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Acting degrees | course guide

Acting degrees equip you with the performance skills needed for stage and screen. See what it’s like to study Acting and if a career as an actor is for you.

People on stage with red backdrop and dark lighting


  1. What’s Acting?

  2. What Acting degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto an Acting degree?

  4. What topics does an Acting degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Acting?

  7. What do Acting graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as an Acting graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Acting

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Acting?

Acting degrees help you prepare for professional work within the performing arts industry. As a student, you’ll develop your dramatic talents, hone your performance skills, learn different techniques and explore creative ideas.

Courses often involve plenty of focus on the stage, the screen, collaboration, rehearsal and textual analysis, as well as work with industry professionals and organisations.

What Acting degrees can you study?

Acting degrees on offer in the UK include:

  • Acting BA
  • Acting (Stage and Screen) BA
  • Acting and Stage Combat BA
  • Acting and Performance BA
  • Drama, Theatre and Acting BA
  • Performance for Screen BA

Several options offer an integrated foundation year or industry placement as part of the course.

  1. GO TO
  2. Find an Acting degree
  3. Types of undergraduate degrees

What do you need to get onto an Acting degree?

Most undergraduate Acting courses ask for around 48–120 UCAS points. Not every university will base an offer on UCAS points, and some courses may have lower or higher requirements.

  • A Levels: BBB–CC
  • Scottish Highers: BBC–DD
  • International Baccalaureate: 32–25
  • Universities will usually ask for experience in performing arts, but this doesn’t have to be from school or college

Good subjects to have studied include:

  • Performing arts
  • Drama
  • Music
  • English literature
  • Theatre studies
  • Media studies
  • History

Experiences that would look good on your application:

  • Membership of an amateur theatre group
  • Watching and reading plays and performances
  • Acting classes
  • Volunteering backstage
  • Being an extra in a film or TV

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Three GCSEs at grade C and above (or equivalent), ideally with one in an acting-related subject
  • You’ll usually be invited to an audition and show a portfolio
  1. GO TO
  2. Entry requirements
  3. About UCAS points
  4. Alternatives to A Levels

What topics does an Acting degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Movement
  • Voice
  • Music and singing
  • Contextual studies
  • Theatre and culture
  • Composition
  • Ensemble practice
  • Accent and dialects
  • Audition technique
  • Acting for camera

How will you be assessed?

Depending on your modules, you could be assessed through:

  • Performances
  • Academic essays
  • Presentations
  • Workshops
  • Showreels
  • Voicereels
  • Literature reviews
  • Portfolios
  • Final-year dissertation

Why study Acting?

Courses often have partnerships with local theatres and work with successful actors, directors, playwrights and other industry professionals.

Career-specific skills:

  • Performance
  • Storytelling
  • Character creation
  • Speech and movement
  • Stamina
  • Set and design

Transferable skills:

  • Presentation
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Self-awareness
  • Communication
  • Analysis
  • Research

Professional accreditations:

Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT)

What do Acting graduates earn?

When starting as a graduate actor, you can expect an entry-level salary of around £19,000, or £11 per hour.

The average salary for an actor in the UK is around £23,500. Salaries can be higher than £45,000 for those with lots of experience.

What jobs can you get as an Acting graduate?

Graduates go into different creative industries, including theatre, film, TV, radio and digital media. They work for organisations like the National Theatre, BBC, Royal Opera House, Amazon Prime and the West End.

Examples of roles that graduates go into:

  • Actor or performer
  • Arts administrator
  • Arts therapist
  • Choreographer
  • Community arts coordinator
  • Director
  • Playwright
  • Radio host
  • Scriptwriter
  • Special effects technician
  • Talent agent
  • Teacher or lecturer
  • Theatre stage manager
  • TV presenter

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of postgraduate courses available at universities in the UK:

  • Acting PGDip
  • Acting and Performance MA
  • Physical Acting MA
  • Professional Voice Practice MFA
  • Stage and Screen PhD
  1. GO TO
  2. Find postgraduate courses for Acting
  3. Type of postgraduate degrees

Similar subjects to Acting

Other subject areas that might appeal to you include:

Have any questions?

Get in touch with our experts by emailing We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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