Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK/EU fee

£800 per 20 credits* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,700 for the full programme (2020/21)

Course level





Déda, Derby

Course description

This postgraduate course in Dance and Contemporary Circus is the first of its kind in the UK and is a fantastic opportunity for artists to further their practice within this growing field and be at the forefront of sector development. Artists will have the opportunity to tap into regional, national and international networks and have access to an exceptional body of infrastructure and resources. Key areas that will be covered include: 

This MA is the result of Déda's and the University of Derby’s recognition of the need to create a postgraduate course which reflects the growing trend within the Dance and Contemporary Circus sectors of artists exploring and blending each other’s practice. Artists are naturally fusing the two forms and there is a need in the UK to create academic resources as is happening in mainland Europe including Sweden and Netherlands.

There are currently no institutions in the UK offering artists a place to research and develop this growing hybrid work - Déda feels like a natural home given its focus on Dance, Contemporary Circus and Outdoor Performance. The MA will build on the success of the undergraduate programme BA (Hons) Dance which launched in 2014. As part of the undergraduate programme, a foundation is offered in aerial and acrobatic practice.

What you will study

Creative Skills (40 credits) – Practical module to hone your skills in Dance and Contemporary Circus creation.

Advanced Research Methods (20 credits) – Theory module designed to enhance your academic research skills to support your practical research.

Creation Lab (40 credits) – A practical research and development period in which to explore deeply into an idea or concept. Seminars will be tutorials and guidance in how best to utilise intensive research-and-development sessions.

Working as an Entrepreneur (20 credits) – Lectures and seminars to enhance your skills in applying for funding, creating your own company, responding to briefs and commissions, and health and safety regulations.

Major Project (60 credits) – A student-led negotiated project that continues in your key area of practice and research. Outcomes can include performances, exhibitions, papers, lecture demonstrations.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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How you will learn

You will learn in the working environment of Déda, a sector leading organisation for Dance, Contemporary Circus and Outdoor work. You will learn through Creative lab sessions in our Dance and Contemporary Circus studios, where you will be able to try out new ideas on your peers, yourselves and others that you choose to work with.

You will be supported by the MA Programme Leader, as well as specialist guest lecturers from the Dance and Circus sectors. Déda will be central to the design and delivery of the learning experience, with input from sector professionals Stephen Munn, Clare Limb and Phil Hargreaves. There will be an opportunity to conduct practice-based research at Tuyo Circus in Nottingham, where there are further Contemporary Circus facilities in addition to those at Déda.

You will be able to create work to be professionally presented by Déda’s Technical Stage Management Team in the Déda Theatre or at an alternative venue/location as required.

How you are assessed

You will be assessed through a mixture of papers, practical demonstrations, performances and vive voce (oral examination).

Explore Déda through a virtual tour: 

A 360 look around one of the studios used by our Dance students

Who will teach you

Elizabeth Foster
Programme leader

Elizabeth Foster is a member of the Performing Arts team working at Deda to deliver on the BA (hons) Dance Degree. Having trained vocationally at Arts Educational School, Laban and Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Elizabeth has accrued over 25 years experience as a professional dancer and dance educator.

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Entry requirements

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees (August 2020 - July 2021)


£800 per 20 credits*

£800 per 20 credits*


£14,700 for the full programme


*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply


Students who complete this programme will be able to produce their own work which is ground breaking in the crossing over of Dance and Contemporary Circus.

You will be pioneers in this field and it is therefore anticipated that you will either have your own companies or undertake commissions for work from other parties.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.