Department of Dance Office: DC-S131     Phone: 562-985-4747     Fax: 562-985-7896





Student Jump

The CSULB Department of Dance is excited to announce the start of our new two-year M.F.A. degree in Dance in which students are in residence during the academic year and complete one summer course between years one and two. 

This 60-unit plan of study emphasizes choreographic exploration and presentation in addition to preparing students for teaching careers in higher education.  The program provides M.F.A. candidates with theoretical and practice-based study, teaching opportunities, production skills, and a thesis project focusing on the creation of original choreography.  The Department of Dance has chosen to keep the M.F.A. degree small and selective in order to provide students with ready resources and mentorship.  The Department seeks candidates whose experiences include professional-level investigation and choreography in dance beyond the baccalaureate level.  Practitioners of any movement/dance genre are encouraged to apply to the M.F.A. in Dance degree program.

The Department of Dance works diligently to provide scholarships and award support for M.F.A. candidates, including the endowed Celeste Kennedy Scholarship for Graduate Dance Study and other competitive and merit-based College of the Arts funding.  M.F.A. candidates with teaching experience may also earn income in the Department by applying for Teaching Assistant positions beginning in their first year of study.  Teaching Assistants are usually assigned general education and non-major technique classes, which are offered in a variety of genres, in accordance with the TA’s area of expertise and experience.

Goals and Objectives
Our M.F.A. in Dance is centered on the following student learning outcomes:

  • Students will explore, practice, and actualize the craft of making dances to communicate a declared intention.
  • Students will refine proficiency in dance/movement vocabularies, enabling them to pursue careers in the professional arenas of choreography, performance, and/or education.
  • Students will engage in theoretical inquiry and study in the dance-related areas of history, music, film/video, aesthetics, dance science, and dance criticism.
  • Students will attain substantial knowledge and practical skills in preparation for teaching, including theoretical, practical, and kinesiological perspectives.
  • Students will acquire practical skills in the production aspects of dance, including collaboration with artists/designers and technical personnel, dance concert direction/production, technical theater equipment operation, stage management, and publicity.

Prerequisites for Admission to the M.F.A. in Dance
In addition to meeting the departmental prerequisites listed below, applicants must meet the University standards for admission to a graduate program.  For details see,

    1. Intermediate or advanced technique in at least one movement practice
    2. Three courses in dance composition and/or improvisation, OR substantial demonstrated training and experience in dance making
    3. Undergraduate degree in dance, or an undergraduate degree in any field plus substantial training and experience in the field of dance
    4. Undergraduate degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher

How to Apply for Admission
Admission to the M.F.A. in Dance at CSULB’s Department of Dance is three-part process.  The Department accepts new students into the program in the Fall semester of each year. Application to the M.F.A. in Dance does not require GRE scores.

For entrance Fall 2016, applications are due by December 1, 2015.  For up-to-date application deadlines see

Application Procedures

Step One: Application to the University
Applicants must apply both to the University and to the Department of Dance by completing the application process detailed below. 

•Complete and submit a CSULB graduate/post-baccalaureate application (requires an application fee) via CSU Mentor at

•Send official copies of college/university transcripts, see the following website for details and mailing address:

•International students should submit an international application via CSU Mentor AND consult the International Admissions website for instructions regarding submission of transcripts as well as additional application requirements at

Step Two: Application to the M.F.A. in Dance

  • Prepare and submit the following materials to the CSULB Department of Dance at the address given below.  All written materials should be submitted on paper via mail:
    1. Cover letter
    2. Resume or curriculum vitae
    3. Three letters of reference
    4. Two original choreographic works (at least one group work of 3 or more people) created by the applicant and posted to either Vimeo or Youtube
    5. A one-page statement that provides the following information about the choreographic works submitted: the link (URL) to the dance on Vimeo or Youtube, a discussion of each work’s intent, process, and goals, names of performers, and production credits (titles, composers/music, lighting etc.)
    6. Three-page (double-spaced) statement of purpose addressing how applicant’s professional goals will be met through this plan of study.  This statement should reflect upon applicant’s current artistic vision and where the applicant would like to see expansion in her/his creative practice and work in the field.

Mail hard copies of materials to:
Dr. Colleen Dunagan
Dept. of Dance, MFA Graduate Advisor
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840-7201

Step Three: Physical Audition
After having reviewed the submitted applications, the Department of Dance will invite select applicants to campus for a live audition.  For entrance in Fall 2016, the audition will be held on January 30, 2016.

The audition will consist of the following:

    1. A warm-up class
    2. A group improvisation/composition session
    3. The presentation of 3-5 minute solo.  The solo should demonstrate the applicant’s technical proficiency and choreographic skill.
    4. An interview with a member(s) of the Department’s full-time faculty.

Acceptance to the M.F.A. in Dance
After submitting all application materials, those who pass the admissions review are recommended by the faculty to be admitted as either Classified or Conditionally Classified. A Classified Graduate has satisfied all prerequisites. A Conditionally Classified Graduate has outstanding prerequisites to complete. Acceptance is not complete until the applicant has received both notification of acceptance from the Department of Dance and a formal letter of acceptance from the CSULB Office of Enrollment Services.

M.F.A. Curriculum and Degree Requirements, 60 units
The M.F.A. degree requires students to complete the following coursework:

Course name            (units)                                             
4 units of movement training:
Dance 511A   MFA Technique Laboratory (2)
Dance 511B   MFA Technique Laboratory (2)

21 units of theory:
Dance 505     Dance Pedagogy (3)
Dance 506     Teaching Practicum (1)
Dance 565     Dance Science as Related to Teaching Technique (3)
Dance 570     Practical Research Methods in Dance (3)
Dance 588     Seminar in Dance Management (2)
Dance 597     Criticism and Analysis of Dance (3)
Dance 605     Seminar in Dance (2-3)
Dance 693     Teaching Internship (1-3)

12 units of choreography/improvisation/dance-making:
Dance 520A   Choreography A (3)
Dance 520B   Choreography B (3)
Dance 520C   Choreography C (3)
Dance 520D   Choreography D (3)

5 units of production, performance, and repertory:
Dance 581     Graduate Dance Production (3)
Dance 585A   Dance Performance (1)
Dance 585B   Dance Performance (1)

6 units of thesis and project report work:
Dance 699     Thesis/Project (1-6)

6 additional units in performance, technique, improvisation, and/or production from the following:
Dance 420     Advanced Composition (2)
Dance 511A   MFA Technique Laboratory (2)
Dance 511B   MFA Technique Laboratory (2)
Dance 512     Advanced Modern Technique (2)
Dance 514     Advanced Ballet Technique (2)
Dance 580A   Dance Performance (1)
Dance 580B   Dance Performance (1)
Dance 591A   Advanced Design for Dance Lighting (3)
Dance 591B   Advanced Design for Dance Costuming (3)
Dance 595     Repertory (1-3)

6 units of additional graduate-level and/or upper division undergraduate-level elective coursework taken in dance and/or another discipline.  Courses to be determined in dialogue with the Dance Graduate Advisor.

If you have additional questions about the program, please contact Professor Dr. Colleen Dunagan, Graduate Advisor at or 562-985-7040.