MFA 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 Production, Aesthetics, Pedagogy, Laban Movement Analysis, Criticism and 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 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

M.F.A. in Dance (Thesis)

Choose all from:
DANC 5332 <DNC 533> The Development of Advanced Skills in Dance1
DANC 5360 <DNC 560> Seminar in Dance Production
DANC 5371 <DNC 571> Theory of Dance
DANC 5373 <DNC 573> Advanced Laban Movement Analysis
DANC 5374 <DNC 574> Advanced Laban Movement Analysis II
DANC 5376 <DNC 576> Dance Composition 1
DANC 5378 <DNC 578> Dance Composition 2
DANC 5380 <DNC 580> Dance Composition 3
DANC 5385 <DNC 585> Research Methods in Dance
DANC 5388 <DNC 588> Dance and Integrated Technologies
DANC 5389 <DNC 589> Professional Issues in Dance

DANC 4330 <DNC 430> Repertory
DANC 4372 <DNC 472> Dance Criticism and Analysis
DANC 4374 <DNC 474> Dance Pedagogy
DANC 4376 <DNC 476> Choreography III
DANC 4392 <DNC 492> Seminar in Dance
DANC 4393 <DNC 493> Independent Study
DANC 5377 <DNC 577> Independent Studies

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.

3 Thesis Choose all from:
DANC 6398 <DNC 698> Thesis
DANC 6399 <DNC 699> Thesis
1 DANC 5332 <DNC 533> is taken as few as four times for twelve hours or as many as six times for eighteen hours. Electives should be adjusted accordingly to fulfill the minimum hour requirement of sixty hours.





Dance (DANC)

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