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Master of Fine Arts in Dance

This 60-unit plan of study emphasizes choreographic exploration and presentation in addition to preparation for potential teaching careers in higher education. The program integrates the MFA candidate into the Department through theoretical and practice-based study, teaching opportunities, production preparation and study, and a thesis project that includes presentation of original choreography on the CSULB campus.

The Department of Dance has chosen to keep the MFA degree program small and selective in order to provide adequate resources to all students in the degree plan. Though the Department seeks candidates whose experiences include professional-level investigation and activity beyond baccalaureate study, choreographers of any genre of movement or dance practice are encouraged to apply to the MFA in Dance.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will explore, practice, and actualize the craft of making dances to communicate a declared intention.

2. Students will refine proficiency in dance/movement vocabularies, enabling them to pursue careers in the professional arenas of performance/choreography and/or education.

3. Students will engage in theoretical inquiry and study in the dance-related areas of history, music, film/video, aesthetics, dance science, and dance criticism.

4. Students will attain substantial knowledge/practical skills in preparation for teaching, including theoretical, practical, and kinesiological perspectives.

5. 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.

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.


Intermediate or advanced technique in at least one movement practice, Dance Composition and/or Improvisation (3 courses) or substantial demonstrated training and experience in dance making, Undergraduate degree in dance or undergraduate degree in any field plus substantial training and experience in the field of dance. Undergraduate degree with a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher.

Application Requirements

1. A CSULB post-baccalaureate application via CSU Mentor (includes official transcript and application fee).

2. The following returned to the CSULB Department of Dance (visit CSULB Department of Dance website for further explanation):

  • A. Cover letter;
  • B. Resume or curriculum vitae;
  • C. 3 letters of reference;
  • D. 2 choreographic works (at least one group work of 3 or more people) posted to Vimeo or Youtube and a 1-page statement that provides the following: a discussion of the intent, process and goals for each work submitted, credits (titles, composers, and other production credits) and performers (including the candidate if performing);
  • E. 3-page (double spaced) statement of purpose addressing how professional goals will be met through this plan of study. Within this statement, reflect upon current artistic vision and where you would like to see expansion in your creative practice and work in the field.

3. Audition on the CSULB campus to include a warm-up, composition/improvisation session, presentation of a 3-5 minute self-choreographed solo demonstrating technical proficiency and choreographic skill, and an interview with Department faculty.

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

Take 4 units from the following courses:

  • DANC 511A MFA Technique Laboratory (2)
    Prerequisite: Admission into the MFA degree program
  • DANC 511B MFA Technique Laboratory (2)
    Prerequisite: Admission into the MFA degree program

Take 21 units from the following courses:

  • DANC 505, DANC 506, DANC 565, DANC 570, DANC 588, DANC 597, DANC 605, DANC 693

Take 12 units from the following courses:

  • DANC 520A, DANC 520B, DANC 520C, DANC 520D

Take 5 units from the following courses:

  • DANC 581, DANC 585A, DANC 585B

Take 6 units of the following course:

  • DANC 699 Thesis/Project
    Prerequisite: Advancement to Candidacy

Take 6 additional units from the following:

  • DANC 420, DANC 511A, DANC 511B, DANC 512, DANC 514, DANC 580A, DANC 580B, DANC 591A, DANC 591B, DANC 595

Take 6 units of additional coursework.

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