The Master of Fine Arts Program in Dance

The Master of Fine Arts Program in Dance in the Performing Arts Department at Washington University offers an innovative approach to dance technique, composition, improvisation and production. It involves an energetic interplay of studio work with professionally distinguished dance instructors, seminars with faculty who are experts in their fields and independent studies in choreography. This two-year program will expand your dance skills while engaging you with current concepts of dance as an art form, as an expression of culture and identity, and as a mode of critical thinking.

The overarching goal of this program is to develop each other's personal artistic practice while encountering a global perspective on dance studies, performance, pedagogy, and choreography.

Members of our dance faculty have performed with such companies as American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, National Ballet of Washington D.C., Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Utah Repertory Dance Theatre.  In addition, a distinctive feature of our MFA program is that it is run in collaboration with St. Louis’ Center of Creative Arts (COCA), involving a sharing of facilities and faculty borne out of a common vision of the importance of the performing arts. As the leading dance school in the region, COCA is also the largest multidisciplinary arts organization in St. Louis and has a world-renowned faculty. The department also has a vibrant semi-professional resident dance company, WUDance Collective, with which students have opportunities to perform.  And we have a long history of engaging the talents of contemporary guest choreographers and répétiteurs from ballet, modern and performance art who bring a broad range of challenging new processes, concepts and choreography to our students.

The Road Ahead

Program of Study

What does the MFA program look like? What requirements are there? The WashU Bulletin will help you plan your path.

Review Program Requirements

Admission & Financial Support

Admission Guidelines

The deadline for admission to the MFA Program in Dance is December 4.  All students must apply to the MFA program online and follow the specific instructions contained there.  The Prospective student (or students interested in the program should have either a BFA or BA in Dance and professional dance experience or a BA in a related dance field and professional dance experience.

Applications for the MFA Program in Dance require the following:

  • a completed online application plus fee
  • a curriculum vitae
  • a personal statement describing your primary area(s) of interest and your rationale for graduate study
  • a writing sample of eight-to-twelve pages; please upload to the GSAS website under 'Supplemental Forms'
  • transcript(s) from undergraduate institution(s)
  • three letters of recommendation

Final candidates for admission will take part in a zoom interview with the entire dance faculty.  Candidates are asked to submit a Teaching Statement, as well as one video of them performing 1-3 minutes of their own choreography or someone else’s. Both the Teaching Statement and the video should be submitted one week prior to the interview. The video will not be shown outside of the committee.

Please Note: GRE Scores are not required for admission to the MFA Program in Dance.

Financial Support

The Department is committed to securing financial support for qualified students. MFA students will receive financial aid in the form of full tuition remission. Additionally, MFA students will receive a University Fellowship in the first year.  Candidates are considered for continued financial assistance in their second year based on their satisfactory academic progress.

Special Fellowship Opportunities for MFA Students

Washington University and the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences offer several special fellowships for qualified graduate students in certain programs, and because these awards bring with them additional funding and opportunities. 

Certificate Programs

We are proud to offer two certification programs available to graduate students. Learn about our Post-Baccalaureate Dance Teacher Certification Program and our Certificate Program in Somatic Studies.

Learn More About Our Certificate Programs
Heather Beal MFA in Dance 2018


Still have questions about the MFA Program? Please contact the Director of the MFA Program.

Email Professor Knoblauch-O'Neal