Curricular Goals 

The goal of the program is to train students to build on their strengths and to thoroughly investigate relevant aspects of their craft, drawing inspiration from a broad range of theory and practice based courses in dance and the interdisciplinary Duke curriculum. Students will pursue required and elective coursework under the guidance of their primary faculty advisor and their faculty committee. As already mentioned, the MFA curriculum will allow open-ended spaces and possibilities for each student to create a unique individualized program that will highlight their own specialized area of research interest and theoretical inquiry.

Students entering the MFA program will possess specialized training in the dance discipline from any culture and will have engaged deeply in one or more artistic and creative aspects of the discipline, such as, dance performance, choreography, cross-disciplinary creative work, community engagement through dance, and pedagogy. Candidates selected to the Program will have a desire to push beyond the traditional manifestations of dance by furthering their study of new dance applications. As incoming candidates, students will be expected to have shaped and articulated potential avenues of academic pursuit; these objectives will be refined and deepened during the MFA course of study. 

Degree Requirements

The MFA in Dance will be a two-year, six semester program, requiring enrollment in the fall, spring and summer terms. It will require the completion of 50 course units in seminar and studio courses that will invigorate the students’ theoretical and critical thinking, research and writing skills, and develop their technical, conceptual and creative proficiencies. Students will complete a core requirement of 25 graded course units in eight Dance Program graduate courses and 25 course units as electives (with at least 6 elective units within the Dance Program). This distribution will allow students the openness to select electives across disciplines at Duke, towards their interdisciplinary research projects. The presentation of a creative project and a written thesis document will be required at the end of the summer term of the second year.

During summer of year one, students will take courses that incorporate the richness of the American Dance Festival experience (Summer term II, 2 units each, up to a total of 4 units) through interaction with their internationally renowned visiting artist faculty who have successfully explored many different approaches to dance and choreography. During the 4-week Summer term I, first year graduate students will also have a choice of studying at an international site, such as, Duke in Ghana, Duke-Kunshan University (DKU), Brazil ethnographic tour, Greece ethnographic tour, and other collaborative sites in Europe.

All MFA students will register for three semesters of study at full-time tuition (Fall I, Spring I, and Fall II); at reduced tuition rate for Spring II; and at tuition rate per unit for Summer I and II. Transfer credit will not be accepted.