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 Foundation Degree in Circus Arts aims to develop a broad range of the skills required as a professional circus artist, with a strong focus on artistic creativity and collaboration, as well as the development of reflective and analytical skills. A specialisation process enables each student to find one circus discipline which will be suited to them and to develop a technical and creative vocabulary in that discipline.

The training is intensive, weeks are 35 hours long with a mix of taught sessions and scheduled independent learning. Each year is 35 weeks in length in order to sustain physical progression. Class sizes vary depending on the subject being taught. As well as physical skill development there is a strong focus on artistic exploration and creativity, contextual studies and business planning.

The course is divided into modules for assessment purposes, details of which can be found by clicking on the programme content links below. The course will focus on continuous assessment of each student’s individual progress, as well as performance related assessment both as an individual and as part of an ensemble. Students analytical and critical skills are also assessed through research presentations, essays and other assignment projects. There are no formal written examinations.   

The degree is delivered at the National Centre for Circus Arts and is awarded by the University of Kent. Students must complete and pass all modules in both years of the course in order to obtain the qualification. On completion of the Foundation Degree they may apply for entry to the BA (Hons) Degree.

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 6.5 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 for entry to the Foundation Degree in September 2017 are now closed.

Applications for September 2018 entry will open Autumn 2017.

Entry to the National Centre for Circus Arts is by application and audition. Auditions are held in May / June and are by invitation only.

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

For more information please email or call us on +44 (0)20 7613 8244.

Behind the scenes on our Higher Education Programme

Arresting aerial tableau by Levi Wotton, Ruby Wain and Leanne Thompson from rehearsals for ‘impulse’, the

Read more
Arresting aerial tableau by Levi Wotton, Ruby Wain and Leanne Thompson from rehearsals for ‘impulse’, the

Another exciting glimpse into rehearsals for ‘impulse’, directed by Ockham’s Razor and on 28 June - 1

Read more
Another exciting glimpse into rehearsals for ‘impulse’, directed by Ockham’s Razor and on 28 June - 1

Our Foundation Degree is awarded by the University of Kent.