How LEAP Works

LEAP students receive a broad education that provides a durable foundation for critical and independent thinking.

LEAP Core Curriculum (30 units)

All LEAP students are required to take ten liberal arts courses from Saint Mary's (see Course Descriptions).  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 30 units)

Students entering the LEAP program are qualified to challenge by examination several of the required performing arts courses for the Performing Arts 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 30 units)

LEAP creates an individualized course of study for each student that satisfies general education and unit requirements for the degree and prepares students for their chosen new careers or graduate school.  General Education requirements include:

2 Humanities courses
1 Math/Computer Science course
2 Social Science courses
1 English Composition course
1 Religious Studies course

To fulfill these requirements, students may:

  • Transfer in credit from previous college course work.
  • Concurrently 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.


LEAP course work is completed in three or four years. There are four terms: Fall, January, Spring, and Summer. LEAP courses meet once a week for 8- 10 weeks. Since LEAP is an individualized program, the time it takes each student to earn the degree will vary.

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 general education requirements.
  4. Attain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.
  5. Complete 120 semester units of credit.