Programme Specification for BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Musical Theatre

This programme is only offered at: The Urdang Academy.

Final award

BA (Hons)

Intermediate awards available

Cert HE in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre (120 credits) ; Dip HE in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre (240 credits)

UCAS code


Details of professional body accreditation


Relevant QAA Benchmark statements

The degree was created using the latest Quality Assurance bench-marking criteria for 'Dance, Drama and Performance' as a guide.

Date specification last up-dated

July 2014


The summary - UCAS programme profile


BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Musical Theatre is a high calibre vocational programme which equips students for a career in the entertainment industry.  The three year programme offers intensive specialist training in dance, singing and acting.  Our aim is to prepare you with excellent employment skills suitable for the professional performing arts industry, including Musicals (West End and Touring), Dance Companies, TV, theatre and education.


Access to the BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Musical Theatre programme is highly competitive.  The Academy welcomes talented, committed and hardworking indviduals.  You will be asked to show evidence that you have the motivation and ambition to undertake our programme of students.  In return, we will develop and nurture your potential and prepare you for a career in the entertainment industry.
Selection is by audition and applicants are also expected to achieve:
  • Grade C or above in GCSE English

Three A-levels at grades A-E or equivalent; this could include BTEC, GNVQ, the IB or other European and world-wide post-16 education.

There is no requirement for students to have passed dance or drama examinations.

Overseas students are required to pass the IELTS (International English Language) at 6.5 or the TOEFL equivalent.

At UEL we are committed to working together to build a learning community founded on equality of opportunity - a learning community which celebrates the rich diversity of our student and staff populations. Discriminatory behaviour has no place in our community and will not be tolerated. Within a spirit of respecting difference, our equality and diversity policies promise fair treatment and equality of opportunity for all. In pursuing this aim, we want people applying for a place at UEL to feel valued and know that the process and experience will be transparent and fair and no one will be refused access on the grounds of any protected characteristic stated in the Equality Act 2010


BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Musical Theatre

Intensive and vocational, this programme is designed to give you the opportunity to:

  • Train with leading practitioners through close links with the performance industry.
  • Train in a professional environment.
  • Increase your knowledge base and understanding in all areas of Dance and Musical Theatre.
  • Create strong foundations for a successful and lifelong career within the industry.
  • Work with likeminded people.
  • Prepare you with the confidenee and equip you with a strong set of specialist and transferable skills for direct access to prestigious employment, such as West End and touring musicals, commercial dance and television.
  • Deepen your awareness of the industry to give you exclusive opportunities but also enable you to become a versatile individual in exciting and diverse contexts.

Programme structure

The BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Musical Theatre is a 3 year full time programme. All classes are delivered at the Urdang Academy campuses in Islington.

Year 1

Dance: Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz and Tap

Musical Theatre: Singing Technique, Singing Repertoire, Integrated Performance, Acting, Acting Through Song, Voice, Articulation and Accent

Contextual and Critical Studies: Healthier Performer, Music Theory for the Performer, Dance History (with embedded study skills), Musical Theatre History and Choreography

Year 2

Dance: Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz and Tap

Musical Theatre: Singning Technique, Singing Portfolio, Integrated Performance, Acting, Acting through Song, Voice and Accent

Contextual and Critical Studies: Performance Culture, Musical Theatre Choreography, Preparing to Research and Dissertation Proposal

Year 3

Dance: Specialised Dance

Musical Theatre: Singing for Audition and Acting for Audition

Performance: Dance Production and Musical Presentation (Public Performances)

Contextual and Critical Studies: Dissertation

Project Work

There is project work within choreography, the dissertation and the final year performances.  The dissertation is double weighted as is the Performance module.

Learning environment

The ultimate goal of the programme is to provide you with a variety of performance opportunities, including dance productions, musicals and off site showcases (Move It).

Over the years, Urdang has built and continue to maintain strong and active partnerships with the following professional bodies: Trinity College London, Council for Dance Education and Training (UK), Arts Council of England, the ISTD Centre, Dance UK, Education Funding Authority, Islington Council, Open House Festival, English Heritage, Islington Primary Health Care Trust, the Amwell Society, the Islington Society,, Spotlight and the British Performing Arts Year Book.

All members of the teaching faculty at the college have worked professionally and are all experienced teachers.  Urdang Academy has always encouraged strong links with practicing professionals, which not only keeps the training in line with the current requirements of West End directors and choreographers, but also provides a professional approach to the core curriculum which results in producing a rounded performer with a thorough understanding of the entertainment industry.


Urdang sees assessment as a part of learning and a way to progress.  Your work will be rigorously assessed which will challenge and encourage you to achieve.  This will ensure you progress and attainment at the relevant level.

Work experience/placement opportunities

Urdang Academy works with current casting directors and professional choreographers to ensure students are kept aware of trends within the industry - to date our students have worked with Kate Prince - artistic director of Zoonation, Stephen Mear - award winning west end choreographer, Scintilla Dance Company, Icon Dance, Flawless Street Dance Crew, Thriller Live, West End.  Additionally, our students have been auditioned by AMCK Agency, Boss Creative Entertainment and Box Artist Management.  Contact with such companies and individuals mean you will gain up to date career advice, equipping you for a life both on the stage and for employment afterwards.


If you are interested in...

  • Dance
  • Singing
  • Acting
  • Musical Theatre
  • Full Performance Techniques
  • Choreography
  • Full knowledge of history and theory of Dance and Musical Theatre

If you enjoy...

  • Working in groups
  • Independent learning and development
  • Learning the full range of performer techniques
  • Being equipped for employment on the West End Stage

If you want...

  • The full learning experience with industry professional teachers
  • Inspiring and creative classes
  • Opportunity to expand your range of talents in dance and musical theatre
  • Confidence in your academic abilities
  • Skills to support personal and professional development throughout your life

Your future career

Urdang continues to open doors to fantastic professional opportunities in London and beyond.  Current West End credits include The Lion King, Les Miserables, Thriller Live, Top Hat, The Bodyguard, Matilda, Jersey Boys, A Chorus Line.  This list is indicative and will change from year to year.

Graduates have many and varied careers on the stage, film and television, West End and Broadway shows, national and touring shows, pantomime, cruise ships, contemporary dance companies and dance in education and community dance.  They are also choreographers, dance captains and appear in pop videos and pop band tours.  Graduates also act, work in cabaret and in stage management and as theatrical agents.

Our programme aims to broaden and extend your career by anticipating your future in a diverse and expanding industry.  Graduates have chosen to explore new areas such as teaching, physiotherapy, yoga and sports therapy massage, song writing, film producing and arts management.  Others have decided to continue with education by choosing to study on postgraduate courses such as MA Acting, MA in Musical Theatre, PGCE: Dance Teaching.

How we support you

Urdang is dedicated to supporting the progression and success of our students.  We pride ourselves in the outstanding quality of training we provide and the reputation we have built around our caring and nurturing approach to individual talent.  Our pastoral system provides space and time for you to discuss any issues that may arise during your time at the Academy.

You are invited to contact our Student Liaison Officer as a first point of call for information, practical support and advice.  They will be able to let you know about the range of support available to you.

Bonus factors

  • Cutting edge ethos that reflects today's performing arts industry requirements
  • You will work with and learn from a Faculty closely linked to the current trends in the entertainment industry.
  • You will be a stone's throw from the West End and its culture.
  • Urdang's international reputation as a performing arts provider.
  • Oustanding pastoral care
  • All students are signed to BBA at Urdang, the college's agency.

Urdang has a longstanding track record of close links and collaborations with distinguished practitioners, casting directors and agents, including:

  • Cameron Mackintosh Ltd
  • The Really Useful Company
  • Jill Green Casting
  • David Grindrod Associates
  • Matthew Bourne Adventures in Motion Pictures
  • Jonzi D
  • Disney Corporation


Programme aims and learning outcomes

What is this programme designed to achieve?

This programme is designed to give you the opportunity to:

  • Gain practical skills in dance, singing, acting and musical theatre performance
  • Participate in a range of dance and musical theatre productions for public performance
  • Develop your performance skills to professional level
  • Gain understanding of the cultural and historical developments in dance and musical theatre
  • Understand the role and functions of professional dance and musical theatre
  • Understand the leading theories and principal techniques within professional dance and musical theatre
  • Gain choreographic skills and implement them in your own choreography
  • Complete independent research projects in dance and musical theatre
  • Network with professional dance and musical theatre artists and organizations

What will you learn?

Knowledge and understanding

  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of dance and musical theatre performance through building practical technical skills
  • Understanding of the historical and cultural developments in dance and musical theatre
  • Detailed knowledge of choreographic devices and structures

'Thinking' skills

  • Creative approaches to dance and musical theatre choreography through a range of styles
  • Critical reflection skills through self, peer and group evaluation

Subject-Based Practical skills

  • Professional level skills in singing, acting and a range of dance styles
  • Professional level skills in theatre performance

Skills for life and work

  • Intellectual curiosity and the potential for continuing artistic and professional development
  • The ability to work independently and in combination with other theatre art forms
  • Skills in leadership, negotiation, listening, critical self awareness, teamwork, organization of self and others, decision making and creativity


The programme structure


All programmes are credit-rated to help you to understand the amount and level of study that is needed.

One credit is equal to 10 hours of directed study time (this includes everything you do e.g. lecture, seminar and private study).

Credits are assigned to one of 5 levels:

  • 0 - equivalent in standard to GCE 'A' level and is intended to prepare students for year one of an undergraduate degree programme
  • 1 - equivalent in standard to the first year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • 2 - equivalent in standard to the second year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • 3 - equivalent in standard to the third year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • M - equivalent in standard to a Masters degree

Credit rating

The overall credit-rating of this programme is 360 credits.

Typical duration

The expected duration of this programme is 3 years when attended in full-time mode.

How the teaching year is divided

The teaching year begins in September and ends in May. A student, normally registering for 6 modules in one year (3 modules in each Semester) would do so in a full-time attendance mode of study.

What you will study when

This programme is part of a modular degree scheme. A student registered in a full-time attendance mode will take six 20 credit modules per year (or equivalent).  An honours degreed students will complete six modules (120 credits) at level one, six (120 credits) at level 2 and six (120 credits) at level 3 (or equivalent).

Single 120 credits at levels one, two and three

Modules are defined as Core (must be taken)




Dance 1






Musical Theatre 1






Contextual and Critical Studies 1






Contextual and Critical Studies 2












Dance 2






Musical Theatre 2






Contextual and Critical Studies 3






Contextual and Critical Studies 4












Specialised Dance






Musical Theatre 3






Contextual and Critical Studies 5










Requirements for gaining an award

In order to gain an honours degree you will need to obtain 360 credits including:

  • A minimum of 120 credits at level one or higher
  • A minimum of 120 credits at level two or higher
  • A minimum of 120 credits at level three or higher

In order to gain a Diploma of Higher Education you will need to obtain at least 240 credits including a minimum of 120 credits at level one or higher and 120 credits at level two or higher

In order to gain a Certificate of Higher Education you will need to obtain 120 credits at level one or higher

Degree Classification

Where a student is eligible for an Honours degree, and has gained a minimum of 240 UEL credits at level 2 or level 3 on the programme, including a minimum of 120 UEL credits at level 3, the award classification is determined by calculating:

The arithmetic mean of the best 100 credits at level 3




The arithmetic mean of the next best 100 credits at levels 2 and/or 3



and applying the mark obtained as a percentage, with all decimals points rounded up to the nearest whole number, to the following classification

70% - 100%

First Class Honours

60% - 69%

Second Class Honours, First Division

50% - 59%

Second Class Honours, Second Division

40% - 49%

Third Class Honours

0% - 39%

Not passed



Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

Knowledge is developed through

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Independent research

Thinking skills are developed through

  • Autonomous learning
  • Tutorials
  • Research

Practical skills are developed through

  • Continuous workshop practice
  • Choreography
  • Performance production

Skills for life and work (general skills) are developed through

  • Working in teams
  • Writing skills


Knowledge is assessed by

  • Examination
  • Presentation
  • Coursework

'Thinking' skills are assessed by

  • Coursework
  • Examination
  • Independent Research

Practical skills are assessed by

  • Tests
  • Examination
  • Audition and Performance

Skills for life and work (general skills) are assessed by

  • Presentation
  • Team work
  • Independent thinking and action


How we assure the quality of this programme

Before this programme started

Before this programme started, the following was checked:

  • there would be enough qualified staff to teach the programme;
  • adequate resources would be in place;
  • the overall aims and objectives were appropriate;
  • the content of the programme met national benchmark requirements;
  • the programme met any professional/statutory body requirements;
  • the proposal met other internal quality criteria covering a range of issues such as admissions policy, teaching, learning and assessment strategy and student support mechanisms.

This is done through a process of programme approval which involves consulting academic experts including some subject specialists from other institutions.

How we monitor the quality of this programme

The quality of this programme is monitored each year through evaluating:

  • external examiner reports (considering quality and standards);
  • statistical information (considering issues such as the pass rate);
  • student feedback. 

Drawing on this and other information, programme teams undertake the annual Review and Enhancement Process which is co-ordinated at School level and includes student participation. The process is monitored by our Quality and Standards Committee.

Once every five years an in-depth review of the collaboration is undertaken by a panel that includes at least two external subject specialists. The panel considers documents, looks at student work, speaks to current and former students and speaks to staff before drawing its conclusions. The result is a report highlighting good practice and identifying areas where action is needed

The role of the programme committee

This programme has a programme committee comprising all relevant teaching staff, student representatives and others who make a contribution towards the effective operation of the programme (e.g. library/technician staff). The committee has responsibilities for the quality of the programme. It provides input into the operation of the Review and Enhancement Process and proposes changes to improve quality. The programme committee plays a critical role in the quality assurance procedures

The role of external examiners

The standard of this programme is monitored by at least one external examiner. External examiners have two primary responsibilities:

  • To ensure the standard of the programme;
  • To ensure that justice is done to individual students.

External examiners fulfil these responsibilities in a variety of ways including:

  • Approving exam papers/assignments;
  • Attending assessment boards;
  • Reviewing samples of student work and moderating marks;
  • Ensuring that regulations are followed;
  • Providing feedback through an annual report that enables us to make improvements for the future.

Listening to the views of students

The following methods for gaining student feedback are used on this programme:

  • Module evaluations
  • Student representation on programme committees
  • Student/Staff consultative committee

Students are notified of the action taken through:

  • circulating the minutes of the programme committee
  • a newsletter published three times a year
  • providing details on the programme notice board

Listening to the views of others

The following methods are used for gaining the views of other interested parties:

  • Annual student satisfaction questionnaire
  • Questionnaires to former students

Further Information

Alternative locations for studying this programme


Which elements?

Taught by UEL staff

Taught by local staff

Method of Delivery











Where you can find further information

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