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Masters Degree in Performing Arts  

Some 46 universities offer over 80 different postgraduate courses in Performing Arts in the United Kingdom, while hundreds of registered European institutions also have Masters in Performing Arts courses that are taught in English, often out of the humanities department.

A Performing Arts course will draw from drama, dance, music and video technology in order to provide hands-on training combined with valuable theory that can help performers to succeed in their chosen industry.

In a similar way to a Masters in Visual Arts, a Masters in Performing Arts will typically take a year to complete if studied on a full-time basis, while part-time courses will often take two years to complete.

All courses will require in-person attendance, however it may be possible to take a few of the modules via online learning. 

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Modules covered in a Performing Arts Masters

Masters in Performing Arts

A Masters Degree in Performing Arts provides students with the framework required to stretch and explore their own creativity alongside an expert teaching team.

The exact course content and modules covered will depend on the university and the course chosen. Students can often tailor-make their own courses and pick optional modules that are of interest. Some examples of Masters in Performing Arts courses include Performing Shakespeare MA, Digital Theatre MA, Choreographing Live Art MA, Physical Actor Training MA, and Songwriting and Performance MA. 

While all courses differ from one another, many full-time masters degrees have approximately five or six modules which are taken over the course of a year. These modules cover the history and cultural implications of the performance type which is being studied, as well as approaches to performance and an in-depth exploration of performance styles. Students will be required to work on a solo project performance piece which will be showcased at the end of the course. A journal article and possible conference paper is required by some institutions in order to successfully complete the course. 

Almost all Performing Arts Masters Degrees include a special module which focuses on arts management in context. This module teaches students important skills relating to self-management and promotion, budgeting and financial control, cultural policy, along with marketing theory and practice. Not only will this module help to make graduates increasingly attractive to prospective employers, it will also teach them important life skills which are absolutely essential for succeeding within the industry. 

After completion of the core fundamentals of the course, students will have the opportunity to choose their specialist areas of study and take on optional modules for additional credits which can be used toward the Masters degree. 

Qualifications required for an MA in Performing Arts

Students wanting to take a Masters in Performing Arts course will need to hold a bachelors degree, preferably in a performance-related field such as theatre, visual design, music studies, dance or maybe even fine art. Some universities will also require the student to showcase their talents through a live or recorded audition.

Additional requirements, such as an in-person interview, a letter of recommendation, a portfolio of work and a goal statement may also be required by some institutions. 

International students whose first language is not English will need to demonstrate competence in speaking, reading and writing English, sometimes through taking an IELTS test. 

Minimum education prerequisites are set by each institution and occasionally other qualifications and special exceptions may be made for mature students or for students with a specialist background in performing arts. 

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Student case studies

Performing Arts

Emily from Australia said that completing a Performing Arts MA gave her the opportunity to study a range of styles while also growing as a performer more than she could of possibly imagined. 

Renelle who completed a dance based MA in Performing Arts, said that the course has constantly challenged her dance skills and helped to develop her as a strong confident artist who is looking forward to what the future holds. 

Will from England loved the community feel of the Masters Degree course, and he has since applied the knowledge he learnt in the course to become a successful session musician. 

Career opportunities

A Masters Degree in Performing Arts will allow students to develop creative skills and further their studies in a more specialist field. The practical management aspect of the course will also prepare students for the marketing, promotion and self-management aspect of the business which can help to drastically increase chances of success within this notoriously competitive industry. 

This qualification can lead to a range of careers, including actor, dancer, singer, songwriter, artist manager, impersonator, choreographer, playwright, broadcast presenter, theatre director, stage manager and musician. Graduates can also take on a teaching roles relating to the performing arts fields. 

After successful completion of a Masters in Performing Arts, students can choose to further their studies by enrolling on PhD program in Performing Arts. 

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