The Bachelor of Circus Arts aims to equip you with a broad body of knowledge and skills through immersive and experiential practice-based studies in contemporary circus arts.

Our student-centred approach to learning through the conservatoire model aims to help you develop the knowledge and abilities necessary to become a confident and autonomous circus arts performer.

View the Bachelor of Circus Arts course handbook

Pause of enrolments

Swinburne has taken the decision to pause enrolments in NICA’s Bachelor of Circus Arts for 2024, while we assess its future viability and strategic alignment with Swinburne’s priorities.

There is no change for current students, who will continue their studies at NICA and enrolments continue for NICA’s vocational education offerings.

Swinburne is working closely with the Victorian Government to ensure the long-term sustainability of NICA.

Join us at the Midyear Study Expo | Tuesday 4 June 2024

If you're looking to start in Semester 2, our Study Expo is your one-stop-shop for course info, career advice, and application assistance, covering all study areas and study levels.

Skills you’ll learn

  • Transferable skills and knowledge
  • Work safely, independently and collaboratively
  • Research, analyse and evaluate ideas
  • Interpret, communicate and present ideas
  • Present elite performances in contemporary circus arts

Your career opportunities

  • Independent artist
  • Member of an ensemble
  • Career in global circus arts industry

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.

Professional recognition

The National Institute of Circus Arts is recognised both nationally and internationally as a centre for excellence in training. NICA is a current member of the Arts8 - The national elite performing arts training organisations.

NICA is accredited as a full member of the Fédération Européenne des Écoles de Cirque Professionnelles (Federation of European Professional Circus Schools). NICA is the South East Asian training partner for Cirque du Soleil and has strategic alliances and training partnerships with: Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, Shanghai Circus School, Belfast Community Circus and Taiwan National Academy of Performing Arts.


Students need one of the following:

  • Successful completion of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or its equivalent, such as an interstate or international Year 12 qualification.
  • Completion or partial completion of an approved tertiary qualification (including Certificates IV (completed), Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas, Associate Degrees and Degrees).
  • Applicants without a formal qualification may be considered for entry if they can showcase their talent/experience at the audition/interview process and upon completion of the STAT test..

Course prerequisites

  • VCE: Units 3 and 4: a minimum study score of 25 in any English (except EAL) or 30 in English as Alternate Language (EAL) or equivalent.

Other requirements

  • Entry into NICA is by audition, interview and medical assessment.
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:

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 is granted in recognition of previous study and/or experience and allows students to gain advanced standing towards their course. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) allows students to gain credit (advanced standing) towards their course in recognition of skills and knowledge gained through work experience, life experience and/or formal training. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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.

How credit points work

Successful completion of the Bachelor of Circus Arts requires students to complete units of study to the value of 300 credit points. All units of study are valued at 12.5 credit points unless otherwise stated.

Core units
3-year bachelor degree

Your units

Units of study Unit code
Core units
Introduction to Anatomy and Biomechanics
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Foundation Studies in Circus Arts
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Performance and Movement Studies 1
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Circus Arts Specialisation and Physiology
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Performance and Movement Studies 2
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Introduction to the Technical Aspects of Circus Production
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
The History and Application of Circus Arts
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Ensemble and Foundation Studies in Circus Arts
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Circus Arts Specialisation Intermediate 1
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Circus History and Culture -Cultural Theory & Representation
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Performance and Movement Studies 3
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Circus Arts Specialisation Intermediate 2
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Performance and Movement Studies 4
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Ensemble and Intermediate Studies in Circus Arts 1
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Ensemble and Intermediate Studies in Circus Arts 2
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
The Contemporary Circus Industry
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Performance Project
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Capstone Ensemble Show
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Arts Management - The Business of Circus
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Circus Arts Specialisation Advanced
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Ensemble and Advanced Circus Arts
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Circus Studies Industry Project
Core unit, 12.5 credit points
Circus Specialisation Showcase
Core unit, 25.0 credit points

2024 fees

Yearly fee* ($AUD)


Total fee* ($AUD)


2024 fees

Yearly fee* ($AUD)


Fees are estimates only

The student tuition fees as published are subject to change given individual circumstances at enrolment. These fees apply to 2024 unit enrolments for HE Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and Undergraduate Full Fee Paying (FFP) only and may change for units studied in future years. If part-time study is permitted, annual fees will be proportionally lower based on the number of units taken per semester.

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.

How do I pay my fees?

HECS-HELP is a loan and discount scheme available to you if you are eligible and enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place. A HECS-HELP loan can cover all or part of your contribution amount. You can also choose to pay your fees up front. 

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.

Eligibility for HECS-HELP

You are eligible for a HECS-HELP loan if you have been offered a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) for an undergraduate degree at Swinburne or a UniLink course, and you:

  • are an Australian citizen and doing at least one unit of your course in Australia; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa and will be living in Australia for the duration of your course; or
  • hold a New Zealand Special Category visa and meet the special eligibility requirements for New Zealand citizens.

Student services and amenities fee

This funding serves to improve the student experience at Swinburne. You may use many or just some of the services and amenities that the fee provides.

The fee shown in the capped amount for 2024.

This funding serves to improve the student experience at Swinburne. You may use many or just some of the services and amenities that the fee provides.

This amenities fee is included within your annual tuition fee listed above. The fee shown in the capped amount for 2024.

Please refer to the Student Services Amenities Fee page for more information.

SSAF fee* ($AUD)


SSAF fee* ($AUD)



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 20 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 through an agent

Most international students use an education agent to help them through the application process. Swinburne has agents all over the world that can help you with your application to study. Search for a Swinburne representative in your country. If your country is not listed, please contact us.

Representatives and agents
Search for agents

Apply directly

Ready to take on a new challenge and reach your academic goals? If you already know which course you want to study and understand the entry requirements, what are you waiting for? Apply online! 

Entry into NICA requires an application via Swinburne University of Technology using the Apply Now button on this page - followed by an audition, interview and medical assessment. Prospective students must apply to audition. Applicants who cannot travel to audition venues may apply by video.

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.

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Upcoming events
Midyear Study Expo
Swinburne Innovation Challenge
Open Day 2024