Skip to Local Navigation
Skip to Content
California State University, Long Beach
CSULB Catalog Banner
Print this page Add this page to your favorites Select a font size Select a small font Select a medium font Select a large font


College of the Arts

A CSULB student works on an art project

Dance - Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in Dance General Option (code DANCMA01)

The Master of Arts in Dance is a practice-oriented degree created to serve experienced dance educators, primarily in secondary and community college venues. Its curriculum is designed to broaden and deepen dance knowledge and skills for teaching dance classes and producing dance concerts. This degree elevates an undergraduate teaching credential to graduate status.

Because M.A. candidates are teaching during the academic year, coursework is completed in three intensive, 6-week consecutive summer sessions in which 9-12 units are earned each summer. No other institution of higher education in the State of California offers such an emphasis at the M.A. level.

Criteria for Admission into the Program

Candidates must meet the following criteria for entrance into the M.A. in Dance:

  • 1. Prerequisite Courses:
    • two courses in dance composition;
    • one course in dance history;
    • one course in anatomy/kinesiology (must be taken in the past five years);
  • 2. bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a degree in dance or a related field;
  • 3. minimum of 3 years experience teaching dance in a high school with a secondary teaching credential, or minimum of 3 years part-time or full-time experience teaching dance in a community college
    • (exceptions will be considered for extensive part-time employment teaching dance in a high school, or for an exemplary employment history of teaching dance in other venues);
  • 4. three letters of recommendation, of which one must be from a supervisor or colleague;
  • 5. movement audition and personal interview;
  • 6. completion of all application materials.

Admission will be granted to students who show high promise of success in graduate study based on past academic record and record of teaching experience.

Retention Criteria

  1. Maintain a GPA of 3.0 in all graduate work completed at CSULB;
  2. Continued satisfactory progress toward degree objectives.

Application materials and application cycles (normally a new class of M.A. candidates begins every three years) is posted at

Advancement to Candidacy

Students will be advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the following:

  1. Satisfy the general university requirements for advancement to candidacy and the department’s admission criteria;
  2. maintain a 3.0 GPA in all graduate coursework;
  3. fulfill the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR);
  4. complete a minimum of 21 units of coursework;
  5. removal of any incomplete grades;
  6. satisfactory completion of three artistic endeavors completed during the academic year utilizing student performers from the candidate’s school;
  7. filing of the student’s graduate program form for the Master of Arts in Dance, signed by the student’s graduate advisor, and approved by the Associate Dean for graduate accountability.


  1. A minimum of 31 units from: DANC 510A, 510B, 510C, 521, 522, 565, 591A, 591B, 592, 642, and DANC 605.
  2. Successful completion of a Written Comprehensive Exam to be taken after all coursework has been satisfied.

Master of Fine Arts in Dance (code DANCMF01)

This 60-unit plan of study emphasizes performance and choreography grounded in the modern dance genre, and requires 3 years in residence to complete all course work. The Masters of Fine Arts in Dance is a rigorous program designed to challenge professionally experienced dancers to develop their artistic and analytical work through numerous performances and choreographic opportunities. Curriculum is integrated in technique, composition and theory.

The Dance Department has chosen to keep the MFA degree program small and selective in order to provide adequate resources to all students in the degree plan. It is expected that applicants for the MFA in Dance should have some life experiences in the field prior to application; therefore, this would normally preclude a person who was recently awarded an undergraduate degree. The Master of Fine Arts degree is the terminal degree in the studio area of dance and is highly desired by major dance schools in the United States for university and college teaching. CSULB offers the only MFA in Dance in the California State University system.

Criteria for Admission into the Program

Candidates admitted into this program will be selected on the following criteria:

  1. Meet University admissions requirements;
  2. B.A., B.F.A., or M.A. degree in dance or equivalent with a 3.0 GPA in upper division dance courses;
  3. professional goals consistent with the plan of study;
  4. life experiences in the field;
  5. audition in performance and choreography.

All MFA candidates are admitted on a conditional status. Removal of the conditional admit will occur after the following:

  1. Fulfillment of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR);
  2. completion of all prerequisites;
  3. completion of 20 graduate dance units with a GPA of 3.0;
  4. approval of Graduate Advisor.


Advanced technique, Dance Composition (3 courses), Dance History (2 courses), Music for Dance, Anatomy/Kinesiology, Dance Notation or Laban Movement Analysis, Dance Production (2 courses). Candidates may take prerequisite courses along with graduate courses.

When an undergraduate degree is completed in a program which has different requirements than those of the CSULB dance major, additional preparation may be required before the student can be considered for classified status. Up to 24 units from an M.A. degree program may be acceptable, with approval of the graduate advisor.

Application Requirements

  • 1. A CSULB post-baccalaureate application.
  • 2. The following returned to the CSULB Dance Department:
    • A. Letter of application;
    • B. resume;
    • C. 3 letters of reference;
    • D. VHS video or DVD of a recent group choreographic work;
    • E. 2-page (typed, double spaced) personal statement addressing how graduate work will fulfill intended professional goals.
  • 3. Audition on the CSULB campus to include a technique class and presentation of a 3-5 minute solo composition.

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy will occur based on the following:

  1. unconditional admission status;
  2. completion of 30 graduate dance units with a GPA of 3.0;
  3. successful choreography produced in a graduate concert;
  4. evaluation by graduate faculty of the candidate’s satisfactory progress toward the degree;
  5. removal of any incomplete grades.

Performance/Choreography Concentration

60 units total: 18 units in Technique from DANC 510A, 510B, 512, 514, with a minimum of 12 units from DANC 512 or 510A, and a minimum of 6 units from DANC 514 or 510B; 14-16 units in Theory from DANC 505, 565, 588, 597, 605, 693; 12 units in Choreography from DANC 520 A,B,C,D; 5 units in Performance/Production from DANC 580 A,B, 585 A,B, 592, 595; 6 units from DANC 699; 3-5 units electives.