The MFA in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis (MFAEIP) is a two-year, full-time degree  program. Students are expected to participate in the non-curricular, MFAEIP Summer Hothouse to incubate their thesis research during the summer of Year one.

Required coursework includes artistic research (12 units), graduate seminars on the body and advanced dance study (12 units), thesis development and production (6 units), and graduate electives outside of dance (15 units). To earn the MFAEIP terminal degree from Duke, students must successfully complete the following graduate units (courses listed at 500-level or above):

Course of Study and Degree Requirements:

Artistic Research (12 units): Choreographic Praxis I & II (3+3 units); Movement Research I and II (3+3 units)

Graduate Dance Study (12 units): Theories of Corporeality (3 units); Dance Research and Writing (3 units); Graduate Dance Elective (3 units)

Graduate Non-dance Study (15 units)*: Choose five non-dance graduate-level courses (3+3+3+3+3 units) in minor fields that compliment student’s research interests

Thesis Development and Production (6 units): Critique (3 units), Thesis Project (3 units)

This curricular distribution insures the interdisciplinary reach of MFAEIP student research actions. Non-dance electives are student-selected and student-specific, identified in close dialogue with faculty advisors. The MFAEIP thesis centers on student design and implementation of one or more practical, embodied components. Thesis actions are generally presented in an appropriate format (performance, film, web-production, installation, community-based, site-sensitive works, etc.,) during the third and fourth semesters of Year II. To situate and to synthesize the required presentation of a MFAEIP research action(s), students submit a written thesis (30-50 pages), which they defend with their MFA advisory committee in March as graduation requirement.

*Students can pursue Duke’s Graduate Certificate in African & African American Studies, Duke’s Certificate in College Teaching, or Duke’s Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship to partially fulfill their non-dance elective requirements. 


Sequence of Required Coursework

Year 1


12 units

  • Choreographic Praxis (3 units) - A practice-based survey of expanded notions of Choreography
  • Movement Research I (3 units) - individually designed, mentored movement research including workshops by guest artists
  • Theories of Corporeality (3 units)
  • Elective I (3 units) in a discipline outside of dance

12 units

  • Choreographic Praxis II (3 units)
  • Dance Research and Writing (3 units) - discussions on various research methodologies in Dance history, ethnography and choreographic practice. Writing Intensive course.
  • Graduate Dance elective (3 units)
  • Elective II (3 units)

Year 2


12 units

  • Critique I
  • Elective course III (3 units)
  • Elective course IV (3 units)
  • Movement Research II (3 units)

12 units

  • Thesis Project (3 units) - Public presentation of the practical component of the thesis project and Oral Defense
  • Elective course V (3 units)
  • FREE elective (3 units)
  • FREE elective (3 units)