Master of Dramatic Art (Direction) - School of Drama

Course 917AA (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Year and Campus: 2010 - Southbank
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Research Higher Degree
Duration & Credit Points: Students are expected to complete this research in 1.50 years full time, or equivalent part time.


Richard Murphet


Student and Academic Services, Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts, 234 St Kilda Road, Southbank, 3006 Tel: 9685 9419
Course Overview:

An advanced level research project consisting of the following inter-related aspects:

  • a 2,500 word course and project proposal outlining the objectives and planned procedures for the year's work;
  • directed study courses or secondments, arranged in liaison with the course coordinator which act as theoretical and/or practical support for the major research project;
  • involvement in research methodology coursework, for students with limited research background;
  • involvement in post-graduate seminars, in which students will be expected to report on their research progress;

The major research project:

  • research activity is expected to encompass both practical exploration and historical/ theoretical investigative methodologies; and
  • will culminate in the public presentation of a work, or series of works directed by the student. This will be supported and complemented by a research paper of 15,000 words.

The research project requires:

  • The preparation, rehearsal and presentation of a major performance work or works. Be it a single work or related series of works, it should be the equivalent of at least a full length play. Where possible the student's project will be integrated into the Acting and Production streams of the School of Drama. The student should however be prepared to organise a production composed of non-VCA personnel. The student may propose a production outside the VCA but must then organise its realisation from outside resources.
  • A 15,000 word research paper. This paper may include other documentation in recorded form such as sound tape, film, video, and CD Rom, as approved by the course assessment committee.

In addition candidates will be required to attend some course work seminars in aspects of Directing and/or Research methodology during their candidacy. These will usually be of two hours in length and will occur at various times throughout the year.

Candidates may in consultation with their course supervisor seek to undertake secondment to another institution or organisation or to relevant projects within the VCA.


The objectives of this course are:

  • to provide an opportunity for candidates of proven ability to undertake advanced work in direction in a chosen area of specialisation;
  • to extend the expertise, knowledge, leadership skills, initiative, collaborative skills and self confidence of the candidate;
  • to develop appropriate skills for the documentation, description and analysis of directorial processes;
  • to promote the development of theatre in ways relevant for the contemporary age, whilst building upon the traditions of the art form; and,
  • to make a significant contribution to both theatre and directorial practice in Australia.
Course Structure & Available Subjects: Minimum 18 months candidature
Subject Options:

Master of Dramatic Art (Direction)

Minimum 18 months full-time
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
RHD First Half Year, RHD Second Half Year
Entry Requirements:

Candidates are expected to have an undergraduate degree in Dramatic Art or equivalent plus postgraduate studies in theatre direction or equivalent.

  • Graduate Diploma in Dramatic Art (Direction);
  • a three year degree followed by honours abilities;
  • substantial professional experience and demonstrated artistic and leadership ability.

Applicants will normally have completed a tertiary course of study in drama. In cases of high aptitude, applicants who have not completed formal educational requirements may be admitted at the discretion of the Selection Committee.

Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirments for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:
Graduate Attributes:

Generic Skills:

At the completion of the course students should be able to:

  • exhibit extensive theoretical and practical knowledge of their discipline including relevant professional knowledge, skills, discipline and ethics as they relate to a practising visual/performing artist;
  • demonstrate capacities for artistic imagination, creativity, transformation and interpretation.
  • demonstrate practical skills in respect of critical analysis, problem solving, report writing, team work and oral and written communication;
  • demonstrate a flexible and innovative approach to the national and international challenges for the professional visual/performing artist in the 21st century;
  • work at various levels, both as an individual and as a team member, in a wide variety of visual/performing artistic environments;
  • contribute to a range of visual/performing arts environments as artistic collaborators and leaders;
  • demonstrate an open, independent and inquiring attitude towards contemporary cultural developments and new ideas
  • critically and creatively engage with topics of cultural significance across communities;
  • understand and appreciate how the visual and performing arts connect with the broader society and contribute to its social and economic development; and,
  • understand their relationship with and responsibility to their cultural environment and society.

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