Research course

Drama and Theatre Studies (Practice-Based)

University of Birmingham · Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

Entry requirements

We would normally expect applicants to have a 2.1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent, although suitable professional experience may be taken into account when assessing qualifications.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

This innovative new programme allows academic research to be conducted through practical experimentation, such as the investigation of processes of theatre making or the practical application of particular aesthetic theories. It provides a unique opportunity for you to specialise in a particular area of practice (Dramaturgy, playwriting, or Performance – which includes Directing) and prepares you for your chosen profession.

The practice-based route to this PhD lets you conduct academic-based research through practical experimentation in performance, playwriting or dramaturgy, accompanied with a 40,000 word thesis. The thesis must fully contextualise the practice and substantiate the claim that your work is innovative and demonstrates extension of the boundaries of the chosen field of research and practice.

Research activity is led by staff and our traditional research strengths lie in: contemporary practice, playwriting and acting training; theatre and community development; theatre and political activism, theatre and critical theory, Shakespeare, theatre and science, theatre history – Renaissance to 21st century) and Eastern European theatre.

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days (Friday 13 November 2015 and Friday 4 March 2016). Register to attend at:

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit:

Department specialisms

Theatre history and Shakespearean interpretation; Performance practice, especially directing and acting (and how these are brought together through rehearsal), devising and performer training; Victorian theatre; popular theatre studies; contemporary and historical popular entertainment; music theatre; contemporary theatre making and music performance; multi-media performance; Contemporary theatre and performance; political and cultural theory; performance and devising techniques; new writing for theatre; Actor-training; Anton Chekhov and Russian and East European Theatre of the first part of the twentieth century; theatre and science Twentieth-century reception of tragedy; contemporary adaptation of the Greek tragic plays; postmodern theory and performance; theatre and fascism;Contemporary British, European and American theatre; translation, adaptation and reception; ethics and spectatorship; aesthetics and politics; performance and space.

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,121 FT, £ 2,061 PT
International students
£13,680 FT

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. For more information, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiry Service
0121 414 5005