Acting - MA / PgDip

MA - Full Time
PgDip - Full Time
September 2019
£12,200 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2019 entry (view all fees)

Transform your career with our postgraduate qualification in acting. Designed to advance your practical and professional progress, our MA Acting course provides intense training from staff with rich industry experience.

Previous graduates of this course have gone on to succeed as established performers, including roles at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Subject to Updates

As part of BCU’s commitment to providing excellent student experience, the content and structure of this course is being refreshed to ensure that it continues to meet the highest educational standards. This page will be updated with the revised course documentation by 30 June 2019.

What's covered in the course?

You will be taught to maintain a high standard of skill and knowledge and how to transform into an independently-minded performer and practitioner. We will enhance your ability to reflect and analyse, through a range of concepts and ideas. You will enhance your technical skills through practice-based study, learning and developing flexibility to confront issues that you may experience within your profession.

Your classes will mainly be practical studio-based sessions, focusing on the practical application of acting, voice, movement and singing. You will also have time assigned for self-directed study, where you will further develop your work from practical classes. For some modules you will have timetabled rehearsal time, where you will work in groups to produce material.

Your studies will help to influence and shape your career. Previous graduates have been commended by industry for their innovative, challenging project work. Danielle Pinnock‘s final project, a 40 minute piece entitled BODY/COURAGE, won her the Best Actress award at the Strawberry Theatre Festival, and has since been performed internationally.

Why Choose Us?

  • Royal Birmingham Conservatoire staff have vast experience, both within the UK and internationally. Staff have worked with well-known individuals, projects and companies such as the BBC, the RSC, the NHS, British repertory and festival theatres, and much more.
  • To ensure high quality tuition, we normally have a maximum of 14 students enrolled onto the course each year.
  • By joining Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, you will also be part of Birmingham City University, meaning you’ll have access to all the University’s state-of-the-art facilities, including TV and radio studios and a green screen, all of which you’ll have the opportunity to experience.
  • Our graduates have gone on to perform with prestigious companies in the UK and internationally.

MA Acting overview- students on stage

The MA Acting course is the first anywhere to use the University’s new £62m TV production facilities at Parkside, Birmingham, of which Birmingham Conservatoire is a part. Recorded Media training will prepare you for work in film, television, radio drama and audiobooks.

This course is open to International students

Conservatoire Right Column

Discover Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Leicester Curve Theatre
  • UK National Tours
  • Channel 4

And in jobs such as:

  • Actress

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Lise Olson.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next open day.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

Admission is by audition, but we would normally require an undergraduate degree in Acting or a related subject, or a professional acting CV detailing your experience.

The course is also suitable for professional actors seeking a refresher course.

The MA option is designed for those with suitable academic abilities.

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2019 FT 1 year £12,200 per year Apply via UCAS
PgDip Sep 2019 FT 9 months £8,140 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2019 FT 1 year £15,900 per year Apply via UCAS

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

How to apply

Please read our information on the audition process before making your application. We charge an audition fee of £46, which must be paid prior to audition and covers the entire audition process. 

Download and read our Guidance for Applicants before making your application.

MA Audition Guidance (Male)

MA Audition Guidance (Female)

If you are applying from outside the UK/EU and are not able to attend an audition in the UK, you may wish to submit an online audition. Details of how to do this can be found here. 

Completing your application

Further information on writing your personal statement can be found on the UCAS Conservatoires website.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

View additional costs for this course

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,906 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


The programme is delivered through a series of modules designed to transform your knowledge, understanding and skill.

30 credits

This module is divided into three projects that approach different theatrical styles. You will explore improvisation and storytelling skills, psychological realism and classical texts, such as Elizabethan or Jacobean theatre. The module will be delivered through practical rehearsal exercise classes, which will also include text analysis research.

15 credits

This module teaches you to adapt to different modes of performance. You will perform a full-length text to a public audience, demonstrating your performance skills. In addition to this you will learn the technical differences between acting contexts, such as TV, radio and theatre.

30 credits

Here, you will focus on developing your voice, singing and physical practice. The module runs alongside the performance modules of the course. The skills module accumulates a total of 360 taught hours and 40 hours of self-directed study.

Professional Studies
15 credits

Professional Studies is designed to aid you in developing appropriate interview and audition techniques. You will get technical skills support, such as sight reading and stage combat. The production of a portfolio will be supported and reviewed.

30 credits

You will further develop your technical, research, interpretative and specialist communication skills by performing in professional Birmingham theatre venues in fully supported (costumes, sets, lighting, sound) productions.

Research Project
60 credits

The research project will be conducted as the final part of your course. You will research and explore an area of your choice within the realm of acting. This project gives you the opportunity to apply all that you have learnt throughout the duration of the course to an original, creative, post-graduate level of research.

The MA in Acting operates as a one-year, full-time course. As a Master’s student, you will be expected to take a proactive attitude toward study with timetabled classes as well as time for self-directed study.

Throughout the course, you will be taught through a series of modules covering a different aspect of the acting field, teaching you a diverse, yet specialised combination of knowledge and skill. You will formulate a strong understanding of the importance of context to your work, maintaining an awareness of developments within the acting field.

Towards the end of your Master’s you will be expected to devise and present a research project. This project is designed to demonstrate an accumulation of the skills and knowledge you have developed throughout the programme. You will be expected to engage in independent study, researching a specific area of your theatrical interest.

Student stories - Danielle Pinnock

"I chose Birmingham School of Acting because I have always wanted to study abroad in England for as long as I could remember. I think the acting training in England really is special, because you are learning from tutors from all over Europe. I wanted to study acting, because I graduated with a directing emphasis from my undergraduate college, Temple University. I really wanted to sharpen and challenge my acting skills and I was able to do that and more at BSA. I am now in Chicago working at The Goodman Theatre on Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s new play ‘By the Way, Meet Vera Stark’. I am understudying for the role of Lottie.

Further studies

Graduates of this course have developed essential skill and knowledge required for further study. If you wish to develop your studies to the next level this course will give you the confidence and advanced scholarship knowledge required for MPhil or PhD study.

Trips and visits

There is usually a trip to the Royal Shakespeare Company in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon, and we encourage you to explore Birmingham’s creative sector. With various theatres and venues across the city, there are plenty of opportunities for you to see productions.

It is advisable that you engage as much as possible with activities and events that relate to your desired profession. Birmingham School of Acting frequently produces performances in venues across the city of Birmingham, throughout the year. We recommend you attend these performances, not only to familiarise yourself with the Birmingham performing arts industry, but to network and broaden your knowledge.

Enhancing employability skills

This MA Acting course is designed to not only develop your practical performance skills but to help you expand your intellectual knowledge of the creative industries. You will finish this course with the skills expected of the contemporary actor, by studying the theory and practice of key acting processes. You will be able to engage critically and creatively, mapping out the performance possibilities of a production text.

You will have the skill to create and perform a believable character with authentic psychological and emotional truths. With knowledge of the demands and performance needs of genres, style and text you will be able to produce content that demonstrates depth, meaning and originality.

As a MA Acting graduate you will confidently be able to analyse performance scripts, applying the principles inherent in the Stanislavski system. You will learn how to make mature and advanced interpretations of a performance text, expanding your ability to analyse and synthesise theatrical work.

You’ll learn the skills and awareness you need will enable you to look out for auditions, leaving you with the best chance of succeeding in your acting career.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

We are incredibly proud of our graduates, and we are committed to offering you a high level of training, paving the way for your future acting career. Graduates of our MA Acting have gone on to work with organisations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, the BBC and ITV.

We also have graduates who have been successful in securing roles almost immediately after graduating. Recent graduate Rachel Delooze performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer. Another graduate has gone straight from the School into ‘Dunsinane’, a production staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre of Scotland.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

In the past, we have welcomed students from international countries such as Norway and further afield. We encourage international students to study with us, as we feel you will benefit from experiencing a new culture and bringing your own perspective and flair to the programme.

As a University, we are one of Britain’s leading providers of creative, talented professionals. We have a range of visiting tutors, industry connections and innovative teaching. In Birmingham alone there are various performing arts programmes and venues, and with London just a train journey away, you will be surrounded by creativity and possibility.

The MA Acting course will be delivered in English, and the ability to speak and to write English with considerable fluency is a requirement for entry to the course. In most cases, a candidate whose first language is not English may be required to take a standard test in English in order to evaluate your level of comprehension, skills in conversation and writing. The result of this test will be necessary prior to being offered a place on the course.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our acting course is most popular with international students from:

Norway Flag


Our Facilities


Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is based at the University’s City Centre Campus. A part of the Arts, Design and Media faculty, we are based within Millennium Point but also have access to facilities at the Parkside Building.

The Parkside Building boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as radio and television studios, edit suites, photography studios, and much more. 

Rehearsal space

There are ten rehearsal spaces, a ‘black box’ performance studio, showers, lockers and workshop space within the Department of Acting. The ‘black box’ performance studio, also known as the Patricia Yardley Studio, is our in-house performance theatre. Using variable acoustics which can be adjusted, and housing a fully operational lighting rig and a quadraphonic sound system.

Each studio contains: specialist acoustic panelling; specialist sprung floors; a heating system that radiates heat equally around the studio; and an air replacement system that maintains a constant room temperature.


Students regularly perform at professional theatres across the West Midlands, including The Birmingham Central Library Theatre; Crescent Theatre; Hippodrome Studio (Patrick Centre); The Old Rep Theatre and The Drum.

Lise Olson

Lise Olson

Course Director, MA in Acting

Lise has extensive experience both in teaching and industry. As a recipient of directing awards in the USA and UK, Lise has numerous credits in the West End and further afield. Lise was also the founding director of Seattle’s first small specialist musical theatre company.

Read Lise's full profile