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This four year Honours award or two years Honours top up from HND will hone your existing performance talents, allowing you to develop transferable skills in a range of performance disciplines. You will develop new skills in many aspects of performance and the programme has been designed to allow you to negotiate your assessment strategy relevant to your requirements and skills. 

The programme aims to dissect the notion of ‘performance’, and helps you identify and refine your specialist strands within the subject. You will be introduced to academic research skills for practice-led and practice-based research, and will be critically engaged with interdisciplinary concepts around performance-based genres. The programme invites you to a range of master classes and workshops led by leading industry professionals and scholars, as well as 'Theatre Lab', ‘Studio Lab’ and Musical Theatre Lab collaborative sessions where you will create performances for film or stage (the Gaiety Theatre). 

You will use our state-of-the-art television and performance studios. Tutors and guest lecturers are professional practitioners who are actively involved in research on theatre production, musical theatre, green screen and stage/screen adaptation, which informs their practice and teaching.

The key elements of the programme are to make you a critical thinker, a creative maker and work ready, all of which are achieved through research and practice in lectures, tutorials, workshops and creative lab sessions. 

You could find yourself acting; directing; producing/writing for stage and screen; designing and delivering community theatre projects; forming your own theatre company; or training to become a primary school teacher or secondary school drama teacher through further study.

Entry Requirements

What qualifications do you need? 

We welcome Scottish, UK and international students and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Don’t worry if your qualifications are not listed here, we take a range of factors into account when assessing your application and are happy to consider other alternative combinations of qualifications and experience.

If you are applying with an EU or non-EU qualification, please check our Undergraduate Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.

Year 1

  • Scottish Highers: BBBC, or equivalent, or 102 UCAS Tariff points 
  • A levels: CCC or 96 UCAS Tariff points  
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: H3 H3 H3 H4
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 24 points (4, 4 at HL)

Year 2

  • SQA HNC /BTEC LEVEL 4 HNC: Acting & Performance or Musical Theatre or Theatre Arts or Dance or Performance

Year 3

  • SQA HND / BTEC Level 5 HND / Foundation Degree: Acting & Performance or Musical Theatre or Theatre Arts or Dance or Performance 

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for most courses

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. The qualifications below must have been gained within two years of the start of your course.

General English language requirements at UWS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.0
  • no sub-test less than 5.5

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII with the minimum of a Pass in all sub-tests
  • PTE Pearson Academic English: An overall score of 54 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5). An overall score 61 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.5 with no element below 6.0)


IELTS Score Exceptions (DBA, Certificate of Higher Education, PhD, etc.)

For our research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD, DBA, DProf), applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0

For Health, Nursing & Midwifery courses that lead to professional registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 7.0
  • no sub-test less than 7.0

For our Certificate of Higher Education courses, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 5.0
  • no sub-test less than 4.5



TOEFL IBT*: 78; no sub-test less than:

  • Reading: 17;
  • Listening: 17;
  • Speaking: 17;
  • Writing: 17

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.


West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE)

West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE) including acceptance of WAEC Scratchcard*

  • C6 or above in English

*UWS will accept a WAEC scratchcard confirming that an applicant has achieved C6 or above as evidence of meeting English language requirement from Nigeria if the student graduated within the last 5 years. After 5 years applicants would be required to provide the WAEC Certificate.


Pre-sessional courses

Applicants who do not meet the minimum English language requirements have the option to study one of our preparatory and pre-sessional English courses. The UWS courses available are:

  • 10 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.0 with no element below 4.5.
  • 5 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.5 with no element below 5.5.
  • English Language for University Study - entry criteria UKVI IELTS with score of 4.0 in all elements (10 month course), or 4.5 with no score below 4.0 (7 month course).

Course details

Students are enabled to learn in discovery mode as co-producers of the curriculum. We also recognise that a graduate career is important to our students, so we design our programmes such that the first day in the academy for our students is also their first day in industry. In the context of the current development, our Performance provision is distinguished in terms of its cross- and interdisciplinary design, which provides students with a rich and stimulating range of opportunities to learn and produce collaboratively, mirroring the dynamics of real world professional settings. The programme is also underpinned by an epistemological commitment to integrated practice as praxis, rather than an artificial and creatively unsustainable separation of practical and theoretical activity. 

The programme provides students with space to develop their practice holistically and in a context of expressive collaboration across and between disciplines. It will also equip graduates with the interpersonal and interdisciplinary capacity to deploy their creativity in pluralistic professional settings. The programmes should therefore appeal to the growing number of creative practitioners who want to define their practice in a research-infused context.

Year 3

You will continue your studies by undertaking modules in Practice: Creative Festival, Performance Contexts: Testing ideas, Contemporary Debates in Society and Contemporary Arts in Context. Students who enrol at level 9 will be given the opportunity to join additional level 8 modules in Culture and Society and Performance Theory where a gap in their knowledge is identified.

Year 4

You will continue to develop your practice and research skills via research and project modules, creative industries entrepreneurship and relevant performance based modules. You will negotiate with your tutors your final assessment strategies. 

Teaching & Assessment

The BA (Hons) Performance course at UWS is designed to equip the student to become a creative maker, a critical thinker and work ready. Drawing on the expertise of the teaching team and visiting lectures, you will gain insights into the contemporary performance industries and develop a robust understanding of how performance is made, the cultural and social significance of performance and performance theory. 

Our focus on practice, history, theory and industry allows you to explore performance critically and practically and gain a deeper understanding of diverse creative and research practices. You will be encouraged to develop your existing skills and passions whilst engaging with a series of new skills. Core and optional modules will provide a grounding in performance and performance making whilst supporting you to develop your own path and enabling you to position yourself within a variety of performance-related disciplines.

The course is for emerging performers, performance makers and those interested in developing their practical skills, researching their discipline and thinking critically about performance and culture. 

Learn a Language (optional)

This course also gives you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover multiple languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level. The cost of your language module is included in the tuition fees. Find out more

Course Structure

Graduates from contemporary Performance programmes need to be equipped for freelance careers, able to think critically, and be confident and effective in their practice. As such, the team identified the following three themes as likely to resonate more meaningfully to students in the creative and creative industries:

  1. Critical thinkers
  2. Freelance Ready
  3. Creative Makers

Full-time students will undertake the modules in the order they appear in the relevant programme schema. UWS encourages reassessment at the earliest opportunity, so flexibility will be utilised around reassessment to optimise student progression.

Part-time students will agree their learning journey with the programme team, particularly through guidance from their Personal Tutor and, as required, the School’s Education Guidance Adviser. Care will be taken to limit the student workload to 60 credits per academic year, so all other things being equal, the normal part-time journey will be as follows:

Students will undertake long 40-credit Performance Production modules at levels 7, 8 and 9, through which they will develop and showcase their practice. These modules are spread over both trimesters so that students’ practice will be informed by the full range of learning they participate in across the year. 

They also undertake 20-credit Performance Contexts modules at Levels 7, 8 and 9, through which they will expand their preparedness for success in the creative and cultural industries. And they undertake theoretically-based modules at these levels, via the Performance Theory 1 and 2, and Contemporary Debates in Art & Performance.

The historical theme is addressed directly via Performance History 1, Culture & Society 1 and Culture & Society 2, and the research strand begins at Level 9 through Art & Performance Research Methods.

These modules therefore develop student adeptness across the five academic themes of the programme, which students integrate through their maturing practice. The students then bring these skills, experiences and attributes together at Level 10 through the long 60-credit Creative Research Project module, the 20-credit Practice in Context module focused on the contemporary creative landscape, and the Creative Industries: Entrepreneurship & Professional Practice module focused on work-readiness. Students also have space at Level 10 for a free module choice.

BA Performance Course Structure


Career prospects


With this qualification, you could find yourself acting, directing, producing or writing for stage and screen. Or you could be designing and delivering community theatre projects or even forming your own theatre company. You may also go on to become a primary school or secondary school drama teacher.

Undergraduate Tuition Fees

Scottish campuses non-lab-based 2018/19

Scottish & EU

£1,820 cost per year of study (paid by the Scottish Government via SAAS*)

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

International (Non-EU)

£10,600 per year of study

More on current & future tuition fees

Scottish campuses non-lab-based 2019/20

Scottish & EU

£1,820 cost per year of study (paid by the Scottish Government via SAAS*)

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

International (Non-EU)

£12,000 per year of study

More on current & future tuition fees

Additional Costs & Sources of Funding

The cost of attending university is an investment in your future career.

In addition to tuition fees and living expenses, some courses involve extra costs like study materials, field trips, equipment and uniforms.

Fortunately, there is a great deal of financial support available to help students meet the cost of their study. This ranges from:

  • statutory government loans to pay for tuition fees
  • scholarships for Scottish, EU and International (non-EU) students
  • bursaries to help towards living expenses

The sections below provide details of additional costs that your course may involve along with any financial support that may be available.

You can also find additional information in our Undergraduate Money, Fees & Funding section.

Additional Costs

Students on certain degrees will incur some additional costs not covered by their tuition fees. These could be for things like specialist equipment, study materials, work placements, graduation, membership of relevant organisations or costs related to carrying out fieldwork.

For students on course with an element of fieldwork, there may also be extra costs for travel and accommodation.

Please contact the course leader for details of the additional costs associated with this course.

Tuition Fees* & Living Cost Support

Tuition Fees & Additional Costs

Tuition fees are calculated based on where you are from and what you are studying. Some courses also involve additional costs, such as mandatory field trips, equipment or studying abroad.

Find out how much it will cost you to study at UWS as an undergraduate student.

Funding for Scottish Students

Scottish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students

English, Welsh and Northern Irish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for EU Students

EU students studying at undergraduate level of UWS may be eligible for SAAS funding, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find our more.

Funding for International Students

There are several scholarship and incentive schemes available to international students studying at undergraduate level at UWS, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find out more.

Other Financial Support

Discretionary & Childcare Funds

UWS administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds. These are designed to support students who are experiencing financial difficulty or struggling to meet the costs of childcare.

Find out more.

Benefits & Tax Credits

Becoming a student can have an impact on your entitlement to certain benefits. It may mean you are no longer eligible to claim a benefit you have been receiving, or your new income from student funding may affect the amount you are able to receive.

Find out more.

Additional Financial Support

If there isn’t a statutory source of funding for you or your course, or you are in need of additional financial support, you may wish to consider more alternative sources of funding such as trust funds and scholarships.

Find out more.

Money & Debt Advice

Choosing to become a student can have a big impact on your budget and you may need to reassess your spending to account for a reduced income. We’ve put together some guidance to help you manage your money and make the right financial choices for you and your family.

Find out more.

How to apply

Full-time (domestic & EU/EEA)

All UK and EU applicants for undergraduate study, not applying through an agent or partner, should apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service)

The on-time application deadline for 2019/20 entry is 15 January 2019, 18:00 (UK time). For some courses it may still be possible to apply beyond this period, subject to suitable vacancies remaining. The final deadline for late applications via UCAS is 30 June 2019, 18:00 (UK time). Beyond this deadline, you may be able to apply via ‘UCAS Clearing’ if the course you are interested in has remaining places.

Please refer to our Undergraduate Application Guide for domestic & EU/EEA to find more information on when and how to apply to study at UWS.

Apply on UCAS

Full-time (non-EU/non-EEA), Part-time & Online (all students), Erasmus & International Exchange

Students from non-EU/non-EEA countries can apply directly to UWS via our dedicated online application system. The latest we can process your application is 6 weeks before the course start date to allow for visa processing times. For more information on when and how to apply to study at UWS please refer to our International Undergraduate Application Guide.

For part-time & online study, you should apply directly to the University through our online application system, not through UCAS. Please select the part-time mode of study when submitting your application. Before you begin your application, it is important to read the part-time application step-by-step guide for a smooth process.

To come to UWS as a visiting student on a study abroad or exchange programme, you must apply entirely through our online system.


An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.


Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

UWS Undergraduate students studying at Ayr Campus

Life at UWS

Going to university is about much more than getting a qualification, it’s also the chance to enjoy an exciting social life, gain some independence and make the most of the new opportunities available.


We will always try to make sure that we publish accurate course information but we do not accept responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. We will also try to make sure that we deliver our courses in line with our published information. However, we may not always be able to do so and you can find further information about this in our enrolment terms and conditions.