MA in Dance

The MA in Dance at York University is a five-term program offering the study of dance through historical and ethnographic research, critical writing, movement analysis, and reconstruction. Established in 1976 as Canada’s first Dance MA program, it was also one of the first research-based dance graduate programs in the world. In forty years it has produced over 200 graduates who work as archivists, librarians, curators, choreographers, film producers, arts administrators, writers, critics, and editors. The majority of graduates teach, at all age and skill levels, in a variety of settings. Many now hold doctorates and teach, or have taught, in universities and colleges in Canada, England, the United States, Trinidad, and Taiwan. A dozen alumni are artistic directors of companies and collectives that regularly present traditional and contemporary performances as well as educational programming. Even more have careers as independent artists.

The MA program admits up to ten full-time students per year to pursue research in the context of a large Department of Dance. York runs an established BFA program, an MFA in Choreography and Collaborative Creation, and a PhD in Dance Studies. MA students participate in courses, seminars, field trips, independent research, and academic conferences. Guest specialists enrich course offerings through lectures, workshops, and colloquiums. Students are encouraged to also take courses in other disciplines, such as Music, Anthropology, Visual Arts, English, Education, Culture & Communication, and History. Students learn to work with archival materials at York and Dance Collection Danse, and they benefit from an extensive alumni network. Graduate students often take dance technique classes on campus, but many study in schools and studios in downtown Toronto that offer instruction in a wide range of dance forms.

MA students complete degrees by choosing among three options: thesis, major research paper/project (MRP), or coursework. To date, more than 60 have written theses, over 90 have written MRPs, and many more have done coursework. Research generated in all three options has led to numerous conference presentations and publications. Students often incorporate performance work in their research, and sometimes theses and MRPs include the production of videos and DVDs. York University offers a comprehensive funding package for graduate students.

Admission Requirements

  • B+ average
  • Proof of English language proficiency (if required by York's Office of Admissions)
  • An undergraduate degree in dance or a related field in the fine arts (i.e music), the humanities (i.e history, women's studies), or the social sciences (i.e anthropology, sociology)

Occasionally students are admitted on the basis of extensive professional equivalency. Preference is given to Canadian and landed immigrant applicants. Our international acceptance ratio is under 1%. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

Graduate Admissions - Dance