The education offered at the Dutch National Ballet Academy is somewhat different from the regular development stages of HBO education. One condition for a ballet dancer to develop sufficiently is intensive training from a very early age.  The preliminary dance course offered by the Academy of Theatre and Dance commences in group 7 of primary school (children are then about 10 years old). Over the course of seven years, pupils spend 20 hours a week on training, rehearsals and performances, also with Dutch National Ballet. On completing the preliminary training course, pupils have attained level 7 of the syllabus and have followed approximately 5600 hours of lessons, equivalent in hours to 3,3 years of HBO education (one year amounts to 1680 hours). 

Individual study path (Bachelor students only)
After being accepted for the HBO phase of the study program (on the basis of an audition) students are supervised during the course of an intensive study program to attain an optimal level of development. Within the framework of their individual study path, students have regular talks with their mentor in which their study progress and individual study goals are discussed and evaluated. In consultation with the study supervisors, a graduation plan is drawn up that expands on an individual student’s preferences regarding internships, participation in performances, theory obligations and other learning goals. Study supervision is the shared task of the artistic director, the study supervisor/mentor and the internship supervisor. 

Dispensation (Bachelor students only)
On the basis of the individual study path, it is determined if a student has mastered the necessary competencies and complies with the set final qualifications. In practice this means that students can round off their study in three years and receive a maximum dispensation of 60 study credits for main subjects which they have followed constantly since preliminary training. 

In special cases, it is possible to complete the study in two years. The maximum dispensation then amounts to 120 study credits. In these exceptional cases, the extent of the dispensation is decided on in the graduation phase and set down in the graduation contract. The exam committee and the artistic director conclude if a student has mastered all final qualifications and is entitled to a diploma. Dispensations are not given for theory subjects. The dispensation policy is listed in the OER (Education and Exam Regulations).  Also view under Regulations the chapter Dispensations