Find success in your career with an advanced degree from the Department of Dance at Case Western Reserve University. With emphasis areas in choreography, performance, pedagogy and dance wellness, we offer the expertise you need to achieve your academic and professional goals.
Master of Fine Arts Degree
The Master of Fine arts (MFA) curriculum, known throughout the nation for its excellence, is a rigorous, three-year, 60 credit hour program which includes intensive study of dance technique, choreography, production and theater crafts, music, pedagogy, kinesiology, dance history and other areas of study. The graduate program was established in 1975 and alumni have gone on to contribute to the field of dance in valuable ways. Several alumni have become university provosts, chairs, directors or professors of dance. Many are dancing with professional companies or have formed their own companies while some are solo artists.
Every MFA candidate is expected to fulfill the comprehensive requirements and demonstrate a high level of professional standards and scholarship regardless of specific career goals. Candidates may choose to specialize in performance, choreography or teaching. However, each graduate student must successfully produce and present an MFA Thesis concert.
Master of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance
The Master of Fine Arts degree, available with emphasis areas in choreography, performance, pedagogy, and complementary courses in dance science, is a terminal pre-professional degree. Candidacy for the MFA program requires an undergraduate degree with (ideally) a major in dance, equivalent training and experience, or demonstrable potential for work at the MFA level. In addition, each candidate must provide evidence of technical skill and creative ability. Participation as a part-time student is not recommended.
Every MFA candidate is expected to fulfill the comprehensive requirements and demonstrate a high level of professional standards and scholarship regardless of specific career goals. Upon advisement, candidates may orient a focus in performance, choreography, or teaching. However, each candidate must successfully produce and present an MFA Thesis concert. Requirements for the MFA degree include:
- A minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate work beyond the bachelor’s degree
- A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for all course work on the graduate level
- Completion of the course requirements for the MFA thesis portfolio
- Successful completion of the third year in performance in the Mather Dance Center mainstage season
Master of Arts Degree
The Master of Arts (MA) degree, which requires 30 hours of coursework, supports scholarly studies in various aspects of dance such as theory, history, and dance medicine, science, and/or wellness. The candidate’s program of study will be uniquely designed by the advising faculty. The School of Graduate Studies and the Department of Dance, in accordance with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, requires a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
Master of Arts in Dance
Although the graduate dance program is geared toward the Master of Fine Arts degree, all graduate students begin in the MA program. Advancement to the MFA program occurs upon faculty recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies in the third semester. The coursework for the MA may be similar to that for the Master of Fine Arts, enhanced by related studies in theater and other departments. The candidate’s program of study will be designed by the primary dance faculty. The School of Graduate Studies and the Department of Dance, in accordance with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, requires a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
MA candidates must complete a minimum of 30 hours, following a program similar to that suggested below. The principal faculty advisor may suggest modifications.
The program recommends the School of Graduate Studies’ plan B, with requirements including a non-performance, non-production thesis on a topic approved by the primary program faculty. The thesis must be a substantial contribution to the field, with potential for publication or presentation. The MA thesis must be completed no later than one academic year beyond the completion of the course requirements.
Participation in the Graduate Dance Program
Because of the enormous amount of time required for production and class preparation, part-time participation in the MFA and MA degree programs is not recommended. And, because of the course sequences, it is almost impossible to become comfortably integrated into the program’s dynamic unless work is undertaken in a fall semester.
Additionally, all entering graduate students are placed into the MA track. Re-evaluation is made in the second year as to whether the student would be well served by moving to the MFA track. All students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain successful.
The planned programs of study for both the MFA and MA degree programs may allow for some elective course work in other departments in areas that are of particular interest to the student. Some of these classes can be supported by the fellowship classes supported by the School of Graduate Studies.
Technique Class Requirements
The graduate curriculum has a strong emphasis on technique therefore, regular and consistent enrollment in technique is required by all graduate students. The primary thrust of the technique offered is modern/contemporary, however, ballet classes compliment the technique requirement.
Participation in the graduate program requires a continual assessment and monitoring of each individual’s progress. This is done each semester to assist the student’s development. Important considerations about student progress and performance are outlined in the graduate student guidelines.