Theatre MA - 2024/5

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 7

Final award and programme/pathway title

MA Theatre

Subsidiary award(s)

Award Title
PGDip Theatre
PGCert Theatre

Professional recognition

Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT)
Accredited by the Council for Dance Education and Training (CDET).

Modes of study

Route code Credits and ECTS Credits
Distance Learning PRC63026 180 credits and 90 ECTS credits

QAA Subject benchmark statement (if applicable)

Dance, Drama and Performance

Other internal and / or external reference points


Faculty and Department / School

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - Guildford School of Acting

Programme Leader

WAGNER Matthew (GSA)

Date of production/revision of spec


Educational aims of the programme

  • To enable geographically diverse cohorts of students to develop their academic skillset, and to interconnect with one another, with minimal disruption to their ability to sustain family and/or career responsibilities (simultaneously developing students¿ resourcefulness and resilience, especially in terms of maintaining work-study-life balance)
  • To enable students to acquire a rigorous critical understanding of theatre
  • To produce students who are able to comply with professional/academic standards of presentation relevant to their selected area of work
  • To provide a significant contribution to the University of Surrey and GSA's strategy for innovative approaches (especially in terms of digital capabilities) to enabling and developing life-long learners;
  • To produce students who can contribute more creatively and intelligently to their chosen field as a result of a developed contextual, analytical and critical awareness with an ability to apply that awareness to a variety of texts and/or contexts, thereby enhancing their employment and career opportunities.

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of diverse styles and conventions of theatrical performance KC PGCert, PGDip, MA Sustainability, Global & Cultural
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key theories of acting, performance, theatrical reception and critique KC PGCert, PGDip, MA Employability, Sustainability, Global & Cultural
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a broad range of influential theatrical texts and their historical, political, social and ethical contexts K PGCert, PGDip, MA Sustainability, Global & Cultural
Evidence ability to analyse and evaluate key theories of performance, theatrical reception and critique KCT PGCert, PGDip, MA Employability, Resourcefulness & Resilience
Evidence ability to analyse and evaluate the impact of past traditions and contexts upon contemporary theatrical practices KCT PGCert, PGDip, MA Sustainability, Global & Cultural
Analyse and evaluate a broad range of influential theatrical texts and their historical, political, social, and ethical contexts KCT PGCert, PGDip, MA Global & Cultural, Sustainability, Employability
Connect critical analyses and evaluations to contemporary performance practice, in production and reception KC PGCert, PGDip, MA Sustainability
Utilise expanded knowledge and analytical skills in the making, teaching, or disseminating contemporary theatre KCPT PGCert, PGDip, MA Digital, Employability
Accumulate expanded sources of inspiration for professional creativity, particularly through the exposure to diverse styles and theories of performance KCPT PGCert, PGDip, MA Resourcefulness & Resilience, Employability
Demonstrate the ability to retrieve and process information and to communicate clearly in writing and other forms of professional presentation KCP PGCert, PGDip, MA Digital, Sustainability, Employability
Evaluate the work of others with critical objectivity KCT PGCert, PGDip, MA Employability, Resourcefulness & Resilience
Understand and act upon the need to take initiative and work independently to further own learning KCT PGCert, PGDip, MA Resourcefulness & Resilience, Sustainability
Apply high levels of personal discipline and time-management, analysing own working practices CPT PGCert, PGDip, MA Resourcefulness & Resilience, Employability

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Programme structure

Distance Learning

This Master's Degree programme is studied part-time over two academic years, consisting of 180 credits at FHEQ level 7. All modules are 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits and are either semester based or year-long. GSA delivers its provision across three teaching blocks, within the University of Surrey's existing semester structure.
Possible exit awards include:
- Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits)
- Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)

Programme Adjustments (if applicable)



Year 1 (distance-learning) - FHEQ Level 7

Module Selection for Year 1 (distance-learning) - FHEQ Level 7


Year 2 (distance-learning) - FHEQ Level 7

Module Selection for Year 2 (distance-learning) - FHEQ Level 7


Opportunities for placements / work related learning / collaborative activity

Associate Tutor(s) / Guest Speakers / Visiting Academics N
Professional Training Year (PTY) N
Placement(s) (study or work that are not part of PTY) N
Clinical Placement(s) (that are not part of the PTY scheme) N
Study exchange (Level 5) N
Dual degree N

Other information

Many of the students who take up this programme are already in the middle of chosen career paths (as performers, theatre makers, or teachers, to name only a few examples), and the programme is designed from start to finish to help students either further progress in their already-established careers, and/or make changes to their career paths (such as moving from FE to HE teaching, for example). The knowledge, skills, and tools offered by the programme are intended to help students find more productive relationships between the study of theatre, the making of theatre, and the pursuit of productive careers. This is exemplified in a modules such as TDLM012 Professional Development or TDLM003 Independent Research Project, but it is an ethos which underpins all of the assessments across all of the modules, whereby we encourage students to approach the assessment from an individualized and ¿tailored¿ perspective. This approach allows students to directly relate their study and their assignments on the programme to their professional work outside of the programme.

Global and Cultural Capabilities
A key advantage of the distance-learning aspect of this programme is the ability to draw together students and voices form disparate communities across the globe. Students meet each other virtually, in online seminars, through discussion boards, and through other modes of inter-cohort communication (such as Facebook and WhatsApp groups). In tandem with this element of the programme, the curriculum design is intended to weave together Western-centric approaches to theatre with an expanded exposure to global performance practices. Additionally students are (as above) encouraged to fashion their assessments according to their individual circumstances and social or cultural contexts and areas of expertise. In these ways, the programme strives to increase awareness and understanding of multi-cultural theatrical practices and contexts.

Digital Capabilities
An attentiveness to digital capabilities is, of course, naturally embedded in a distance-learning programme, wherein resources, materials, and assessments are produced, shared, and responded to in digital fashion. Moreover, the individualistic ethos of the programme encourages students to take up creative modes of assignment submissions (for both formative and summative assessments) which may include work with digital technologies, where appropriate.

The past three decades have seen a vastly increased amount of scholarship on the relationship between performance and sustainability, as well as great increase in creative theatre work that addresses ¿ thematically and in practice ¿ issues of our care for our environment. As a critically rigorous MA programme, many of the modules on the programme directly introduce students to this scholarship and/or these practices (in particular TDLM010 The Background to Theatre, TDLM014 Global Theatres, and TDLM013 Modern Theatre). In addition, students are encouraged to address questions of sustainability in their more independent work (such as that on TDLM012 Professional Development and TDLM003 Independent Research Project).

Resourcefulness and Resilience
The programme is in many respects student-led, and it is run without consistently set ¿classes¿ or meeting times. Students are required to work through the material (with periodic support) in their own fashion and pace, within some broad timeframes (aligning with the wider structure of the academic calendar). As such, students must be resourceful in terms of how they proceed through the material, and in terms of how they procure additional materials (scholarship, performance viewings, and so on). Additionally, as a programme designed to be undertaken alongside work or other life-commitments, students must be resilient when conflicting deadlines or pressures (from outside the programme) arise. Finally, much of the content of specific modules (such as TDLM013 Modern Theatre, TDLM010 The Background to Theatre, and TDLM014 Global Theatres) expands students¿ knowledge of the ways in theatre and performance makers historically demonstrate their own kind of resourcefulness and, at almost every turn, enact individual and cultural resilience; in other words, theatre itself requires resourcefulness and performs resilience.

Quality assurance

The Regulations and Codes of Practice for taught programmes can be found at:

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.