School of Humanities and Performing Arts

ResM 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.

We welcome proposals for research in any area of contemporary dance and dance as a cultural discourse, but we are especially interested in supervising practice-as-research projects that focus on choreographic practice, screendance practice, somatic movement and embodiment practices.

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Postgraduate loans

You may now be eligible for a government loan of up to £10,000 towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

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, and gain extra experience that will open up your career prospects. Plymouth has a vibrant and active dance scene, with Plymouth Dance and Dance in Devon supporting the dance ecology in Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall.
  • Opportunities to negotiate a research placement with Plymouth Dance.
  • 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 master classes, workshops 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 Candoco, StopGap, Rambert, Flying Low, Jordi Cortes,
    Yael Flexer, Rick Nodine, Kirstie Simson, Wendy Houstoun, LailioDaillo, Epic Arts,Russell Maliphant, 2 Faced Dance,Zoielogic and Liz Aggiss.
  • Choose to study full time or part time to fit in with your career plans or other commitments. 
  • 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

  • Taught modules
  • The ResM can be studied either full or part time. You will study the modules 'Researching Dance' and 'Research in the Arts and Humanities' and attend individual tutorials with your supervisor and regular research seminars, leading to either a written thesis or one combining critical writing with creative/professional practice. We may also agree together that you should take other or additional modules or engage in specific training opportunities.

    After completing your taught modules, you will continue with independent research, guided by your thesis supervisor. Throughout this time spent working towards your thesis, you will be considered a full member of our research community and completely supported until you successfully complete your degree.

    Dependent upon your performance in the first year, you may apply to transfer directly into our PhD programme after 12 months (full time) or 24 months (part time), instead of submitting a ResM thesis.


    Core modules
    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Thesis and assessment
  • Your thesis will be 25000 words in length (or the equivalent if it includes practice). It may be assessed entirely through written work, or through a substantial practical project that addresses particular research questions and is accompanied by an extended contextual essay. We’re pleased to support research that is embedded in and conducted through a professional performance practice.

    You will also participate in a viva voce, or oral examination. This will form part of your examination process and normally takes place between one and three months following submission of your thesis or its written elements.

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

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. ResM Dance is in Band 2 for fees purposes.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for one year. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional six month 'writing up' period (that is, half of the 'writing up' fee indicated on this page).

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for two years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year 'writing up' period.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

This programme is eligible for a postgraduate loan.


How to apply

Submitting your application

Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Graduate School by completing our online application form.

Questions on the application process?

We're here to help. Please contact the Graduate School administration team and we'll be happy to assist you.

You can view or download our postgraduate research admissions policy.

If you have a disability and would like further information on the support available, please visit our Disability Assist services website.

International Student Advise (ISA) provides support for our international students.

ResM features

  • ? World-leading expertise in practice-led performance as research methodologies as well as co-authored and collaborative performance research.
  • ? You can focus almost entirely on an individual research project of your own choice.
  • ? Largely self-directed with tutorial guidance and clear milestones and expectations.
  • ? Includes taught modules (60 credits), that must be passed to develop and evidence your research skills.
  • ? Prepares you specifically to be a researcher in performance studies or the performing arts, to do an extended research project within a professional context, or to do a PhD.
  • ? If you are making exceptional progress, you can progress directly into our PhD programme without having to complete the masters.
  • ? Flexible submission date - between 12-18 months full time or 24-36 months part time - meaning you can be examined when you feel ready.

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

Experience first hand the excitement of dance and physical theatre

Enrich your experience during your studies with opportunities to see some of the best contemporary dance performance touring in the Uk and internationally

Opportunities to participate in master classes and workshops and see an exciting range of contemporary performance work at the House.

Find out what's going on

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

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