Acting MA

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Why Surrey?

This Guildford School of Acting (GSA) programme emphasises practical actor training, delivered via a series of project workshops and rehearsals supported by extensive classes in relevant technical skills.

GSA is one of the UK’s leading accredited drama schools, providing dedicated conservatoire training within a purpose built environment on the University of Surrey campus.

Programme overview

The MA Acting programme is specifically designed for those seeking a career in the performing arts, and who already have an undergraduate degree or have a minimum of five years’ professional experience.

This intensive programme offers practical training which focusses on the acquisition of technical skills in acting, voice and movement.

These support a range of rehearsal projects, screen acting projects and public performances. Students also take professional development workshops and classes in audition technique.

Cohorts are kept small to ensure that students receive the maximum amount of personal attention and contact.

Performance opportunities include a devised project, a final public production led by a production team of industry professionals, and a West End Showcase.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year. It consists of eight taught modules and a compulsory Advanced Practice module.

Example module listing

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Educational aims of the programme

  • To deepen experiential knowledge and critical understanding of the practice of acting
  • To develop a comprehensive understanding of the techniques and methodologies that constitute a personally evolved rehearsal process
  • To develop an integrated technical approach to the practice of acting in rehearsal and performance
  • To provide an ensemble training context for the development of professional acting skills based on practical and theoretical understanding and reflective practice

Programme learning outcomes

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

  • An experiential and theoretical knowledge of key practical acting methodologies
  • An advanced understanding, which will inform ongoing skill attainment, of the physical and vocal techniques required to maintain an expressive body and the optimum functionality of the voice
  • A critical understanding of key theoretical and methodological developments in the practice of acting
  • An advanced understanding, which will inform ongoing skill attainment, of the application of technique to differing theatrical forms, styles, genres and historical contexts
  • A comprehensive understanding of current industry practice

Intellectual / cognitive skills

  • Recognise, interpret and contextualise approaches to performance texts
  • Identify and develop an individual methodological approach to rehearsal
  • Select vocal and physical techniques appropriate to voice, person and situation
  • Recognise and respond appropriately to the demands of different performance media
  • Critically analyse and reflect on their own and others’ practice

Professional practical skills

  • Successfully apply integrated vocal and psycho-physical techniques to the practice of acting in differing media
  • Sustain and develop an effective and creative individual rehearsal process
  • Demonstrate creative and imaginative work in performance
  • Contribute effective and appropriate practices and concepts to an ensemble process
  • Demonstrate evidence of practical research and effective preparation for entry into the current performance industry

Key / transferable skills

  • Be disciplined and consistent in a professional context
  • Conduct themselves constructively, positively, and sensitively towards others
  • Able to lead and collaborate as part of the team on practical and research projects
  • Communicate effectively and at an advanced level in both verbal and written form
  • Seek out, critique, and employ information appropriately
  • Recognise and develop commercial and artistic career opportunities

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Learn more about opportunities that might be available for this particular programme by using our student exchanges search tool.


"I am really pleased that I came to GSA as it has given me the ideal grounding to work across the industry with not only a high level of quality to my work but also a distinguished level of professionalism that never goes unnoticed. I put these things down to the excellent training that I received at GSA."

- Marina Waters, MA Acting 2010-2011

"The MA Acting course has been an intensely rigorous journey which has endlessly flexed my creative muscles, heightened my self-awareness and deepened my understanding of what it means to nurture an individual's body, spirit and mind through an ensemble, while remaining true to one's self."

- Rebecca Yeo, MA Acting 2011-2012

Professional recognition

Accredited by Drama UK.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Jaq Bessell

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: To be confirmed

Start date:

Sep 2017

Entry Requirements

Bachelors degree (minimum 2.2 or equivalent) in a relevant field, as well as previous engagement with drama, theatre and performance. Offers are made in terms of grades and a successful audition and interview.Applicants who can demonstrate exceptional talent, and can satisfy the panel of their ability to successfully complete the course, may also be considered.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, 6.0 in each component (or equivalent)

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2017 £15,500 £16,500

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/2018 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


The Surrey International Scholarship for Excellence

For all (with the exception of MBA) postgraduate taught courses starting in September 2017 within the Surrey Business School and the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management we are offering all applicants who hold a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent the opportunity to be awarded between £2,000 and £4,000 through the Surrey International Scholarship for Excellence Scheme. Download a flyer or read more for eligibility and to apply.

For more details

Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

Find out more


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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