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University of Utah    
  Feb 21, 2018
2017-2018 General Catalog

Modern Dance, M.F.A.

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The University of Utah is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).

School of Dance

Minimum Degree Hours: 61

The Masters of Fine Arts in Modern Dance is a minimum 61-credit terminal degree, requiring three years of residency in the Department of Modern Dance to complete. The M.F.A. includes both a core curriculum and the ability to design a personalized course of study, leading the candidate toward completion of a creative thesis project, written thesis, and oral examination.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must complete and return a departmental application along with their application for admission to the University through the Admissions Office’s Apply Yourself web portal. All candidates must audition in person or make arrangements to do so by video, and they must have a B (3.0) average in the last two years of undergraduate work. International candidates must comply with all application procedures and deadlines, including meeting English-language proficiencies, as outlined by the University of Utah’s International Admissions Office. Accepted candidates for whom English is a second language may be required to take ESL classes through the International Teaching Assistant Program in addition to departmental coursework.

Graduation Requirements

For the M.F.A. degree in Modern Dance a candidate must accrue a minimum of 61 graduate-level credits (5000 or above) of which 50 credit hours must be in the Department of Modern Dance. Coursework taken outside of the Department of Modern Dance must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. If a candidate is seen to lack necessary writing skills based on their first semester coursework, a writing course may be required.  Deficiencies in any other curricular areas that the faculty identifies as needing to be addressed as per expectations of the M.F.A. degree may result in the candidate being required to take specific coursework specified by the faculty, as part of the candidate’s overall 61 required credits. 


The Department of Modern Dance offers merit-based scholarships. Scholarships are usually awarded on a year-by-year basis. Entering graduate students are considered for these awards at the Department of Modern Dance audition. Continuing students are considered for scholarships on the basis of their record at the University. In order to receive a department scholarship, continuing students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average or better at the University of Utah and be in good academic standing in the department. If a continuing student goes into academic probation in the Department of Modern Dance, scholarships will not be renewed for the next semester. For continuing students interested in being considered for a department scholarship, please fill out an application in the spring semester.  Graduate students may be offered a Teaching Assistantship or General Assistantship award. This includes a stipend at amounts determined by the Graduate School and Department; up to 12 credit hours per semester of graduate-level tuition paid at 50% - 100% instate rates; as well as instate tuition for any additional credits. Those students offered a 100% (TBP) are eligible for partially subsidized health insurance from the University of Utah. Additional costs for fees and premiums are not included in assistantship awards. International students receiving support must obtain/complete the following: current passport with a J-1 or F-1 visa, USA Social Security Card, pass the TOEFL, attend an International Teaching Assistantship training in August, and complete hiring paperwork with the Department Administrative Officer. Failure to fulfill any of these requirements will result in forfeiture of support. 

Modern Dance M.F.A. Degree Requirements

  • Required first year courses (may count toward modules listed below, as appropriate):



  • DANC 6110 - Graduate Contemporary Dance Technique I - 1st Semester 1 - 2 Credit(s)
  • DANC 6210 - Graduate Dance Workshop I 3 Credit(s)
  • DANC 6810 - Research Design 3 Credit(s)
  • DANC 6410 - Explorations in Dance and Digital Media 3 Credit(s)
  • DANC 6110 - 6150: Contemporary Technique 2 Credit(s)
  • DANC 6111 - 6151: Ballet Technique 1 Credit(s)

  • Spring

  • DANC 6220 - Graduate Dance Workshop II 3 Credit(s)
  • DANC 6820 - Aesthetics and Criticism 3 Credit(s)
  • OR

  • DANC 6830 - Graduate Seminar: Dancing Bodies 3 Credit(s)

  • DANC 6510 - Graduate Modern Dance Teaching Methods 3 Credit(s)
  • DANC 6120 - 6160: Contemporary Technique 2 Credit(s)
  • DANC 6121 - 6151: Ballet Technique 1 Credit(s)

  • Required second year courses (may count toward modules listed below, as appropriate):


  • DANC 6230 - Creative Projects Laboratory 1 Credit(s)
  • DANC 6950 - Thesis Research Studio 2 Credit(s)

  • Required third year course: 


  • DANC 6970 - Thesis Research: Master's 1 - 12 Credit(s)

  • Additionally, during the second and third years a personalized program should be designed with faculty consultation. The M.F.A. curriculum is modular in design to allow candidates to tailor their studies toward their research interests, and each graduate student identifies and develops her/his own thesis research topic. Areas of research include, but are not limited to: choreography, performance, education, kinesiology, screendance, technology, dance studies, and interdisciplinary and community-based projects. In addition to the 24 credit hours required in the first year, a minimum of 26 credit hours must be accrued through the departmental modular curriculum in the following areas: 

    • Physical Practice (minimum 6 credit hours)
    • Theoretical Practice (minimum 9 credit hours)
    • Creative Practive (minimum 8 credit hours)
    • Pedagogical practice (minimum 8 credit hours)


    The remaining 11 credit hours may be earned through any graduate-level univeresity course or independent study of professional and/or thesis-related relevance. Courses taken outside of the Department of Modern Dance must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. 


    Teaching Assistants are required to take DANC 6520  during the semesters that they are teaching (counts toward Pedagogical Practice module). 


    Modern Dance graduate students must fulfill any deficiencies in undergraduate requirements; maintain a 3.0 grade point average in their departmental course work; receive favorable faculty reviews of projects during the first year of graduate work; present a written thesis proposal; complie a portfolio of personally significant work in consultation with one’s thesis committee; publicly produce one or more works relevant to one’s thesis research; submit a written thesis; and pass an oral examination of one’s thesis research. 

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