Explore your potential as a theatre maker, and expand your critical understanding of drama’s importance to humanity.


Undergraduate degrees

From global theatre practices, to gender, eco-theatre and tragedy, you’ll study core dramatic texts and theories, as well as cutting-edge contemporary performance. Diversity is in our DNA at Essex, and the drama you study will reflect a rich multiplicity of voices. You’ll make your own work in our beautiful Lakeside Theatre and Studio; and our modules will inspire you to write scripts for stage and screen, to direct actors for film and stage, and to develop your technical skills in design, lighting and stage management.

Our degrees equip students to work in all areas of theatre, media and the arts and in many other careers as well, including education, business, broadcasting, and more. Drama means ‘doing’ and our degree asks a lot of our students: commitment, intellectual rigour, teamwork, curiosity, and creativity.

We’re eager to meet you and help you follow your passion in drama.

Why study here?
  • We're 4th in the UK for Drama and Dance in the Guardian University Guide 2024. 
  • Our Lakeside theatre is a vibrant hub with a fantastic international reputation. Studying drama with us means that you gain hands-on experience through practical workshops and performance projects at fantastic facilities like this.
  • Engage in a diverse curriculum covering classical to contemporary forms, with specialised modules like "Acting for Camera"and "Applied Theatre."
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Career prospects

Embarking on a Drama degree at the University of Essex lays the foundation for a versatile and impactful career in the performing arts and beyond. Our program equips students with a spectrum of transferable skills, enhancing their employability across diverse fields. Our graduates have forged successful paths in various industries, demonstrating transferable skills such as collaboration, communication, and creative problem-solving.

Our drama students have gone on to 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 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

Masters degrees

Our courses will refine your approach to theatre-making. Through research and practice you'll explore and critique traditional and contemporary dramatists and practitioners from across the globe. Your studies will develop your understanding of the purpose and impact of performance.

You have the options to tailor your skills in Acting, Applied theatre, Directing, Playwriting/dramaturgy, Scriptwriting

MA Theatre Practice and MA Scriptwriting are based in our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies.

MA Theatre Practise is an interdisciplinary program offering advanced knowledge in theatre-making, international performance traditions, practice-as-research (PaR), and professional writing, directing, and devising methods. You can explore diverse artistic approaches, engage with critical discourses, and deepen your understanding of the interplay between 'practice' and 'research.'

MA Scriptwriting allows you to hone your scriptwriting skills with professional dramatists on our MA Scriptwriting (Theatre and Digital Media). You will have the opportunity to develop a diverse portfolio, culminating in a full-length original script for stage, screen, radio, or television. At Essex, we give students the opportunity to explore practice and theory, combining critical study with practical workshops to deepen your understanding of the scriptwriter's craft. We have a focus on contemporary British and Irish drama, exploring topics such as dramatic structure, poetic theatre, screenplay writing, and options for poetic practice or novel-writing. Your dissertation offers one-to-one supervision for crafting a full-length script.

MA Acting is based at East 15 Acting School.

Why study here?
  • Our industry links offer you access to distinguished visiting actors and directors from UK theatres.
  • We give you the opportunity to study flexible modules across the entire department.  
  • We give our actors and directors the chance to work together on collaborative projects.
Book onto our Open Day

Book your place for one of our on-campus Open Days and we'll make sure you have all of the information you need to make the most out of your day.

Book your place

Research degrees

At Essex, we value the individuality of your academic pursuits. As a PhD student with us, you have the chance to delve into cutting-edge topics, push the boundaries of performance studies, and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of theatrical knowledge. Whether your heart beats for historical drama, contemporary performance, or innovative interdisciplinary studies, our friendly and supportive academic community is here to fuel your curiosity and help you craft a path that's as distinctive as your own stage presence 

Beyond physical resources, PhD students foster connections with acting, technical, and producing students, engaging in collaborative research activities outside their scheduled classes and rehearsals.

Start your application with us

Explore our drama research by theme or your area of interest and find a supervisor that can support your through your studies. More information can be found about research degrees on our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies. and East 15 Acting School pages. Our courses below will help guide you through the various research degree programmes we offer.

Explore funding opportunities Ready to apply? Start your application today
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Book your place for one of our on-campus Open Days and we'll make sure you have all of the information you need to make the most out of your day.

Book your place
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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.