“The result of this hard work and self-discovery is the most beautiful dancer of all: an educated, accomplished artist with the skills and self-confidence to enjoy the present and welcome the future."  —Dance Magazine


Mission Statement

Program Learning Outcomes








How LEAP Works

An individualized course of study is created for each student so that personal academic goals and new career objectives can be reached.  

The LEAP Program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Mary’s College with a major in Dance. 126 units are needed to graduate. They are earned by taking:

LEAP Core Curriculum (35 units)

All LEAP students are required to take ten liberal arts courses from Saint Mary's (see Core Curriculum).  Designed and selected with the dancer's academic needs and interests in mind, these courses challenge, inspire, and equip professional dancers for lifelong learning and success.

Courses for the Major (up to 35 units)

Students entering the LEAP program are qualified to challenge by examination several of the required performing arts courses for the Dance major at Saint Mary's. This significantly reduces the amount of time needed to earn the Bachelor's degree and frees students to pursue their individualized courses of study.

Prior Learning Assessment (up to 30 units)

In the context of the exploration of theories of adult development, the main product of the Personal and Professional Assessment course is the Experiential Learning Portfolio, a collection of essays and supporting documentation that may be further evaluated for academic credit toward the degree.

General Education Courses (at least 26 units)

LEAP creates an individualized course of study for each student that satisfies core curriculum and unit requirements for the degree and prepares students for their chosen new careers or graduate school. 

To fulfill these requirements, students may:

  • Transfer in credit from previous college course work.
  • Take lower/upper division courses at an accredited community or state college.
  • Earn course credit through experiential learning.
  • Earn credit from certificated coursework.
  • Take LEAP electives, on-line courses, or additional on-campus coursework at Saint Mary's College.


Degree Completion

In order to be awarded the Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Mary's College, a student will:

  1. Complete the 10-course LEAP Core Curriculum.
  2. Complete course requirements for the major.
  3. Fulfill core curriculum requirements.
  4. Attain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.
  5. Complete 126 semester units of credit.



LEAP course work is completed in three or four years. There are three terms: Fall, Spring, and Summer. LEAP courses are offered in a hybrid format, blending participation in the classroom with online learning.

Since LEAP is an individualized program, the time it takes each student to earn the degree will vary.


Photo Credits: Heather McFaddden ("Meg Giry" in Phantom of the Opera), Photo: © Anderson; Keelan Whitmore by Marty Sohl; Joe Orrach by Fima Gellman