Theatre Studies MA

Arts Criticism (30 credits) THEATRE4081

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course combines a critical historical overview of arts criticism with its practical application. It enables students to build a portfolio of different forms of critical writing, tailored to different potential readerships and a variety of publication formats across different media, e.g., in print or via the web. It also encourages students to engage critically with a broad range of live performance.


18 hours of teaching (9 sessions) and 12 hours attendance at cultural events (e.g. performance art, theatre, opera and exhibitions)

Excluded Courses

THEATRE 4080 - Arts Criticism (10 credit version)




20% fieldwork journal (1000 words)

60% portfolio of critical writing (2500 words)

20% critical reflection (1500 words)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:


■ Introduce students to different histories and theories of arts criticism from the 19th century onwards, including contemporary practices;

■ Enable students to develop flexible skills in writing critical reviews in different styles and genres, and to build a portfolio of critical writing about the arts, to publication standard;

■ Enhance students' critical listening/viewing in cultural events, and their critical awareness of cultural contexts;

■ Encourage students to engage critically with a broad range of live culture;

■ Widen students' communication skills, enhancing employability.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Critically analyse key historical, theoretical and sociological issues of arts criticism;

■ Articulate insightful and well-informed critiques of cultural events, giving due attention to issues of genre and medium;

■ Adapt their writing style for a range of different readerships, including both scholarly readers and the wider public;

■ Retain clarity and fluidity whilst writing in a condensed form;

■ Exhibit critical openness to unfamiliar genres and repertoires;

■ Deliver work to tight deadlines.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.