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MA by Research in Theatre and Performance Studies


Degree Overview

The degree of an MA by Research offers you the opportunity to design a bespoke programme of research that you undertake over one year full-time or two years part-time. Throughout your research you will be assigned a supervisor who will support and guide you from the application stage to the completion of your research. The MA by Research is designed to be flexible in terms of the topic and the assessed format you undertake. Your degree may culminate in a 30,000-40,000 word thesis or a combination of practice as research (this may involve performance, curation, writing for performance, translation, applied theatre projects or digital outcomes) alongside a shorter thesis. Your work will be examined by an internal and external examiner, who may choose to hold a viva (although this is not always deemed necessary). Throughout your research you will be integrated into the theatre and performance postgraduate community, have opportunities to undertake professional skills training and be encouraged to attend research events both in the department and the wider university.

Supervision and Assessment


As a research student, your closest contact will be with your supervisor, or co-supervisors, who will meet with you regularly to discuss your work. The supervisory relationship is at the heart of your research. Your supervisor(s) are experts in their field who will guide you throughout your degree and will agree upon a programme of reading, research and writing with you.


Allowing for practice-as-research variations (see below), the final goal of the research degree is the production of your thesis. The word-length for the MA by Research thesis is 30,000 - 40,000 words (excluding footnotes, bibliography and appendices).

Practice as Research (PaR)

Candidates wanting to pursue practice-based research at MA level will be expected to demonstrate a proven track record of professional standard practice or other relevant and significant practical experience and competencies.

Subject to the approval of the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, a suitably qualified candidate for the degree of MA by Research may submit research that has two components: a body of creative practice (this may involve performance, curation, writing for performance, translation, applied theatre projects or digital outcomes) and a shorter written thesis.

Resources and Support

Departmental Research Seminars

The department runs a series of academic staff/postgraduate research seminars throughout the year which research students are expected to attend. These are given by members of staff, PhD students and outside speakers, sometimes in combination, and supply an excellent opportunity for the graduate community to meet and engage in more general discussion. See our latest Research Seminars here.

Postgraduate Research Students Working Group

Students are invited to attend semi-informal working group meetings during each term as and when they are scheduled by the Director of Graduate Studies or students themselves. These seminar/workshop sessions are intended for PGR students to nurture exchanges relating to their respective research areas and to broaden the range of their general knowledge. Previous contributors have included publishers, librarians as well as academics addressing topics such as practice-as-research and research methodologies.

Postgraduate Symposium

In the summer term of each year the department holds a day-long symposium where postgraduate research students make presentations on aspects of their research or their research plans. Often students seize the opportunity to rehearse conference papers they are due to give in the near future. The audience is made up of fellow graduate students, departmental staff and, where possible, the subject-specific librarian. The event has a dual purpose: to provide you with an opportunity to present your work to a larger audience, and to receive informed and interested feedback from other theatre and performance researchers. The day incorporates sessions related to postgraduate resourcing and training, as well as soliciting general feedback from students regarding departmental provision.


Alongside your supervisor(s) you will also be allocated a mentor in the Department. The mentor is effectively a personal tutor to whom you may address matters relating to your ability to study efficiently, as opposed to those concerned with the actual academic content and progress of your research. It is entirely up to you whether you choose to consult or seek the support of your mentor. For information on how the University supports all students during their study see Wellbeing at Warwick

iFarnellIan Farnell (MA by Research student 2016-2017)

I chose the MA by Research because I had quite a specific field of interest, and I was drawn to the freedom of a year-long, entirely independent research project. I also hoped that it would give me the experience and skills needed to begin a PhD. My time as an MA by Research student was a great mix of independent discovery and academic discipline, with the course feeling both structured and liberating – I had complete control of my own research practice and could explore my subject as I saw fit, while the one-year course length gave my work focus and drive. The need to eventually submit a very long piece of work in this short space of time can be daunting, but is ultimately an achievable and exciting challenge – I learned a lot simply by getting on with it, from day one.

My supervisor was a source of constant support, encouraging me in my studies by happily discussing ideas, suggesting sources and opportunities, answering (numerous) questions, and challenging me in a critical yet always friendly way, to strengthen my writing and my conclusions. The examination process also allowed me to share my work with experts in the field, and their feedback continues to shape and inspire my research today. I have reaped the benefits of this course and have grown in confidence as a young academic. I have spoken at conferences here and abroad and have published papers in academic journals. Most importantly, through a combination of support from my department, the recommendations of my examiners and the eventual submitted thesis, I have been awarded funding for my PhD, which continues my work here at Warwick. All of this came from the flexibility, rigour and opportunity that my MA by Research afforded. I would recommend this course to anyone who has a desire to explore their chosen field in detail, and to those with long-term academic goals. The time passes very quickly, and I loved every minute.


Eleanor Price (MA by Research student 2018-19)

When researching my options for a Postgraduate MA course, the MA by Research in Theatre Studies at Warwick seemed to offer a unique opportunity. It would allow me to further develop skills acquired at undergraduate degree level, whilst enabling me to structure my whole year of study around a dissertation topic of my choosing. The MA by Research appealed as I wanted something that would allow me the opportunity to develop my own voice further, to focus on a topic that fascinated me, whilst providing me with essential skills which may either serve as an invaluable stepping stone to a PhD, or simply allow me to feel a sense of confidence in my own independent research and writing. It allows you to build a close working relationship with your supervisor and the research community within the department. This in turn provides you with access to support and resources normally only accessed at PhD levels of study. The MA by Research is supported by the PGR community both within the department and across the university. For example, in my first weeks on the course, I have had access to department research seminars and CADRE events on making the best use of library and archival resources. As well as this, I have the flexibility to construct my own work and study timetables. I am able to work independently whilst building a relationship with my supervisor. The supervision provides guidance, reassurance and support, which is vital if you are not on campus or in lectures and seminars on a regular basis. The MA by Research is a fantastic first step to conducting your own research and becoming confident in communicating the purpose, intention and interest in that research to others.

Essential Information

How to apply


Full-time: 1 year

Part-time: 2 years

Entry requirements

2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related subject

English language requirements: Band B

IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above

International Students

We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.

Location of Study

University of Warwick

Course Fees

See Student Finance


The University is part of a number of prestigious government Scholarship schemes, including Chevening, Fulbright,
Commonwealth and Marshall. For more information click here.

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