Dance, MFA

Master's Candidacy

To earn a master’s degree at Washington University, a student must complete all courses required by their department; maintain satisfactory academic progress; fulfill all academic and residence requirements; and file an Intent to Graduate. For a general layout of master’s degree general requirements in Arts & Sciences, including an explanation of Satisfactory Academic Progress, students should review the Master’s Degree Academic Information page of the Arts & Sciences Bulletin.

Program Requirements

  • Total Units Required: 60 units (15 units per semester) 
  • Degree Length: Two years
    • Note: Students must be enrolled in 9 graduate credits each semester to retain full-time status. As students complete their course work, if enrolled in fewer than 9 graduate credits, they must enroll in a specific Arts & Sciences graduate course that will show 0 units but does count as full-time status. Students should connect with their department to ensure proper enrollment prior to Add/Drop.
  • At the end of their first year, students will propose a culminating project — typically a dance concert or another public presentation of creative work largely expressed in dance — and submit a paper about its production, including analysis and critique, that they will defend orally.
  • Students must earn a grade of C- or better in all courses. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in courses that count toward their credit units.

Required Courses

I. Technical Development: 13 units

Students must take 13 units of credit in studio-based movement praxis that have the 5000-level course designation. The courses can be in any genres that best support the student's development.

II. Choreography and Performance: 20 units

Dance 508Dance Composition Laboratory I: Exploring Process and Format3
Dance 509Dance Composition Laboratory II: Exploring Alternative Venues and Audience Connections3
Dance 510Approaches to Improvisation and Spontaneous Composition3
Drama 5100Stage Lighting (or equivalent 5000-level course in production)3
Dance 511Independent Choreography Project I3
Dance 5112Independent Choreography Project II3
Dance 512Performance Artistry (must be taken twice)1

III. Research and Integrated Learning: 12 units


Dance 520Research Methods Colloquium3

Plus 9 units chosen from the following:

Dance 506Topics in Contemporary Arts Practice Research3
Dance 5102Modern Dance and the African American Legacy II2
Dance 5120Performing the Political in American Dance3
Dance 5130Dance Pedagogy2
Dance 514Methodologies of Global Dance Studies3
Dance 5140Performing Gender and Sexuality in America3
Dance 519Guest Artist Residency Workshop1
Dance 530Theories of the Body in Performance3

IV. Electives: 9 units

Students must complete 9 additional units at the 5000 level or above. These units may be from any areas of the performing arts or relevant areas in other departments or programs. MFA students are encouraged to pursue courses that support or help to define their individual trajectories as artists.

V. Mentored Teaching Experience

  • LGS 600

Each Mentored Teaching Experience will be fashioned around the student's interests, when possible, and guided by a full-time member of the dance faculty. For more information, visit the Mentored Teaching Experiences webpage.

VI. Final Project: 6 units

Dance 550Final Project I (to be taken during the fall semester of the student's second year)3
Dance 551Final Project II (to be taken during the spring semester of the student's second year)3

At the end of the first year, the MFA student will propose a plan for the final project, choose a main advisor, and form a final project committee. A concert is the typical format of the MFA final project, but it can take other forms of public presentation. The primary requirement is that the student's creative work must be largely expressed in dance. In addition to the presentation, the student will write a dramaturgical essay that contextualizes the work from its initial conception through to its reception. The student will submit a final version of the written component as well as a video record of the concert or public presentation for archival purposes within the department.

Contact Info