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.

  • Napier code:


  • UCAS code:


  • Course type:


  • Duration:

    4 years

  • Award:

    BA (Hons)

  • Location:

    Merchiston campus

Ask about this course

About you
Enter first name
Enter last name

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

  • Critical Contexts: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory
  • Reading Texts: Analysing Film, Literature and Culture
  • Acting Fundamentals I
  • Acting Fundamentals II (Naturalism)
  • Interpreting Text
  • 19th Century Literature and Culture 1 or Literature & Adaptation

Year 2

  • Modern Drama
  • Shakespeare and the Renaissance
  • Fundamentals of Directing
  • The Modern Novel
  • Intermediate Acting (20th Century Drama)
  • Shakespeare Workshop Performance

Year 3

  • C21 Literature: Writing the Unfolding Present
  • Advanced Acting (Style)
  • Directing II
  • Leadership in the Creative Industries
One option module from:
  • Women’s Writing & Film-making
  • Unacknowledged Legislators: Poets in History and Society
  • Science fiction: text and film

Year 4

  • Dissertation
  • Performance Workshop II
  • Festival Production
One option module from:
  • Postcolonial Fiction and Film
  • Modern Scottish Fiction
  • Lateness and the Modern
  • The Gothic Tradition
  • Performance Skills for Professional Practice
  • Memoir, Documentary and the Essay Film
  • Fictions of Terror

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 Grade B in English.

Adjusted Offer Entry Requirement

BCCC including Grade B in English.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet specific widening participation criteria as outlined in our contextual admissions policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies. 

A Level

CCD including Grade C in English.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pre-2017 Grading System: 

B3, B3, B3, B3 at HL including English

New Grading System: 

H3, H3, H3, H3 at HL including English


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

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

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

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Award of Diploma with 26 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 5, 5, 5 including English.

Minimum year 2

SQA Advanced Higher

BBC including Grade B in English.

A Level

BBB including English.


Pass HND in a relevant, performance based subject, with Grade B at SCQF Level 8 in all graded units. Grade B in Higher English also required.

Other entry requirements

As part of the selection process suitably qualified applicants will normally be invited to attend an audition and interview. This applies to all years of entry.

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 onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

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 2018/19 2019/20
Scotland/EU £1,820 £1,820
England Wales and Northern Ireland £9,250 tba
Overseas £12,350 tba

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

Find out more