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Undergraduate course

Acting BA (Hons)

Through workshops and performances, gain the artistic skills necessary to succeed as a performer.

Drama student performing

Acting is a focused and creative program at York St John University. It offers a well-rounded experience of what it means to perform. This practical course encourages voice, movement, acting, interpretation and textual analysis. The course lets you identify yourself as a performer and connect to our many creative partners in the region.

York campus

  • UCAS Code – W410
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS points

    3 GCSEs Graded at C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

The York St John Experience

Course overview

Our Acting degree lets you to study the craft of contemporary acting for stage and screen. Through innovative practice workshops, you will work through rigorous processes and approaches to performing. You will develop personas and characters to tell unique stories. You will get an excellent experience of working independently and collaboratively. 

Acting BA (Hons) is practice-led, so we will assess you on your practical work as well as your written work. 

On this course:

  • You will study acting as a transformative experience.
  • You will act in plays and ensemble works.
  • You will present solo pieces where you and your talent is at the very heart of performing.
  • You will develop your identity as an actor.
  • You will develop a Professional Acting portfolio.
  • Be eligible to join Equity.
  • You will develop your future career path towards the creative industries.

Our campus is in the heart of the beautiful city of York. We have excellent studio facilities and expert staff who make and perform their own theatre. Alongside practice, staff write and theorise about the importance of drama and theatre in the twenty first century.

Course structure

Year 1


Compulsory modules include:

Voice workshop (20 credits)

By participating in a series of workshops, you will explore approaches to using your voice for live performance. With an initial focus on techniques such as breathing, alignment and articulation, you will move onto study various texts including prose and verse, soliloquy and chorus work.

Acting (20 credits)

Take part in practical exercises to develop your understanding of acting techniques and training. You will draw on the methods outlined by practitioners such as Stanislavski and Chekhov and contemporary techniques used by companies including the Wooster Group and Forced Entertainment. You will consider the contested nature of the actor and actor training in the 21st century.

Making Ensemble Performance (20 credits) 

Learn what it means to work with your peers to create original ideas and bring them to life. You will work from a dramatic text to inspire your ideas as a collaborative group. You will experience for yourself what it is like to share ideas and work together with other performers. This module will give you a whole new perspective on performance.

Big Ideas in Performance (20 credits) 

Contemplate the significance of performance and what it means to you. You will be mindful of how these interpretations are rooted in our history and culture, and how they have influenced society today. You will study key movements, ideas and practices in 20th and 21st century performance, theatre and dance with topics including:

  • The Space and Place in Performance: from Robert Wilson to the immersive performance of Punchdrunk
  • The Body: Movement, Gesture and Voice
  • Ritual and Play.
Ensemble: Political Performance (20 credits) 

Work together with your peers on a devised performance using a political ‘text’ as inspiration. This could be a photograph, painting, written document or even a costume. You will develop a range of creative, compositional and performance strategies to help you understand the complex political times we live in.

Movement for Performance (20 credits) 

Study how movement is an essential part of performance by considering perspectives including movement as an expression of emotion and energy. Through participating in regular workshops you will practice dance technique, somatic practices and movement invention methods. You will learn about the intelligence of the body and develop an understanding of how movement communicates in dance and theatre making.



Year 2


Compulsory modules include:

Politically Engaged Practice 1 (20 credits)

This is the first of 2 modules that will introduce you to different politically engaged performance practices from the 20th and 21st centuries. Lectures will chart key events in modernist and postmodern performance.

Politically Engaged Practice 2 (20 credits)

Take what you have learnt in Politically Engaged Practice 1 and deepen your understanding of performance as political. On this module you will explore the relationship between arts practice and political activism. Consider your own art as a form of political activism and explore the potential affect of art as politics.

Physical Theatre (20 credits)

We will introduce you to Physical Theatre as a genre used by many contemporary performance companies. You will start by examining the history of the genre and go on to explore a range of techniques used by Physical Theatre practitioners. Dance and drama students work together on this module, so you can share knowledge and broaden your skills.

Acting for Screen: The Performer as Auteur (20 credits)

On this module you will explore how, as an actor, you can also direct your own short film production for the screen. You will have the opportunity to both act in a film while also engaging with your own artistic vision for the production. Taught workshop practices will guide you through the practical and technical aspects of acting for camera and making short film sequences. You will also work on interpreting screenplay and how to grasp the language of a writer’s material. You will become the performer and the visionary.

Optional modules include: 

  • Acting Vignettes (20 credits)
  • Politics and the Play (20 credits)
  • Artist as Witness (20 credits)
  • Auto/biography and Performance (20 credits)
  • Children and Young People (20 credits)
  • Performance in Social Context (20 credits)
  • Site Specific Dance (20 credits)
  • Writing after Beckett (20 credits)

Year 3


Compulsory modules include:

Dissertation (20 credits)

This is your chance to conduct independent critical research on an area that interests you. You can choose an element of your performance practice to focus on and explore it through analysis, theory and reflection. A dissertation tutor will be assigned who will support you through this module and who will meet with you regularly to discuss your progress.

Contemporary Performance Practice: Research & Development (20 credits)

This module gives you the chance to operate as a theatre or dance company with your peers. As you work together you will develop your collaborative skills and expand your ability to create original performance work. The project you undertake within your company can be decided by you and your company and can be negotiated with your module tutors.

Contemporary Performance Practice: Actualisation (20 credits)

Continuing from your previous Contemporary Performance Practice module, you will continue to develop the work you created with your ensemble. You will continue to work with the same group and the content of this module will respond to support your creative collaboration. In addition to your performance, assessment of this module will include producing promotional materials appropriate for a professional theatre company.

Independent Practice and Professional Portfolio: Acting (60 credits)

As you enter your final year, you will develop your independence as a practitioner and create original work. Engage with key professional infrastructures in dance, theatre and performance industries as you draw on your experiences from previous modules and prepare for employment beyond university. You will take part in exploratory sessions where you will gather ideas, possible collaborations and eventually, proposals for independent work. You will then conduct research related to your proposal and develop an independent and original piece of creative performance.

Teaching & Assessment

You will be taught by expert academics and by industry professionals from York Theatre Royal. Teaching will also feature other local, regional and national performance companies as well.

Your work will be assessed as a portfolio and could include:

  • Live performances - solo, duet and ensemble
  • Workshop practice
  • Essays
  • Reflective writing
  • Script writing
  • Catalogue documents

There will be opportunities to be involved with the innovative community projects we run. For example: Converge, YSJ Prison Partnership Project, Shakespeare on Screen in Prison project, It's Not Ok NSPCC project, YSJSPARK, Dance and Dementia Project. We run these projects with local, regional and national partners in prisons, care homes, mental health organisations, schools and in festivals.

Please be aware that this course is subject to validation, so this is subject to change. 

Entry Requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

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 your first language is not English you must show evidence of English language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Additional Requirements 

You will need to attend an audition as part of the recruitment process. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 202 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

International 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

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 degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

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.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

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

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

Aspire Card

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