The MFA in Dance is a 60-credit hour program designed to take 3 years to complete (excluding summers). Students generally take 10 credit hours per semester, leaving sufficient time for extracurricular creative and research work. The program is designed to accommodate a variety of students, from the practicing professional to the recent BA/BFA graduate. Our MFA develops students' creativity, physicality, self-awareness, performance, pedagogical, and scholarly skills in equal measure. Our primary hope is to enable a deepening of your artistic voice--to put what is distinctive about you in conversation with the world. 

Dance Program Mission Statement

We encourage the pursuit of one’s choreographic voice, embodied scholarship, and pedagogical excellence. Our program scaffolds entrepreneurial approaches to art-making based in rigor, social justice, curiosity, and versatility. Through our diverse, “choose-your-own adventure” style curriculum, we support the vital cultivation of self-awareness alongside a nuanced appreciation of one’s positionality within a global conversation.


The MFA in Dance program does not have a low residency option at this time, but we do offer a modified program for currently working professionals. All enrolled students are expected to reside regionally and be present for in-person activites in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Learning Outcomes

  • MFA students show work to their campus community every semester
  • A variety of solos, collaborations, and research experiments are shared through classes, department performances, cross-departmental projects, and community sites
  • MFA students are often busy with departmental rehearsals and productions but some do organize their schedules to make performance appearances with community ensembles, online venues, international festivals, and professional companies
  • Additional performances are encouraged and supported as long as students can keep their academic studies prioritized and vitalized 

In summary, there is no shortage of performance and choreographic opportunities. For that reason, trying to juggle more than 3 projects in a single semester is not advisable.

Those students entering our program with extensive professional backgrounds including teaching, choreography and/or performance may be able to request a modified degree plan. For such students, an interview with the Director of Dance and the Director of Graduate Studies for Dance during the application/audition process is necessary. The interview will help determine if there is a good match between the student's goals and the MFA program.

The goal of the modified program for professionals is to provide flexibility in the pursuit of individual goals and the fortification of specific educational gaps. In close consultation with the faculty and graduate advisor, the student will be able to propose and develop new areas of research and creative work. All modifications to the MFA program must receive the approval of program directors and the CU Boulder Graduate School. The number of required credits and semesters will be determined based on the individual’s exceptional professional experiences.

For more information about a modified MFA program, please contact us for consultation and prescreening before completing the formal application process.


The primary core MFA curriculum focuses on the development of the individual artistic voice in performance, choreography, teaching, research and writing. The presentation of new creative work is bolstered, augmented and enriched by the study of theory, history and other artists. 

Program Requirements

  • The three-year program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours 
  • At least 50 credit hours must be completed on campus at CU Boulder 
  • Grades lower than a B- cannot be applied towards graduation 
  • A 3.0 GPA is needed to graduate
  • MFA students must complete a secondary area of emphasis 

Prerequisites & Required Courses Plan of Study

Year One

  • Exploring new information and resources
  • Building research, analysis and writing skills for graduate level study
  • Digging into choreographic flavors and collaborations
  • Showing artistic work
  • Communicating frequently with your graduate advisor
  • Drafting your artistic statement
  • Identifying a secondary area of emphasis
  • Meeting with the faculty for the first year review

Year Two

  • Increased learning outside of the department for secondary area of emphasis
  • Stronger emphasis on multiple modes of physical practice and somatic learning
  • Exploring collaboration and showing artistic work
  • Learning concert production practices
  • Communicating frequently with your graduate advisor
  • Formulating your readership team
  • Proposing your final project to faculty and production team
  • Auditioning and casting of final project performance team

Year Three

  • First chapter of project paper (Research Review) due in fall
  • Completing secondary area of emphasis
  • Creation and presentation of final project
  • Completion of written final project paper in Spring
  • Oral review with team of readers
  • Completion of professional portfolio
  • Qualifying graduation paperwork

Application for Fall 2022

  • The MFA Application for Fall 2023 will open in the end of July 2022.
  • We do not accept applications for entry into the spring semester
  • The Graduate Program in Dance can currently provide partial support with graduate assistantships. In an effort to move towards full funding for all MFA graduate students we are reducing our cohort size and will admit 2 or 3 students for fall 2023.

Required Qualifications

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in any field
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 and meet the Graduate School's Minimum Admission Requirements
  • Demonstrate proficiency in dance performance and choreography
  • Because the Dance Program uses teaching appointments as the sole form of financial aid for graduate students, all applicants should have some form of teaching experience. Please note that college/university teaching experience is not required.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required for the MFA in Dance application

Yes, we mean it!

There are prerequisites, such as composition and history, that are advantaged by a degree in dance. But highly motivated students can bridge those gaps of knowledge through our current graduate program. If a high number of deficiencies would prevent completion of the MFA within three years, then we will alternately suggest augmenting your bachelors degree with a fast-track Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

Our degree in dance does not centralize any single genre of dance or idolize a specific body type. We are imaginarians who’ve decolonized and expanded our definitions of virtuosity. 

We have a current menu of courses that reflect the faculty’s body of knowledge: Hip-hop, dances of North Africa and the Arabian Diaspora, Ballet, European-lineages of Modern dance, dances of the West African Diaspora (including the Caribbean and Americas), Mexican Folklorico, Improvisational dance, Modern dance traditions of the African Diaspora, and an inclusive/abolitionist approach to Somatic Science and embodiment. Importantly, our ideologies and methodologies in dance are not limited by our regional specialties. 

If applicants to our graduate programs do not have a conventional dance degree, we embrace the opportunity to evaluate a dancer’s capacities to move safely, problem-solve intelligently when encountering unfamiliar movements, and execute with superb emotional and physical embodiment. We welcome the opportunity to collaboratively support and guide students of all dance forms in their efforts to deepen expertise and practice in humanity’s current and emerging movement practices.

Bring it.

MFA in Dance Application Assistantships & Teaching Application

Points of Contact

Request Information from the Graduate School Video Conference Information Session Sign-Up