or creative practitioner, as you investigate and interpret a topic of your choosing.

View Dissertation on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Options from list
(60 CREDITS)

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

International fee

£19,500 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, January 20, 2024

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Interview and tests

If you’re resident in the UK and apply before the UCAS deadline in January, you might be shortlisted for a workshop based on your application. During this workshop you’ll work in groups, responding to a stimulus to create a piece of theatre. It’s an ideal opportunity to experience how our courses are taught and also great fun. Offers for this course will only be made after attendance at a workshop. This will form part of your visit day where you’ll be able to explore the campus, meet our students and get a feel for life at Essex.

If you live outside the UK, we won’t invite you to a workshop, but you can still arrange a trip to see us. Feel free to email applicantdays@essex.ac.uk and we’ll help you arrange a suitable time for you to come and visit.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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