Why choose this course

This is a unique conversion course that recognises your previous study or your work experience, enabling you to complete your BA degree in a year. As this course is taught entirely online, you can pursue your passion for theatre while working, performing or managing a household, fitting your studies around your daily routine.

As part of Guildford School of Acting, you’ll be inspired by passionate tutors and benefit from the School’s long-standing reputation as a world-class conservatoire.

We are ranked 3rd in the UK for drama and dance by the Guardian University Guide 2020 and top five by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

What you will study

Primarily a one-year course, our BA Theatre is delivered through online learning and is equivalent to Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6) of full-time study. The course includes three optional weekend tutorials, where you can join your tutors and other students for an intensive study and workshop experience.

Delivered by the renowned Guildford School of Acting, this course offers a range of modules that will integrate your professional experience with theory across a broad set of topics that include contemporary actor training, American political theatre, musical theatre, theories of performance, play writing, theatre design, choreography and musical theatre creation.

We’ll guide you to actively engage with relevant concepts, exploring the rich heritage of theatre from a critical, experiential and practical perspective.

Key information

Start date: October 2020

BA (Hons)

1 year

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.

Whether you’re refocusing your career, want to pursue a masters degree, or are seeking to further your own personal interest and development, our online learning theatre course will open doors to a variety of exciting careers and further study.

Many past graduates have progressed to further study, either at PGCE, MA or PhD level, or have gone on to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS Assessment only) and other subject-specialist teaching qualifications.

Graduates of this course can be found working across the globe in leading drama schools, universities, schools, theatres and production companies, as well as performing in the West End and on screen.

Graduates over the last few years have secured roles such as:

  • Actor, Lyceum Theatre
  • Head of Drama, Knightsbridge School
  • Head of Drama and Dance, Walstead School
  • Actor, Vienna's English Theatre
  • Actress/Singer, Queen's Theatre
  • Marketing Assistant, Society of London Theatre
  • Assistant Stage Manager, Jamie Hendry Productions
  • Actor, Young Shakespeare Company.
Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and 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 generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will 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 vary to take into account specifics of your course.


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 more.

Academic year structure

The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.

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.

Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification.

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:


Timetabling works slightly differently for this course as it is taught through online distance learning. This means that you can fit your studies around your own work and home life, using our virtual learning environment to complete your modules. While this course is flexible, you will still need to meet deadlines as required. In addition to your online modules, you’ll also have the option of attending three weekend seminars at the University, which are held prior to the start of each term (dates to be confirmed). View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).


The course is primarily a one-year online learning course and equivalent to Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6) of full-time study.

Teaching and learning materials are provided electronically through the University’s virtual learning environment, supported by three weekend seminars (held during September, February and April).

The three weekend seminars are solely for students on the conversion course and include core module presentations and lectures from members of GSA staff, as well as an induction to the Library and Learning Centre and seminars on research strategies, academic writing, style and referencing.

In addition to the three weekend seminars, you’ll have contact with GSA staff through email, seminars, lectures, vodcasts and podcasts, as well as full access to the University of Surrey’s library services.

Study and assessment is made up of compulsory modules and a choice of final project for submission, including essays or a choice of creative assignments working on playwriting, choreography, theatre design or a musical theatre scenario.

Research students will sometimes help to deliver your modules. These students will be researching in a similar subject to the module, and will have undertaken training prior to being invited to teach. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.


This course is taught by academic staff from the Guildford School of Acting.

Programme leader


Personal tutor

All taught students are assigned a personal tutor before beginning a programme of study. Personal tutors offer support and advice to students in the areas of:

  • Academic progress
  • Pastoral/welfare issues
  • Personal/professional development and employability.


Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports. Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.

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.

Learning and disability support

We have two services, Academic Skills and Development and the Disability and Neurodiversity Service which can help develop your learning.

Academic Skills and Development

Academic Skills and Development is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.

Find out more about the study support available.

Disability and Neurodiversity Service

The University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Service supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).

If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.

We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.

Find out more about the support available or contact the team directly for further information.

English language support

Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.

Entry requirements

Prospective candidates are required to have successfully completed a three-year National Diploma at an accredited drama school or have significant industry experience and equivalent qualifications.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent)

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each element.

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 on the basis of the completed application form and audition/interview is not normally required.

Recognition of prior learning

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 this applies to you, 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, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and 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. 

Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.


The annual tuition fees for courses starting in October 2020

BA (Hons)

UK and EU To be confirmed

Overseas To be confirmed

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate courses.

Overseas students: please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Additional costs

Optional expenses:

Students are invited to attend three optional seminars that are held on campus and would therefore incur costs to stay and/or travel to Guildford. It is possible to access these seminars virtually.

Students are offered a week’s training in Stage Combat leading to Actors Combat Theatrical Training (ACTT) Standard level exam. Opportunities for advanced training may also be available to students. These are extra-curricular courses so additional charges apply.

All students at GSA are encouraged to attend productions of their fellow students’ work to enrich their learning experience and give opportunities for critical analysis. These are public events for which students will be charged a reduced ticket price of £5. Some productions will be free to attend. Within the course of an academic year a student might expect to attend around twenty five productions.

How to apply

Online applications are now open for Sept 2019 entry. Applications will close on 22 July 2019. Applications for 2020 entry will open in Spring 2020.

Our students


Contact details

University of Surrey

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH