Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full-time
27 September 2021
Department of Study
Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies
Location of Study
University of Warwick
Theatre is the most public literary form. Our English and Theatre Studies (BA) degree emphasises the relationship between writing and performance, asking how theatre intervenes in history to foster social and political change.
Taught by expert staff from the English and Comparative Literary Studies and Theatre and Performance Studies departments, this course emphasises the relationship between writer, text, performer, critic, playing place and society within a historical, political and cultural context. You will have many opportunities to see a diverse range of productions at the world-renowned theatres at nearby Stratford-upon-Avon and on campus at Warwick Arts Centre.
Theatre modules examine developments in theatrical theory and practice: they focus on plays related to theatrical and political history to emphasise how past movements have shaped the theatre of the present. English Literature modules focus on the close study of literary texts from the classical period to the present, exploring politics, form, and meaning. You will learn to understand and critically analyse texts, and to present persuasive and coherent written and oral arguments while developing independent thought, judgement, and creativity.
In your first year, you will gain an understanding of literature from the classical past to the here and now. You will look at post-war British theatre from the ‘angry young men’ to the women of the ‘awkward brigade’.
In your second year you will think about theatre as an intervention in public space. You will study English-language plays that have shaped democratic institutions around the world, and have the opportunity to explore plays from the Greeks to the present that constitute the European tradition of theatre. But you will also start selecting from a fascinating array of modules from Arthurian literature to post-9/11 fiction, Romantic and Victorian Poetry to postcolonial writing and science fiction.
In your final year you will study Shakespeare as a jobbing playwright. You will think about his writing for the early modern stage, but also about his afterlife in subsequent performance on stage and film. And you will choose modules that extend your horizons, including proposing your own research project as a dissertation.
How will I learn?
Teaching and assessment is distinctive. You will write essays, deliver presentations, and take exams, but you also might make a short film, publish a wiki page, or craft a sonata.
Most core modules in your first year are taught by means of one lecture and one seminar per week in terms one and two. In your second and third years, optional modules are normally taught by means of one seminar per week. Workshops on academic writing, employability, and personal development are also available throughout your degree.
Guided learning of typically eight contact hours per week, plus extra-curricular workshops and reading groups. Seminars are usually 1, 1.5 or 2 hours each; lectures are an hour.
Targeted teaching with class sizes of 10-15 students (on average).
How will I be assessed?
You can choose your preferred form of assessment from traditional essays and written examinations to creative projects, portfolios, and films. For example, in our Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time module, student work recently included film and radio adaptations, musical compositions, painting, sculpture, photography inspired by Shakespeare's texts, as well as essays and close readings.
As a student on our English degrees, you will have the opportunity to spend your third year at one of our partner institutions in Europe, China or the USA. You will then return to Warwick to complete your fourth and final year of your degree.
You will be able to apply to transfer to the four-year course when you are in your second year at Warwick, subject to availability of places from the University's International Office.
General entry requirements
- AAB to include grade A in English Literature/English Language and Literature (combined)
- You also have to meet the additional requirements listed below
- 36 to include 6 at Higher Level in English Literature or combined English Language and Literature
- You also have to meet the additional requirements listed below
- We welcome applications from students taking BTECs alongside A level English Literature/English Language and Literature (combined)
- You also have to meet the additional requirements listed below
Additional requirements for BA English and Theatre Studies:
Interviews: We prefer to interview candidates before making an offer. Interviews are tailor-made to each individual and designed to explore your suitability for study at Warwick, so they do not follow a set pattern. There is nothing specific you need to do to prepare, but expect to be asked about the literary works you have studied or have read beyond the syllabus, and the other interests you mention in your personal statement. The interview day typically includes an opportunity to meet with staff and students. Separate arrangements will be made for international students to complete an online interview.
Language requirements: You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only).
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
British Theatre since 1939
You will be engaged in an in-depth appreciation of significant and controversial British plays of the post-war period, examining the theatre’s response to social and historical trends and becoming familiar with the landmark institutions of new writing. Topics include theatrical architecture and design, performance styles, and the political and philosophical ideas of leading playwrights. You will develop analytical skills, knowledge of specific productions, and the ability to present coherent arguments.
Medieval to Renaissance English Literature
Taking you from the mythical court of King Arthur to the real world of ambition, intrigue, and danger in the courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, this module introduces you to early literature written in a range of genres (romance, epic, fabliau) and poetic forms. You will study texts like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Thomas More’s Utopia, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare’s sonnets to explore some of the period’s highest ideals—‘trawthe’ or integrity—as well as some of humanity’s darkest impulses: greed, deception, revenge, and desire.
Theatre and Performance in Context
This module introduces key concepts in theatre and performance studies, uncovering what theatre and performance can tell us about our cultures, societies and identities. These understandings are applied to case studies from around the world, which include ‘canonical’ events and alternative practices, both from within theatres and beyond them. The module hones your academic writing, research and presentation skills, which will serve you throughout your degree.
Plus one of the following options:
Epic into Novel
Tracking the transition from the epics of the ancient world to the novels of modernity, this module introduces you to some of the most influential and formative works of world literature. You will study central texts of the classical world, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid; ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata; Milton’s Paradise Lost; as well as novels like Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, A Grain of Wheat. Reading across history and cultures, between languages and genres, you will develop the skills to analyse narrative, character, and style.
Modes of Reading
What is a reader? How is our understanding and perception of a text formed? What does it mean to think critically when we read? This module allows you to explore these questions by putting a spotlight on the question of critical thinking in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. By studying a series of literary texts in relation to some of the most influential literary and cultural theorists of the last hundred years, you will take your own position on everything from Marxism, queer and feminist theory to ecocriticism and postcolonial critique.
From Text to Performance
Through practical exploration of a number of selected plays and texts, in this module you will investigate the process of taking material from page to stage or performance, and the relationship between theory and practice. You will have the opportunity to experiment practically with realising multiple texts in performance, considering aspects such as staging, genre, narrative structure, performance strategies, dramaturgical thinking and directorial conceptualization, as well as the changing role and function of the audience.
Drama and Democracy
You will study in depth major plays written since the beginning of the 20th century in Ireland, South Africa and the USA to investigate how writers have dramatised political, racial, class and gender issues. You will study developments in theatrical form and the work of designers, directors and actors to demonstrate your understanding of the shifting relationship between theatre and its impact on political and social change.
Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of His Time
You will consider the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries such as Marlowe and Middleton, both as text and performance. Through your experience of performance, and understanding of historical context, you will consolidate your analytical skills in reading narrative, poetry and drama. You will gain an awareness of the traditions of criticism, and an appreciation of how the plays’ themes continue to challenge readers and audiences today.
Examples of modules for current students:
- European Theatre
- Remaking Shakespeare
- Early Modern Drama
- Restoration Drama
- American Horror Story
- The English Nineteenth-Century Novel
- Literature, Environment, Ecology
- US Writing and Culture, 1780-1920
- Romantic and Victorian Poetry
- Crime Fiction
- Jane Austen in Theory
- Women and Writing
- The Classical Tradition
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement or study abroad will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
We believe there should be no barrier to talent. That's why we are committed to offering a scholarship that makes it easier for gifted, ambitious international learners to pursue their academic interests at one of the UK's most prestigious universities. This new scheme will offer international fee-paying students 250 tuition fee discounts ranging from full fees to awards of £13,000 to £2,000 for the full duration of your Undergraduate degree course.
Graduates from these courses have gone on to work for employers including:
- British Council
- Civil Service
- Maidstone Borough Council
- Newsquest Media Group
- Pan Macmillan
- Royal Opera House
- The Sunday Times
- Teach First
- Weber Shandwick
They have pursued roles such as:
- Newspaper and periodical editors
- Creative directors
- Arts officers, producers and directors
- Authors,writers and translators
- Musicians and composers
- Advertising accounts managers
- Business sales executives
- Solicitors and legal associate professionals
- Management consultants and business analysts
- Marketing associate professionals
- Academics and researchers
Helping you find the right career
In addition to a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant to support students studying English Literature, students also take an Academic Enrichment Program in their first year focused on career skills, academic writing, and how to prepare for a future career while studying. Our Careers consultant also offers impartial advice and guidance, together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Understanding Assessment Centres
- Careers following your English and Comparative Literary Studies Degree
- Discovering Careers in the Creative Industries
- Careers in Publishing and Journalism
- Careers in the Public Sector
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
"My tutors made me brave"
"I'd always been unhappy with the fifth act of Twelfth Night. This degree allowed me to rewrite it - for assessment.
My 'last act' was a series of poetic monologues, presided over by Feste. Cesario ‘built the virtuous Olivia a willow cabin / deep in the dark Illyrian woods, / and Olivia adored it’ while ‘Malvolio sits in his room and writes.../ of how he’ll score’, of how ‘Vengeance will be his on some wild night’.
On the degree, you can do whatever you like, creatively, and you’re rewarded for taking risks. It’s no exaggeration to say that this course changed my life. My tutors made me brave. They gave me the courage to explore, and to put my own writing in front of audiences."
English and Theatre Studies Graduate
"The teaching’s fantastic, the lecturers are exceptional in terms of how much they know about the subject, which means you can always go to someone if you feel you have a specific area that you’re interested in and want to develop further."
Theatre and Performance Studies BA
Hi I'm Miles, I'm a second year Theatre and Performance student here at the University of Warwick.
What fascinates you about Theatre Studies?
"I've always really been interested in theatre, but much more the performance side of things? It was only when I reached A level that I saw how important the academic and theoretical side of it was, and having studied here for a while now, it really has opened my eyes just how important theatre is."
Why did you choose to study at Warwick?
"I think what first attracted me to study here at Warwick was not necessarily just the range of stuff that’s taught in the department, but also the range of extracurricular activities going on, in terms of the societies and all the clubs you can get involved with, and it really helped me see how you can get a perfect balance between the academic and recreational side of life."
What modules have you enjoyed?
"The module that has most interested me has been the Theatre in the Community module, which I’ve studied this year. This is a module that culminates in a trip to a prison, where we do a workshop with some inmates, and it really helps us understand how practical methods that we use every day as Theatre students can benefit those who don’t come into contact with Theatre as much. Next year I’ll be able to take part in my own dissertation which can either be practical or theoretical. This is one of the really good things about the department, that you can choose to do a theoretical dissertation or a practical one, which really helps you harness the skills that you’ve honed over the past two years."
How do you find the teaching?
"The teaching’s fantastic, the lecturers are exceptional in terms of how much they know about the subject, which means you can always go to someone if you feel you have a specific area that you’re interested in and want to develop further. There’s a really nice mix between more practical workshops and seminars and lectures, which is really shown in the variety of modules themselves, which I think is a really great way of having to understand Theatre further. They are also more than willing to discuss with you and develop your own idea which I think is a really great way to develop independent learning."
How supported do you feel?
"I feel really supported by the department. There’s both a mentor and tutor system which is initiated in year one, which means you not only have a member of staff as somebody who you can go to if you have any personal issues, but also a student in the year above. Which I think is a really, really useful to have."
What are the facilities like in your department?
"Facilities are absolutely fantastic. We’ve got a number of studios which we can use and access regularly, which have their own fully functioning lighting and sound systems. There’s the opportunity for two studio shows each term, which means that students get to put on their own shows in the Arts Centre which is a fantastic opportunity to have."
What is the value of societies?
"Particularly as a theatre student, the role of societies is incredibly important because it allows you to do your own sort of, recreational exploration of Theatre, as well as the academic side, and it’s also a great way to meet and socialise with people from across all years. The ones I’m particularly involved in are WUDS, which is the Warwick University Drama Society, and ShakeSoc which is a specific society that’s dedicated just to looking at the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, which is a fantastic opportunity to have, especially because we’re so close with the RSC, and we get to go out and watch some of their shows, which is absolutely brilliant. The Warwick University Drama Society is also fantastic, they deal with much more – a much wider variety of published plays, and that’s sort of our main drama society."
What has been your favourite memory?
"My favourite memory so far from my course has to have been when I got the opportunity to perform in the Arts Centre. The opportunity to perform in such a fantastic venue is just something that I think I’ll remember forever."
How has your course excited you for life after your studies?
"There’s such a vast array of things that I’ve learned here as part of the Theatre and Performance Studies course, it’s shown that there’s just such a vast array of opportunities to get involved with Theatre aside from just the performance side, so, marketing, or even the theoretical or historical side to Theatre and Performance."
About the information on this page
This information is applicable for 2021 entry. Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.