2024/25 entry Applications also open for 2023/24

MA Musical Theatre

Start date(s):
Study mode:
Course duration:
1 year

Tuition fees

International full-time per year
Home fee
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About this course

The MA in Musical Theatre at LJMU has been designed for actors, directors, choreographers, MDs, composers, lyricists, librettists and teachers.

  • Join a passionate community of musical theatre scholars and artists
  • Participate in an annual festival of performance and scholarship titled Adventures in Musical Theatre

  • Benefit from a highly flexible, student-centred curriculum and delivery structure, with an emphasis on learning through creative risk and play

  • Take advantage of opportunities to include current work-based activity or undertake a placement

  • Enjoy access to a wide network of local, regional, national and international partners

  • Stay in touch with our course news and events by following our Instagram account

The MA Musical Theatre seeks to develop your mastery of musical theatre craft, alongside current, relevant critical enquiry and scholarship. The programme focuses on the question: What constitutes excellence in musical theatre?

At the heart of the programme's work is an exploration of craft in creative processes and a belief that rigorous critical enquiry and best creative practice are inextricably linked. It aims to champion new work and new ways of working, and celebrates the unique expressive opportunities and appeal of the musical.

With a unique ideology and appeal, the degree embraces not only the commercial musical theatre of Broadway and the West End but more experimental work, alongside other recognised forms such as cabaret, burlesque, melodrama, drag, and pantomime. The degree also provides a specific focus for the study of the British musical and its artists.

During your studies you will learn to apply knowledge and understanding with originality and creativity for the re-interpretation of received assumptions regarding musical theatre performance. You will also gain the confidence to work creatively, collaboratively and collectively with musical theatre makers who possess varying levels of experience and styles.

To develop your own creative practice as a musical theatre artist, you will learn how to effectively and appropriately employ a range of research methodologies and critical perspectives, including the ability to interrogate, evaluate and explore Musical Theatre 'texts' and processes. For students who wish to develop an entrepreneurial approach and set up their own theatre company, this MA will enable you to explore performance and event creation utilising organisational and managerial skills and industry knowledge.

"This course enables students to develop their skills in musical theatre to an expert level through conversations and experiments with faculty and colleagues. Students with various backgrounds and specialties, such as choreographers, directors, writers, and composers, gather to establish a community, work in projects together, inspire each other, and create synergy. While you follow the module structure and enjoy an academic journey, you will also develop your personal interests and specialties, as well as being able to focus on an area where you would like to pursue deeper expertise. As an international student, I was given multiple opportunities to test my unique ideas, derived from my cultural background, in writing musical scripts. In addition, I could expand my critical thinking in the frameworks that the course provides."

Eyoon Jang, Graduate (South Korea)

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to programme-appropriate software
  • Library and student IT support
  • Free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)
  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

This programme is aimed largely at applicants who consider themselves musical theatre artists, whatever the context of their activities professional, amateur, or educational.

It will have an appeal for librettists, lyricists, composers, directors, choreographers, musical directors, performers and teachers though not exclusively so; anyone involved in and interested in getting better at making musical theatre (as well as meeting entry criteria, of course) is welcome to apply.

In addition, for those with backgrounds in composition, orchestration, playwriting, poetry, etc, it is an opportunity to apply those skills to the specific demands of the musical theatres dramatic and theatrical imperatives.

For directors, choreographers and musical directors who have experience across their specific disciplines, the course provides the opportunity to hone more general techniques to the specific demands of the genre, acquiring new languages and processes in developing effective practice.

"This is a course with flexibility that is about mastering your specialism in a space where experimentation or play is encouraged. Its unique focus explores big critical ideas while realistically preparing you for a career in the industry."

Laura Corradi, current student

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

Core modules

Research Methodology and Proposal
20 credits

The proposal is intended as a first step towards the Dissertation and Project Module which runs throughout the year. It enables you to:

  • acquire and apply a developed understanding of research methodologies and connected methods in designing practice
  • explore and examine the principles of testing ideas through practice in a workshop setting
  • create a proposal for a personal research project aiming to test theoretical construct or working process in creative practice

Critical Perspectives and Repertoire
20 credits

The material in this module is paralleled by the workshop exploration of crafts in Musical Theatre so that critical theory will also be tested in practice. This module enables you to:

  • acquire and apply a range of critical perspectives on the analysis of musical theatre and how it works
  • make detailed analysis of selected musical theatre primary source material in the form of text or performance

Musical Theatre Laboratory 1
20 credits

This module will let you understand a range of working principles and criteria in applying specific crafts in the creation and performance of musical theatre. It aims to:

  • acquire enhanced technical vocabularies and understanding of the specific crafts and how they work together
  • develop and present a comprehensive understanding of one or more identified crafts through practice
  • develop the key skills in using practice as a means to test ideas

Specialist Crafts
30 credits

This module will enable you to develop mastery of one or more specialist crafts related to the creation and performance of musical theatre. The module aims to:

  • enhance knowledge of aspects of the business and employment market directly related to respective crafts
  • identify personal professional development needs and strategies for activating them

Musical Theatre Lab 2
30 credits

This module provides enhanced knowledge and mastery of individual craft through performance or other form of public presentation. It aims to:

  • collaborate to professional standard in the design and delivery of a mini-festival of events
  • evaluate and orally articulate personal practice in the context of individual professional development and ensemble/production collaborations

Dissertation and Project
60 credits

This module will enable you to design, undertake, analyse and evaluate a significant piece of independent creative practice-as-research, in an advanced critical framework.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

Following a full-time, highly intensive induction week, the delivery of the programme is designed to give opportunities for those with other personal or professional commitments to structure full-time study in terms of their own time management. Full group attendance is required for only one whole day a week (at present Fridays 9.30am 6pm) in Semesters One and Two, although most students find it advantageous to allow two days per week (Thursday and/or Saturday added to the Friday classes) in which to be regularly on-site for tutorials or small group working. When project work kicks in, however, students may well find it advantageous to be on site much more frequently for group rehearsal purposes. However, with good planning and available transport, students are able to undertake this course without moving to Liverpool.

Teaching methods

The focus of our teaching and learning on the course is the Musical Theatre Laboratory, providing a dedicated safe space for students to explore their creative options and discover their unique expressive voice. Students should expect to be not only researching but creating material on a week-by-week basis which constitutes the activities of a very busy full-time MA programme of study. Following the end of Semester Two (late May/early June) students present a mini-Festival of work and conclude their year-long Dissertation and Project Module by the end of August as the culmination of the programme.

Applied learning

Practical work assessment is negotiated and agreed in a Learning Contract with tutors and will be appropriate to your specific discipline. Your ongoing progress will be fed back to you via regular one-to-ones with course tutors and other formative assessment in class and rehearsal.


How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.

Assessments on this programme are a mixture of practical work, including performance, and written work, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate the required level of learning and achievement.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Where you will study

What you can expect from your School

The Drama department has three dedicated buildings for its wide range of performances, workshops and classes: the Joe H Makin Drama Centre which houses rehearsal rooms, workshops, a 90 seat studio theatre and two smaller studio performance spaces; the John Foster Drama Studio, a large multi-arrangement theatre space, newly refurbished to enhance backstage provision and public areas as well as technical specifications; and the adjacent Modular Building which houses classes/tutorials, the department 's wardrobe, Drama staff offices, and where postgraduate students have their own small common room alongside dedicated study rooms/practical studios. All three are designed to offer space and creative freedom to students studying on one of LJMU's many drama undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The buildings regularly play host to in-house student drama festivals, practical assessments, classes, visiting workshops and much more as part of the overall busy programme of events.

The Redmonds Building, a five minute walk from the Drama facilities, contains broadcast studios, news rooms and media production suites. You will also have access to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, social spaces, and the ground floor Starbucks café.

All the above buildings are conveniently close to LJMU 's Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies, and is open seven days a week.

Entry requirements

You will need:

Qualification requirements

Undergraduate degree

  • a minimum 2:1 honours degree in a performing arts-related subject

Additional requirements

  • Relevant work experience


    • a minimum three years professional training or significant musical theatre experience with demonstrable creative potential and critical thinking assessed through interview/audition and written submission
  • Interview required

    • All applicants will be interviewed. Please refer to the Application and selection section below for further information about what to prepare and the interview.

International requirements


    • IELTS 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component)

Further information

  • Extra Requirements
    • to demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge to embark on and complete the programme so you should provide evidence of your learning capability, study opportunity and commitment
  • RPL

    • RPL is accepted on this programme

Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.