Foundation Degree in Circus Arts


This two year vocational circus arts course aims to equip students with the skills to gain employment in the performing arts sector.

Course info

The first year of the Foundation Degree focuses on developing strength and flexibility, proficiency in acrobatics and capabilities in movement and theatre. Specialisation assessments in various circus disciplines enable each student to find one circus discipline which will be suited to them.

The second year is devoted to developing technical abilities in a chosen discipline and in deepening understanding of different performance contexts.

Throughout, the course will focus on performance related assessment both as an individual and as part of an ensemble. Students must complete and pass all modules in both years of the course in order to obtain the qualification. If a student attains the required standards they may be invited to progress to a third ‘top up’ year towards a BA (Hons) Degree.

The course is divided into modules for assessment purposes with a varying number of modules in each year. The training is intensive, weeks are 35 hours long and each year is 36 weeks in length in order to sustain physical progression.

Class sizes vary depending on the specific discipline being taught. As well as physical skill development there is a strong focus on artistic exploration and creativity, history, critical analysis and business planning.

All Higher Education courses contain academic components as an important part of assessment. Written projects, essays and research presentations are required in order to progress from one year to the next.

Programme content 1st year

Programme content 2nd year

Juggling strand

We now operate a juggling strand which allows for a more immediate and direct path to specialisation in the area of juggling and its related manipulation disciplines. To gain access to this strand you would be expected to show a passion for juggling and a level of technical expertise or potential to suggest that you have a professional future in this area. This would be demonstrated through an audition piece as well as showing an aptitude for performance throughout the audition process.

Entry requirements

Applicants must be 18 or over on entry

Applicants must hold a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts or 5 GCSE’s at grade C or above, including English or 3 GCSE’s and 2 A Level passes or equivalent. Candidates who are able to demonstrate their potential to successfully complete a degree programme will also be considered on the basis of previous professional experience.

Applicants will be able to demonstrate their intent to pursue professional employment in circus arts.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate a proficiency in both written and verbal English language. For the Foundation Degree in Circus Arts this would normally be GCSE English or equivalent International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at 6.0 pass level or higher.



Applicants must participate in a two-day audition process. Auditions are by invitation only. We advise you not to make travel arrangements until you have been formally invited to audition. 

Further information about auditions will be available after the application process. Please note that you must be able to attend the auditions on the specified date should an offer be made. 

Auditions for the next academic year will be held in Spring 2017.

Find out more about the audition process

How to apply

Applications are now closed for September 2016 entry. The next round of applications will open in Autumn 2016.

All applicants must also pay a £40 Application Fee, although fee waivers are available. Once complete, please forward your email receipt with your application form. You can pay your Application Fee here.

All applications to Higher Education Degree Programmes are dealt with directly by the Degree Admissions Service at the National Centre for Circus Arts. All applicants who satisfy the basic entry requirements will be invited for audition.

If you're interested in applying next year but have questions, you can complete this form or contact us on the details below.

For more information on applications please contact:
+44 (0)20 7613 8264

Behind the scenes on our Higher Education Programme

If you go into the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise…. Buy tickets for Depart (16 - 26 June)

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If you go into the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise…. Buy tickets for Depart (16 - 26 June)

Interview with Graduates Get to know some of our graduates and their experience with the National

Read more
Interview with Graduates Get
to know some of our graduates and their experience with the National

Our Foundation Degree is awarded by the University of Kent.