The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance

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The 60-credit Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance in performance and choreography provides opportunities to work with national and internationally recognized dance makers, teachers and professionals. Recognized as a terminal degree, MFA study at Brockport merges a studio-centered curriculum in dance-making and dance technique, with studies in dance pedagogy, theory, aesthetics and production.

Upon completion of their degrees, Brockport MFA recipients go on to become college and university faculty, teaching artists, performers and choreographers, dance administrators, and private studio directors.  MFA students and faculty establish a unique learning community of committed artists/scholars who are working to develop and sustain their careers and deepen their relationship to dance.

While at Brockport, graduate students may perform in faculty and guest artist work, choreograph their own work, or assist in directing departmental touring performances. They may also travel to regional/national conferences and festivals; to countries with complimentary foreign study programs such as Ghana, England, Brazil or Norway; or to New York City and other locations for approved and credited apprenticeships, internships or dance study.

The Department of Dance offers three different graduate programs through which students may earn the MFA in Dance, an MA in dance, or an MA in Dance with New York State PreK-12 dance teacher certification (currently on hiatus). Students in the department’s highly selective graduate programs excel in the studio and on stage, and as critical thinkers, writers and teachers.

The department has some of the best dance facilities in the country, including its own fully equipped 300-seat proscenium dance theater, a 270-seat large-space studio theater, five studios, a body-conditioning lab, and computerized music and design studios. Faculty and professional staff are nationally and internationally recognized in their areas of expertise and are leaders in professional organizations such as CORD, NASD and NDEO. SUNY Brockport is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance.

Admission to the Program

Prospective students apply to the program through the Center for Graduate Studies. The following requirements are necessary for consideration:

  1. An undergraduate degree with a major in dance, with a "B" or better average in dance courses, OR an undergraduate degree in another major and evidence of serious study and/or significant professional experience in dance. Once accepted to graduate program by audition, basic course work may be strongly recommended for students without undergraduate degrees in dance.
  2. Three letters of recommendation, at least two from persons acquainted with the candidate's dance background;
  3. Completion of the application form, including submission of official transcripts of undergraduate study, graduate study and application for audition;
  4. Participation in an audition-interview process, which is scheduled once each year in March or April. This audition consists of:
    1. being observed in modern technique class (intermediate-level skill is required);
    2. solving an improvisation problem;
    3. presenting a three-minute solo of original choreography;
    4. participating in a formal interview, including candidate's articulation of areas of interest in dance; and
    5. completing a writing assessment assignment. Original research, essays or articles may also be presented, but are not required.

NOTE: A maximum of 12 transfer credits may be earned at other colleges and universities with the approval of the department. Six transfer credits may be earned, upon approval, at units outside the State University of New York system. Twelve credits may be transferred, with approval, from within the SUNY system, or from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. Dance professionals may be eligible for up to 12 credits by examination and/or portfolio.

Program Requirements

Students must meet the requirements established by the College for graduate study.

Required minimum grades:  Grades of “C” or better are required for all courses.  Any student whose GPA falls below 3.0 is subject to review for retention in the program.

Students cannot receive graduate credit for a course already completed at the undergraduate level (“swing courses”). 

The 60 credits in the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance are distributed as follows:

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply artistry and individual expressivity across a range of movement aesthetics.
  2. Embody physical mastery of a variety of contemporary dance idioms.
  3. Generate and design choreography that demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of compositional tools and aesthetic framework.
  4. Articulate a critical understanding of aesthetics regarding dance styles through dance making, and/or oral and written forms.
  5. Summarize and synthesize concepts regarding history, aesthetics, and culture of dance.
  6. Identify and investigate an individual research agenda in creative and/or written scholarship.
  7. Situate individual interests in the context of the larger dance field.
  8. Exhibit appropriate professional conduct throughout choreographic process, performance, collaboration, and production.