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MFA in Dance for Returning Professionals, Fall 2022 semester start! 

The Hunter College MFA program in Dance is a highly selective program comprised of returning professional artist/educators seeking to investigate the role of dance in culture. This small, closely mentored community of inquiry meets in the intentional space that each cohort of experienced artists forges together. It provides MFA candidates with time to evaluate and re-direct their career pathways and roles in the fields of dance and dance studies. Through a wide-ranging program of pedagogy, philosophy, research practices, history, studio practice and public performances/presentations, the MFA remains rooted in a process-oriented mission. The MFA in Dance is considered a terminal degree in the field; it is the baseline qualifying credential for the college/university teaching job market for arts practitioners. FOUR (4) MFA candidates are selected per year to enter this challenging laboratory meant to "move the needle" on the place of dance in professional, academic and social realms. The MFA program enrolled its first students in 2018. 

Admission Requirements & Process

Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree in any subject, AT LEAST 5 YEARS OF PROFESSIONAL (post-collegiate) EXPERIENCE, and a clearly demonstrated career plan and developing research portfolio for which academic study of the art form is appropriate.

All applicants are required to complete the Hunter College Graduate Admissions Application for review on a rolling basis beginning MARCH 15, 2022.

Only Full-Time students will be considered. Students applying as transfers are allowed a MAXIMUM of 12 credits from previous programs (including Hunter's Arnhold Graduate Dance Education MA Program)

Upon review of materials, a few, selected candidates will be invited by early/mid April to a 45 minute meeting that will include a presentation of the candidate's professional career AND research goals (25 min) and an interview by the selection committee about anticipated impact on the fields of dance and dance studies (20 min). Further details for the presentation will be available after the candidate's application has been submitted. 

The GRE exam is not required for application for the MFA/Dance Program. An undergraduate degree in Dance is desirable, but not required. Based on a proficiency exam and one-on-one assessment administered early in the course of study, undergraduate courses may be required to cover specific deficiencies in the student's preparation.


The degree plan comprises courses in dance pedagogy, theory, criticism, aesthetics, history, research methods, cultural studies, physical training, and extensive creative work in performance and choreography. The capstone of the curriculum is the MFA project, an intensive research process culminating in the presentation of significant creative work.


The MFA program requires 60 credits and is a terminal degree. The program's standards are those articulated by the National Association of Schools of Dance. The credit requirements are as follows:

  • Theory and Perspectives - 12 credits
  • Dance Technique - 11 credits
  • Creative Work - 11 credits
  • Pedagogy - 6 credits
  • Major MFA project - 8 credits
  • Electives - 12 credits

The 12 elective credits will make it possible for the student to investigate particular areas of interest, and possibly develop a secondary area of interest and expertise.

Curriculum Details


The 6-credit Pedagogy requirement consists of the following courses:


The 12-credit requirement in Theory/Context/Perspectives is met by the following courses:

Dance Technique

The following courses meet the 11-credit requirement in Technique:

Creative Work

The 11 required Creative Work credits are distributed as follows:


The 12 credits of electives are chosen from across the college curriculum or approved outside projects according to particular student interests. Independent study with the Dance faculty in ground-breaking research is encouraged.

MFA Thesis Project

The MFA Thesis Project will be designed by each MFA candidate in close consultation with the MFA Thesis Project Advisor and MFA Director. 

  • It may consist of approximately 30-40 minutes of new concert performance work or a 20 minute screendance or a form yet to be determined.
  • Close interaction with faculty as aesthetic and compositional strategies are developed, clarified and implemented
  • Preparation of work for public presentation, collaboration with producing partners, including development of PR materials
  • Extensive (20-25 pages) written document designed to foster critical self-awareness, effective evaluation skills, and understanding of personal focus, context and functionality in the community of artists as well as the broader cultural landscape.

Contact: maura nguyen donohue, for more information

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Hunter College Dance Program 695 Park Avenue 614 Thomas Hunter Hall New York, NY 10065 Phone: 212-772-5012 Fax: 212-772-5011 Chair: Paul A. Dennis
(212) 772-5012 | email us
695 Park Ave
NY, NY 10065