Movement Direction MFA – 2023 entry

Key information

Start date: September 2023

Study mode and duration
Full-time: 2 years

Why choose this course

Guildford School of Acting (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.

This programme is one of very few in this fast growing and impactful professional field and one which notably includes intimacy co-ordination.

This intensive course offers a range of approaches to the field of movement direction. Training will include contemporary approaches to movement teaching and coaching, which will equip you to work with performers across a diverse range of disciplines and confidently lead classes and rehearsal processes.

We keep our cohorts small to ensure you get personal attention and contact from our expert teachers, who have extensive first-hand experience in professional theatre in the UK and the US.

This is a practice-based interdisciplinary programme that will provide a unique opportunity for the research and development of specialist early career teachers and practitioners from backgrounds who may not otherwise enter the teaching and coaching profession.

The University of Surrey is home to the National Resource Centre for Dance which includes the personal archives of the prominent movement theorist Rudolf Laban as well as collections from companies, choreographers, dancers, teachers and other artists including the Bice Bellairs collection.

GSA operates a pedagogic approach that utilises student-centred learning. Every module has an ethos of nurturing and enabling employability and personal development opportunities for the students. Our working practices encourage dialogue and are most effective when a collaborative approach is undertaken. Our learning environment grants our students the freedom to take risks and to embrace spontaneity.

Five reasons to study at Guildford School of Acting

What you will study

Through a series of modules focusing on specific aspects of movement practice, you will build your skills in movement practices and approaches relevant to today’s performers.

Modules will focus on movement pedagogy, movement directing, devising and choreography, and intimacy co-ordination, allowing you to develop a thorough understanding of the body and its possibilities, and an overview of historical and contemporary movement practices.

You will work practically and experientially to gain key movement teaching and coaching skills and develop your personal approach to leading and directing movement for performers.

Applying your learning gained within the studio to classes and productions across the School will support you to develop your practice and understanding in specific project-based work.

The MFA builds on the MA, providing the opportunity for a hybrid approach in the second year and the chance to deepen and extend your professional practice.

You will have the opportunity to go on a work placement.

Our campus boasts great transport links to London, so you’ll be close to the heart of UK theatre in London’s West End.

Course details

You will work closely with students from undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across the School, gaining practical experience supporting classes and movement direction for productions.

Opportunities for observation, assisting, and leading activities are embedded in the programme, working with faculty and visiting creative staff and building your practical understanding and application of movement directing and teaching.


GSA is situated on the University of Surrey’s beautiful campus, offering students state-of-the-art purpose-built facilities within a lively university environment, just ten minutes’ walk from Guildford town centre and only 34 minutes from central London by train.

Teaching spaces

Students at GSA have access to purpose-built studios and tutorial rooms within the GSA building and across the University campus. The fully-equipped studio spaces are fitted with sprung floors and ballet barres.

Students will have the opportunity to train and practise in the 190-seat Bellairs Theatre, 60-seat Rex Doyle Studio and 80-seat Performing Arts Technology Studios (PATS) building. Founders Studio – 128-capacity studio space – 15 dance and rehearsal studios (facilities include sound system, ballet barres, sprung floors, keyboard/piano) 10 tutorial/practice rooms and a foyer area with café.

Performance spaces

Productions are predominantly staged in the Ivy Arts Centre on campus. The Ivy houses a 190-seat theatre and 60-seat studio space, as well as dance studios and rehearsal rooms. The Ivy Arts Centre consists of the Bellairs Theatre – 190-seat fully equipped theatre, the Rex Doyle Studio Theatre – 80-capacity black box studio theatre, two dance studios, two meeting rooms and a Foyer area with bar. Performing Arts Technology Studios (PATS Studio Theatre) is an 80-seat fully equipped theatre.

GSA productions are also presented in theatres and venues in and around Guildford and London. These venues include the renowned Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, The Mill Studio and The Electric Theatre in Guildford, and various venues in London’s West End including the Shaftesbury Theatre, Leicester Square Theatre and the Soho Theatre.

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University. Our graduates have lifetime access to Surrey Pathfinder, our online portal for appointment and events bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.

GSA has an excellent reputation as a conservatoire, and graduates are sought for a variety of roles in the performing arts, as performers, creatives and as production staff.  We consistently nurture students to become highly employable and resilient graduates, with a sophisticated toolkit of transferable skills. GSA offers careers advice throughout your study course and fully supports students with their first steps into the profession. We strive to ensure that our graduates develop the skills to help them enter the profession industry-ready.

GSA is part of the Federation of Drama Schools (FDS), the Alliance of Musical Theatre Conservatoires (AMTC) and the Global Conservatoire Alliance (GCA).

The MFA programme focuses on the development of specialist skills and knowledge, producing highly skilled graduates, ready to enter their respective specialist workforces. Students study core aspects of each field, gaining theoretical and practical skills as well as work placement, networking and career planning opportunities. All GSA students are equipped with both a practical and theoretical understanding of potential employment opportunities and how to navigate them upon graduation.

Former graduates of GSA’s masters programmes have moved into careers related to movement direction, choreography and stage direction.

An MFA qualification offers opportunities to teach at university-level (internationally) and will help students develop business skills, creativity and imagination, customer service skills, dexterity, and good interpersonal skills.

Academic year structure

The Guildford School of Acting (GSA) delivers its provision across three teaching blocks, within the University of Surrey’s existing semester structure.


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:


GSA delivers its provision across three teaching blocks, within the University of Surrey’s existing semester structure.

Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday - Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the Academic Hive. View our Code of practice for the scheduling of teaching and assessment (PDF).

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a minimum of a 2:2 UK honours degree (or recognised international equivalent) in a relevant subject as well as having significant previous engagement with dance, drama, theatre and performance. Alternatively, entrants may have 5 years of relevant professional experience in the industry. Offers are made subject to a successful audition and interview.

In exceptional cases, where ability and experience clearly show that an applicant is able to complete the course, other qualification profiles may be accepted. Variations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

International entry requirements by country

Do I meet the requirements for this course?

We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each component.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Selection process

Offers are made subject to a successful audition and interview.

Credit transfer

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If your experience exceeds the typical requirements for entry to the programme, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience. If you can demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes for specific modules through your previous learning, it may be possible to exempt you from those modules, and for you to be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.

In some cases, prior knowledge and skills may allow applicants to join the start of a course without meeting the formal entry requirements.

Please see our code transfer and recognition of prior learning guide (PDF) and recognition of prior learning and prior credit web page for further information. Please email Admissions ( with any queries.

Fees per year

Start date: September 2023

Full-time - 2 years


Please note:

  • These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2023-24 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually
  • If you are on a two-year full-time MFA programme, or a two-year or three-year part-time masters programme (excluding modular/self-paced/distance learning), the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the programme
  • Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.

View the list of fees for all postgraduate taught courses.

Payment schedule

  • Students in receipt of a tuition fee loan: Will have their fees paid by the Student Loans Company in line with their schedule
  • International students, or UK/EU students who have not taken out a tuition fee loan: Are required to pay their fees either in full at the beginning of the programme or in two instalments as follows:
    • 50% payable 10 days after the invoice date (expected to be early October of each academic year)
    • 50% in January of the same academic year.

The exact date(s) will be detailed on invoices. Students on certain part-time programmes, where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis, are not eligible to pay their fees by instalment.

  • If you are sponsored: You will provide us with valid sponsorship information that covers the period of your study.

Admission information

Our postgraduate admissions policy* provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students. You can also read our postgraduate applicant guidance.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our Charter, Statutes, Ordinances, Policies, Regulations and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2022/2023 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.

Please note: the offer terms and conditions and registration terms and conditions which you will be asked to agree to may be different from those detailed in the examples. Our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will be available at the start of each academic year and will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing but changes (for example, to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Additional information

Guildford School of Acting, Stag Hill Campus.

University of Surrey Admissions

Contact Admissions Team


University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH