Type: Access to Higher Education

Qualification: Access to HE Diploma: Contemporary Dance

Duration: 1 Year

Validated by: Certa

NSCD’s Access course is recognised nationally for preparing dance artists to undertake further in-depth professional training. Awarded Outstanding by Ofsted (2014-15), the course provides an insight into the three year full-time degree and has an excellent record for helping students to access conservatoires and Higher Education. Our students on the Access to HE Diploma are enriched by a range of technical, creative and performance experiences in a variety of contexts, all of which support them at the start of their journey towards a career in dance.

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This course includes units of study in ballet and contemporary dance techniques, embodied practice, choreography / creative practice, performance practice, dance in education and contextualising contemporary dance. Performance opportunities take place during the second and third terms of the academic year. We hold a final showcase of both professional and student choreographic/ creative work in the end of year performances in our Riley Theatre. Students have a further performance opportunity in the dance in education module where they create and stage a contemporary dance piece for a schools audience and alongside participating in workshops in a community setting.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have successfully gained a minimum of four GCSEs (including English Language) at grade C or above, or from 2017 grade 4 and above, or equivalent qualifications. Places are offered to candidates demonstrating the greatest potential to benefit from the course regardless of their previous dance experience.

Students selected for the Access to HE Diploma come from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. This climate develops a unique and rich learning environment that fosters a vibrant educational experience for our students.


Students successfully completing all course units will be awarded the Access to Higher Education Diploma: Contemporary Dance. This is a Level 3 qualification on the UK’s National Qualifications Framework, validated by Certa, a national awarding organisation regulated by Ofqual. Please note, this course is not to be confused with the Foundation Degree courses offered by some institutions.

Students of the course have continued their dance training following successful audition at NSCD, London Contemporary Dance School, Trinity Laban, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, London Studio Centre and at a number of universities offering dance degrees.

98% of students who completed the programme in 2016 progressed to further dance training either at NSCD, another conservatoire or university.

"One of the things that attracted me to NSCD is how small it is. It was nothing like any other university I have previously been to." Catrina Nisbett, Access to Higher Education Diploma
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