Drama Studies and Philosophy and Ethics

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Discover your place in the world of Drama at Bath Spa University.

  • Gain skills valued in a variety of employment contexts including the theatre, the creative industries and education.
  • Experiment, critically reflect and innovate in your work
  • Develop high standards of professionalism when working with others

"The variety given in the second and third year of drama studies really helped me to create a course that I could take ownership of. The knowledge and support from all lecturers and fellow students encouraged me to develop both the skills I already had and those I gained during my time at Bath Spa. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in Drama."
– 2012 Drama Graduate Natasha Cook

Why study Drama?

Drama at Bath Spa provides you with a range of exciting modules to choose from that equip you with the skills to make, explore and analyse theatre and performance work in a diverse array of contexts.

This Drama programme is for passionate individuals interested in exploring drama, theatre and performance in its many forms. It will give you a strong grounding in the ideas, traditions and (sometimes heated!) debates that inform contemporary drama practices, while providing you with the tools to analyse, interpret and create a wide range of performance work. Through our core and optional modules you will encounter areas of practice such as play production, performing, writing, directing, and topics such as Shakespeare, musical theatre, physical theatre, comedy and media and performance.

Course structure

You’ll study plays, practitioners and genres that have been particularly influential in shaping contemporary theatre and performance. We give you the opportunity to explore:

  • Theatre practitioners;
  • Playwrights;
  • Performance making;
  • Theatre history; and
  • Writing, directing and performing.

The course also includes a focus on:

  • plays and musical theatre productions in the University Theatre;
  • theatre in education performances and workshops in local schools;
  • stand-up comedy performances in local venues;
  • new plays written by students; and
  • new and existing works devised, directed and performed by students.

Drama session


  • Year 1
    Build the foundations. You’ll undertake modules in theatre history, approaches to working with dramatic texts, contemporary performance and theatre skills. These will be taught through a mixture of practical workshops, seminars, lectures and rehearsals.

  • Year 2
    Apply your skills. You’ll have the opportunity to apply yourself in a variety of performance projects. The core modules focus on allowing you to create your own original work, while a range of optional modules allow you to explore your particular areas of interest such as physical theatre, comedy, applied theatre, musical theatre and theatre production.
  • Year 3
    Develop your specialisms. You’ll carry out research into an area of drama or performance of your own choice on our Dissertation module (optional for Joint Honours) as well as selecting areas of study from a range of specialist modules such as: Performance Projects; Staging Gender; Modern American Drama; Staging Shakespeare; Musical Theatre; Docu-drama; Media and Performance; and Devising and Site-Specific Performance.

Course assessment

We use a variety of assessment tasks across the programme, including:

  • Public performance
  • Playwriting
  • In-class performance of devised or published work
  • Oral presentations
  • Performance of backstage / technical roles
  • Critical reflection
  • Working as part of an ensemble
  • Script analysis
  • Devising
  • Individual and group research projects

Work placements, industry links and internships

You’ll benefit from visits from industry professionals. Previous visitors cover a range of specialisms including: playwriting, directing, acting, television production, theatre in education, and children’s theatre.

In 2015 and 2016 visiting professionals and practitioners included:

  • Baz Taylor – television director (Bergerac, Eastenders, Shine on Harvey Moon, Lovejoy)
  • Neil D’Souza - actor and writer
  • Kylie Walsh – Paper Birds Theatre Company
  • Mark Wilson – Natural Theatre Company
  • Geese Theatre Company – internationally renowned applied theatre company
  • And local professional theatre companies – the Misfits; Travelling Light Theatre Company; Up In Arms Theatre Company.

We also have partnerships with local venues; local schools; and the local community groups. 

Teaching methods

Our teaching is done through a range of activities including lectures, workshops, seminars, skills classes, rehearsals, tutorials, work placements and theatre visits.

Drama performance

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS.

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC including Grade B in Drama, Theatre studies, English or related subjects accepted.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma in Drama, Theatre Studies or Performing Arts grades Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM) accepted.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum of 27 points required in addition to evidence of additional qualifications or experience in Acting, Drama or Theatre Studies.
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher) accepted in addition to evidence of additional qualifications or experience in Acting, Drama or Theatre Studies

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Suitable applicants will be invited to audition at our Newton Park campus between December and March. The interview process will focus primarily on the following: 1. Your group skills 2. Your aptitude for taking part in workshop activities 3. Your spontaneity and creativity 4. Your interest in drama practices More information will be sent via email on invitation to audition.

Career opportunities

We equip you with creative, collaborative, writing, presentational, and communication skills that are invaluable in many professional and vocational areas.

Some graduates choose to pursue postgraduate study, especially in teaching, or vocational training. Recent graduates have gone on to MAs at Central School of Speech and Drama, Yale Theatre School and the Royal Academy of Music.

Other graduates launch careers in the creative industries, including working with theatre and media companies.

Graduate successes include:

  • Kerry Lovell – a founding member of award winning Bristol based company The Wardrobe Ensemble who just performed their new show 1972: The Future of Sex to rave reviews in Edinburgh. The Company has recently performed at the National Theatre Shed and the Soho Theatre
  • Alex Duarte-Davies – production and directing assistant at The Egg (Theatre Royal Bath)
  • Kristina Penton and Michael Elledge – founders of Tzedakah Theatre, a theatre company that uses immersive performance to engage with issues of human trafficking
  • Lucy Payne – principal of Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts in Bath
  • Christine Northey - Dramatherapist and Tutor.

What students say...

"Drama at Bath Spa provided me a world of knowledge, confidence and new friends. The diverse nature of the course acted as platform for countless ways to express myself and to learn from my tutors and peers."

2012 Drama Graduate Katy Muir

"I absolutely loved my time at Bath Spa on the Drama course. I made so many friends and had so much fun…the highlight for me was getting the chance to direct a full scale production. Also, the staff are friendly and approachable. I was very sad to leave."

2012 Drama Graduate Lucy Plant

"The variety given in the second and third year of drama studies really helped me to create a course that I could take ownership of. The knowledge and support from all lecturers and fellow students encouraged me to develop both the skills I already had and those I gained during my time at Bath Spa. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in Drama."

2012 Drama Graduate Natasha Cook

"Bath Spa has got it right with this course, as it offers a comprehensive exploration of a wide range of theatrical styles and genres. The knowledge and expertise that Drama allows you to develop makes you stand out in the jobs market."

2012 Drama Graduate Luke Davies

Drama student

Truth, knowledge, meaning, reality – ask and answer crucial questions with this course.

  • Global – study philosophy from Western and Eastern perspectives
  • Contemporary – explore current debates, dilemmas and approaches
  • Applied – use philosophical concepts in real time, on real world projects

“I have been challenged, supported, and inspired during my time here ... My way of thinking has been changed by what I've studied, and I can happily say that I have become a confident critical thinker, and a more thoughtful human being.”
– Jessica Tamsin Milton, Philosophy with English Literature student

Why study Philosophy and Ethics?

 This Philosophy and Ethics course explores the assumptions, beliefs and values which shape human behaviour and our responses to it. You’ll explore our relationships with the natural world and our attitudes towards the past and in the present.

The course addresses the key questions which underpin all academic disciplines and concepts, so combines well with other subjects, contributing to your confidence in tackling them.

You must study another subject with Philosophy and Ethics; it’s offered as a Major, Joint or Minor component of a Combined Honours award. You can choose from a wide range of disciplines and build expertise in a related area or from a different perspective. Popular combinations include Psychology, Geography, History and Creative Writing. If you would like to take this with Study of Religions, you should apply for Religions, Philosophy and Ethics.

Course structure

Rather than teaching philosophy primarily as a history of ideas – although we do explore this – we focus on the application of current philosophical thinking in contemporary settings and circumstances. You’ll consider our responses to environmental crisis, for example, or questions of identity, belonging, roles and responsibilities.

We consider Western philosophical and ethical perspectives, and introduce you to the systems of thought of India and China. This mix and inclusiveness makes our Philosophy and Ethics course particularly distinctive.


  • Year One
    We introduce you to the principles of philosophical and ethical enquiry. We’ll equip you with some basic methods to philosophically analyse and critically examine core concepts in epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. There is an optional module in global religions and philosophy which looks at major traditions, movements and key thinkers.
  • Year Two
    You’ll focus on philosophy in the Indian and Chinese traditions. Optional modules explore ethics within humanist and religious traditions, medical ethics and social justice, and environmental politics and nonhuman rights.
  • Year Three
    You’ll bring together and develop philosophical ideas through the study of morality, identity, or gender. There are opportunities for in-depth study through a dissertation or an employment related project.

Course assessment

Assessment is mainly through coursework such as essays, projects, presentations, or online discussion.

Study abroad

Our students make good use of the opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus and other programmes, usually in the second year, with one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to find out more about this during your first year, including meeting up with students who have already benefited from the experience.

If you opt to join one of the study abroad programmes, you might find yourself in Denmark, Spain, Australia or North America. We have developing partnerships with universities in China and the Far East.

Field trips

Fieldwork and visits are an integral part of the course. We visit religious communities, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches.

Teaching methods

Our focus is on ‘doing philosophy’ and developing your confidence and capacity for philosophical analysis and debate. We’ll support you through lectures and seminar work, as well as individual tutorials and support.

Special projects in years two and three and the dissertation in year three provide opportunities for independent work which builds on your own interests, adds new dimensions to your thinking, or relates to plans for future careers and personal development.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Philosophy and Ethics develops many skills valued by employers such as clarity and precision in thinking, the ability to recognise unnoticed assumptions, the expertise to present a strong case, and to see the ethical issues involved in everyday decisions. Graduate careers for which Philosophy is good preparation include: law, civil service, local government, journalism, financial institutions, management, and IT. Some of some of our students have gone on to teach Religious Education, Philosophy and/or Citizenship in secondary or primary schools, where there is a shortage of specialists. Others have gone on to further academic study.

Since 2010, employers such as Global Xchange. Ethicall, Citizens' Advice Bureau and Birmingham University have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Healthcare Assistant, Fundraiser,  Children's Home Activities Coordinator and Assistant to the Communications Director.

What students say...

Lindsay Horler, Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions, Year 3:

“I chose to study this particular course because I was interested in studying Eastern as well as Western philosophy, and Bath Spa is probably the only University in the UK which offers such an in-depth enquiry into Eastern philosophical thought. While studying Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions at Bath Spa I have not only enhanced my intellectual skills, but I have also developed as a person. By thinking critically about philosophical ideas from Anglo-American, European and global perspectives, I have been able to think critically about my own philosophical beliefs.

What I enjoy most about Bath Spa University is that I can speak to my course tutors whenever I have questions to do with my course, or anything else for that matter.”