Master of Fine Arts in Dance

The Master of Fine Arts is a 60-credit terminal degree in dance that integrates a Christian worldview with pedagogical, theoretical, and artistic inquiry in dance studies. The MFA in Dance degree equips graduates for careers as leaders in higher education, choreography, performance, ministry, and scholarship. Belhaven University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).

At Belhaven, the Dance Department offers a collaborative environment in which students can experiment with innovative approaches to dance-making, teaching, and learning. Graduate Dance students develop professional skills through curricular offerings in technique, performance, choreography, pedagogy, research methodology, kinesiology, and critical inquiry, among others.  The Belhaven University Dance Department also offers an opportunity for MFA students to pursue a Pilates Certification in Mat and/or Reformer, a necessary step in pursuing a career as a Pilates Instructor.

MFA students establish a network of community-minded faculty and guest artists and are encouraged to develop a unique artistic voice. Adjunct teaching opportunities within the Dance Department are available for qualified MFA candidates to hone their pedagogical practice. Application information for the Graduate Teaching Assistant position.


  • Worldview: Graduate students develop a nuanced approach to dance studies from a Christian perspective and can critically assess their work and the work of others from such a perspective.
  • Pedagogy: Graduate students develop effective approaches to dance teaching which acknowledge pedagogical and kinesiological best practices.
  • Theory: Graduate students cultivate a theoretical stance to dance studies that illustrates its ability to reflect and impact culture and can articulate the ways in which these influences interact with their own body of work.
  • Artistry: Graduate students develop sophisticated dance composition and performance skills which reflect a synthesis of artistry, craft, and individuality.
  • Technique: Graduate students learn effective approaches to building technique in self and others with a balanced understanding of physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellness.
  • Connection: Graduate students build personal and professional networks with faculty, guest artists, community members, graduate and undergraduate students.

Master of Fine Arts in Dance Curriculum Summary

Course # Course Name Credits
Studio or Related Areas (39 units required)
DAN 502 Graduate Dance Production 1-3 units
DAN B51-B89 Ballet Technique 4-6 units
DAN M51-M89 Modern Technique 4-6 units
DAN 543/544* Graduate Performance I 1 unit
DAN 570* Graduate Choreography I 3 units
DAN 571* Graduate Choreography II 3 units
DAN 585 Somatic Practices for Dance I 2 unit
DAN 643/644 Graduate Performance II 1 unit
DAN 660 Performance Media Techniques 2 units
DAN 670* Graduate Choreography III 3 units
DAN 671/672 Graduate Improvisation 1 unit
DAN 685 Somatic Practices for Dance II 2 units
DAN 700/701/702* Graduate Thesis Project 7-9 units
Note Minimum number of technique credits 12 units
Other Studies in Dance (15 units required)
DAN 501* Graduate Kinesiology (lecture) 3 units
DAN 503* Graduate Kinesiology (lab) 1 units
DAN 511* Graduate Seminar 1 unit
DAN 575* Graduate Pedagogy (lecture) 3 units
DAN 576* Graduate Pedagogy (lab) 1 units
DAN 580 Philosophy of Dance 3 units
DAN 680 Critical Issues in Dance 3 units
DAN 662* Research and Writing for Dance 3 units
Electives (6 units required)
DAN 500 Arts Administration 3 units
DAN 545 Dance and Christian Ministry 3 units
DAN 550/650 Graduate Apprenticeship/Internship 1-3 units
DAN 560 Dance Technology 3 units
DAN 565 Advanced Musical Concepts in Dance 2 units
DAN 590/690 Graduate Independent Study 4-8 units
DAN 591/691 Graduate Special Topics 1-3 units

*Required courses


Audition Information

Audition in-person for the graduate faculty including a ballet and modern technique class, a solo work under 5 minutes and an interview with faculty. Auditions will take place on February 11, 2023 in the Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center. For more information or to schedule a private audition on another date, please email or call 601-965-1400.

Applicants must place in a Level III in either ballet or modern technique and demonstrate scholarly and creative capacity necessary to complete the MFA course work. Within the parameters of university admission and admission into the dance department, graduate candidates will be evaluated on an individual basis and admission policies are flexible such that promising candidates who show significant ability and potential in creative/performance components will be given serious consideration.

Admission Information


The application process for acceptance into Belhaven University and the MFA in Dance are two separate items. All prospective students must audition for the MFA in Dance program and submit items for acceptance prior to auditions. Please use the checklist below to assist you in the admission process. Each item is required to apply, be accepted, and register at the university. If you have any questions about admission, contact 601-968-5940 or

Priority application deadline - January 31, 2023
Accepting applications through May 31, 2023

Required: A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in dance or a dance-related area. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to perform graduate level work as exhibited by an undergraduate GPA of 2.8 overall and 3.0 in dance-related studies.

Applicants must apply to the University and submit these additional materials to for application into the program:

  • A 500 word letter of intent articulating your interest in graduate dance studies, including an example of how you incorporate your Christian faith in a dance context.
  • Professional resume, minimum 2 years of field-related experience preferred.
  • Two letters of recommendation (one academic and one dance-related).
  • A writing sample (no more than 15 pages) which demonstrates analytical and verbal ability, preferably related to the field of dance.
  • Links to current (within the last 5 years) choreography and/or performance samples (YouTube, Vimeo preferred).

Tuition Information

View Tuition Information for the MFA in Dance.

Accepted/Current Student Information

Download the Graduate Student Dance Handbook.

For questions concerning the MFA in Dance Program:

Belhaven University, Dance Department
1500 Peachtree St., Box 314
Jackson, MS 39202
Attn: MFA Program