English Literature and Theatre Studies BA

Year of entry

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB including English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature) at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.
Full entry requirements

Course overview


This distinctive, flexible and varied degree combines workshop-based practical theatre work with the textual study of English literature, allowing you to explore performance from both creative and critical perspectives.

You’ll study literature from Old English to the contemporary period, including American and postcolonial literature. You'll have the opportunity to integrate your textual and theatrical interests through topics such as stage adaptation and surrealism. Workshops are designed to develop your skills as an artist-researcher, led by our own theatre specialists and guest tutors ranging from emerging theatre companies to internationally acclaimed playwrights.

Our Workshop Theatre has been pioneering theatre studies since 1968 and counts among its alumni leading theatre practitioners, dramatists and educators. With us, you’ll develop collaborative, creative, critical thinking and project management skills that will benefit you in a wide range of careers.


Leeds has fantastic facilities for literature and theatre students. The world-class Brotherton Library has an array of archive, manuscript and early printed material in its Special Collections, alongside other extensive library resources. All of this will be valuable for your independent research, and the University Library offers training programmes to help you make the most of our resources.

Take a look around our libraries:

Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

Specialist resources

As a student on this programme, you’ll have access to our excellent performance and rehearsal spaces — fully equipped with lighting and sound — which are used for teaching and group work on theatre studies modules as well as performances.

Workshop theatre in the School of english

Explore 360 views of the Workshop Theatre

Course details


The course information shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information please read English Literature and Theatre Studies BA in the course catalogue.

In your first year, you’ll study core modules introducing you to foundational aspects of literary studies and approaches to theatre. This will allow you to develop your skills in analysing text and performance. You’ll choose from optional modules on topics such as race, writing and decolonisation and the creative essay, or take discovery modules in subjects outside the School of English.

Once you have this base of knowledge and skills, you’ll develop them in your second year. Core modules will encourage you to think about the historical context of dramatic texts and how theatre can convey social and political agendas. At the same time, you’ll choose from core modules focusing on literature in different historical periods and select optional modules from the wide range on offer.

You’ll choose from further core modules focusing on different historical periods in your final year, as well as an even broader range of optional modules. You’ll also undertake the Practical Essay, a core module which allows you to become a critical theatre practitioner and work on creating a short piece of theatre.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Performing Text, Making Theatre (20 credits) - This module allows students to develop their own key strategies for exploring and analysing contemporary theatre practice. There is a focus on making performance, and working collaboratively to come to creative solutions, and to use performance methods as a mode of research and enquiry.

Writing Matters (20 credits) - Writing and communication skills are vital to most professional careers, but they are especially valuable in the field of English studies. This module explores debates around a canonical literary text, examining theoretical approaches and rhetorical strategies used to write about literature. Students will hone their own writing skills by engaging ethically with the text and the ideas of others, developing structured arguments, expressing ideas clearly and concisely, working with feedback, and practising writing as a process. As a result, students will cultivate a deeper understanding of how writing works, learn how to share insights with greater efficacy and sophistication, and practice how to transfer this knowledge to future workplace contexts.

Reading Between the Lines (20 credits) - This module equips students with a critical vocabulary for sophisticated literary study, introducing the creative, argumentative and exciting discipline of ‘English Studies’. Through close analysis of specific texts across a range of periods and forms, students will encounter some of the varied theories that have shaped and continue to underpin the discipline. Students will find out how an English degree might change the way we read and see the world, while developing their academic skills through guided critical reading, collaboration with peers in group presentations and seminar discussions, and a variety of assignments designed to introduce them to the different formats of assessment required throughout the degree.

Reading Theatre, Performing Text (20 credits) - This module introduces some key strategies for exploring and analysing contemporary theatre practice. It considers both written plays and live performances as 'texts' to be compared, contrasted, re-interpreted and (where appropriate) re-worked. As such it provides excellent preparation for the forms of coursework that are undertaken later in level 1.

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Poetry: Reading and Interpretation (20 credits)
Drama: Text and Performance (20 credits)
Modern Fictions in English (20 credits)
Race, Writing and Decolonization (20 credits)

Year 2 compulsory modules

Performing the Past (20 credits) - This practically-oriented module looks at dramatic texts in historical context and explores what a text from another historical period might mean to us now. It examines the differences between the theatrical forms and thematic concerns of the past, and those of contemporary theatre and society. You will be asked to study and work practically on one or two plays from the same historical period, which may be by the same author or linked thematically.

Theatre, Society and Self (20 credits) - This module will examine a range of theatre forms that have social and political concerns or objectives. We will look at the work of selected practitioners interested in communicating ideas and achieving resonance - perhaps instigating change - through performance.

Writing Environments: Literature, Nature, Culture (20 credits) - This module examines what it means to live as human beings on a more-than-human planet. We’ll investigate how literary texts from different times and places have understood the relationship between nature and culture. We’ll address human impacts on the environment in relation to historical phenomena such as colonialism. And we’ll explore the insights that literature can offer at a time of concern about climate change and other environmental issues.

Body Language: Literature and Embodiment (20 credits) - This module explores the relationship between embodiment, language and representation across a range of literary forms, genres, and periods, addressing questions such as: what does it mean to be ‘human’? Can technology change who we are? How do we navigate the relationship between the body and the mind? It examines how critical theorists and creative writers and life writers have treated and imagined this relationship between material bodies and literary representation, in order to better understand both the possibilities and limitations of literary expression.

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Renaissance Literature (20 credits)
Medieval and Tudor Literature (20 credits)
Modern Literature (20 credits)
Postcolonial Literature (20 credits)
The World Before Us: Literature 1660-1830 (20 credits)
Other Voices: Rethinking Nineteenth-Century Literature (20 credits)
American Words, American Worlds (20 credits)
Contemporary Literature (20 credits)
Creative Practice and Performance Contexts (20 credits)
Interpreting Theatre and Performance Contexts (20 credits)
Politics, Identity and Performance (20 credits)
Cultural Flashpoints in the Performing Arts (20 credits)
Exploring Musical Theatre (20 credits)
Performance Design (20 credits)

Year 3 compulsory modules

The Practical Essay (40 credits) - This module facilitates and encourages independent, self-directed learning, providing a culmination to the research and practice-as-research introduced and experienced in earlier modules. Tailored workshops, rehearsal observation, and tutorial supervision, support the development of research topics and questions. These are at liberty to range across the creative adaptation of texts, approaches to devising, and dramaturgical interpretations of dramatic text. In this way, the Practical Essay is an opportunity to develop dialogues between the key fields of the English Literature and Theatre Studies degree programme. The module promotes a wide variety of responses to the research challenges it offers students, providing opportunities to express critical analysis, understanding and manipulation of knowledge through practical research and presentation. Given the collaborative nature of performance as a mode of exploring and demonstrating knowledge, and of practice-as-research as a discipline, students have the option to work individually towards their research output, or in small groups with clearly defined individual research trajectories and objectives.

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Sex and Suffering in the Eighteenth-Century Novel (20 credits)
Prose Fiction Stylistics and the Mind (20 credits)
Quiet Rebels and Unquiet Minds: writing to contemporary anxiety (20 credits)
Milton (20 credits)
Contemporary South African Writing (20 credits)
Forensic Approaches to Language (20 credits)
Writing America (20 credits)
Transformations (20 credits)
Children, Talk and Learning (20 credits)
Trial Discourse - The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674 - 1913 (20 credits)
Gender, Culture and Politics: Readings of Jane Austen (20 credits)
Forming Victorian Fiction (20 credits)
Tragedy: Classical to Neo-Classical (20 credits)
Angry Young Men and Women: Literature of the Mid-Twentieth Century (20 credits)
Lost in Fiction: The Metafictional Novel from 'Don Quixote' to 'House of Leaves' (20 credits)
Theatricalities: Beckett, Pinter, Kane (20 credits)

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods so you can benefit from our tutors’ expertise. Small-group teaching is at the heart of what we do, and many of your modules will include seminars. Our literature modules often combine lectures and small-group seminars, whilst theatre modules are taught through practical workshops. Tutorials and one-to-one supervisions may also be part of some modules, including your practical essay.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We use different forms of assessment to help you develop a wider range of skills. Exams, essays and shorter pieces of writing are among the most common, but practice pieces, performance work and group presentations are also likely to be used in theatre modules. Some modules will also use online exercises such as wikis or podcasts.

We offer plenty of support – for example, you’ll be able to attend extra classes on topics such as public speaking, structuring essays and exam technique throughout your time at Leeds.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB including A in English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature).

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level including A in English (Language, Literature, or Language and Literature) and grade A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. The Access course must follow a Humanities pathway and/or include English modules. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


We will consider this qualification in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D2, M2, M2, including D2 in English.

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 6 in English at Higher Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2 H2 H2 H2 H3 H3 including H2 in English.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers (including English) and AABBB in Highers, or A in English Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80% including 8.5 in English.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB including English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature) at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of English

Contact us

School of English Undergraduate Admissions

Email: undergrad-english@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

A degree in English Literature and Theatre Studies equips you with a wide range of skills on top of your subject knowledge.

You’ll be an excellent communicator – confident speaking in public and able to present your views clearly, whether verbally or in writing. You’ll be comfortable working independently or in a team. You’ll also have excellent research skills, and be able to analyse complex information from numerous sources.

Graduates have pursued a wide range of careers. In addition to the theatre, they’ve pursued education, journalism, law, the creative industries, publishing, radio and television, the civil service, administration, business and finance, advertising and marketing, management, social welfare, management consultancy and charity work. Many also go on to postgraduate study.

We are proud to count among our School's alumni many successful directors, actors, and playwrights including:

John Mackendrick; Garry Lyons; John Godber; Charlotte Keatley; Rose Mbowa; Sonny Oti; Chris McCulloch; Mayling Cheng; Marian Orchard; Patrick Mangeni; Anuradha Kapur; Barnaby King; Judith Greenwood; Joyce Lee; Winston Farrell; Bart Sher; Maria Delgado; Victoria Shaskan; Dakshin Bajrange; Terry O'Connor.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.