MFA in Dance

Works A Foot 2017 runs Nov. 30 - Dec. 3 and will feature an original work by Stacey Tookey

Learn more about the upcoming piece

MFA Dance Candidate and Adjunct Faculty Member Lauren Grant Receives AAUW Career Development Award

Learn more about this prestigious award

Montclair State University's new low-residency MFA in Dance program is designed for dance professionals who want to further their careers and actively help shape the world of dance. ‌     ‌     

‌‌About the Program & Curriculum button- MFA DANCE‌   MFA DANCE Faculty and Guest Artists‌   MFA Dance How to Apply button‌‌   Request Info MFA Curriculum

Low-residency MFA in Dance program now accepting applications for June 2018!

The program admits a new cohort of dance students every two years, and is accepting applications now for admission in June of 2018.

Apply Now

Here is what one of our current MFA Students has to say about the program:

"The first online semester of MSU's MFA in Dance program fostered an intense development of my critical thinking, researching, and writing abilities. Guided by supportive and erudite professors, I gained a rich understanding of the expansive scope of the field as I both acquired new skills and pursued an existing area of expertise. I feel a great sense of accomplishment and am thrilled by the body of work I have crafted over the semester." - Lauren Grant


About the Program

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Montclair State University's new, innovative low-residency MFA in Dance is designed especially for mid-career dance artists, dance  teachers and other dance professionals in transition. The program is ideal for those interested in thinking about the shape and future of dance as a discipline and as a field. Appealing to your needs as an experienced dance professional, the program aims to provide you with the knowledge, resources and credentials you need to expand your career -- whether to teach dance in higher education, expand your artistic worldview, or become an innovative leader, researcher or advocate of dance. The program is especially unique in regards to its low-residency format, allowing much of the work to be done online. As a working artist, you will experience the convenience of an on-site/off-site program structure without sacrificing the potential of developing lifelong relationships.

The Low-Residency Structure

The MFA in Dance takes two years to complete.  You will begin your studies on the beautiful Montclair State University campus in the Summer, taking classes which span a four-week period. In the following Fall and Spring semesters you will pursue courses  online, then return to campus again, the next Summer, for a second four-week on-site experience. During the subsequent Fall and Spring semesters you will take your remaining classes online and complete your degree.

Summer sessions include course work, facilitated discussions, showings, film screenings, and invited-guest lectures which complement concentrated studies. Such a format allows students the opportunity to develop close relationships with both peers and faculty through natural, interactive discourse. 

Fall and Spring-semester online sessions allow students to return to their homes where they may continue their lives while still pursuing their degree. Online coursework will use reading, writing, and reflection to allow students to engage in analysis and dicussion about the dance field. In their home communities, students will be expected to observe or participate in dance classes, view live performance, and produce their own creative works.

2-Year Cohorts

The MFA in Dance allows you the opportunity to study with a cohort of peers with whom you will begin, pursue and complete the curriculum. Admission to the program is conducted every two years. Students are expected to matriculate with their cohort, taking each course in the sequence together. This structure allows students to develop close ties with their faculty and peers, and to have strong support networks as they move through their coursework. We will be accepting applications in the Fall 2017 semester for the next cohort we will welcome in the Summer 2018 semester.

Ideal for Mid-Career Artists

The MFA in Dance is ideally suited for mid-career dance artists, i.e. people who have been active in the dance field for at least five years since completing their undergraduate degrees. Many are working dance professionals who wish to transition to teaching or who already teach but desire a terminal degree which is often required to teach in higher education. The MFA in Dance gives access to expanded career opportunities and ways to leverage innovation in the arts.   


The program is focused on students who are interested in a terminal degree program that emphasizes a practice- based curriculum designed to nurture the artist in the development of new knowledge and skills in one or more aspects of performance or choreography, including technology, and application of somatic techniques to art-making. It would provide the knowledge and credentials needed to apply for work at universities, thus giving them the resources to become innovative contributors to their fields and future students.


  • Enhance aspects of dance performance or choreography with the acquisition of new knowledge and/or skills.
  • Encourage students to become conversant in new digital media technologies and their impact on art-making. 
  • Foster students’ development of their own areas of interest and specialization to create a unique artistic voice in the dance field. 
  • Nurture pedagogic ingenuity by encouraging mid-career artists to deeply examine and develop their choreographic and teaching practice. 
  • Prepare leaders who will contribute to shaping the future of dance through the development of their creative voice and by engaging in the ongoing theoretical discussions surrounding the field.

Curriculum - What You Will Study

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 The MFA in Dance curriculum includes five main components: 

  1. Technique and Creative courses will deepen your creative research practice through examination and enhancement of your artistic skills. You will develop an investigated understanding of the kinesthetic, technical, and aesthetic components of your personal artistic interests.

  2. Theory and Research Courses will serve to expand your analytical skills and understanding of theoretical constructs in dance studies, history, and theory. You will communicate this understanding in both verbal and written form.

  3. Dance Technology Courses will enhance your ability to creatively and effectively use digital media, audio/video technology, and other interactive techniques to enhance your creative practice and teaching.

  4. Pedagogy Courses will increase your skills and understanding  of teaching and learning in dance through a focus on self-reflection, anatomical awareness, and pedagogically-appropriate strategies for motivating students.

  5. Specialization Courses (three independently-pursued research courses) will offer the opportunity to develop or enhance a unique specialization and/or perspective related to dance.

For complete MFA in Dance curriculum requirements, go to: Dance Major (M.F.A) - Graduate



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Faculty and Guest Artists

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The faculty in the Dance Division at Montclair State University are expert mentors in dance technique, improvisation, choreography, dance history and critique, dance technology, Laban Movement Analysis, and pedagogy. In addition, our proximity to New York City allows us to bring in exceptional guest artists to teach courses in the program. Currently scheduled guest artists include, Claire Porter, Eva Yaa Asantewaa, and Dr. Martha Eddy, and Dr. Penelope Hanstein.



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How to Apply

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We are now accepting applications for admission in June of 2018.

Students interested in applying to the MFA in Dance must submit an application to The Graduate School:

See guidelines and details here

State Authorization

See more information on state authorization here.

View Our Newsletters:

2016: November | December 

2017: April | August | November

For Further Information

Please contact us with questions at (973) 655-5147 or, and we welcome you to complete the request information form.

For more information about the program, admissions and answers to frequently asked questions, please see the MFA Handbook September 2017.


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