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Postgraduate course

Theatre MA

Develop your artistic practice and specialise in making theatre or working with community groups. Find your path towards a rewarding career in the creative industries.

Your learning is centred around your unique theatre practice. Whether it is theatre making or applied practice, you will gain the skills to develop your individual approach and professional profile. By learning from your expert tutors, you will create in-depth and professional projects.

Applications will open for this course soon.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time, 2 years part time
  • Start date – October 2024
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum entry requirements

    2:2 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview if your honours degree is in an unrelated subject

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 per year full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 per year full time

Course overview

This course has been designed for you to develop your artistic practice and gain the skills needed for a career across the creative sectors of different industries. Learn from tutors who are active practitioners and experts in their field. Your learning experience will be based around contemporary artistic experiences and engagement with working professionals. Research and practice come together in a knowledge exchange with communities and local, regional and national partners. 

We welcome all theatre makers, facilitators, producers, educators, actors, creative writers or artists. Whatever your artistic focus, join this course and expand your work in performance platforms, and those wishing to start as professionals in any of these areas.

You can choose 1 of 2 routes to focus your practice on. These are:

Contemporary Theatre Making

By taking this route, you are following your passion for creative live performances. As well as focusing on making, you'll work with touring artists to discover more about how to apply for festivals, gain commissions, and the logistics of planning and budgeting. Our experienced tutors and guest artists will equip you to create performances for:

  • Festivals
  • City centre venues
  • Site-specific projects
  • The touring studio

Throughout the course you will develop strategies to reflect, theorise, and document your practice, as well as being given a platform to share your thinking. Your studies will focus on the relationship between theory and practice. You'll have the opportunity to take full advantage of all the workshop, studio, seminar, and virtual environments the University has to offer.

Applied Theatre Practice

When you study with us you will grow your professional profile in the field of applied theatre by engaging in a range of well established local, regional, and national partnership projects, adding new skills and experiences to your repertoire.

Partnership projects have include:


This is a York St John partnership with the NHS that offers educational courses to local people who use mental health services, taught by our staff and students on campus.

York St John Prison Partnership Project

This creative arts partnership lets you work with women at HMP Newhall and HMP Askham Grange on weekly drama and singing projects in a prison settings.

Shakespeare on Screen in Prisons

This is a national partnership with the York St John Prison Partnership Project. It allows you to work on drama residencies in prison, exploring the digital provision of the Donmar Warehouse Shakespeare Trilogy films.

It's Not Ok

This is a national Theatre in Education and digital resource project with York St John and The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). This partnership invites you to work on delivering the project in schools across the region.

Moving Minds

This project invites people living with dementia and their friends, family members and carers onto campus for a weekly movement class.

York Theatre Royal

Our partnership with this local theatre provides opportunities for placements with their weekly youth theatre and community projects, facilitated in the theatre and across the city.

Course structure

How you will study

You can study this postgraduate course full time or part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments.

If you choose to study full time the course will take 1 year to complete. You will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules (1 of which is the year long Independent Project module)

If you choose to study part time the course will take 2 years to complete and the modules will be split across both years.

The Independent Project module is carried across the whole of the course for both modes of study.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

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Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

Teaching will consist of a mixture of group seminars and individual tutorials. The additional tutorial hours attached to each module will be used flexibly, including a wider range of staff input from tutors not timetabled to deliver taught contact.

As a graduate student independent learning will be central to your study. We place a significant emphasis on independent learning, encouraging you to take responsibility for managing your own learning and its outcomes. Our Academic Support team can help with written English, study, research, and technology skills if needed.

We keep our group sizes small so we can get to know your creative personality and support your aspirations. We deliver your modules through:

  • Lectures and demonstrations
  • Seminars and visiting speakers
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Group crit
  • Group and individual presentations
  • Visits to appropriate arts venues and performances

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


There are no formal examinations on this course. You will be assessed through live events and coursework, which will include:

  • Creative work presented for assessment
  • Essay
  • Presentation
  • Workshop
  • Annotated reflective document
  • Extended dissertation

You will receive continuous informal feedback on works in progress through a combination of performances, discussions and written proposals.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:2 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview if your honours degree is in an unrelated subject

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our international pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.



Interview and portfolio

Entry onto this postgraduate course is subject to attending an interview.

At interview you will be asked to give a presentation which will:

  • Demonstrate your readiness for graduate level practice
  • Show evidence of your engagement with critical thinking

You will also be asked to complete a portfolio. This portfolio should show examples of previous and current theatre and performance practice.

We are happy to arrange interviews through Microsoft Teams for international students.

Additional requirements

For entry onto this course, you will also need:

  • DBS check - For certain activities a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check may be required (for instance if working in schools or with young people). It is your responsibility to obtain DBS checks as appropriate.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment need to be presented to support your case for admission.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £8,000 for full time study
  • £4,000 for part time study

These costs apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £11,300 for 1 year of full time study
  • £5,650 per year for part time study

These costs apply to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 per year full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 per year full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could Theatre take you?

Where could Theatre take you?

This postgraduate degree could lead you to a career directly related to working in the community music industry, or it could take you in a completely different direction, using the many transferrable skills you will develop.

This will give you an advantage in careers such as:

  • Actor
  • Community arts worker
  • Choreographer
  • Dancer
  • Drama/music therapist
  • Theatre director

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £8,000 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2019)

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the links below. This will take you to the application form you need to fill out for this specific course. 

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details. 
Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Fees and key information

Apply now

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