The LEAP Bachelor of Arts Degree: Curriculum and Requirements

The LEAP Program offers a Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts from Saint Mary’s College. An individualized course of study is created so each student's personal academic goals and new career objectives can be reached. 

The degree is composed of 126 units, which are earned in the following ways:

  • LEAP's Core Residency Courses (35 units)
  • Challenge By Examination Courses (35 tuition-free units, many of which are satisified by previous professional experience)
  • Assessment of Experiential Learning (up to 30 tuition-free units)
  • Transfer/Certificated Coursework (at least 26 units)

Students work with the LEAP Program Coordinator in their city to track their progress throughout their time in the program. 

Click here to take a look at what a typical Course of Study guide looks like for a current LEAP student: Course of Study



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 (or "test out of") several of the required performing arts courses for the Dance Major offered at Saint Mary's. This significantly reduces the amount of time and money needed to earn the Bachelor's Degree and frees students to pursue their individualized courses of study.

Prior Learning Assessment (up to 30 units)

To further acknowledge the experience and expertise of the LEAP adult learner, through the Personal and Professional Assessment core curriculum course, each student will have the opportunity to write Experiential Learning Papers that may be further evaluated for tuition-free academic credit toward their degree.

Transfer and Certificated Coursework (at least 26 units)

To fulfill these requirements, students may:

  • Transfer in credit from previous college course work.
  • Test out of certain courses through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).
  • Take lower/upper division courses at an accredited community or state college.
  • Earn course credit through experiential learning (see Prior Learning Assessment above).
  • Earn credit from certificated coursework (including previously earned certifications such as Yoga or Massage Therapy).
  • 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,  56 of which must be Upper Division. 



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.

The program is designed to be completed within 3-4 years of part-time study, however since LEAP is an individualized program, the time it takes each student to earn the degree will vary.