CertHE Cultural Dance Forms - NSCD


Type: Higher Education

Qualification: Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) Cultural Dance Forms

Duration: 1 year (full-time) September - July

This course is designed to prepare you for further in-depth professional training. Develop your creative skills and explore techniques in a diverse range of dance styles, including:

  • Street styles (Hip hop, breaking/BBoy, krumping, popping, locking)
  • House
  • Dancehall
  • Afro-fusion
  • Vogue
  • Contemporary

Encounter the history of these dance forms and understand their global impact and relevance.

This one year intensive course functions like a foundation year and introduces students to a variety of dance styles, equipping them to make decisions about further training before committing to a 3 year degree programme. It is also suitable for 16/17 year-olds as a full-time alternative access route to Higher Education.

Applications for 2023 entry are now closed

If you missed the deadline but wish to apply for 2023 entry please contact admissions@nscd.ac.uk.

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Course overview

Students on this course study a variety of different styles such as Hip Hop (including breaking/BBoy, krumping, popping & locking), House, Dancehall, Afrofusion and Vogue. Contemporary and Ballet enrich the curriculum, as well as a number of creative and performance opportunities, so that students can develop their own unique movement language. Through contextual studies, students learn how cultural dance forms can communicate the stories of individuals, communities and regions.

Please note: this one year intensive course is suited to individuals who want to further develop their technique and creative skills in a breadth of styles before applying to a full 3-year degree programme.  This programme is also suitable for 16/17 year olds as a full-time alternative access route to Higher Education.

NSCD programmes of study are validated by the University of Kent. The Programme Specification is available here: CertHE Cultural Dance Forms Programme Specification

Diverse dance styles

All of the dance styles taught on this course are explored through a variety of technique classes/workshops, creative practice, contextual studies and performance opportunities.  Over half of the programme is devoted to dance techniques to prepare the body, offering a foundation for creative and performance work. Creative practices include improvisation and freestyle and choreographic structures/ tools you can use in your own work.

All of the practical work on this course is underpinned by historical, social and cultural contexts, adding background, meaning and depth to your understanding.

Entry requirements

Entry is through successful audition and interview.

Additionally candidates should have normally gained five GCSE passes (grade C/4 or above), which must include English Language, and two A Level passes or a L3 BTEC National diploma or professional/vocational training at an appropriate level.

Exceptions are made for very talented 16 year olds, 17 year olds & mature applicants. Equivalent qualifications may also be accepted depending on the strength of the grades achieved. Equivalent level overseas qualifications are also accepted.

In some cases, applicants who don’t have the standard entry requirements will be required to complete the School Matriculation Task as part of their entry requirements.

Any questions about any of the above can be directed to/further details can be obtained from admissions@nscd.ac.uk


Teaching and learning

You are taught through a combination of practical classes and workshops, lectures and seminars. Seminars and small group tutorials enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups. In addition, you have timetabled meetings with your academic tutors. You use industry-standard facilities throughout your course.

At Level 4 (as a guide) you typically have around 21 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 18 hours of practical classes or workshops
  • 1 hour of seminars / tutorials
  • 2 hours of lectures
  • 2 hours directed study

Assessment & Feedback

NSCD employs a wide variety of assessment methods including formative, continuous and summative assessment.

Assessment evidence is collected through:

  • Continuous and summative assessments in technique modules, creative and performance modules
  • Assessed rehearsal processes
  • Sharings of performance, choreographic work, improvisation and movement research
  • Essay and / or written reflection
  • Individual and small group verbal presentations

Students receive ongoing feedback in practical classes and through the tutorial system, where professional and academic development are considered and evaluated.

Overall workload

The course operates on a modular basis.  Most modules count for either 15 or 30 academic credits.  Each credit taken equates to a total study time of around 10-20 hours.  Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study, directed study and assessment activity. Full-time students take modules worth 37-45 credits per term.  All students take a total of 120 credits for the CertHE as a whole.

NSCD value for money

Based on a comparison with other HE Dance programmes of the same price. We are devoted to the experience we give our students and to what we try to offer them as ‘value added’ for their course fees:

  • A full term extra of tuition (May-July) including classes, support and guidance
  • More access to practical work (both creative workshops and technique classes)


  • Enrichment classes are offered in the evening, some of which are free to NSCD students – these have included fitness, yoga, percussion and lighting for dance
  • Visiting workshops with guest choreographers and companies
  • Mock audition preparation for further training.
  • Sponsored theatre visits
  • Health and well-being days
  • On-site injury intervention and support
  • Reduced-priced theatre tickets and deals
  • On-site counselling service
  • Access to additional rehearsal spaces
  • Access to projects and research run by staff and our network of partner organisations