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MFA Requirements


The MFA in Dance includes core requirements in physical practice, artistic creation, pedagogy, history, technology, research and theory. To inform and augment this training, students engage with chosen secondary area of study, articulated with guidance from their graduate advisor. To demonstrate synthesis and integration of coursework, students complete a choreographic thesis project and pass comprehensive written and oral exams. A grade of “B” or better must be earned on all required credit hours, including non-dance electives.

MFA Dance Minimum Requirements—60 credits
Physical Practice – 10 credits

Creative Process – 9 credits

Creative Thesis Project – 9 credits

History, Research, Theory – 12 credits

Applied Anatomy and Theories of the Body – 3 credits

Pedagogy – 5 credits

Technology – 2 credits

Electives – 10 credits



  1. Physical Practice, 10 credits

Students are required to take at least 5 credits in one technique area.

Remaining 5 credits will be selected in consultation with student’s advisor.

Placement will be determined through audition or placement class.

THD 500 Improvisation (Modern), 2 cr
THD 507 Graduate Tap, 2 cr
THD 510 Graduate Modern I, 2 cr
THD 511 Graduate Modern II, 2 cr
THD 520 Graduate Ballet I, 2 cr
THD 521 Graduate Ballet II, 2 cr
THD 517 Graduate Jazz I, 2 cr
THD 518 Graduate Jazz II, 2 cr
THD 544 Dance Studio: Physical Practice, 1 cr (This course can be taken in any style and provides additional training with limited outside course requirements)

  1. Creative Practice and Thesis Project, 18 credits

THD 540 Dance Making I: Resources, 3 cr
THD 541 Dance Making II: Workshop, 3 cr
THD 542 Dance Making III: Collaboration, 3 cr
THD 602, MFA Thesis Project, 9 cr

  1. History, Research and Theory, 12 credits

THD 513 Graduate Seminar I, Career Resources, 3 cr
THD 506 Dance Theory, Aesthetics and Criticism, 3 cr
THD 530 Political and Cultural Approaches to Dance, 3 cr
THD 582 Creative Process and Embodied Research, 3 cr

  1. Applied Anatomy and Theories of the Body, 3 cr

Students choose one of the following:

THD 515 Body-Mind Integration, 3 cr
THD 532 Anatomy/Kinesiology for Dancers, 3 cr
THD 550 Graduate Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis, 3 cr

  1. Teaching, 5 credits

All MFAs will gain practical teaching experience and develop pedagogical skills through THD 605 and either their supervised teaching assignments (THD 606), or their TA assignments and THD 554. 

MFAs (non-TA):

THD 605 Dance Teaching Seminar, 1 cr
THD 606 Supervised Teaching, minimum of 4 credits (taken twice, 2 credits each)

MFA Teaching Assistants:

THD 605 Dance Teaching Seminar, 1 cr
THD 554 Dance Pedagogy in Higher Education, 2 cr
Additional dance electives, 2 cr

  1. Design and Technology, 2 credits

Students choose one of the following:

THD 535 Studies in Lighting Design
TH 541/542 Studies in Design 1 & 2
TH 551/552 Advanced Studies in Scenic Design 1 & 2
TH 556/561 Theatre Technology SEM and LAB
TH 571/572 Advanced Studies in Costume Design

  1. Electives, 10 credits

In consultation with their advisor, students will choose electives in their secondary area of study, including dance and/or non-dance courses as appropriate to the students’ interests. At least 5 credits must be coursework outside of Dance. Possibilities include departmental curricular areas such as Anthropology, Media Study, English, Biology, Engineering, Architecture, Visual Studies, etc., as well as transdisciplinary areas of inquiry articulated across departments, such as embodiment, affect studies, performativity, cognitive studies, somatics, memory studies, queer studies, dance science, health and wellness, postcoloniality, etc.

Dance Electives

THD 500 Improvisation, 2 cr
THD 507 Graduate Tap 2 cr
THD 510 & 511 Graduate Modern I & II, 2 cr each
THD 514 Graduate Seminar II, 3 cr
THD 515 Mind-Body Integration, 3 cr
THD 517 & 518 Graduate Jazz Dance I & II, 2 cr each
THD 520 & 521 Graduate Ballet I & II, 2 cr each
THD 532 Kinesiology/Anatomy for Dancers, 3 cr
THD 543 Graduate Studio: Performance, 1-3 cr repeatable
THD 544 Graduate Studio: Physical Practice, 1-3 cr repeatable
THD 545 Directed Projects, 1-3 cr repeatable
THD 550 Graduate Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis, 3 cr
THD 554 Dance Pedagogy in Higher Education, 2 cr
THD 575 Internship in Dance, 1-3 cr
THD 580 Special Topics, 1-3 cr
THD 599 Independent Study, 1-3 cr repeatable
THD 606 Supervised Teaching, variable

Theatre Electives

TH 515 Advanced Dramaturgy, 3 cr
TH 540 Graduate Studio, 3 cr
TH 610 Performance Research, 3 cr
TH 630 Performance Proseminar, 3 cr
TH 670 Performance Historiography, 3 cr

Outside Electives, at least 5 credits

To be selected in an articulated secondary area of interest with approval from the graduate dance director or graduate advisor.


Students without the following undergraduate dance credits must make up these prerequisites during their first year of study: THD 430 Dance History (18th to early 20th century) and THD 350 Laban Movement Analysis. Students who have not taken an undergraduate Anatomy/Kinesiology for Dancers course or the equivalent must take the graduate section of the course, THD 532 Anatomy/Kinesiology for Dancers, which will serve to fulfill their Applied Anatomy and Theories of the Body requirement.


Thesis Concert

All MFA candidates will create an original 20-minute dance work or performance event that is based on a unique research project. Students will work closely with their thesis advisor and committee members to create work that showcases synthesis of skills, mastery of craft and a deeply informed personal aesthetic. Final thesis proposals are due to the thesis advisor no later than the end of the student’s third semester. Culminating thesis concerts will be held in the third year of study and will reflect significant preparation and research.

Written and Oral Comprehensive Exam Questions

Students will complete a substantial body of written work to complement their creative thesis concert. This will be in the form of three comprehensive exam questions. Exam questions will contextualize the student’s work historically, politically, and socially and will serve as additional documentation of and reflection on the student’s creative development and final thesis concert. Students will complete the questions sequentially: One question to be completed each spring semester for the three years they are enrolled in the program. Due dates will be set by the Graduate Dance Committee.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Hokanson