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Dance BA (Hons) - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This course offers a mix of practical skills and academic rigour, delivered by professional teaching staff. No other university in the North East has higher satisfaction with the teaching of dance and drama than Sunderland, according to Unistats 2014.

The focus is on contemporary dance as a performing art. We also cover other genres such as jazz, experimental and physical dance theatre. Each module culminates in performances or presentation and you'll have the chance to perform in public at all stages.

Together with your tutors, you can devise a programme to suit your abilities and ambitions. Module titles include 'Dance Performance', 'Dance and Me', 'Arts Identity and Industry' and 'Dance Practice and Application', You can choose to undertake 'Live Projects' which, for example, might involve developing classes or performing in the community. You can also choose to tour with the undergraduate company DUSC Dance.

Work experience

 Work placement JAN 2016All students studying on-campus undergraduate Dance courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement, a University-led industry initiative, or a professional and business development boot camp. *By the term placement, we mean we are offering you a taste of the industry which might last anything from two days to four weeks on a part-time basis. ‌‌

Your academic studies allow you to explore artistic developments and critical issues, as well as to study key dance practitioners. The academic research of our staff feeds into teaching so that it's totally up-to-date. If you're passionate about dance and the industry in its widest sense, this high-creativity course is for you.

‌Meet Gabriella Moutzakiti, a University of Sunderland tomorrow-maker studying Dance:

Students talk about what they have learned on the Dance course:

Performers from the Dance University of Sunderland Company (DUSC) talk about a contemporary dance performed in their final year of study:

Course content

The course allows you to personalise your studies to suit your career aspirations, particularly in the final year. You can follow a pathway that offers work-based projects in artistic, community and educational settings.

Modules on this course include:

Year 1 (national level 4)

  • Dance Performance (20 Credits)
  • Jazz, Urban and Commercial Dance (20 Credits)
  • Technical Bodies (Dance Techniques) (40 Credits)
  • Dance and Me (20 Credits)
  • Performing Arts Production (20 Credits)

Year 2 (national level 5)

  • Dance Composition and Performance (20 Credits)
  • Experimental Dance (20 Credits)
  • Dance Preparation and Presentation (20 Credits)
  • Technical Bodies 2 (20 Credits)
  • Arts Identity and Industry (20 or 40 Credits)
  • Live Project (20 Credits)
  • Performing Arts In Context (Cabaret) (20 credits)

Final Year (national level 6)

  • Physical Dance Theatre (20 Credits)
  • Staging the Dance (20 or 40 Credits)
  • Key Dance Practitioners (20 Credits)
  • Dance Practice and Application (Tour) (20 or 40 Credits)
  • Live Project (20 Credits)
  • Community Education (20 credits)

Part-time study

If you study this course on a part-time basis you will typically complete 40-80 credits in a year, rather than the 120 credits of full-time students. All modules are taught during the day time and you will be studying alongside full-time students.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is largely workshop-based with supporting seminars, lectures and independent learning. There are opportunities to work with practising artists and dance companies. Other opportunities include involvement in community activity, musical theatre projects, commercial events and evening classes.

Your coursework is continually assessed in the form of essays, reflective logs, research documents and oral presentations. You are supported by your tutors in one to one tutorials and study skills sessions. As well as the University virtual learning space Sunspace, tutors also engage with University social media in order to communicate with students, share opportunities and offer advice.

All modules end in performances or presentations and you will have public performance opportunities at all stages.

To find out more about modules, credits and how you will be assessed, please see the page how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Key Information Sets

All UK Universities and colleges display Key Information Sets (KIS) on their undergraduate courses. The KIS gives you a quick overview of some standard information about a course, and has a link to more detailed information on Unistats.

Facilities & location

At our City Campus, the University's facilities for dance and performing arts include:

  • A main studio with a state-of-the-art lighting rig, a cyclorama for digital work and portable seating for small public performances
  • A second dance studio
  • Rehearsal space
  • Two dressing rooms
  • Cameras and edit suite

We've got a large collection of books, e-books and audio-visual materials related to dance, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of journals so that you can access the most up-to-date research and information.

During your time as a student, you can take advantage of opportunities to participate in University-based dance and drama societies as well as the choir and musical theatre performance projects.


Priestman Building

City Campus, Green Terrace, Sunderland, SR1 3PZ

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 112 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award). Read more on the new UCAS Tariff point system for 2017.

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language; or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number.

If you are studying a HND or Foundation Degree you may be able to enter onto the final year of our degree courses. For more information, please contact

Other acceptable qualifications

BTEC National: 112 points from a BTEC Certificate or Diploma.

Access Courses: We would require successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course that is accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency. We would also require a minimum of grade C in GCSE in Mathematics and English Language or the equivalent as part of your course.

Scottish Highers: Our typical offer is for 112 points.

Irish Leaving Certificate: Our typical offer is for 112 points.

International qualifications: Please call the Student Helpline for advice on other acceptable qualifications. The number from outside the UK is +44 191 515 3000.

Any other qualifications: If you have any other qualifications not listed here, you may still be eligible. Please contact the Student Helpline for advice: 0191 515 3000.

Returners to Learning: If you are a mature student, you may benefit from our dedicated Returners to Learning Progression Scheme. For further information email or call the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

If you wish to be considered for direct entry to a different year of a course, please contact the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Additional requirements 

For the interview, please prepare a one-minute audition piece that demonstrates your dance performance, with evidence of as wide a range of skills as possible. 

Fees & finance

Full time tution fees

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK/EU
  • £10,750 if you are an international student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, please see the International section of this website.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information.

Part-time fees

Tuition fees for part-time students are £4,880 per 120 Credits.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information.

Employment & careers

Our Dance course gives skills and experience to help you succeed in a career in dance.

Career paths of recent graduates include:

  • Teaching and working in education (an important source of employment)
  • Arts administration
  • Community work
  • Freelance/self-employment, including professional performer
  • Entrepreneurs – setting up dance schools
  • Further training and development (MA, PCET, professional training)

Placements and projects

You will gain real-world experience from 'Live Project' modules. Past projects have included working with school pupils, people with special needs and people undergoing drugs rehabilitation. Other projects have included creating teaching resources for GCSE Dance and developing classes for local communities in Sunderland.

Visiting artists

Whenever possible, we arrange visits from companies such as Rosie Kay, South Paw and Birmingham Royal Ballet.

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Arts, The Customs House and Sunderland Empire host students' work and we hold master classes by visiting artists with the casts of West End shows such as Dirty Dancing and The Lion King.


We arrange end-of-year performances within a professional arts venue, working alongside schedulers, box office staff, technicians and professional performers. Your involvement in these performances fosters skills such as marketing, design and communication with venues.


We invite careers advisers and professional speakers to share experiences and stimulate discussions about working practices, networking, career opportunities, shadowing professional practitioners and learning professional etiquette. Students touring with DUSC take on company roles including public relations, marketing, publicity and education outreach. 

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751

University Language Scheme

It is usually possible to take a module from the free University Language Scheme. This can be studied on top of your 120 credits or in some cases, can earn credits towards your degree.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme:

Study Abroad

It may be possible to switch your studies to another country for one or two semesters during the second year. You can choose from over 150 universities in 20 countries, either English-speaking (such as Australia, Canada and the USA) or non English-speaking (such as Argentina, Brazil and Japan). This gives you an opportunity to get an international perspective on your studies. 

Student jobs, volunteering and paid projects (earn while you learn)

Our Careers & Employability Service (CES) advertises a variety of opportunities to earn money while you study.

Volunteering positions in local organisations, charities and community groups can help you to help other people while learning about your strengths and what you can offer. Past opportunities have included working with children and the elderly, conservation work and sporting activities.

CES also advertises details of paid part-time and vacation work in areas from call centre and retail work through to telesales and marketing and promotion and more.

Opportunities to work with companies on flexible, paid, part-time projects in areas such as IT, design, law, media, HR and event management, to name a few, are available too. These projects are a great chance to gain valuable work experience.


The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring that every student has an impressive range of opportunities to enhance their CV and gain valuable experience.

      • Work placements
      • Graduate internships
      • Studying abroad
      • Student Ambassador Scheme
      • Mentoring
      • Starting your own business
      • Student jobs and volunteering
      • Careers advice

For more information visit:


Support for your learning

You can expect stimulating contact time that includes lectures, workshops, seminars and case studies. There is also a significant amount of time where you will be researching and studying on your own in preparation for assignments and seminars. If you have individual queries or difficulties within subject areas, you can book an appointment with your tutor to gain more in-depth support and guidance. You can also book skillability sessions at the library which can be catered specifically to your needs. 

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor. You’ll meet your Tutor at agreed times throughout each year of the course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

“Studying at Sunderland has helped me to develop the choreographic and performance skills needed in the dance field."

Marjukka Savolainen - Dance graduate case study

Marjukka Savolainen - Graduate

BA (Hons) Dance

Studying at Sunderland helped pave the way for Marjukka Savolainen to explore her passion.

She is now working as a freelance dancer and choreographer in Helsinki and plans to open her own performance company in the future thanks to the support she received at university.

“I would definitely recommend the University of Sunderland to all students looking to study dance. Those three years were an amazing time for me. I learnt more than I ever could have imagined and made friends for life – I am looking forward to going back to visit!

“Through lectures, workshops and placements I gained both academic and practical skills. I also did a lot of research which supported the creative work and learning process. During my time at Sunderland, I learnt so much about contemporary dance - the studies really did open my eyes.

“I’m from Finland and chose the University of Sunderland as the course modules are more interesting and versatile compared to the other universities I looked at.

"Also the emphasis of the course was contemporary dance and original movement, which really is my main passion. As a prospective overseas student, I had the chance to audition online and to submit a DVD of my work, which was a great way of applying.

“The lecturers were absolutely amazing. I was always supported and got help and advice whenever I needed. The staff were truly dedicated in their work and made the classes inspirational and professional. I couldn't have asked for a better education.

“During my studies I was always encouraged to be brave and to try new things out. We always got feedback so we could develop our work further and make it better and more meaningful. The lecturers always encouraged me to push myself to the limits and helped me find my strengths and improve my weaknesses.

“We also got to put on our own productions. Staging the dance module and seeing choreography of my own performed by my amazing colleagues on stage at The Custom's House is something I will never forget.

“My goal is to build a career in contemporary dance and physical theatre and to keep developing my skills in choreographing so that I can eventually establish my own dance company.

“Studying at Sunderland has helped me to develop the choreographic and performance skills needed in the dance field. Since graduating I've been working as a freelance dancer and choreographer in Helsinki and worked as an apprentice dancer for Mute Comp Physical theatre in Denmark.

“I've also performed choreographies of my own at the UrbanApa festival in Helsinki and Barker Theatre in Turku, Finland with Swedish dancer Fuji Hoffmann. I am also choreographing for a festival in Finland called 'Disparato'.”

"I enjoyed the whole course, in particular the final year due the versatility of the modules. In Staging the Dance I had the opportunity to choreograph my own piece with my own dancers, which I found both challenging and beneficial."

Jade Bates BA (Hons) Dance

Jade Bates - Student

BA (Hons) Dance

Jade Bates auditioned at four universities but found the audition experience for the BA (Hons) Dance at Sunderland the most professional and enjoyable. She said: “I left the audition feeling welcomed by the dance team and felt excited by the prospects the course had to offer.”

When asked what she enjoyed most about studying at Sunderland Jade, from Doncaster, said: “I enjoyed the whole course, in particular the final year due the versatility of the modules. In Staging the Dance I had the opportunity to choreograph my own piece with my own dancers, which I found both challenging and beneficial."

“I also found the modules where I went on placement really rewarding as I want to go into teaching. Completing these modules gave me experience and knowledge around the subject area on a first hand basis.

“But it wasn’t all work! I enjoyed the bars and clubs of Sunderland’s student friendly social scene."

After graduating, Jade went on to study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Performing Arts at Huddersfield University.

When asked what has helped Jade most in her career, she said: “Being organised and managing my time efficiently. I would have found my third year much harder if I hadn’t planned and received help from my tutors. I had to develop skills whilst at University to ensure my work was done to a high standard. I still use these skills every day, especially when teaching as I have to plan every lesson, manage my time and also ensure my work is completed for my PGCE.”

"I enjoyed being in Sunderland, making the most of the local theatre, the beach and the National Glass Centre. I also relished the opportunity to meet a really interesting mix of people, from all over the world."

Patrick Ngabonziza BA (Hons) Dance

Patrick Ngabonziza - Student

BA (Hons) Dance

“I enjoyed being tutored by lecturers and dance practitioners who constantly encouraged me to achieve more.” Said BA (Hons) Dance graduate Patrick Ngabonziza.

Patrick wanted to stay close to home and the University of Sunderland offered a course that best suited his needs in the North-East.

“I gained confidence in dealing with people from all walks of life and improved my academic skills considerably. As the course emphasised creativity and independence, I flourished as a thinker and practitioner. The programme brought the best out of me as a dance artist.”

Initially, Patrick worked for a local community dance company as dance teacher in schools and rehabilitation centres for teenagers. He is currently involved in a dance project, in France, led by choreographer Boris Charmatz.

“The world was different once I finished my studies. Having the right attitude, knowing what I wanted and how I was going to pursue my goals really helped me.

“I enjoyed being in Sunderland, making the most of the local theatre, the beach and the National Glass Centre. I also relished the opportunity to meet a really interesting mix of people, from all over the world.”

When was asked if he had any advice for new students, Patrick said: "You gain as much as you put in, so make the most of the experience by trying to excel rather than just pass. Get involved in societies and clubs, look for work experience and network, all these activities will enhance your career prospects and complement your academic studies.”

"My degree prepared me for performing to bigger audiences."

CS _ Tasmin Ireland Dance W502 - Graduate

Tamsin Ireland - Graduate

Principal Dancer, West Side Story (Italian Tour)

"My degree taught me about the inner workings of a theatre and prepared me for performing to bigger audiences."

Student work

Apply for this course

Interested in this course? Apply straight away through UCAS, or read our 7-step guide to applying to university.

Part-time study: if you want to study this course on a part-time basis, you need to apply directly to the University of Sunderland by downloading the part-time application form (.pdf).

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017
  • Time: 3:00pm-8:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Science Complex, City Campus, Sunderland SR1 3SD

Contact Sunderland

Contact the Programme Leader for specific questions about the course:

Rachel Emms-Hobbins
Tel: 0191 515 2163

Social media: To see what events we run and to ask a question about this course, contact the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media for general questions about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Tel: 0191 515 3593

The details

Course Name Dance
Classification BA (Hons)
Course Mode Full-time/Part-time
Course Level Undergraduate
Duration 3 years
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £9,250
Intl Fee £10,750

Entry requirements

112 points

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