Frequently Asked Questions


What qualifications do I need for the Foundation Degree / BA Hons Degree?

Applicants must be 18 or over on entry and 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 6.5 pass level or higher.


Do I need a background in circus?

We look for the potential in circus but having a background in it is not necessary. 


Do I already need to specialise in a circus discipline to apply?

For the foundation degree, you do not need to specialise in a specific circus discipline to apply and audition. Successful candidates will go through our specialisation process during the first term of the course. See more about the specialisation process here.

BA (Hons) top-up degree applicants will need to be already specialised in their circus discipline and hold a Foundation Degree from the National Centre for Circus Arts or another school listed as a recognised Full Type 1 member of FEDEC. A list can be found in the entry requirements here.


Which circus disciplines can I specialise in?

The National Centre offer the following disciplines:

Aerial Disciplines

  • Single point trapeze 
  • Static trapeze
  • Doubles trapeze
  • Hoop 
  • Rope
  • Silks
  • Straps
  • Multi cord (Basic level of rope and silks required)
  • Net/loop (Basic level of rope and silks required)
  • Aerial pole (Basic level of Chinese pole required)
  • Cradle

Acrobatic Disciplines

  • Hand to hand
  • Chinese pole 
  • Acro dance
  • Hand balancing
  • Banquine

Juggling and Manipulation

  • Ball, club and ring juggling
  • Hula hoop
  • Hats, cigar boxes, ball spinning and 'gentleman juggling'

Big Space*

  • Cyr wheel
  • Teeterboard
  • Trick bike
  • Tightwire
  • Slack rope

*Invite only – due to varying factors students will only be assessed in these disciplines by invitation only during the specialisation module


What does the audition involve and what are you looking for?

Over the course of the day, auditionees will take part in workshops similar to classes held on the programme. The audition day includes a movement class and three circus skill rotations in the morning.

After lunch, candidates will take part in a theatre class and perform their 90-second presentation for the panel. Successful candidates will then proceed to Stage 2, where they will take part in an interview and Q&A session. During the audition, we consider physicality, musicality, and performance.

More information about the audition process is available here.

Bringing circus equipment

Can I bring my own equipment to the audition?

It is advised where possible to use our equipment here. If we cannot provide your equipment of choice then further discussion can be had and will work on a case by case basis.

Written work

Will I have to write essays?

Yes, as we are a degree course there is a strong element of academic work. This constitutes to 30% of the course, the rest being practical assessment.


As an EU national, how will brexit affect me wanting to study in the UK?

We understand that with the UK leaving the EU, students from the EU may not be sure about what they need to do or how this affects them. If you have any queries or concerns you are advised to check the online information from the UK government.

You may also find useful information on the UK Council for International Student Affairs website (UKCISA).

Related Links


Will I need a VISA to study at the National Centre?

All prospective international students coming to study in the UK on or after 1 January 2021, including those from the EU, EEA and Switzerland, will need to apply for a Student visa and receive a decision before they arrive.

More information can be found here.  

Late applications

Do you allow late entry?

No. For parity’s sake our deadline for applications and auditions cannot be moved. 


Do you accept disabled candidates?

We welcome applications from disabled people and offer places solely on the basis of potential and suitability for a career in circus. 

If you need access support for your audition please get in touch with Joanna on and you can discuss what access you will need. 

Deferring entry

Do you consider deferred entry?

We would not usually but in exceptional circumstances we will consider it. 

Scholarships and funding

Are there any funding/scholarships?

The National Centre for Circus Arts, as part of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, offers scholarships and bursaries for students from low income backgrounds. Along with all the affiliate schools of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama we are working to ensure that our courses remain accessible to all students and that we continue to recruit on the basis of talent alone. More information can be found on our Fees and Funding page.

Video auditioning

Can I do a video audition?

We strongly recommend applicants to attend auditions, however we understand in some cases this may not be possible. In such circumstances we do offer a video audition and online interview. Please make this known at the point of application and we will contact you to arrange a video audition.

Find out more about auditions.

Degree Open Days

Virtual Open Day 2021

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All your degree questions answered

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Policies and Procedures

Admissions / Fees Policies, T&Cs

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Find out about the process here

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Foundation Degree

Applications for September 2020 are now open.

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BA Hons Degree

Applications for September 2020 are now open.

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UAL Level 3 Diploma

We are not taking applications for 2019

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Higher Education

Further information for students

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Frequently Asked Questions

Information for potential, current and past students

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Student Placements

Placements for external international students

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Student performances

Upcoming shows and archive footage

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