School of Humanities and Performing Arts

MRes Dance

Are you a dance practitioner, choreographer or teacher wishing to deepen your practical knowledge and critical engagement with dance? Join a vibrant research community with opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaborations. You’ll grow in confidence as a researcher with the ability to generate new ideas, connections, approaches and critical perspectives.

This programme is also available as a Research Masters (ResM). Further details are available on these pages.

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Key features

  • Take advantage of our stunning, new, purpose-built performing arts facility, The House.
  • Learn from highly skilled and internationally renowned practitioners and scholars. Work within the Performance, Experience and Presence (PEP) research group which greatly informs the teaching on this programme.
  • Make use of the close links we have fostered with leading dance companies and professional artists while you’re with us, and gain extra experience that will open up your career prospects. Devon now has a regional and national dance agency, Dance in Devon, and the programme draws on this expertise and dance activity.
  • Benefit from training on the programme which explicitly embeds the skills identified by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, preparing you for MPhil/PhD programmes.
  • Join BA Dance students to take dance technique classes; the theatre and performance department also hosts a number of extra-curricular classes and performance opportunities that are open to you.
  • Engage with Plymouth’s vibrant theatre and performance scene with Peninsula Arts, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Barbican Theatre Plymouth, alongside events and training workshops arranged by the department itself. In the past, our nationally and internationally acclaimed visitors have included Jonathan Burrows/Matteo Fargion, Russell MaliphantHofesh ShechterJordi Cortés (DV 8)Yael FlexerRick Nodine, and Kirstie Simson.
  • Choose to study full time or part time to fit in with your career plans or other commitments. This programme is also available as a Research Masters (ResM).
  • Be part of a lively interdisciplinary arts and research community where you’ll mix with staff and students from across the arts faculty, creating opportunities for collaborative performance and practice-based research.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • All MRes and ResM students study the modules, researching dance and research in the arts and humanities. You’ll also attend individual tutorials with your supervisor and regular research seminars. Both programmes lead to either a written thesis or one combining critical writing with creative/professional practice. While the MRes can only be studied full-time (12 months), the ResM is available either full or part-time. Having completed your taught modules in Year 1 (whether full or part-time), your following year will involve an agreed tutorial schedule and work plan. You may attend additional training, workshops and research seminars. As a full time ResM student, you’ll submit your thesis after 18 months (part-time, after 24 months) or pay a nominal sum for up to six months additional ‘writing up’ time (part-time, 12 months). Your viva takes place following submission of your thesis. To discuss which route is best for you, contact the programme leader.
    Core modules
    • MARE700 Research in the Arts and Humanities

      This module provides students with research skills training and a critical awareness of different methodological approaches in the arts, humanities, cultural industries and associated fields, to enable them to make appropriate choices in their own research. It is designed to complement and support individual research projects carried out by students.

    • MAPR710 Researching Dance

      This module introduces the resources, practical skills, methods and issues specific to research in dance studies and dance making. It will provide an overview of the current methodologies and theoretical developments in the field of dance studies and examine recent articulations of dance operating as a critical discourse.

    • MARE701 Masters Thesis in the Humanities and/or Performing Arts

      This module provides the opportunity to engage in autonomous research within the humanities, performing arts and related interdisciplinary fields. Students work closely with a supervisor in order to structure and present a substantial piece of research which has been informed by appropriate methodological and critical frameworks. It is delivered via independent study, supervisory tutorials and research group discussion.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MRes Dance 3569

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

You’ll need a good 2:1 or first class honours degree in an appropriate subject (e.g. theatre and performance, dance, choreography, community dance, dance science) or equivalent (for instance, you may have studied something else as an undergraduate but have established an artistic practice since then).

You will also need to provide evidence that you are ready to pursue the project you propose in your application. This will take the form of a sample of critical writing and, if relevant, documentation of relevant creative or professional practice (see the How to Apply section for details).

If English is not your first language, you must have proficiency in written and spoken English (normally a minimum test score of 6.5 for IELTS, or equivalent). Given the nature of the programme, you’ll be expected to read and engage with complex theoretical texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.

English language requirements.

Fees, costs and funding

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Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

Home/EU MRes Dance applicants who are proposing practice-as-research in the field of digital performance are also eligible to apply for a competitive 3D3 Research Masters Studentship.

How to apply

Proposal and application process

Application is by project proposal and evidence that you are prepared to successfully complete this project. Your proposal must provide a suitable basis either for a final MRes written-only thesis submission of 25,000 words, or creative and/or professional practice plus a contextual essay of at least 12,500 words. Your MRes proposal should therefore be 500 words maximum and accompanied by a recent sample of critical writing (maximum 3,000 words), which may be from a previous course. Proposals for research that is practice-led must be accompanied by a DVD, portfolio of work or links to online documentation that indicate your readiness to pursue the project. It should take the admissions team no longer than 30 minutes to view all the visual material that you provide. These will be used to determine both your aptitude for the programme and the suitability of your proposed project, as well as the availability of an appropriate supervisor. We will also consider the ability of the department to support your research project with resources appropriate to your needs.

Please attach your project proposal and sample of critical writing to your application form as separate documents. For section eight of the application form, please include a brief statement explaining why you have chosen this course.

All applicants will be interviewed, either in person or by Skype/telephone, prior to being accepted onto either the MRes or ResM Dance programme.

Although they are very similar programmes with the same application forms and supplementary material required, the MRes and ResM Dance have slightly different application processes:


The MRes is a taught postgraduate programme and your application form must be sent to:

Our Admissions and Course Information team is on hand to offer help with your MRes application and can put you in touch with appropriate staff members if you wish to discuss the programme in detail.


The ResM is a postgraduate research programme and your application form must be sent to:

The Graduate School is available to answer any queries about our ResM programmes and any other postgraduate research degrees (such as MPhil/PhD).

Make sure that you clearly indicate at the top of your application form whether you are applying for ResM or MRes.

If you would like to discuss your application please contact the MRes/ResM Dance programme leader, Ruth Way.

The House

Experience our stunning resources for students and researchers in the new performing arts building, The House.

Benefit from our £7 million dynamic four-storey production house and specialist learning and research environment.

Explore the House

Student insight - Abigail Jackson, MRes Dance

My multidisciplinary project researched the use of movement as a transformative tool to aid the development of autistic participants. With support from the staff I gained the confidence to grow as a researcher and dance practitioner.

Abbi’s pursuing a PhD with the transtechnology department at Plymouth to develop her research, and continues to work with her MRes Dance supervisor.

Abigail talks about her research and career

Scottish Dance Theatre performing Angels of Incidence, choreographed by core staff member Adam Benjamin. Photo: Kenny Bean

Experience first hand the excitement of dance and physical theatre

Enrich your experience during your studies with trips to see leading dance and physical theatre companies.

We organise special excursions to Bristol and London, but there's also great theatre and dance on your doorstep.

Find out what's going on

ResM with the School of Humanities and Performing Arts - further details

You can also take this course as a Research Masters (ResM). With the ResM you'll have some taught elements and an extended research phase. There is the option to study full time or part time.

You may also have the opportunity to progress directly into a PhD programme.

Find out more about the ResM pathway

Performance. Experience. Presence (P.E.P) research group

Sharing interests in embodiment, experience, training and cultural representation, our research manifests through creating and analysing performance. We encompass researchers of theatre, dance, live art and interdisciplinary performance practices.

Our PEP Talks series of research seminars is scheduled throughout the academic year and research students organise their own conferences and events.

Learn more about the work carried out by PEP, our theatre, dance and performing arts research group