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About the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Program


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The Master of Fine Arts in Dance at The Ohio State University is an individualized three-year program of study that furthers emerging and returning professionals' unique interests in the creation and teaching of dance with a focus on the interdependence of artistry, pedagogy and critical dance studies as platforms for critical civic engagement and liberatory aesthetic practices. It is a practice-as-research-based, residential terminal degree for artists who are curious, multidisciplinary, focused, and ready to go deep as makers, movers, and pedagogues. Ideal MFA candidates understand and demonstrate what it means to be working artists and reflective practitioners, and arrive in the program in a spirit of open-minded inquiry and a desire to expand their knowledge and artistry. The successful MFA candidate will have a desire to pursue practice-based projects in realms both familiar and yet unknown.   

The Master of Fine Arts in Dance culminates in an MFA project in such areas as choreographic and/or digital composition for stage, screen, intermedial environments, and site-specific spaces; education and pedagogy; performance of new and established repertory; body conditioning, kinesiology, and wellness; movement analysis, scoring, and notation; production and lighting design; and community-based making and social justice. MFA students craft their own pathways by harnessing the interdisciplinary resources that the dance faculty and larger university have to offer. MFA students understand and demonstrate what it means to be innovative artists whose credentials reflect broad dance experience, self-motivation, and the ability to clearly formulate and communicate objectives and artistic intent supported by a variety of research methods. Students and faculty in our program demonstrate a strong commitment to innovation, leadership, community, equity and social justice. This commitment informs the curriculum. 

The Master of Fine Arts in Dance is a terminal degree that qualifies the successful candidate to work in a variety of academic, artistic and professional settings, including teaching at a university-level or in community-engagement contexts, directing a performance company, managing an arts organization, working as a performance curator or festival director, or devising performance work.  

Be sure to take a look at our students and their work.

Please see the profiles of our graduate faculty to see the variety creative and scholarly expertise that informs our graduate program.


The MFA consists of prerequisites, a core curriculum, related theoretical and studio courses, and a culminating project specific to each candidate’s area of research. Prerequisites include the equivalent of undergraduate dance history coursework and substantial experience in a somatic or body-mind practice. Students lacking these prerequisites must contact their advisors upon entering to determine which courses will satisfy the requirement.

Please see our 


for an example of a planning document that students use to track their course progress to graduation, alongside other university resources, professional staff, and faculty advisors. 

The Graduate School at Ohio State also supports a wide variety of Graduate Minors and Graduate Interdisciplinary Specializations that support MFA student research and provide valuable connections and networking opportunities. 

Program Requirements

  • Full-time enrollment in the three-year MFA program.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 over 60 graduate semester units consisting of core requirements and related courses.
  • Completion and presentation of a substantial MFA project demonstrating a synthesis of craft, artistic vision and conceptual rigor, as well as professional competence in the selected research area.
  • Documentation of the project with disc and written documentation, presenting one copy to the Department of Dance for the Music and Dance Library.
  • Successful completion of the three-part written comprehensive examination.
  • Successful oral examination including a discussion and defense of the synthesis of craft, artistic vision and conceptual rigor as demonstrated in the project.


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