MA Contemporary Dance Performance (PPS) - NSCD


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.

The full list of participating companies in 2024/25 can be viewed here


Download Course Fact File How to apply

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

Entry requirements

Entry is through a successful audition and interview. The course is open to graduates of two/threeyear dance training courses at Higher Education level, or dance artists with professional experience and equivalent vocational dance training.  Applicants are usually 21+ years of age. 

Due to visa restrictions, the course is open to UK applicants and those with EU Settled or Pre-settled Status only*. 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 students would not need a visa but would need to register as self-employed if working in Denmark (the company will provide guidance).

*Additionally. EU and EEA applicants who do not have EU Settled or Pre-settled Status may apply for placements with Tanzmainz or Holstebro Dance Company only. Students would not need a visa when they are with the company but will require a student route visa to complete the research project element of the course at NSCD. Further details would be provided in your offer letter, if successful.


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

This course offers an ongoing and sustained placement with a professional dance company. You work alongside professional dancers at your host company, experiencing the life of that company. The exact schedule varies between companies depending on their schedule, but normally includes a mix of creation, rehearsal, production, touring, education and community outreach work.

Whilst on placement, students are supported by a tutor at NSCD and a mentor within the company. Upon completion of the placement, students return to NSCD to embark on the MA research project. This enables you to further develop the learning you experienced at the company and to connect with other MA students at NSCD over an extended period.

Assessment and Feedback

NSCD employs a wide variety of assessment methods. Assessment evidence is collected through the following:

  • Continuous assessment of your engagement in technical and creative processes
  • Summative assessment of your achievement in performance or choreographic projects
  • Essays, proposals and verbal presentations
  • Practice-based and written research projects
  • Reflective practice, including written or verbal presentations

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