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Undergraduate course

Drama and Dance BA (Hons)

Love to create and perform? Spend each day in the studio developing as an artist.

Drama and dance students performing in the Quad

This course recognises that powerful performances happen when drama and dance come together. It has been designed for people who are passionate about both dance and drama and enjoy exploring opportunities to combine them to create new and exciting work. If you enjoy expressing yourself physically and want to keep doors open for a career across both disciplines then this course is for you!

  • York Theatre Royal
  • Yorkshire Dance

York campus

  • UCAS Code – W4W5
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | Part-time options available on request
  • 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

This course offers you the chance to work between the disciplines of drama and dance and draw on the best of both worlds. You’ll have the chance to build a programme of study from across a variety of options in both drama and dance, giving you the firm foundations of understanding alongside the chance to specialise. You’ll be in the studio on a daily basis, developing your dance and drama skills creating choreography, devising theatre images, working with others and researching performance history and practice.

As the course progresses, you’ll develop more work that meets your unique interests. That may involve working independently, forming an ensemble or creating a piece of dance theatre that engages with a socially important issue and perhaps involve organisations outside the University. Your final year includes producing your own theatre company to perform and tour locally.


Throughout the programme you’ll be supported by theatre-makers and choreographers with a strong reputation in their field and a variety of practical experience. Drama and dance tutors work closely together to make sure the course prepares you for a career in the current world of performance be that as a teacher, choreographer, physical theatre maker or freelance performing artist.

There are opportunities for theatre trips, in-house performances and the chance to take part in work made by other students, as well as workshops by visiting artists. Overall, you’ll develop the confidence, credibility, creativity and teamwork skills to support you in a range of careers.

Course structure

Year 1



Compulsory modules include:

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.

Workshop Facilitation (20 credits)

Learn the valuable skill of planning, leading and evaluating workshops. You will have the opportunity to participate, observe and lead dance and drama workshops on campus with other students on your course. Topics that you cover will include:

  • Principles of effective facilitation
  • Structuring a workshop
  • Ethical and political issues related to facilitation.

This work will not only prepare you for years 2 and 3 but for your career as a professional dance or theatre practitioner.

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.

Site Specific Dance (20 credits)

On this module you will learn about the growing trend of taking dance and theatre out of traditional spaces and into unusual sites and public spaces. You will explore what happens when the moving body engages with site, place and environment through a range of personal practice and critical investigation.

Optional modules include: 

  • Acting for Screen: The Performer as Auteur (20 credits)
  • Acting Vignettes (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)
  • Politics and the Play (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: Drama and Dance (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


  • Drama & Dance is mainly taught in studio spaces with a tutor leading workshops and rehearsing material. Each year of the programme contains set modules and in Year Two you have the ability to choose a specific module (one per semester) that align to your interests. In Year Three you are assigned mentors and supervisors who guide your own independent work and so offers you the opportunity for you to lead your own projects supported by members of staff.
  • Each module runs on the same day each week throughout the semester, so that you study one subject on each day. This mode of delivery is very popular in student feedback.

Contact hours

  • Your contact hours may vary depending on the specific modules you are taking but practical classes are between three and five hours long and theory modules (one per semester in Year One and Year Two) are two hours and are usually broken into a lecture followed by a seminar.
  • Due to the content of some modules your contact time varies because you are on work placements, for example delivering workshops in schools, and so the taught session time differs accordingly.
  • In Year Three you are much more independent but throughout the degree you have the ability to book and reserve studio space so you can rehearse and create performance. We have designed the course and timetable to enable you to work in a concentrated and supported way with plenty of studio space available for your own practical development.

Self-study time

  • Outside of taught sessions, you will be expected to undertake further reading around the subjects you are studying and complete written assignments that include essays and written reflections from workshop sessions. Our ILS facilities are excellent and include an extensive collection of books, video material and journals for your research and development.


  • Our staff team have incredible amounts of experience and knowledge on the subject. Many are active practitioners who make and present performance internationally. Our staff also contribute to the publication of books and journals on the subject of drama, theatre, dance and performance. All our staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.
  • We also have two dedicated theatre technicians who facilitate our studio and theatre spaces and deliver workshops on stage design, theatrical lighting, scenography and sound.

Assessment methods

  • Assessments in Drama & Theatre are weighted 70% practical and 30% written.
  • Practical assessments take the form of live performances for audiences, private performances for student-peers, workshop presentations, on-location workshop delivery and written presentations.
  • Written assessments take the form of Essays of between 1000 – 2500 words in length. Catalogue documents which are reflective books that explain your process of making work, student blogs, collections of writings for performance, and a dissertation project in Year Three (5000 words in length).

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

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

Why study Drama & Dance at York St John?

Studying Drama & Dance at York St John University has enabled me to be a part of some fantastic work, allowing me to work with upcoming artists in their early steps of becoming professional. It has opened my eyes to see all the possibilities of what dance can be and has helped me to find my own style.
 Courtney Ramsden, Drama & Dance BA (Hons)

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