Master of Fine Arts in Dance

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Program Description

The Department of Dance at Sam Houston State University offers a 60-hour program of study leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance, the terminal degree in studio arts. The program is designed to provide intensive studio experience with substantive choreographic and performance opportunities, underscored by a broad exposure to the philosophical, theoretical, and creative process context of dance as an art form. A creative or performance thesis is required for graduation.

The curriculum emphasizes choreography and performance, including a significant number of dance technique classes, particularly for candidates coming directly from undergraduate study. Dance professionals in career transitions will find that the program allows considerable latitude to formulate a plan of study that meets their needs. The curriculum also includes courses in:

  • Composition
  • Production
  • Dance Theory
  • Pedagogy
  • Laban Movement Analysis
  • Research Methods
  • Integrated Technology
  • Professional Issues in Dance

Elective hours may be used outside the Dance Program for coursework that may apply to the candidate’s thesis production or other research interests.

The degree normally takes three years to complete. The first year is probationary, allowing both the candidate and the department time to assess the appropriateness of the educational relationship. At the conclusion of the first year the candidate will file the 'Petition for Admission to Candidacy' before moving to the thesis stage of study.


Applicants seeking admission to the Master of Fine Arts in Dance degree program must submit the following directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Attend a regularly scheduled audition that will include: 
    (Visit  for audition dates)
    • Submission of a writing sample
    • Interview with the dance faculty
    • Technique audition in both ballet and modern dance
    • Performance of a self-choreographed solo
  2. Submit the following directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions
    • Letter of inquiry
    • Graduate Application  
    • Application fee
    • Resume / curriculum vita
    • Video Portfolio of Performance and Choreography
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Transcripts
    • Confirmation of degree conferral

Admission is based upon an aggregated evaluation of all application components. 

Degree Requirements

Master of Fine Arts in Dance
Specified Courses
DANC 5333Dvlpmt Advanced Skills In Dnc15
DANC 5360Smnr In Dance Production3
DANC 5371Theory Of Dance3
DANC 5373Laban Movement Analysis3
DANC 5374Laban Movement Analysis II3
DANC 5376Dance Composition I3
DANC 5378Dance Composition II3
DANC 5380Dance Composition III3
DANC 5384Dance Pedagogy in Higher Ed.3
DANC 5385Research Methods In Dance3
DANC 5388Dance & Integrated Technol3
DANC 5389Professional Issues in Dance3
Select 6 credit hours of the following:6
Special Topics
Independent Study
The graduate faculty in Dance will entertain petitions from the candidate to take courses from other disciplines pending appropriate justification within the overall course of study designed by the candidate in consultation with the graduate advisor.
DANC 6098Thesis3
DANC 6099Thesis3
Total Hours60