Visualise yourself performing twists, flips and other acrobatic manoeuvres? The Certificate IV in Circus Arts gives you an introduction to high-performance training and develops the skills and knowledge required to begin a career as a circus artist. Learn to develop a specialised training program for your area of expertise and create a routine for an ensemble circus performance. Graduate with advanced skills for solo and group specialisations.

This is a nationally approved vocational course that is recognised throughout Australia.

  • Nationally recognised training
    Nationally recognised training
Course currently in transition

The course code, title, units, and content may change. Further information will become available on our website, upon enrolment or during your studies.

Midyear applications are now open.

Ready to apply for a midyear start? Go to the application portal. Still exploring your options at Swinburne? Meet us at Open Day.

Skills you’ll learn

  • Conditioning and training
  • Movement and performance skills
  • Applied circus and physical theatre practices
  • Collaboration with others
  • Providing support for performance plans

Your career opportunities

  • Core circus foundation skills performer
  • Ensemble member
  • Assistant in properties and bump in/out

Key codes

CRICOS course code
International student visa

International students in Australia who hold student visas are required to study full-time and on campus. Courses that are taught entirely online are only available to international students studying outside Australia or those in Australia who are not on a student visa. Online courses are not available to international students in Australia who hold a student visa.

Location options


Applicants for the 10824NAT Certificate IV in Circus Arts are expected to:

  • Have a demonstrated capacity in learning, reading, writing, oracy and numeracy competencies to Level 3 of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF).
  • (We recommend the completion of Year 12; including English Units 3 & 4 and Mathematics Units 1 & 2)


Undertake an audition to demonstrate technical and artistic skills in at least three of the following areas to NICA Circus Arts Education and Training Benchmark Introductory Elementary Level E:

  • Fitness and conditioning
  • Flexibility
  • Handstands / balance
  • Tumbling / acrobatics
  • Strength
  • Manipulation
  • Demonstration of body alignment
  • Movement and performance skills

The successful completion of Year 12 or equivalent is the minimum required educational qualification.

Entry into NICA is by audition, interview and successful completion of a medical assessment. Applicants must apply to audition. A video link may be provided by applicants unable to access an audition venue.

Applicants are expected to have a background in areas such as performing arts, physical theatre, youth circus, dance, martial arts, acrobatic sports or gymnastics.

Successful completion of Australian Year 12, or equivalent overseas qualification.

Other requirements

In addition to the above requirements, participants must be physically able to undertake the qualification. Provision of medical evidence of suitability for circus training may be required.

Admission requirements

Meeting the minimum entry requirements for the course does not guarantee an offer of a place. See admission requirements for general information about the admission process.

English language requirements

Satisfactory completion of one of the following:

  • IELTS overall band of 5.5 (Academic Module) with no individual band below 5.0
  • Swinburne’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP 4 Upper Intermediate level) with overall 65%, all skills 60%
  • TOEFL iBT (internet-based) minimum score of 65 with no band less than 15
  • Pearson (PTE) minimum score of 42 (no communicative skills less than 36)
  • or equivalent measures available at English language requirements.
Need to undertake an English assessment for entry?

A prerequisite for many courses, the Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic) can now be done at our Hawthorn campus.

Credit transfer

Credit transfer is the recognition of academic credits gained through formal study (i.e. units of competency) completed either at another institute or in another qualification. The total amount of credit will vary from individual to individual, based on the unit/s that have been successfully completed. 

Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the process of transferring the skills and knowledge that you have acquired over your lifetime (irrespective of how they were obtained) against the requirements of the unit.  

RPL is an assessment process that requires you to provide evidence that demonstrates how you meet the requirements of the unit/s. The amount and types of evidence you will need to provide will depend on the unit requirements.

Finding your fit

At Swinburne, we recognise that not one size fits all. If this course doesn’t meet all your study criteria, check out these alternatives.

Course structure

The Certificate IV in Circus Arts comprises 12 compulsory units.

All units are delivered at the purpose built facilities located on the Prahran campus of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. The campus includes two award-winning facilities, the first is the Sidney Myer Circus Studio designed by Bates Smart Architects in 2002 and the second is the NICA National Circus Centre (NCC). Designed by Cox Architects & Planners and launched in 2007, the NCC is a12mt high venue that is transformed into a professional performance space with a 350+ seating capacity.

The program is delivered through a mixed mode including a combination of face-to-face workshops, project and group work, and self-paced learning tasks and projects.

There are no pre-requisite units stipulated in this qualification.

Core units
Certificate IV
Course hours are estimated and may change based on study mode, unit choice, credits, or enrolment adjustments, total indicative nominal hours: 910

Your units

Units of study Unit code
Core units
Work effectively in the creative arts industry
Core unit, 50.0 credit points
Apply work health and safety practices
Core unit, 10.0 credit points
Develop preliminary level body awareness
Core unit, 20.0 credit points
Undertake preliminary fitness preparation for circus performers
Core unit, 40.0 credit points
Execute core circus foundation skills to preliminary level
Core unit, 240.0 credit points
Execute group acts skills to preliminary level
Core unit, 100.0 credit points
Execute specialty skills to preliminary level
Core unit, 100.0 credit points
Develop preliminary performance skills for circus and physical theatre
Core unit, 100.0 credit points
Develop preliminary movement skills for circus and physical theatre
Core unit, 80.0 credit points
Develop preliminary applied practices for circus performers
Core unit, 30.0 credit points
Plan and execute preliminary small group circus arts performance
Core unit, 100.0 credit points
Explore traditions and trends of circus for application to practice
Core unit, 40.0 credit points

2024 fees

Full fee* ($AUD)


Skills first government-subsidised place* ($AUD)


Concession rate* ($AUD)


2024 fees

Fees are estimates only

Fees published on this page are estimates only and are subject to change depending on individual circumstances at the time of enrolment. The above fees apply for units studied in 2024 only and may change for units studied in future years. There may be additional costs related to learning material and equipment.

Fees are estimates only

The indicative course fees shown apply to international students for the relevant year only. They are based on a standard study load per year. However, please note that fees are assessed according to a student's study load in each semester, and variation to study load will result in an adjustment to tuition fees. International tuition fees are generally inclusive of Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). All fees are subject to annual review and may be adjusted.

Skills first government-subsidised place

This training is delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth Government funding. To qualify for a government-subsidised place, you must meet various eligibility criteria. The course you’ve applied for must also be offering government-subsidised places. Swinburne will determine your eligibility by conducting a full assessment of your eligibility during the course application process.

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your Swinburne fees in person, via credit card, BPAY, or at Australia Post. Check to see if loans and employer sponsored training are also available.

International students need to pay tuition fees up-front by the relevant due date. You can find the due dates on your Statement of Account.

To pay your fees:

  • log in to My Financials
  • check your Australian bank account details are correct 
  • check your Statement of Account to see how much you owe 
  • pay using your preferred payment method.

Concessions rates for vocational students

If you’re enrolling in a Certificate IV-level program or below, are eligible for a government-subsidised training place and hold a valid concession card, you may be eligible for a concession of 80 per cent off the published fee of your unit(s) tuition – which means you’ll only be charged 20 per cent of the published fee.


Scholarship applications for 2024 are open. Scholarships at Swinburne are about providing opportunity, promoting equity and recognising excellence and achievement. We want you to reach your potential and achieve your life and career goals. 

Our handy guide will assist you to gather documents for your application.

When you apply for a Swinburne course, we automatically consider you for an international scholarship of up to 30 per cent off your course fees – no separate application required! Just apply for your Swinburne course of choice and when we review your course application, we will also assess you for an international scholarship.

Apply directly

Entry into NICA requires an application via Swinburne University of Technology followed by an audition, interview and medical assessment. 

If you are interested in this course and would like further information about auditions, please sign up to Inside Track for audition information and application dates.

More information about studying at the National Institute of Circus Arts is available at the NICA website.

Applications to audition for the Certificate IV in Circus Arts will close Friday 23 August 2024.

Applications to audition for the Certificate IV in Circus Arts will close Friday 23 August 2024.

Course code
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Upcoming events
Open Day 2024