Type: Postgraduate

Qualification: MA Contemporary Dance Performance (Professional Placement Scheme)

Duration: 1 year (full-time only)

Validated by: University of Kent

This one-year, full-time programme provides an opportunity for students to undertake extensive professional development and refine their performance skills, as a member of an established professional dance company.

Applications for 2024 open in November 2023

Read about this year's host companies


Download Course Fact File

Course overview

The distinctiveness of this programme lies in the offer of a work placement with a professional dance company of between five and nine months. Students work alongside professional dancers at their chosen host company, experiencing the creation, rehearsal, production and touring of a professional performance programme or project, including any related education and community outreach work.

Whilst on their placement, students are supported by a tutor at NSCD. Crucially, students on the professional placement pathway develop an understanding of the wider skills required of a professional dance artist, through small-scale projects, introductions to local networks and awareness of a variety of activities such as workshop teaching and project management.

NSCD programmes of study are validated by the University of Kent. The Programme Specification is available here: MA Contemporary Dance Performance – Programme Specification

Participating companies 2023/24:


Unfortunately, due to Visa restrictions, placements with UK companies are not available to Overseas students without EU Settled or Pre-settled status.

UK applicants will need a Visa for placements with Tanzmainz (Germany) and Holstebro Dance Company (Denmark), and will need to prove they have funds to cover living costs for 8 months (approximately £3000 or €3,500) prior to application for a visa and acceptance of a place on the programme.

EU and EEA applicants do not need a visa for placements with Tanzmainz or Holstebro Dance Company but will require a visa to complete the research project element of their course in the UK from June-August.


Entry requirements

Our postgraduate programmes are open to graduates of two/three year dance training programmes at higher education level, who would therefore usually be 21+ years of age, or to dance artists with some professional experience.

What will I study?

The course operates on a modular basis.  Most modules count for either 30 or 60 academic level 7 credits, with the final major research project being worth 60 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.

Students will take modules worth approximately 60 credits per term. All students take a total of 180 credits across the MA as a whole. Our teaching is informed by research, and module content changes periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

  • Technical Practice (30 credits) Compulsory module
  • Company (60 credits) Compulsory module
  • Performance Practice (30 credits) Option module
  • Artist as Facilitator (30 credits) Option module
  • Final Major Research Project (Dissertation) (60 credits) Compulsory module

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 smaller groups. In addition, you have timetabled meetings with your academic tutors. You use industry-standard facilities throughout your course.

Photo: PPS student Asmara Cammock and dancer Luke Crook performing with Tavaziva at the National Theatre. Credit: James Bellorini

Assessment and 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
  • Showings of performance, choreographic work, improvisation & movement research
  • Lecture demonstrations
  • Written essays and dissertations
  • Written /verbal project reports and evaluations / reflections
  • Individual and small group verbal presentations
  • Observation of teaching practice

Students receive ongoing feedback in practical classes and through the tutorial system in which professional and academic development are considered and evaluated. Through placement, students have a professional mentor within the company who will offer formative feedback in all areas of their placement activities. Achievement is measured against module assessment criteria and in accordance with programme and module learning outcomes. Students must meet the specific attendance requirements for the programme.