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Dance (MFA) 
Program Description

The Master of Fine Arts in Dance provides an opportunity to increase knowledge, broaden understanding, and develop research and artistic capability. Building on a well-balanced undergraduate education, graduate students are expected to develop a thorough understanding of the specific discipline of dance, supported by a personal commitment to high scholarly and artistic standards. A fundamental purpose of the School of Dance is to encourage each graduate student to demonstrate outstanding standards of scholarship and to produce high-quality original research and creative work.

The diverse graduate population provides a sense of community in which students can learn from various perspectives. In addition, the close alliance between the graduate and undergraduate students provides an opportunity for graduate students to choreograph on and perform with some of the top undergraduate dance students in the country. The triple-track program allows the graduate student to explore and gain experience, skills, and knowledge in ballet, modern, and jazz dance.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

School of Dance -

Propelled by the work of award winning teachers and choreographers, UA Dance is a diverse program that includes training in ballet, modern and jazz combined with a liberal arts education.  The UA Dance Ensemble has performed in the Kennedy Center, The Joyce Theater, in China and Germany, and has toured Ecuador, Mexico, Japan, Italy, Scotland and the Netherlands.  Specializing in preparing students for professional performance and teaching careers, UA Dance offers BFA and MFA degree programs. (NASD accredited.)

College of Fine Arts  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Amy M Ernst
Graduate Program Coordinator
Amy M Ernst
Director of Graduate Studies
Amy M Ernst
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Kristi R Davenport
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements


Graduate Admission
To apply for admission for the graduate program, the candidate must have extensive dance training, hold an undergraduate degree in dance and meet the minimum requirements of the UA Graduate College.


Four Steps for Graduate Application to the School of Dance:

1.  M.F.A.candidates must apply to the University of Arizona prior to auditioning for the School of Dance. 

2.  The School of Dance office must receive the following applicant materials prior to auditioning:
-Statement of Purpose letter (a brief and focused essay about one's career or research goals)
-Curriculum Vitae (comprehensive resume)
-Three letters of recommendation
-DVD (or online link) of recent creative work (performance/choreography)
-Undergraduate transcripts

3.  Mail the above audition requirements to:
    University of Arizona School of Dance, 121 Gittings Building
    ATTN., Amy Ernst, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
    Tucson, AZ 85721-0093

4.  A two-day physical audition is required.  Auditions must be scheduled on Mondays and Tuesdays in order to take and observe classes; perform a 2-3 minute solo followed by an interview with dance faculty; teach a non-major class in one of three genres: ballet/modern/jazz; meet resident graduate students; and become familiar with the UA campus and Tucson proper.

Graduate Admission Status

Once your application to the Graduate College has been processed, the School of Dance will review all application materials and consider an on-campus audition/interview. Since nearly all applicants have previously earned a B.F.A. degree in Dance, we do not encourage any applicant to apply without having already completed all prerequisites. A 2-3 year hiatus is also recommended between completion of a BFA and entering the MFA program to demonstrate self-motivated professional activity.

a.  Students will be admitted to enter graduate studies who meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate College and the School of Dance including:

                i.   Demonstrated advanced level in technique in ballet, modern dance, or jazz dance.

                ii.  Have completed at least one year of dance composition, achieving a grade of “B” or higher; or at least two    professional   compositions that have been publicly presented.

                iii.  Have completed at least one year of Dance or Drama Theatre Production, achieving a grade of “B” or higher; or at least 2 years of professional experience.

                iv.   Have completed at least one course each in:

                         1.  Music history/literature, music for dance, or two years of applied music study.

                         2.  Anatomy for Dance; Kinesiology; or Biomechanics.

                         3.  Aesthetics of dance or the arts, or in dance ethnology/anthropology.

                         4.  Dance History

b.  All students applying for admission to the program of study must also meet qualitative standards determined by the dance faculty including:

                i.  Review of three confidential letters of recommendation

                ii.  Review of the applicant’s performance or choreographic work

                iii.  Review of the student’s written Statement of Purpose

                iv.  On-site audition, with personal interview

c.  Criteria for admission to the program of study are based on the quantitative and qualitative requirements listed above, and admission will be determined according to:

                i.  Each student’s demonstrated expertise in performance or choreography

                ii.  Evidence of self-motivated professional experience in the field

                iii. Potential for successful completion of the degree at the University of Arizona

                iv. Personal maturity, independence and academic and artistic integrity



In conjunction with the Director of Graduate Studies, each student is responsible for developing a written Plan of Study. This plan is to be filed with the Graduate College during the penultimate semester in residence.

Students must complete 60 units of graduate level courses. The specific Dance Graduate Curriculum for the M.F.A. in Dance is designed with the option in either Choreography and/or Performance.


Graduate Financial Aid and Scholarships
Only after acceptance can the School of Dance offer graduate support in the form of Teaching Assistantships which include an out-of-state tuition waiver, as well as the possibility of Graduate Tuition Scholarships and/or Graduate College Fellowship Awards.


Important Online Links:


English Proficiency Requirements for International Applicants:

Please see the following link for approved options that will meet this requirement. The School of Dance will be requesting scores rather than requiring a specific test option.

















Standardized Tests

Required test(s): No Tests Required for Admission to the Master of Fine Arts in Dance.



Financial Aid

Please refer to Admissions Requirements

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: May 1
  • Spring: November 1

International Applicants:

  • Fall: May 1
  • Spring: November 1
International Conditional Admission
International applicants may be considered for conditional admission to this program at the department's discretion.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

The Graduate curriculum in dance allows the student to focus on choreography, performance, teaching, and research in dance. It also provides opportunities for interdisciplinary studies with other arts, humanities, and sciences in support of the student's development as a scholar, teacher, and artist.

The M.F.A. in Dance degree has two areas of emphasis, choreography and performance, that allow for intensive focus. The program facilitates and nurtures dance artists in their area of emphasis while offering a comprehensive graduate education in dance. The M.F.A. degree is 60 units requiring 2-3 years of residency at the University of Arizona. The curriculum includes core courses and dance technique as well as courses in theory and pedagogy.


For complete curriculum information concerning the M.F.A. in Dance, please see the University of Arizona School of Dance website at:



Minor Requirements

A minor is not required for the M.F.A. in Dance. Please refer to Admissions Requirements.

Student Handbook  
Persistent link:
Last revised 02 Apr 2019