musical theatre dancing feet
UCAS Code
2B69
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2020

Overview

If you want to expand your knowledge and skill in performance, theatre, and musicals, this BA (Hons) Musical Theatre degree course is the perfect choice if you want a successful career in many sectors.

On the course, you'll indulge your enthusiasm for voice, music, movement, acting and production. You'll get to create your own theatre company, mount a full-scale musical in just 2 weeks and have dedicated one-to-one singing lessons. You'll also learn a sought after set of vocational skills that will help you break into the business side of industry.

As a member of the national Musical Theatre Network, you’ll be able to make use of our industry connections when you start your career after the course. You'll be set for a career as a performer and in roles in the wider theatre industry.

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

Careers and opportunities

On this course you'll:

  • Use our drama studios in the White Swan Building, which is connected to Portsmouth's New Theatre Royal
  • Practise what you learn in our professional-grade rehearsal areas, including a dance space, a sound recording booth, video editing suites, and music rooms equipped with pianos
  • Work alongside your peers and new writers to create shows, gaining invaluable experience in creative collaboration
  • Have the chance to perform in front of agents, producers and casting directors as part of our annual London Showcase
  • Study at the home of the UK's only international academic journal dedicated to musical theatre (Studies in Musical Theatre)
  • Have the opportunity to attend guest lectures from the biggest names in theatre and arts – past speakers have included Sheila Hancock, Edward Bond, Mark Ravenhill, David Edgar, Howard Brenton, Michelene Wandor, Pete Wyer and Yvon Bonenfant, and professionals from The Fecund Theatre Company, The Solent People's Theatre and The Big Brum Theatre

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, you'll be set for a career as a performer and for roles in the wider theatre industry.

What can you do with a Musical Theatre degree?

Past graduates have gone on to careers in:

  • theatre, arts and events management
  • broadcasting
  • the media industry
  • teaching
  • business
  • project and team management

What jobs can you do with a Musical Theatre degree?

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • actor
  • producer
  • playwright
  • theatre manager
  • arts administrator

Other graduates have continued their studies at postgraduate level or set up successful businesses with help and support from the University.

Our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. After you the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

This course was the right path for me because not only does it teach me the theoretical element of musical theatre but it also gives me the opportunity to explore the practical side.

Abigail Slocombe, BA (Hons) Musical Theatre

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) Musical Theatre degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Modules

Core modules in this year include:

  • Devised Project
  • Making Theatre
  • Movement for Performance
  • Performance - Criticism and Analysis
  • Performance and Society
  • Voice and the Actor

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Advanced Scene Study
  • Critical Contexts
  • Musical Theatre Laboratory
  • Musical Theatre Skills
  • Performance Histories     

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • A Voice and So Much More
  • Engaged Citizenship Through Interdisciplinary Practice
  • Musical Theatre and All That Jazz
  • Professional Experience
  • Puppetry and Object Theatre
  • Space, Time and Performance
  • Student Enterprise
  • Theatre Audiences

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Core modules in this year currently include:

  • Alternative Theatres
  • Applied Theatre For Young Audiences
  • Forming a Company
  • Major Academic Project

Optional modules currently include:

  • Applied Theatre: Workshop Skills
  • Musical Theatre: Special Topic

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do a paid placement year in the industry. This lets you put your knowledge and skills to work, while developing links in the industry.

Previous students have taken placement years at organisations such as the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth and Disneyland Paris.

Interested in running your own business on your placement year instead? You can start up and run your own company for a year as an alternative to a work-based placement. You'll work alone or with fellow students to build and launch a successful venture.

Whatever you decide to do in your placement year, you'll get support and mentoring throughout.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, and voluntary roles that will complement your studies and build your professional experience.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • workshops
  • seminars
  • lectures
  • one-to-one tutorials
  • work placement

As well as learning the academic side of musical theatre, there's a strong focus on the practical side of performance. You'll have many opportunities to perform or put on shows both at and outside the University.

Teaching staff profiles

These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this degree course. 

Dr Ben Macpherson, Principal Lecturer and Course Leader

Ben is a leading international scholar in musical theatre and voice studies, and joined the University in 2013, after working at the University of Winchester and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

As a member of the British Musical Theatre Research Institute, he is particularly interested in ideas of 'Britishness' and how it is seen on the musical stage, and published a book on the subject in 2018. He's currently working on a large-scale project about voice and recorded sound in musical theatre.

Dr Ben Macpherson
Dr Laura MacDonald, Senior Lecturer

Laura joined the University in 2013, having previously worked at the University of Groningen (Netherlands). With a background in journalism, theatre history, international politics and American studies, Laura’s teaching brings together her broad international interests.

As a researcher, she's the Focus Group Representative for the Music Theatre/Dance Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and Treasurer of the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS).

Dr Laura MacDonald

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • practical performance
  • dramatic writing
  • essays
  • video productions
  • group presentations
  • examinations
  • dissertation/project

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 8% by written exams, 48% by practical exams and 44% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 57% by practical exams and 43% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 37% by practical exams and 63% by coursework

Entry requirements​

BA (Hons) Musical Theatre degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Selection process
  • Applicants will be invited to a workshop.

You'll need a workshop and interview, or video blog (vlog)

Get tips on preparing the portfolio materials you need for your Drama and Performance degree application.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2020 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £14,300 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You may need to buy items such as DVDs and MiniDV tapes to use on practical units, which cost approximately £20–£30.

You’ll also need to cover:

  • the material costs for individual project work, which usually costs £50–£100
  • the costs for performance work and other practice based units, which are normally in the region of £50–£100

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2020, apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – 2B69
  • our institution code – P80

If you’d prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
  • tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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