BA (Hons) Professional Arts Practice (Top Up)

Qualification | Degree

Course Leader | Jenny Coyle

Validated by | University of East London (UEL)

Location | Online

Course Length | 1 Year - flexible learning

Start Date | January 2024 / September 2024


The Italia Conti BA (Hons) Professional Arts Practice (One-Year Online Top Up) is an innovative, unique, industry-leading programme.

The programme is designed to be completed entirely through distance learning, to fit around your schedule. Aimed at those who have completed their performing arts training, and may have already worked in the industry, the course is designed to help you reflect upon your journey to this point, research the avenues you wish to pursue next, and bridge the gap to take the next steps on your career journey. Through a wide variety of online resources, live and recorded webinars, group and individual tutorials, presentations, film creation, research projects and written work, you will deeply evaluate your own professional practice and personal qualities and attributes, extensively consider and research an area of the performing arts industry that interests you, and prepare a professional project that moves you towards that goal, through either the creation of a professional portfolio, an action research project or a written dissertation.

The programme focuses on you and your personal and professional development, training you in the reflective and research skills required to get you from where you are to where you want to be. We teach you how to critically reflect upon your life and work experience to date, intensively research the options you’re interested in pursuing and help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you wish to go next.





There are three modules in the programme, which focus on the following:

MODULE 1 – Reflection, Practice and the Creative Practitioner

In this module, you will learn the skills of Critical Reflection through studies of different reflective models, and how to embed them into your professional practice. Using these skills, you will write a reflective essay of 4,500 words reflecting on your relevant life experiences to date and framing them in such a way as to make them beneficial to your future professional life. You will also write a literature review assimilating the reading you undertook while creating the reflective essay, which is an opportunity to practice your academic reading and writing skills. You will then go on to a practical project, creating a documentary-style video which focuses on the area of the creative industries you feel you wish to further research and pursue through this programme and beyond, thus informing your future career choices, after which you will write a short mission statement which assimilates the learning of the module and launches you into the next stage of your studies.

MODULE 2 -Personal Professional Employability

In this module, you have the opportunity to gain experience in the field you are interested in researching further or continuing into in your future career. You might choose to undertake an internship or work experience, or use the time to meet professionals in your field of interest to gain an in-depth knowledge of your chosen field. Your research is assessed in the final week of the module through a panel presentation, and written report.

MODULE 3 – Professional Project

This is your dissertation module, which can be undertaken through one of three options:

Professional Practice Portfolio option

This option will be appropriate for those who wish to launch a business of some description, or create marketing materials for their personal career development.

By way of example, for those students wishing to pursue a career in performance, this might consist of a filmed showreel as a demonstration of your skills in performance, choreographic/director or creative work as is appropriate, and a website to promote their work. For those setting up a business it might be a portfolio of promotional videos, brochures or website materials, and learning how to utilise social media platforms to promote your businesses, whether this is yourself as a performer, creative, maker, facilitator or a service-providing business you wish to create. There will be a viva voce to present the materials and describe your processes.

Action Research Project option

This option allows you to undertake an action research project which allows you to investigate and interrogate, through practical research activities, an area of interest within the performing or creative arts sectors, chosen in consultation with the Course Leader or personal tutor. The research will be presented in a written report to present your findings and your process.

This option will be suited to those who have an aspect of their practice they wish to collect data on, formulate a strategy to trial, and write up the results of that trial as a report. An example of this is a teacher who wishes to explore some aspect of developing their practice through classroom/studio ‘experiments’ with students.

Written Dissertation option

This option will be suited to those who wish to deeply research an aspect of their practice and formally convey their findings through a full written dissertation. You may choose to submit a written dissertation on an area of interest within the performing or creative arts sectors, the subject of which will be selected in consultation with the Course Leader or personal tutor.


Additionally, to support your learning, you access have to two bonus sub-modules designed to teach you essential study skills, and academic reading and writing skills to prepare you to effectively read and write at BA (Hons) level 6 level, no matter what or when your last academic experience.

The above modules are assessed through a range of tasks from written papers, reports and reflections to panel presentations and documentary-style videos. You will be supported in your research and professional development by a range of specialists in the field, who will help you combine your personal and professional goals with academic development, and leave you with all the tools and experience you’ll need to embark on the next stage of your arts industry career.

The course is very much tailored to your own interests and goals and can be completed from anywhere in the world, so long as you have internet access. Any live sessions will be recorded to catch up later, and your personal tutors will plan one to one sessions around your availability. The time commitment involved depends very much on your own personal working patterns, but is highly manageable around full time work, family life or other commitments. A typical week may involve around 15 hours of course work, but this changes throughout the different components of the course, and may be more or less at certain points.

We are looking for students who have completed their Level 6 Trinity Diploma in performing arts or equivalent, or have extensive relevant professional performance experience. Your application will involve an interview to determine your suitability for the programme and discuss your aims and objectives.

Completing your BA (Hons) degree with Italia Conti will equip you academically and practically to move on to the next stage of your performing arts degree, with the knowledge and expertise of the faculty of one of the longest-established performing arts schools in the country behind you.

UK students can apply for funding through Student Loans Company


UK Tuition Fees | £9250 (paid in advanced in termly instalments)
International Students | £13,449
Deposit | £150 (The deposit is refundable within 14 calendar days of the payment being received by Italia Conti but will not be refunded thereafter for non-enrolment. It will be held by the School and will be refundable on completion of the course, without interest, less any outstanding sums owed by the student to Italia Conti.)​


Terms and conditions apply upon acceptance to Italia Conti.


The BA (Hons) Top Up course offers the following funding options:

  • Student Finance
  • Private Funding
  • “I have just graduated from Liverpool Theatre School with a Level 6 Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre. I wanted to do the BA Hons (Top Up) in Professional Arts Practice course to further develop my skills for the industry. It is the perfect balance between academic writing and creativity. I already have seen improvements, both in my academic and performing work, and I now really value the ability to critically reflect on past experiences in order to improve my current skills.”

    - Sarah Collinge – Musical Theatre Performer Current Student, Class of July 2024
  • “I have found that my first term at Italia Conti has been better than I could’ve imagined. I am working with driven, passionate, likeminded people within all different realms of the performing arts industry. I find that the course is very tailored to each individual and the content is broad enough to apply to everyone but specific enough to challenge each person within their abilities. I find the course to be a place where I can collaborate and interact with people who I’d never had met otherwise. I only look forward to what the next few months of the course bring and feel more motivated than ever.”

    - Kate Drummond – Actor Current Student, Class of July 2024
  • Current Student, Class of July 2024
    “The course is allowing me to reflect on my past practice, current position, and future endeavours. I really enjoy how flexible the course is, with regards to being able to tailor my studies to my own practice, enabling me to maximise the benefits of this on my future career. I expect my professional development to be impacted exponentially and I am excited to continue!”

    - Amy-Jo Sumner – Musical Theatre Performer
  • “Italia Conti’s BA Top up course was the one for me! Creating a business in under 9 months has been a massive accomplishment! The course really helps shape your future, enables you to meet professional contacts to support your research, and gives you lots of time to understand the area of the industry you want to specialise in.”

    - Rachel Ward – Performing Arts Tutor Graduate, BA Top up Class of Sept 2022
  • I’m a professional dancer but have taught only ballet. These classes are EXACTLY what I was looking for to show some basics of contemp for my students !! Absolutely love every single Video

    - @ginamusaelyan2307 – Italia Conti Virtual
  • I’ve watched a lot of your videos and I love every single one that she teaches. THANK YOU. Gorgeous movement.

    - @debbied3464 – Italia Conti Virtual
  • Amazing class, one of the best I’ve ever done. So easy to follow, thank you!

    - @yellowbeachgirl – Italia Conti Virtual
  • I’m a dancer in LA and can’t keep up with my peers on how often they take dance classes. This channel has been so helpful for me to keep up my training. Thank you for sharing this with the world. I feel like we are all dancing together even though we are all doing this at different times and in different spaces. 🖤

    - @SarahPaceSings – Italia Conti Virtual
  • Best ballet teacher on the internet Great explanation, enthusiasm and commentary throughout the exercise!

    - @annajones6805 – Italia Conti Virtual


Application to the BA (Hons) Professional Arts Practice (Top Up) course is to be made through UCAS only. Please note that our listing on UCAS is shown as University of East London (UEL) – Musical Theatre.

UCAS Institution Code | E28

UCAS Course Code | W316

Once applicants have applied for the BA (Hons) Professional Arts Practice (Top Up) programme through UCAS they will receive an email from UEL containing a link to Italia Conti’s BA (Hons) application form. Applicants must complete this form in order to be considered for the course. Applicants cannot apply through UCAS alone for this programme.

January intake:

Applicants should have completed Italia Conti’s application form by the 10 December in the year of application in order to be considered for an interview for January intake – i.e. 10 December 2022 for January 2023 entry.

September intake:

Applicants should have completed Italia Conti’s application form by 01 July in the year of application, in order to be considered for an interview for the September intake i.e. 01 July 2022 for September 2022 entry.​

Applicants who have applied through UCAS and who have not received an email containing a link to Italia Conti’s application form should contact before the 10 December in the year of application for January intake and before 01 July for September intake.

In line with our admissions policy, Italia Conti reserves the right to alter or withdraw offers at any point. Places on our courses are limited; it is usual for drama schools to make more offers than there are places. Acceptances are dealt with on a first come first serve basis and so early acceptance is advised.

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  • 18+ by the 31st August or 31st December in the year of entry, dependent on start date.
  •  Level 2 English and Maths at GCSE Grade 4 or above or recognised equivalent qualifications.
  • Level 6 Professional Performing Arts Diploma validated by Trinity College, London, or equivalent recognised Level 5 degree qualification in a performing arts subject (e.g. Level 5 Foundation Degree, Level 5 DipHE, HND)
  • IELTS Level 6 (for students for whom English is not their first language and who do not have GCSE English or equivalent)
  • Legal right to study in the UK for the full period of the course.
  • Successful interview through Italia Conti.
  • Evidence of all the above must be provided in hard copy.


On occasion, admission may be considered through recognition of non-standard entry through the AEL or ACL process. Where the student demonstrates good capacity practically through the interview process, but prior qualifications do not demonstrate sufficient evidence to adjudicate a student’s capacity to engage with the written aspects of the relevant course, an offer conditional on providing a written exercise could be made (within the previously noted processes for AEL). UEL also provide equivalences data for students who may have international qualifications, which can inform the decision-making process.


We also welcome applications from students who have gained appropriate skills through a wide range of vocational qualifications or suitable experience. Candidates may be required to give an additional element at interview to demonstrate their suitability and this may include written work. Any offer would be subject to the approval of the Italia Conti Panel and UEL. Mature students (over 21) with no formal qualifications should contact the Course Administrator prior to sending in their application form to ensure that the necessary information can be supplied to the School.


Students may be admitted through Accreditation of Experiential Learning (AEL) or Accreditation of Certificated Learning (ACL) process.

All prospective students wishing their prior certificated or experiential learning to be considered will have to attend an in-depth interview with the Italia Conti Course Leader and panel to determine suitability and qualification for entry. A portfolio of written and/or creative work may also be requested. Evidence will be reviewed by a panel on a case-by-case basis. All recommendations for entry on the basis of accredited certificated or experiential learning will need to be ratified by the UEL Award board, which will do so according to the standard time frames.


The evidence will be reviewed by a panel on a case by case basis. Consideration may be given to the following, to evidence a successful and high quality, professional performance career:

  • Equity managed work credits, specifically a minimum of 3 high quality employment contracts, or an extended contract over at least 3 years.
  • Evidence of an (Agency Association/ Equity approved) Agency contract with a letter of reference detailing the calibre of work the candidate is put up for/ seen for
  • CV and any performance showreels/ portfolio or editorials/ official critique of the candidate’s work.
  • Number of years in full time vocational performing arts skills training
  • High calibre industry credits
  • Other relevant qualification(s)
  • Professional reputation within the industry and social media/Google search.

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BA (Hons) Professional Arts Practice (Top Up)

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Course Leader | Jenny Coyle

Validated by | University of East London (UEL)

Location | Online

Course Length | 1 Year - flexible learning

Start Date | January 2024 / September 2024

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