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Postgraduate Course

Applied Theatre MA

Theatre can transform lives. This course offers you the opportunity to combine a passion for theatre with a belief in social justice and equality.

Theatrical pillow fight

This practice-based course gives you the opportunity to develop advanced skills in the use of theatre in participatory, community, and social contexts. Through workshops, studio practice, and community based projects you will develop compositional, reflective, and research strategies that will help develop your practice and portfolio.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time, 2 years part time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum entry requirements

    2:2 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview and a brief presentation

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Course overview

On this course your individual practice will be at the centre of everything you do. Focus on exploring and developing your creativity. Study a range of techniques and theories on specialist modules and engage with various communities in health, education or developmental settings.

When you study with us you will grow your professional profile in the field of applied theatre by engaging in a range of well established local, regional, and national partnership projects, adding new skills and experiences to your repertoire.

Partnership projects include:


This is a York St John partnership with the NHS that offers educational courses to local people who use mental health services, taught by our staff and students on campus.

York St John Prison Partnership Project

This creative arts partnership lets you work with women at HMP Newhall and HMP Askham Grange on weekly drama and singing projects in prison settings.

Shakespeare on Screen in Prisons

This is a national partnership with the York St John Prison Partnership Project. It allows you to work on drama residencies in prison, exploring the digital provision of the Donmar Warehouse Shakespeare Trilogy films.

It's Not Ok

This is a national Theatre in Education and digital resource project with York St John and The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). This partnership invites you to work on delivering the project in schools across the region.

Moving Minds

This project invites people living with dementia and their friends, family members and carers onto campus for a weekly movement class.

York Theatre Royal

Our partnership with this local theatre provides opportunities for placements with their weekly youth theatre and community projects, facilitated in the theatre and across the city.

Course structure

How you will study

You can study this postgraduate course full time or part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments.

If you choose to study full time the course will take 1 year to complete. You will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules (1 of which is the year long Independent Project module)

If you choose to study part time the course will take 2 years to complete and the modules will be split across both years.

The Independent Project module is carried across the whole of the course for both modes of study.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Explore and test the connections between theory and practice. On this module you will investigate concepts and methods of practice-based research through lectures, critical discussion, and reflective engagement with your own practice. You will consider how knowledge can be generated, questioned and communicated.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This is an opportunity to develop new skills, techniques and knowledge in applied and socially engaged theatre. You will make work with, and for, diverse communities in different social contexts, while extending your individual practice and professional profile. The focus will be on building your skills and knowledge around composition, facilitation and applied theatre making.

Credits: 120

Compulsory module

The weight of the award lies firmly in this module, which requires you to engage with the production of a significant work or body of works that represent the culmination of your skills, knowledge and creativity. Along with this body of practice you will develop reflective, critical and contextual work that articulates and communicates an understanding of your practice.

Examples of previous Applied Theatre Independent Projects include:

  • Converge: Applied theatre and mental health service users
  • HM Prisons: Applied theatre in women’s prisons
  • It’s Not Okay: Applied theatre practices in partnership with the NSPCC and schools

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

Teaching will consist of a mixture of group seminars and individual tutorials. The additional tutorial hours attached to each module will be used flexibly, including a wider range of staff input from tutors not timetabled to deliver taught contact.

As a graduate student independent learning will be central to your study. We place a significant emphasis on independent learning, encouraging you to take responsibility for managing your own learning and its outcomes. Our Academic Support team can help with written English, study, research, and technology skills if needed.

We keep our group sizes small so we can get to know your creative personality and support your aspirations. We deliver your modules through:

  • Lectures and demonstrations
  • Seminars and visiting speakers
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Group crits
  • Group and individual presentations
  • Visits to appropriate arts venues and performances

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


There are no formal examinations on this course. You will be assessed through live events and coursework, which will include:

  • Creative work presented for assessment
  • Essay
  • Presentation
  • Workshop
  • Annotated reflective document
  • Extended dissertation

You will receive continuous informal feedback on works in progress through a combination of performances, discussions and written proposals.



Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:2 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview and a brief presentation

If your degree is in an unrelated subject, but you can provide evidence of relevant professional experience, your application may still be considered.

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our international pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Interview and portfolio

Entry onto this postgraduate course is subject to attending an interview.

At interview you will be asked to give a presentation which will:

  • Demonstrate your readiness for graduate level practice
  • Show evidence of your engagement with critical thinking

You will also be asked to complete a portfolio. This portfolio should show examples of previous and current theatre and performance practice.

We are happy to arrange interviews through Microsoft Teams for international students.

Additional requirements

For entry onto this course, you will also need:

  • DBS check - For certain activities a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check may be required (for instance if working in schools or with young people). It is your responsibility to obtain DBS checks as appropriate.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment need to be presented to support your case for admission. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £8,000 for full time study
  • £4,000 for part time study

These costs apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £11,300 for 1 year of full time study
  • £5,650 per year for part time study

These costs apply to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could Applied Theatre take you?

This postgraduate degree could lead you to a career directly related to working in the theatre industry, or it could take you in a completely different direction, using the many transferrable skills you will develop.

This will give you an advantage in careers such as:

  • Teaching
  • Setting up your own company
  • Freelance director
  • Arts projects with refugees and migrants
  • Arts work with people with learning disabilities
  • Creative work in schools and pupil referral units

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £7,000 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2020)

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the links below. This will take you to the application form you need to fill out for this specific course. 

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details. 

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Fees and key information

Apply now

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