Master of Fine Arts in Dance

Program Description | Admission Degree Requirements | Courses

Program Description

The Department of Dance at Sam Houston State University offers a 60-hour program of study leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance, the terminal degree in studio arts. The program is designed to provide intensive studio experience with substantive choreographic and performance opportunities, underscored by a broad exposure to the philosophical, theoretical, and creative process context of dance as an art form. A creative or performance thesis is required for graduation.

The curriculum emphasizes choreography and performance, including a significant number of dance technique classes, particularly for candidates coming directly from undergraduate study. Dance professionals in career transitions will find that the program allows considerable latitude to formulate a plan of study that meets their needs. The curriculum also includes courses in Composition, Production, Dance Theory, Pedagogy, Laban Movement Analysis, Research Methods, Integrated Technology, and Professional Issues in Dance. Elective hours may be used outside the Dance Program for coursework that may apply to the candidate’s thesis production or other research interests.

The degree normally takes three years to complete. The first year is probationary, allowing both the candidate and the department time to assess the appropriateness of the educational relationship. At the conclusion of the first year the candidate will file the 'Petition for Admission to Candidacy' before moving to the thesis stage of study.


Applicants seeking admission to the Master of Fine Arts in Dance degree program must submit the following directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Attend a regularly scheduled audition that will include: 
    (Visit https://www.shsu.edu/~dnc_www/admission/audition_date.html for audition dates)
    • Submission of a writing sample
    • Interview with the dance faculty
    • Technique audition in both ballet and modern dance
    • Performance of a self-choreographed solo
  2. Submit the following directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions
    • Letter of inquiry
    • Graduate Application 
    • Application fee
    • Resume / curriculum vita
    • Video Portfolio of Performance and Choreography
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Transcripts
    • Confirmation of degree conferral

Admission is based upon an aggregated evaluation of all application components. 

Degree Requirements

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Dance
Course Name Hours
Specified Courses (45-51* credit hours)
Choose all from:
DANC 5333  Dvlpmt Advanced Skills in Dnc1 3
DANC 5360 Smnr in Dance Production 3
DANC 5371 Theory of Dance 3
DANC 5373 Laban Movement Analysis 3
DANC 5374 Laban Movement Analysis II 3
DANC 5376 Dance Composition I 3
DANC 5378 Dance Composition II 3
DANC 5380 Dance Composition III 3
DANC 5384 Dance Pedagogy in Higher Ed 3
DANC 5385 Research Methods in Dance 3
DANC 5388 Dance & Integrated Technologies 3
DANC 5389 Professional Issues in Dance 3
Electives (6 credit hours)
DANC 5092 Special Topics  
DANC 5093 Independent Study
The graduate faculty in Dance will entertain petitions from the candidate to take courses from other disciplines pending appropriate justification within the overall course of study designed by the candidate in consultation with the graduate advisor.
Thesis (6 credit hours)
Choose all from:
DANC 6098 Thesis 3
DANC 6099 Thesis  3
Total 60


Dance (DANC)

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