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Professional Arts Practice BA Honours

A highly flexible distance learning course that you can fit around work commitments, shape to your own creative interests and use to develop your professional experience
September 2024
1 year full time
Distance Learning
Distance Education
£9,250 (UK) *
£16,600 (INT) *
Course leader
Dr Astrid Bernkopf

Why study Professional Arts Practice at Middlesex University?

  • Validation and professional development through accrediting prior learning.
  • Recognising the contribution of practice and experience in the arts industry to academic study.
  • Foster a vibrant and communicative community of arts practitioners internationally via online learning.
  • Enables progression to study on PGCE courses in the UK for teaching qualifications, the Diploma in Dance Pedagogy through our partnership with the ISTD and enhances general career progression.

What does our degree do?

  • Enhances your professional practice with direct relevance to the wider field of your arts-based professional practice.
  • introduces techniques for reflective practice and critical thinking as catalysts for on-going professional development and career progression.
  • introduces competences in inquiry techniques, particularly qualitative research frameworks and methodologies in practice-based paradigms.
  • Offers flexible study all online, meaning you can study from anywhere in the world.

Course highlights

  • Top-Up degree – build on your vocational qualifications at level 4 and 5.
  • Distance Learning, Flexible study online.
  • Performing artists holding a Trinity Diploma, HND or equivalent professional experience.
  • Flexible Study online.
  • Accreditations of prior learning and certification.
  • Access to teaching qualifications

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What will you study on Professional Arts Practice BA?

You will be introduced to tools for reflecting on your prior learning and critically analysing your current practice in order to situate yourself within a broader map of the arts industry with confidence in your skills set and competencies. You will be guided through developing a proposal for an independent project you wish to undertake that allows you to grow as an artist-practitioner in your field. You will undertake this independent project gaining vital skills of research and analysis, and deepening your understanding of and potential contribution to the arts industry.

You will develop skills of reflection, critical thinking, ethical considerations of practice, research design and practice-based research activities.

  • Modules

    • Reflection on Professional Practice (30 credits)

      This module aims to provide you with theory, reflective tasks and to stimulate collaborative discussion (with Supervisors and the BA student cohort). You will be introduced to theory on reflective practice, pedagogy, modes of learning, networking / connectivism, and communication to position yourself in terms of your own learning approach and trajectory of your professional practice. The module also aims to identify learning as knowledge, generated by and emanating from professional experiences.

    • Planning an Independent Professional Practice Project (30 credits)

      This module aims to equip students with all the necessary elements to undertake a professional practice-based research project. It will guide students through establishing research aims and questions, exploring a variety of methodological approaches and data collections tools, examine best ethical practices, engage with a variety of analytical methods and explore key scholarship to inform a proposed research study. Students will also be guided through undertaking ethical clearance procedures as required by university regulations.

    • Independent Professional Practice Project (30 credits)

      The aim of module is to allow students to conduct a uniquely designed research project that will help with developed personal professional practice. This will be mostly through an execution of the plans made through module ACI3002. Students will carry out data collection and analysis in their project, ensuring use of methods such as triangulation to explore how practice can develop in response to literature and primary data. Students will also articulate their findings through a professional artefact allowing them to manifest how their practice will change as a result of research.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification (PDF).

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How is the Professional Arts Practice, BA taught?

  • Totally online
  • Seminars, group discussions, blogs and other online learning forums

Teaching vs independent learning

Outside of teaching hours, you’ll learn independently through self-study which will involve reading articles and books, working on projects, undertaking research, and preparing for assessments including coursework, presentations and exams.

We are experienced in professional practice and our staff are dedicated to creating a lively and useful environment for independent learning. Your independent learning is supported by the library and study hub, laptop hire, and with online materials.

Here is an indication of how you will split your time:

Module 1



Typical activity



Teaching, learning and assessment



Independent learning

Module 2



Typical activity



Teaching, learning and assessment



Independent learning

Module 3



Typical activity



Teaching, learning and assessment



Independent learning



Practice-based learning

Academic support

Our excellent teaching and support teams will help you develop your skills from research and practical skills to critical thinking.

We are experienced in professional practice and our staff are dedicated to creating a lively and useful environment for independent learning.

Middlesex University has a large collection of resources covering work-based learning and subject-based areas. We strongly encourage our learners to visit the library online when working at a distance to make use of the valuable resources available there.

We strongly encourage you to visit the library online when working at a distance to make use of the valuable resources available there. If you would like to come to campus, our Sheppard Library is open 24 hours a day during term time. And we offer free 24-hour laptop loans with full desktop software, free printing and Wi-Fi to use on or off campus.

Coursework and assessment

Your learning will be assessed regularly and is made up of 100% coursework.


Practice-based, oral, and written assessment modes.


To help you achieve the best results, we will provide regular feedback.


We are experienced in professional practice and our staff are dedicated to creating a lively and useful environment for independent learning.

Middlesex University has a large collection of resources covering work based learning and subject-based areas. We strongly encourage our learners to visit the library online when working at a distance to make use of the valuable resources available there.


We offer lots of support to help you while you're studying including financial advice, wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

Additional needs

We'll support you if you have additional needs such as sensory impairment or dyslexia.  And if you want to find out whether Middlesex is the right place for you before you apply, get in touch with our Disability Advice and Support service.


Our specialist teams will support your mental health. We have free individual counselling sessions, workshops, support groups and useful guides.

Work while you study

Our Middlesex Unitemps branch will help you find work that fits around uni and your other commitments. We have hundreds of student jobs on campus that pay the London Living Wage and above.

Financial Support

You can apply for scholarships and bursaries and our MDX Student Starter Kit to help with up to £1,000 of goods, including a new laptop or iPad.

We have also reduced the costs of studying with free laptop loans, free learning resources and discounts to save money on everyday things. Check out our guide to student life on a budget.

  1. UK entry
  2. International
  3. How to apply

The fees below are for the 2024/25 academic year:

UK students*

Full-time: £9,250

Part-time: £77 per taught credit

International students*

Full-time students: £16,600

Part-time students: £138 per taught credit

*Course fees are subject to annual inflation so the total costs for part-time study are shown here as a guide.

For more information and to answer your frequently asked questions, please visit our undergraduate funding page.

How can the Professional Arts Practice BA support your career?

This course will help you develop your professional practice by:

  • Enhancing existing professional practice and career progression through personal development and self managed learning.
  • Consolidating and expanding professional networks.
  • Building confidence in managing professional experience to create a pathway for further study.
  • Converting an academic or professional diploma, foundation degree or practice-based experience into a recognised honours degree.

Graduates go on to jobs as dance captains on cruises, progress to teaching qualifications and jobs as qualified dance/performing arts teachers, vocal coaches, screenplay writers and directors.

  • Alice Sampson

    Alice Sampson is an Entertainment Host on Carnival UK P&O Cruises. She travels the world on-board ships hosting activities, dance classes and is in charge of all evening entertainment. Her ambition is to embark on a maiden voyage for one of the larger ships launching in 2020 and 2022.

    Alice started her career working for Warner Leisure Hotels as a dancer. After 6 months of working for Warner Alice was promoted to a Dance Captain.

    Alice studied for 3 years at a Performing Arts College in Leeds where she gained a Level 6 Diploma in musical theatre. It was here that she was first introduced to Middlesex University’s BA in Professional Practice Creative Industries (specialism). Deciding that she would eventually like to embark on a teaching career Alice applied for a job as an Entertainment Host with Carnival UK P&O cruises and took a year out to settle into her new role before making the decision to enrol onto the BA in Professional Practice Creative Industries (specialism) with Middlesex University. Taking on the programme was a big decision for Alice but long term would enable her to follow her teaching dream and on completion enrol onto a PGCE, something that would not have been a possibility before.

    Speaking about how the BAPP programme has helped her develop Alice states:

    “The BAPP programme has helped me to develop my time keeping, maturity, computer literacy and organisation skills. I matured a lot during my studies in professional practice, I have learnt how to communicate better with professional agents and cabaret acts. When looking for my job on ships I was able to use all of my research I had got on transferring skills from one profession to another and put it into practice. I also learnt huge amounts of timekeeping and organisation skills as being on a ship with skype sessions etc. I had to be organised.”

    Alice’s research project was about people in one career using their skills to transfer to something completely different. Alice said “In terms of myself I was a dancer who wanted to become a primary school teacher and the role I have at the moment is a stepping stone out of the performing side of life that I am so used to, in order for me to be able to gain experience elsewhere in another profession.”

    Her advice for students that are starting out on BAPP is that it's definitely worth it. “Don’t stress, take your time and never stop finding literature. You can never have enough! Use all the resources that are available to you, including the library. Finally blog, blog, blog, without blogging I wouldn’t have been able to talk about half the things I did in my essay. Blogging ensured I got other people’s opinions and ensured I also didn’t forget about what I had looked at and what I thought about certain things. At the start you may think that blogging isn’t necessary but towards the end you will wish you had. I feel that I wouldn’t have got this new career on ships if I hadn’t experienced the BA Professional Practice, undertaking the programme has matured me as a person and made me ask myself the questions of what I really want to do for a future career."

  • Anthony Gifford

    Anthony Gifford is a Dance Captain on the Royal Caribbean International. With over four years’ experience of working on cruise lines he is in charge of maintaining high quality Broadway style production shows, ensuring that the Entertainment team deliver an excellent vacation experience to all guests aboard.

    Anthony started his training at the Northern Ballet School where he achieved an NVQ Level 6 National Diploma in Professional Dance. His college then recommended Middlesex University’s Professional Practice degree as a way for Anthony to extend his diploma to a BA Honours degree whilst developing his professional practice and exploring issues that were important to him and his workplace through professional inquiry.

    Anthony took his college’s advice and embarked on the programme, graduating from Middlesex University with a BA Hons Professional Practice in Dance in January 2016.

    Reflecting on the impact and changes the programme had on his professional skills and role Anthony says “The programme changed the way I reflected upon my professional career, and was a way to channel my focus not only on the practical side of my job but my career as a whole and my professional life. A lot of people are shocked that I manage to juggle full-time work and part-time study all whilst being abroad and in the middle of an ocean but undertaking the programme has allowed me to develop my leadership skills and given me a solid foundation of organisational behaviour, emotional understanding and time management deadlines.”

    As part of his research project Anthony chose to explore the impact cruise ship life had on the behaviour of its workers, specifically dancers, which helped him to understand the team he was working with better.

    Discussing the impact that the qualification had on his organisation Anthony says “The qualification has given me the skills that are hard to develop when doing just a practical course, giving me the edge over people in my team. Skills such as; leadership, reflection, formal writing, communication, time management, emotional understanding and research ability has helped me develop and manage my team better, which in turn provides the company with an unstoppable workforce.

    "My superiors are very impressed and it again gives me the advantage that I am a lot more qualified than the majority of their workforce, demonstrating aforementioned skills in my day to day work which is not common.”

    His advice for students starting out on the programme is to never give in.

    “I still reflect on the work I did with BA Professional Practice and the enlightenment that I feel even after graduating. It opens your eyes to the industry and allows you to model your own career, focus your research cleverly on something that you're passionate about as it makes the added work ten times easier.”

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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