Acting MFA - 2024/5

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 7

Final award and programme/pathway title

MFA Acting

Subsidiary award(s)

Award Title
PGDip Acting
PGCert Acting

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
Full-time PRC72002 240 credits and 120 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

BYRNE Grainne (GSA)

Date of production/revision of spec


Educational aims of the programme

  • To enable students to develop their experience, practical ability, and critical understanding of acting while enhancing their overall learning and growth as confident practitioners.
  • To provide an ensemble training context for the development of professional-level skills in acting based on a blend of practical, theoretical, and reflective practice, fostering individual resourcefulness and resilience.
  • To foster a global view of acting, encouraging a community where students develop a curiosity of and an appreciation of the diversity of cultural experiences within the creative industries to promote inclusivity and cultural exchange.
  • To engage students in exploring and utilising digital technologies within the acting field, enhancing their understanding, employability, and creativity in a technologically-driven industry.
  • To cultivate an advanced understanding of the collective responsibility of theatre-making and collaboration within the creative industries, underscoring the importance of sustainability in personal and collective practice.
  • To enhance and widen career prospects and employment opportunities for students in acting and related areas of the creative industries by equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and networks to succeed in their chosen field.

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.
Demonstrate advanced acting skills to a professional standard in both live and recorded formats. KP PGDip, MFA Employability, Resourcefulness & Resilience, Digital
Show an advanced understanding of the performance context, style, and genre. KCP PGCert, PGDip, MFA Global & Cultural, Sustainability
Display excellent collaborative skills, discipline, and consistency in practice, meeting professional standards. CT PGDip, MFA Resourcefulness & Resilience
Apply creative thinking to problem-solving, demonstrating a resilient approach. KT MFA Global & Cultural, Resourcefulness & Resilience
Show sustained personal and collective engagement, exhibiting commitment to acquiring skills, continuous learning, and building a professional network to enhance future employability in the acting industry. PT PGCert, PGDip, MFA Employability, Sustainability
Effectively communicate ideas and concepts through physical, verbal, digital, and written formats. KCPT PGCert, PGDip, MFA Digital, Sustainability, Employability, Resourcefulness & Resilience
Analyse, reflect upon, and evaluate your work and the work of others, demonstrating a high level of critical thinking and self-assessment skills KCPT PGDip, MFA Digital, Sustainability, Employability, Resourcefulness & Resilience
Demonstrate a continually developing awareness and knowledge of global influence and cultural synergies within the Creative Industries. KCPT PGCert, PGDip, MFA Global & Cultural
Exhibit a demonstrable awareness of sustainable personal and collective practice in the creative industries. KCPT PGCert, PGDip, MFA Sustainability, Employability
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of historical and contemporary practitioners, theories and practices. KC PGCert, PGDip, MFA Global & Cultural Capabilities

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Programme structure


This Master's Degree programme is studied full-time over two academic years, consisting of 240 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)
*some programmes may contain up to 30 credits at FHEQ level 6.

Programme Adjustments (if applicable)



Year 1 (full-time) - FHEQ Level 7

Module Selection for Year 1 (full-time) - FHEQ Level 7


Year 2 (full-time) - FHEQ Level 7

Module Selection for Year 2 (full-time) - FHEQ Level 7


Opportunities for placements / work related learning / collaborative activity

Associate Tutor(s) / Guest Speakers / Visiting Academics Y
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

Digital Capabilities
In the MFA Acting programme, digital capabilities are crucial in enhancing students' learning experience, fostering their digital literacy, and preparing them for future employment opportunities. Throughout the programme, students will utilise specialist software to create digital and promotional content. They will also leverage various sharing platforms and social media outlets to share their work with industry professionals and peers. Additionally, students will use traditional software and other digital tools for communication, administration, and planning purposes. Emphasising the importance of engaging with the wider creative industries, showcase work and performance pieces will be generated in digital formats, enabling students to connect with a broader network of potential employers and creatives. Digital technologies will also be incorporated into the assessment process, allowing students to receive feedback on their work in digital formats before producing employer-facing materials.

The employability pillar is deeply integrated into the MFA Acting programme, ensuring that students are equipped with the skills and attributes highly sought by employers in the creative industries. Our experienced staff, who themselves have professional backgrounds, deliver authentic and practical working methods, mirroring professional practices from the studio to rehearsal to public performance. Throughout the programme, students develop various transferable skills, including independent and collaborative working, creative thinking, critical analysis, reflective thinking, and problem-solving. Students will engage with industry stakeholders invited to observe classes and attend performances to foster industry connections. Moreover, the programme benefits from a dedicated Director of Employability, who actively facilitates constant and high-level engagement with major employers and established and emerging creatives. This focused approach ensures that our students have ample employability and creative outreach opportunities, resulting in enhanced career prospects in the industry.

Global and Cultural Capabilities
Students will be able to enhance their social, historical, and cultural awareness through a broad range of play texts and by engaging in discussions and sharing experiences and knowledge from their backgrounds and cultures. This will enable them to appreciate, recognise, and interpret diverse perspectives with an open mind. As actors in training, students will have the chance to immerse themselves in characters and communities that represent diverse perspectives. By doing so, they will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for these perspectives. Furthermore, students will be encouraged to actively contribute to current debates in the creative industries. Through informed and thoughtful contributions, they can make a meaningful impact in these discussions. GSA has a dedicated Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity director to ensure inclusivity. If students have specific needs or face barriers to their individual learning, they will be signposted to the university's Disability and Neuro-Diversity service for support. Lastly, GSA is committed to making a range of performances accessible to all. This demonstrates GSA's commitment to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to engage with and appreciate the arts.

Resourcefulness and Resilience
Our structured learning journey develops performance and rehearsal skills, equipping students with resources for their training and future employment. By incorporating the Michael Chekhov technique and other proven acting methodologies, we provide a comprehensive education that fosters diverse acting skills and approaches in a collaborative environment. Acting requires navigating uncertainty, taking on responsibilities, and overcoming challenges. Our programme supports the development of these abilities through formative and summative feedback. To cultivate resourcefulness and resilience, our training includes independent and collaborative learning, problem-solving, communication, perseverance, critical thinking, self-management, and self-value. Our industry-aligned training prepares students for successful acting careers. In addition to classes, rehearsals, and performances, we foster a supportive and inclusive environment for personal growth and well-being. Our holistic approach develops confidence, adaptability, and self-regulation to thrive in the acting industry. To enhance resourcefulness and resilience, we seek feedback from students, staff, and industry professionals to refine our curriculum and meet industry needs, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for their careers.

The MFA Acting programme is fully committed to sustainability. Students reflect on their work's social, cultural, ethical, political, economic, and environmental impact. They understand how their values and actions affect audiences and the characters they portray. As future sustainability leaders, students make informed decisions and promote the well-being of present and future generations. GSA prioritises sustainability in all aspects. Productions follow best practices in material usage, offering digital or printed resource options. We reduce reliance on group media storage and continually review our procedures to make sustainability integral to our work. The MFA Acting programme fosters sustainability awareness and empowers students to be responsible leaders. Through sustainable production and ongoing improvement, we prepare students to impact society and the environment positively.

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.