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Diploma in Performing Arts

Level 5

Step into the spotlight with UCOL’s Diploma in Performing Arts. You’ll gain foundation training for vocations such as performing, directing, and community theatre work and skills to go on to further professional training.

Students perform on stage
Quick info

Level: 5

Locations: Palmerston North

Duration: 1 year, full-time

22 February 2016 - 25 November 2016

Domestic Fees:*

International Fees:*

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). Fees for multi-year programmes are for one year of study.

UCOL’s School of Photography, Arts and Design will develop your skills and confidence as an actor, dancer, singer, and performer.

Students will gain a full year of exploration and development into the art of being a performer, a team player and an individual specialist.

The Diploma in Performing Arts allows you to develop your skills and confidence in acting, movement, voice and singing and acting for camera, through tools of self-reflection, critiquing and productions. This programme is very practical, so you will be constantly putting new skills to use under the guidance of professional, industry experienced tutors.

Upon completion, graduates will possess a solid foundation in the understanding of the mental and physical requirements necessary to develop a career in the performing arts.

As this is a performance course you will be required for rehearsals and performances that will be in the evenings. There is an 80% attendance requirement as there is a considerable amount of team work in theatre and all need to work together to learn and achieve.

Career & Study Outcomes

  • Film
  • Theatre
  • Dance
  • Musical theatre
  • Teaching
  • Directing
  • Community theatre
  • Movie industry
  • Or staircase to further study

Industry Connections

Throughout this course you will be performing in different environments and a range of venues throughout the Manawatu.

We have a scholarship with the “basement” in Palmerston North – an extension of Centre Point theatre and we work with Te Manawa to enhance your experience in performing in unfamiliar environments. We also work with a range of institutes in order to prepare our students for their future directions, assisting with auditions and applications for further study.

Learning Facilities

UCOL has specialised performance space with spring loaded floors for safety in performance, dance and movement. Dressing rooms with shower facilities are available, for those long physical sessions. Computer suites are available for the research, essays and self-reflection documentation.

Domestic Entry Requirements

Open entry.

International Entry Requirements

English Proficiency Entry Requirements:
Minimum entry for international students of IELTS (or equivalent) General or Academic Level 5.5 with no band lower than 5. IELTS scores must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).

Applicants under 20 years of age:
There are specific academic entry requirements for international students under 20 years of age. Please enquire for details.

Advice & Guidance

Each applicant is strongly advised to attend an interview with the Programme Leader and/or Lecturer to gain feedback on the suitability of the programme and to give the Programme Leader and/or Lecturer an indication of the student’s ability.

The nature of this performing arts programme dictates integrated delivery of content from all 8 courses. The grand finale theatre production, for example, provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery of specific learning outcomes from each course. Successful completion of this capstone experience is required for graduation.

Students are strongly advised to enrol on a full-time basis given the integrated nature of this programme, and the necessity to be fully engaged (constantly and consistently) in all 8 courses.

Also, because there is a significant amount of physical activity required in order for students to pass the learning outcomes (especially those associated with the Dance course), students are advised to put any special needs or requirements in writing and to inform the Programme Leader of these before the programme begins. Students will then be given specific information to enable them to make an informed decision about the suitability of enrolling and the likelihood of their successful completion in this qualification.

Students must supply their own clothing suitable for free movement in dance, ie, exercise gear – at least 2 sets of pants and t-shirts (preferably black) and a pair of work-out shoes, plus a water bottle and a towel.

This programme will occasionally require students to work after hours and at week¬ends for rehearsal purposes. Some travel may be involved and students need to be aware that they will be expected to visit performances outside the normal hours of the programme; this may cost up to a maximum of $100.00.

Lecturer feedback, while studio work is in progress, is integral to the development of Performing Arts skills.  Punctuality and attendance, working with others and consideration of class protocols will form an integral part of the assessment process.  To optimise chances of student success, 100% attendance is strongly recommended, and an attendance of 80% is required.

Course Information

  • Acting 1
  • Dance and Movement 1
  • Voice and Singing 1
  • Acting for Camera
  • Acting 2
  • Dance and Movement 2
  • Voice and Singing 2
  • Graduate Theatre Production


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.