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MFA in Dance

The Hunter College MFA program in Dance is a highly selective program comprised of returning professional artist/educators seeking to investigate the role of dance in culture. This small, closely mentored community of inquiry meets in the intentional space that each cohort of experienced artists forges together. It provides MFA candidates with time to evaluate and re-direct their career pathways and roles in the fields of dance and dance studies. Through a wide-ranging program of pedagogy, philosophy, research practices, history, studio practice and public performances/presentations, the MFA remains rooted in a process-oriented mission. The MFA in Dance is considered a terminal degree in the field; it is the baseline qualifying credential for the college/university teaching job market for arts practitioners. Four (4) MFA candidates are selected per year to enter this challenging laboratory meant to "move the needle" on the place of dance in professional, academic and social realms. The MFA program enrolled its first students in 2018. 

Admission Requirements & Process

Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree in any subject, at least 5 years of professional dance experience, and a clearly demonstrated career plan for which academic study of the art form is appropriate. All applicants are required to complete the online Hunter College graduate school application and submit an updated CV.


Select candidates will be asked to provide additional video materials (links or files) of creative works. Upon review of materials, a few candidates will be invited to participate in a 45 minute virtual meeting for a presentation of the candidate's professional performance and creative career (20 min), an interview by the selection committee about career goals (20 min). Further details for the presentation will be available after the candidate's application has been submitted. Admission will occur only in the fall semester. 

The GRE exam is not required for application for the MFA/Dance Program. An undergraduate degree in Dance is desirable, but not required. Based on a proficiency exam and one-on-one assessment administered early in the course of study, undergraduate courses may be required to cover specific deficiencies in the student's preparation.

Degree Overview

The degree plan comprises courses in dance pedagogy, theory, criticism, aesthetics, history, research methods, cultural studies, physical training, and extensive creative work in performance and choreography. The capstone of the curriculum is the MFA project, an intensive research process culminating in the presentation of significant creative work.



The MFA program requires 60 credits and is a terminal degree. The program's standards are those articulated by the National Association of Schools of Dance. The credit requirements are as follows:

  • Theory and Perspectives - 12 credits

  • Dance Technique - 11 credits

  • Creative Work - 11 credits

  • Pedagogy - 6 credits

  • Major MFA project - 8 credits

  • Electives - 12 credits

The 12 elective credits will make it possible for the student to investigate particular areas of interest, and possibly develop a secondary area of interest and expertise.


Curriculum Details


The 6-credit Pedagogy requirement consists of the following courses:

  • DANED 76000 - Dance Methods I: Curriculum Design and Pedagogy for Productive Teaching and Learning (3 cr)

  • DAN 75000 - Topics in Teaching for College/University (3 cr)


The 12-credit requirement in Theory/Context/Perspectives is met by the following courses:

  • DAN 74000 - Aesthetics (3 cr)

  • DAN 74200 - Graduate Dance History (3 cr)

  • DAN 74400 - Modes of Inquiry (3 cr)

  • DAN 74600 - Special Topics in Dance (3 cr)

Dance Technique

The following courses meet the 11-credit requirement in Technique:

This course is required 4 times for the MFA (2 credits each time): This will be an individualized program of dance technique focusing on personal interests and needs.

  • DAN 70100 - Dance Technique (8 cr–2 cr x 4)

  • DAN 70500 - Maintenance of the Dancer’s Instrument (3 cr)

Creative Work

The 11 required Creative Work credits are distributed as follows:

  • DAN 73000 - Studies of Forms (6 cr–3 cr x 2)

  • DAN 73300 - Process and Projects (3 cr)

  • DAN 73500 - Performance and Presentation (2 cr–1 cr x 2)


The 12 credits of electives are chosen from across the college curriculum or approved outside projects according to particular student interests. Independent study with the Dance faculty in ground-breaking research is encouraged.

MFA Project

The MFA Thesis Project will be designed by each MFA candidate in close consultation with the MFA Thesis Project Advisor and MFA Director. 

The MFA Project consists of:

  • Approximately 20-40 minutes of new concert performance work, or a 15-20 minute screendance, or a form yet to be determined.

  • Close interaction with faculty as aesthetic and compositional strategies are developed, clarified and implemented.

  • Preparation of work for public presentation, collaboration with producing partners, including development of PR materials.

  • Extensive (20-25 pages) written document designed to foster critical self-awareness, effective evaluation skills, and understanding of personal focus, context and functionality in the community of artists as well as the broader cultural landscape.

Contact Us

Email:     Phone: (212) 772-6122

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