We’re here to support you through every stage of your application. Hopefully the frequently asked questions listed below will sort out your enquiry however if there’s something you’re still unsure about then please drop us a line at admissions@circomedia.com

What are the age requirements of the courses?

The BTEC course is open to students from the age of 16.

You must be at least 18 years old to study on the Degree or the Vocational Course.

What funding can I get?

Below is information about a) funding for course fees and b) funding for living costs.


Whether you are eligible for government funding to pay your course fees depends on your age and previous qualifications.

16 – 18:  The government will pay your fees, regardless of prior qualifications, providing you have a minimum of a grade C / 4 in GCSE English and Maths (or equivalent). Unfortunately your place won’t be funded without it. If you are a European student then your qualifications will need checking by NARIC.

Please note that Functional Skills Level 2 is not considered equivalent to GCSE by the funding agency, you must have one of the following: GCSE; IGCSE; Scottish Intermediate 2; Scottish National 5; A or AS Level; International Baccalaureate.

19 – 23:  If you don’t have a Level 3 qualification already, the government will pay your fees. Anyone with a Level 3 qualification (or higher) will need to cover the cost themselves. You are not required to study English and Maths even if you don’t have any qualifications.

24 or over:  Unfortunately there is no government funding available for 24+.

Level 3 students are not eligible for a maintenance loan. Regardless of age, the government do not provide any funding for students on Level 3 courses to cover living costs. If you are moving to Bristol to study on the BTEC, it is really important that you know how you will finance your rent, bills, food and transport. Circomedia’s partner, City of Bristol College, offer a discretionary, means-tested bursary. The maximum amount available is £245 for the year (for a household income of £11,999 or less) or £1,200 a year for learners who meet any of the following criteria:

  • In care or Care Leaver
  • Receiving Income Support (or Universal Credit) in their own right
  • Receiving Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance
  • An unaccompanied asylum seeker

For young people relocating to Bristol to study at Circomedia there is a government bursary called the Residential Support Scheme which can assist with rental costs. To qualify you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Aged between 16 and 18
  • Be living in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • Hold no qualifications higher than Level 2 (e.g. GCSE)
  • Live more than a two-hour commute from Circomedia

Applications for the RSS can only be made once you have enroled on the course and are administered by City of Bristol College. Circomedia would like to advise you that every student who applied for the RSS this academic year (19/20) had their application declined, even students who had been approved the previous year. Circomedia’s request for more information about this has not been returned by the government body who manage the RSS. To avoid financial hardship we strongly recommend that anyone relocating to Bristol for the BTEC course can afford to do so without receiving the RSS.


As with any university course, students studying on our FDA, BA top-up or MA are eligible for a student loan covering course fees and living costs. Students on undergraduate courses apply for separate tuition fee and maintenance loans. The maintenance loan is means-tested so please ensure you give full and accurate information. Please see Student Finance directly for full details.

The MA course fees are £6995 and student loans of up to £10,000 are available. This amount is to cover course fees and living costs. MA applicants can also apply for our new scholarship place.


The Vocational Course is not an accredited qualification and as such students cannot apply for a loan from Student Finance. Vocational Course students will need to pay their own fees and fund living costs themselves.

What qualifications do I need?

We recommend that people applying for the Level 3 BTEC course have at least four GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above. It is manditory for all applicants aged 16 – 18 to have GCSE English and Maths at a minimum of grade 4 (C). If you are worried about not having the correct qualifications please contact admissions@circomedia.com.

Applicants for the Foundation Degree will need a minimum of three D grades at A Level or MPP from a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma (or equivalent), as well as some experience with circus, theatre, dance or an other physical activity.

Where will I live?

Like students all over the UK, most people studying with us live in privately-rented accommodation in Bristol and the surrounding area. House-sharing together provides our students with a great practical and emotional support network. There is plenty of rental accommodation around the Kingswood area which is more affortable than properties closer to the city centre.

What should I write in my personal statement?

Whether you’re applying for the FDA, MA or BTEC, your personal statement should tell us about why you want to study with Circomedia.

We want to get a sense of why you feel passionate about joining us to develop your skills and abilities in circus and physical theatre. We also want to get to know you – so tell us about your relevant experience and what makes you tick.

We have produced a guide to writing the perfect Personal Statement for our Foundation Degree which can you read here.

How much written work is required?

The BTEC, FDA and MA all require written work. For the FDA, written work accounts for 30% of the course with essays on the historical and cultural context of circus and theatre, and a written Professional Development Plan. On the BTEC, you will be required to complete some written work in either a log book, blog, essay, or research project.

Can I have a part time job while studying?

There is no rule preventing you from working part-time while studying however we advise you that the courses are intensive and demanding, and trying to juggle work and study can be exhausting. Many of our students take paid performance opportunities during the holidays to help manage their finances and these opportunities are promoted on our notices blog. The BTEC course is three and a half days a week, generally 9am – 4.30pm, so offers more opportunity to work alongside study.

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