MFA

2-Year Program

The MFA curriculum enables each graduate student to develop and refine his or her own personal aesthetic. It includes seminars dealing with topics in professional dance—from organizing concepts in choreography to meeting the practical demands of producing concerts to identifying larger artistic and career goals. The curriculum also features classes in technique composition, dance theory, costume design, dance production, dance on camera, and digital media and editing.

In the first year, students are required to create and present three original works. In consultation with the Dean, students identify a progression of works created for presentation in various concerts through the first year of residency. Works are presented for feedback during Dance Showings, a weekly venue that involves all faculty and students.

The Thesis Concert is produced in the second semester of the second year. A committee consisting of the Dean and at least three faculty members is assigned at the outset of the second year. As part of the preparations for the Thesis Concert, students are required to submit a written proposal, which must be approved by faculty before any thesis work is begun. Each MFA student receives a generous stipend for the thesis project and has the opportunity to collaborate with artists and designers from all the other Schools within the Institute. MFA candidates must hold open auditions for the Thesis Concert.


MFA candidates are given a variety of teaching opportunities during their residency. Institute dance classes are offered regularly. MFA candidates also teach selected classes within the undergraduate curriculum.

All MFA Choreography candidates must complete three original works in the first year and a Graduate Independent Project in their second in order to complete the Program.

Full Curriculum

Full Curriculum

Detailed curriculum and academic requirements can be found in the online course catalog.

View Curriculum Requirements


Interdisciplinary Opportunities

In addition to CalArts' rich and diverse community and naturally collaborative atmosphere, the Institute provides several programs of study that can be pursued concurrently with a student's chosen metier.

Integrated Media

The Integrated Media concentration is designed specifically for MFA students whose creative use of technology—in particular digital media—goes beyond their primary areas of study.

Integrated Media

Interschool Degree

This option is available to a small number of graduates and advanced third- and fourth-year undergraduates whose skills and artistic interests warrant pursuing a degree in more than one School.

Interschool Degree


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