Professional Voice Studies is an exciting and uniquely designed course offering students the opportunity to undertake specialised voice studies training within an internationally acclaimed theatre school setting. (In the UK the terms course and programme / program are used interchangeably)
The course is eclectic in its approach, drawing on a range of methodologies and practitioners. Bristol Old Vic Theatre School produces professional standard productions at a range of theatres in the South West of England and students will have the opportunity to work with the actors on these productions as part of their studies.
There will be opportunities within the curriculum for collaboration with students on other courses including the MA Drama Directing, MA Performance Design and Professional Acting courses.
The aim of the course is to produce self-reflective, entrepreneurial voice practitioners who will work within traditional fields or go on to develop the practice into new areas. It is envisaged that graduates will seek careers in a range of voice-related roles such as:
The course includes theoretical aspects of voice studies work including vocal anatomy and physiology and phonetics. The emphasis, however, will be on the practical applications of theory. This will include work to develop the potential of the student’s own voice, coaching and teaching practice and the undertaking research on their own areas of interest. This research will conclude with a ‘practice-based research’ project.
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School – Operating on two specialist teaching sites (Downside Road and Christchurch Studios) and performing in the major producing theatre venues in Bristol.
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is an associate school of the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), a Higher Education Provider registered with the Office for Students. On successful completion of this course, you will receive an award from UWE Bristol. Because of their vocational nature, BOVTS does not award degree classifications – all assessment is completed on a pass or fail basis.
Applicants would normally be expected to have an honours degree in a related subject area. However, applicants with extensive relevant professional experience will also be considered.
If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate English language proficiency through a relevant qualification, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which can also be used to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. For MFA Professional Voice Studies, an overall score of 7.0 is normally required, with a minimum of 7.0 in each component of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Initial shortlisting for interview is based on the information you provide in your application.
Applicants who are successful at the shortlisting stage will be interviewed by two members of staff. For UK or international applicants it may be possible to conduct the interview by Skype or equivalent.
This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course.
All modules are compulsory, with each module worth a specified number of credits. They enable you to cover key subject knowledge while developing your own interests.
Module number: UATAWY-15-M Voice Anatomy and Physiology (15 Credits)
Module number: UATAWW-45-M Phonetics and Accents (45 Credits)
Module number: UATAX3-60-M Voice, Speech and Text (60 Credits)
Module number: UATAWX-60-M Practice and Research (60 Credits)
Optional Modules: There are no optional modules.
Interim Award: There are no interim awards under this award scheme.
Award: MFA Professional Voice Studies
Credit requirements: MFA – 180 credits
The course is largely practical but with a theoretical underpinning. It is taught through practical classes, workshops, lectures, projects and coaching/teaching observation and practice.
Coaching/teaching practice takes place either within the School in tutorial or class settings, on student productions in theatres, or in other professional contexts outside the School.
Teaching is provided by highly specialised tutors and subject practitioners in small groups.
Up to six students are accepted on to the course each year.
This is a full-time course consisting of three terms. Students usual attendance hours will be Monday – Friday from 9.15 am until 5.00 pm. However, there may be an occasional requirement for weekend attendance. Contact hours will vary depending on the module but on average will be between 10 and 16 hours per week.
Students will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes the Course Leader (Head of Voice: Sue Cowen) and visiting specialist tutors and practitioners.
Please note: the named teaching team is correct at the time of writing but may be subject to change.
You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.
Academic and Student Support
The School is committed to selecting, training and supporting students, regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion. Applicants are chosen solely on the basis of their talent and potential to develop the skills required for their chosen profession. The School does, however, judge applicants on their suitability for a course and their potential to successfully complete the training, as the work is rigorous and requires high levels of energy and commitment.
Student Support on the programmes at the School covers a variety of areas such as support for disabled students, academic support, student finance and health and welfare. Julia Heeley, Student Support Manager, is able to answer queries about support available for disabled applicants/students. Her email address is [email protected] and she can also be reached by telephone on 0117 980 9247.
Our Academic and Student Support services team provides help in the following areas:
Support for students with disabilities including specific learning difficulties
In our admissions process, we are committed to supporting students with disabilities. Disabled students are encouraged to disclose their support requirements so that we can endeavour to meet them during the audition or interview process and subsequent training. The School welcomes all students regardless of disability. It is our aim to provide appropriate support so that all students are able to achieve their full potential.
Students with a disability will be provided with advice and support from the Student Support Manager. If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty we recommend you contact her either prior to starting your course or during your first few weeks at the School to discuss any support requirements you may have. This may include support resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment, learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia or mental health difficulties.
We recognise that everyone is an individual and we will work with students to identify potential barriers to training and do what we can to remove those barriers. We will also make any necessary reasonable adjustments, to ensure that disabled students can train at the School.
We are aware that nationally there is a very high proportion of students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) e.g. dyslexia or dyspraxia, in institutions which specialise in art, design or the performing arts. During your first week, the School encourages all students to take a short questionnaire known as QuickScan. It takes the form of an on-line, easy to navigate, questionnaire which will help to identify your learning style and specific areas of learning strengths and weaknesses. It is used in conjunction with other indicators, including student disclosure (as part of the interview and registration process), tutor feedback on practical and written work, and students expressing their concerns and any support requirements which may become apparent during their studies.
Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)
UK students with disabilities (including Specific Learning Difficulties and long-term Mental Health conditions) can apply for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). DSA usually provides support for students with the specialist equipment and tools necessary to support you with your studies, including software, hardware and study skills support. Unlike a student loan, DSA does not have to be repaid. However, it is rarely awarded in the form of financial support.
Applications are made through Student Finance England (SFE), Student Finance Wales (SFW), or Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). In order to apply for DSA, Student Finance will require evidence of any impairment or disability. This may take the form of a doctor’s or specialist’s letter or, more often, a report from an Educational Psychologist (Diagnostic Assessment Report).
If you require a Diagnostic Assessment from an Educational Psychologist, the Student Support Manager can arrange this for you and can guide you through the process.
Personal Academic Support
Various staff members at the School can help in different ways if you need academic support. If you need help with the content of classes or assessment work, you can ask the relevant head of course, tutor or your pastoral care tutor for an appointment or you can ask the Student Support Manager to arrange a tutorial with the relevant member of staff on your behalf. If you make an appointment, you can prepare for the meeting and discuss your concerns away from class. Heads of courses, modules leaders and individual tutors can all help you with understanding aspects of your training and can offer overall guidance or advice about your programme of study.
Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
Study skills support is usually arranged for students who have been awarded support through Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). However, the Student Support Manager will be happy to arrange one to one study skills support for you if deemed appropriate and necessary.
Mental Health, wellbeing and counselling
BOVTS recognises the challenges faced by students entering higher education and that training in a conservatoire institution can place great demands on a student both physically and emotionally.
The School has a student therapy and counselling service, which is organised and staffed by accredited, registered psychotherapists and counsellors and is there to help with any more deep-seated personal problems on which pastoral tutors are not qualified to advise. If students wish to have an initial assessment with a therapist or counsellor, they should contact the School’s Student Support Manager. A strict professional code of confidentiality is always maintained.
Student welfare and pastoral care
We actively encourage students to develop a pro-active and positive approach to their own ‘wellness’. We are preparing professionals to enter physically and mentally challenging professions and we work to enable students to sustain a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle.
Every student is assigned a pastoral tutor who monitors their progress throughout the year in addition to having access to the Student Support Manager. All students have tutorials with their head of course, head of year or allocated pastoral care tutor in which non-teaching issues can be discussed. A confidential tutorial can be requested of any member of the full-time teaching staff on your course.
In addition, BOVTS students have access to UWE’s Student Wellbeing Service, details of which can be found on UWE Bristol’s website.
For further information on support which the School offers, please see the Guide to Student Support.
Assessment is through practical and written assignments, presentations, coaching/teaching and ‘practice-based research’ projects.
Students are assessed on their professional practice on a pass or fail basis.
Judgements about student performance are made against the relevant industry standards.
The UWE qualifications are awarded as non-classified/non-differentiated.
MFA Professional Voice Studies
Duration: 38 weeks (one year, full-time)
UK students tuition fees for the MFA Professional Voice Studies course starting in September 2024 will be £12,000 for the whole course.
International students (non UK) tuition fees for the MFA Professional Voice Studies course starting in September 2024 will be £26,500 for the whole course.
(Subject to further increase in subsequent years in line with Government policy)
It is not possible to confirm fees for future academic years, as these are dependent on Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes, but the maximum increase in each year will not exceed the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Accommodation and living costs not included in the fees.
Increasingly much of the information and some of the content of the course is available via the School’s Virtual Learning Environment and so you will benefit from having access to your own personal computer and the internet to make the most of your course. It is estimated that a suitable personal computer will cost £300.00. See the Course Summary document for more details.
Info and advice regarding potential accommodation and living costs can be found in the General Student Information Handbook
Sources of financial support
Details on funding options can be obtained from our Student Fees home page.
Bursaries, scholarships and prizes
Please see the BOVTS Fees and Financial Support page for details of Bursaries and Scholarships.
The University also provides a number of scholarships and prizes for postgraduate students, which you may be eligible to apply for. There is also a Hardship Fund and bursaries offered by charitable trusts.
Due to a recent change in the Theatre School’s governance, our Higher Education provider UWE Bristol is unable to issue Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) documentation for BOVTS courses. Regrettably we are therefore unable to consider applications from students requiring a visa to study in the UK for 2024 entry.
The Theatre School is able to consider applications from international students who do not require a visa to study in the UK. If you are unsure of your tuition fee status, please consult the UK Council for International Student Affairs guidelines or contact our admissions office for further guidance. Prospective international students for entry in 2025 or beyond are encouraged to join our mailing list to learn more about training at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
How to apply
All applications for degree courses at BOVTS are made directly to the School. Please note that the School no longer uses the UCAS system.
You should submit your application before 29 February 2024. If you apply after 29 February, we can’t guarantee there will still be places on your course.
Applying as an international student and Visa requirements
The application process for international students is the same as it is for everyone else.
As well as meeting our course entry requirements, you may have to provide proof of your level of English. This is because you need to meet the Home Office required standards to get a Student Route Visa to enter the country for study.
You can find out about Student Route Visa from the UK Government.
Applying after a break in studying
The application process is the same as it is for everyone else. You will have the option within your personal statement to explain why you have chosen to return to study now and how you feel you will benefit.
We accept a variety of qualifications, including the Access to HE Diploma and Open University credits. View our course pages to find out about entry requirements for each course. If you are a mature student and you have any questions about our entry requirements or your qualifications email [email protected]
The School is committed to the promotion of equal opportunities for all. We consider each application on the basis of the applicant’s suitability for the proposed programme of study, at the same time acknowledging the statutory and professional requirements of some programmes. We are keen to encourage applicants from a wide range of academic and social backgrounds to take up the opportunity of studying at the School. We aim to create an environment that respects the diversity of students and enables them to derive maximum benefit and enjoyment from their involvement in the life of the School. To do this we will be proactive about ensuring people are treated fairly regardless of age, disability, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
The Admissions Office deals with enquiries and applications for all degree courses.
Telephone: +44 (0)117 9733535
Email : [email protected]
Post: Admissions Office, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, 1-2 Downside Road, Bristol BS8 2XF, UK
We will only accept one application per applicant, per year. You cannot apply for more than one course. If you need further advice about choosing a course, please contact the Admissions Office.