MFA Dance



The Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Dance at the University of Alabama will develop students’ creative, performance, and scholarly work and prepare them for multiple professional destinations as dance artists, administrators, scholars, and teachers. The Dance (MFA) degree program will support the development of diverse skills in classical and contemporary dance techniques, dance pedagogy, historical perspectives and critical theory, as well as technical and artistic integration of dance-specific technologies. The UA Dance program has a strong commitment to connecting students to professionals in the field by bringing in diverse guest artists each year to teach master classes, set new or established works and give presentations.

Performance and Creative Opportunities

The Dance Program produces numerous concerts annually, providing ample opportunities for graduate students to perform, collaborate, and create new works. On campus opportunities include Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre (ARDT), Dance Alabama (DA), Dance Collection (DC), Dance Alabama Film Festival (DAFF), musical theatre and theatre productions. The program additionally supports community performances, and applications to present work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Alabama Dance Festival and the American College Dance Association annual conferences. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to other national and international adjudicated festivals and conferences.

Over the course of three years, students will complete a total of 60 credit hours in a range of studio related and dance studies courses. Students will also complete and present a substantial M.F.A. project demonstrating a synthesis of craft, artistic vision and conceptual rigor, as well as professional competence in the selected research area.

MFA Dance Curriculum

The culmination of graduate study is the M.F.A. Final Project. The Final Project is based on creative work: a choreographic/creative project usually presented in a concert, followed by a paper and an oral defense of the project and paper. Creative work can take any number of forms from proscenium performance, to site specific or interdisciplinary work, etc. By the third semester of the degree program, a written proposal for the creative project must be presented to the graduate dance faculty. The proposal will include information on the purpose of the project, how it will contribute to personal artistic/educational growth, a timeline for activities, resources to be used, and a preliminary literature review on the topic. The faculty will evaluate the feasibility and innovation of the proposal as well as how the project will further the field of dance. Faculty can either approve the project as proposed or suggest revisions. Students will receive considered advice from faculty, however, the responsibility of articulating an idea and completing the proposed work in a fashion acceptable to the faculty rests with the student.



Audition and Application Requirements:

Auditions for acceptance into the program for the Fall 2020 academic year will be held on Oct 10-11, 2019 and Feb 27-28, 2020. Candidates are required to attend one of the audition sessions in Tuscaloosa for consideration. To register for the audition, please email Lawrence Jackson at Deadline for application submissions will be Sep 26, 2019 for Fall auditions and Feb 13, 2020 for spring auditions. Audition slots are assigned on a first come, first served basis. All materials in the document below should be uploaded via the UA Graduate School application process at least 2 weeks prior to the audition.

An on-site audition is required for all M.F.A. applicants. The audition will include movement classes to demonstrate technical and performance proficiency. Each prospective M.F.A. student will be scheduled for a 20-30 minute individual interview with members of the faculty during the audition process. Applicants will open the interview with a brief presentation that highlights their interests in graduate work at UA and outlines possible areas of emphasis. Acceptance into the Department of Theatre and Dance (M.F.A.) program requires the fulfillment both of general criteria established by the UA Graduate School as well as particular criteria established by the Department.

Statement of Purpose: Applicants will compose a 1 page, single-spaced narrative, relating research and movement practice interests to pursuing a degree within the UA program. The essay should situate candidates within the field at the present time, gathering significant details of candidates’ previous experiences, clarifying current involvement and interest in dance, and speculating about the candidates’ future intentions within the field. Reviewers are interested in getting to know something about the candidates as dance professionals through this writing.

Curriculum Vitae: This document should accurately reflect candidates’ completed educational background and all of their professional and related experiences to date. Document should be thorough and comprehensive.

Work Sample(s): Candidates will list Vimeo, YouTube or similar resources as hyperlinks in a Word or PDF attachment. These samples should demonstrate candidates’ expertise and interests, such as excerpts of choreography, documentation of performances, samples of lighting plots, dance notation, or dance media projects.

Writing Sample: The Dance Faculty will review writing samples to determine applicants’ potential research and creative interests and to assess their competency as writers. Candidates will submit a substantive piece of writing, one that demonstrates their thoughtfulness and capacity to handle language with fluency. This writing submission must be at least 4 pages double-spaced but no more than 20 pages; this might take the form of a critical review, process paper, or scholarly essay.

At least three (3) letters of recommendation must be submitted. Letters should speak to candidates’ artistic and academic strengths. At least two letters should be from someone at an academic institution (past or present) who can speak to these strengths, even if previous academic work was not in Dance.

Unofficial transcripts will be required to apply. Official transcripts from prior institutions will be required after admission/acceptance.

GRE scores are not required.

Apply through the University of Alabama’s Graduate School here:

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For more information, please contact Lawrence Jackson, Director of Dance, at