BA (Hons) Acting and English

Undergraduate, Full-Time

Train as an actor while exploring English literature, and gain a deep understanding of the relationship between text and performance.

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  • Course type:


  • Duration:

    4 years

  • Award:

    BA (Hons)

  • Location:

    Merchiston campus

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Course introduction

Acting is the practical realisation of text and is closely linked to the discipline of English. This course allows you to develop your acting skills while studying English literature, giving you a firm knowledge base from which to work in either field.

English modules complement the practical acting aspects of the course, and you'll develop your critical and analytical skills through both the practice of acting and the study of literature.

The combined study of practical and theoretical work will give you knowledge and confidence in the structure, meaning and contexts of a varieties of written works. You'll have a range of options that can tailor the course to fit your particular interests, and you'll have the chance to develop allied skills, such as theatre directing. 

You'll also have the opportunity to present a fully supported production in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the culmination of the course.

Acting students

This course is aimed at those with an interest in both practical acting and English literature. You’ll enhance your performing skills to industry-standard, while simultaneously studying English literature in its cultural-historical context. The course is split evenly between the study of English literature and the study of acting.

English is studied from the early 19th century to the present day providing a modern, interdisciplinary approach to literature. You’ll develop an appreciation of different genres and explore the value of literature in the modern world.

Practical acting projects will work alongside the English texts you’re studying. You’ll read, analyse and perform texts of a similar era at the same time, deepening your understanding of both literature and acting.

You’ll study:


The ability to develop, play and sustain a character in performance


Enhancing your vocal range and potential


Enhancing your physical capabilities

You’ll also get vocational and industry-relevant training through intensive workshops, centred on acting for stage and screen and on the craft, practice and business of performance.

Throughout the course there will be a particular focus on enhancing confidence and communication, and deepening the ability to be cogent and articulate about a variety of critical approaches and the process of performance. You'll benefit from studying in a vibrant city with a great literary heritage and plenty of relevant cultural events.

You’ll prepare for work in live and recorded performances. The course culminates with the opportunity either to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival or to produce a thesis in a chosen subject area, depending on where you decide to concentrate study in your final year.

This unique combination of skills and knowledge will equip you with a wide range of options for work or further academic study.

What you study

Year 1

  • Introduction to Literature
  • Studying Literature & Culture in the Modern World
  • Acting Fundamentals
  • Directing
  • Interpreting Text
  • 19th Century Literature and Culture 1 or Literature & Adaptation

Year 2

  • Modern Drama
  • Shakespeare and the Renaissance
  • The Modern Novel
  • Intermediate Acting
  • Shakespeare Workshop Performance

Year 3

  • Understanding Theory
  • Advanced Acting
  • Performance
  • Advanced Directing
  • Leadership in the Creative Industries

One option module from:

  • Women’s Writing & Film-making
  • Romantic, Victorian & Modern Poetry
  • Creative Writing

Year 4

  • Dissertation
  • Performance
  • Festival Production

One option module from:

  • The Gothic Tradition
  • Cities Real & Imagined
  • Crime in Text and Film

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

You’ll have a thorough grounding in English literature of the modern period as well as having developed performance skills that will enable you to undertake a variety of roles in the theatre, radio and screen industries such as:

  • actor
  • journalist
  • director
  • teacher
  • arts administrator

Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

BBCC including English at B

A Level

CCC including English.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pre 2017: B3,B3,B3,B3 at HL including B3 in English

2017 onwards: H3,H3,H3,H3 at HL including H3 in English


Pass HNC in a relevant, performance based subject, with B in the graded unit. Higher English at B also required.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades MMM (Merit, Merit, Merit) in a related subject.

International Baccalaureate

26 points overall with three HL subjects at grade 5 including HL English.

Minimum year 2

SQA Advanced Higher

BBC including English at B.

A Level

AAB including English.


Pass HND in a relevant, performance based subject, with B in the graded unit. Higher English at B/A Level English at C also required.

Other entry requirements

An acting audition and interview

Typical Entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which students are normally accepted. Competition for places varies from year-to-year and achievement of the typical entry requirements does not always guarantee a place.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test. The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with 6.5 overall and no element below 6.0.  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students.Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol on our nursing courses (except Veterinary Nursing).

Admissions policies

We're committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.

Tuition fees
Students from 2016/17 2017/18
Scotland/EU £1,820 £1,820
England Wales and Northern Ireland £9,000 £9,000
Overseas £11,840 £11,950

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

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