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Master of Arts in Dance Education

It's finally here: a Master's program in Dance Education that takes only 2 years to complete! This focused program consists of two three-week summer institutes and five academic semesters. It includes a combination of online classes, hands on work and theatrical experiences ranging from courses in choreographing to curriculum development. UNC's Dance Educator Intensive is an ideal way to earn your Master's degree in Dance Education.

  • Program Description

    Degree Requirements - 36 Credits

    This focused program consists of

    • Three 3-credit online courses spread out over two academic years (graduate transfer credits may also apply)
    • Two 3-week summer institutes (one 9-credit institute each summer) for 18 credits
    • One 3-credit 500 level or above approved UNC course, transferable dance course, or transferable graduate level course applicable to student's interests
    • Six credits of thesis advisement (a written thesis is required of all School of Theatre Arts & Dance Master of Arts degree candidates)

    Total of thirty-six (36) credits over two academic years and two summer sessions. The on-campus summer workshops (last 2 weeks of July and first week of August) will involve choreography, learning dance forms, movement skills/technique, pedagogy, interdisciplinary teaching through dance, creative dance, injury prevention, and dance production. 

    Required Courses - 36 credits

    FALL - Online

    DNCE 555 Movement & Dance - Framing a Research Question (3)

    SPRING - Online

    DNCE 550 Dance History - Tribal Cultures to Current Times (3)

    SUMMER - Face to Face

    DNCE 560 Dance Movement Skills & Pedagogical Approaches (3)
    DNCE 565 Interdisciplinary Teaching & Advocacy in Dance (3)
    DNCE 570 Doing, Teaching, & Appreciating Choreography & Creative Dance I (3)

    FALL - Online

    DNCE 575 Dance Lesson, Curriculum & Assessment Design (3)

    SPRING - Online

    DNCE 690 Thesis I (3)

    SUMMER - Face to Face

    DNCE 693 Popular Dance Forms (3)
    DNCE 695 Doing, Teaching & Appreciating Choreography (3)
    DNCE 697 Dance Production Techniques (3)

    FALL - Online

    DNCE 699 Thesis II (3)
    Before Graduation - Elective Course (3 credits)
    One 3-credit 500 level or above approved UNC course, transferable dance course, or transferable graduate level course applicable to student's interests


  • General Information

    Program Description

    The MA in Dance Education is an academically rigorous program examining the philosophical, theoretical and practical implications in the field of dance education. In this program, students will reflect on the bigger challenges that constantly face dance educators in the classroom/studio, and more broadly, in the country. Students should expect to reflect, assess, and re-evaluate their own practice and theoretical understandings of the field.


    This focused program consists of three 3 credit on-line courses spread out over two academic years, two three-week summer institutes for 18 credits (9 each year), one 3 credit 500 level or above transferable dance course, and 6 credits of thesis advisement for a total of 36 credits. The program begins in the fall of each academic year. While on campus in the summer, students will attend classes, and view or work on productions, Monday through Saturday for a total of 45 hours per week. The summer classes will be held during the last two weeks in July and the first week of August.


    Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree (dance degree not required) and a strong desire to obtain a Master of Arts degree in Dance Education. A teaching certificate is recommended yet not required. A minimum of nine and a maximum of twelve students will be admitted each year. The goal is that each class will reflect a mix of diverse backgrounds, experience and interests. Applicants must meet the University of Northern Colorado's graduate admission requirements and apply by April 1. They must also submit an essay stating their goals for the program and discuss why graduate school is an appropriate choice in their careers at this time, a resume, and three letters of recommendation. Selection for the program will be made by the end of April. The GRE is not required.


    The cost of the program is calculated each year based on increases in operation costs. View current tuition rates. Arrangements can be made for a monthly payment plan, but there is a service/interest charge. Students may also pay by credit card and/or make their monthly payments to the credit card. Financial aid is also available through the UNC Financial Aid Office. More information is also available on the Graduate School website.


    On campus housing is available at UNC in Hansen-Willis Hall just two blocks from Crabbe Hall. Hansen-Willis is an air-conditioned residence hall, in which each unit consists of two bedrooms, bathroom and living areas. Each unit houses up to four persons per apartment. Requests for one person per bedroom will be honored on a space available basis. All reservations must be paid for on or before arrival. The MA Dance Education program advisor will contact you regarding housing opportunities during your first year in the program.

    A word about residence halls

    UNC residence halls are good student housing, not hotels. There is no maid service, there are shared facilities, BUT it is very convenient. If you have misgivings about residence halls, please consider the hotel option.

    Looking for Housing Off Campus?

    Please visit the Greeley Convention and Visitors Bureau website for more information on hotel options (Accommodations). We do not provide transportation to and from hotels. For those who have the perfect house on wheels and travel to Greeley in a motor home, there are campgrounds close to the University as well. Beginning June 26, the City of Greeley is very busy as we host the annual Greeley Stampede - the "World's Largest 4th of July Rodeo and Western Celebration!" If you are interested in getting a hotel room, please do so right away.


    On campus classes will be located at Frasier Hall, Crabbe Hall, Campus Recreation Center, Michener Library on the University of Northern Colorado Campus, and various other local off-campus dance studios. View a map of UNC


    As part of the on campus program, students may attend theatre productions on campus at the Little Theatre of the Rockies, and selected dance/theatre productions in Denver and/or Boulder, as well as the Vail International Dance Festival.


    Prior to the on campus summer sessions, students will be sent a list of textbooks and resources. They may also be given assignments that will need to be completed in advance of their arrival on campus. Before beginning the program, students should consider ideas for their thesis project.

    Prospective Student Info

    Learn more about online courses
    Learn more about Greeley, CO

  • Course Descriptions

    Dance History -Tribal Cultures to Current Times

    Students learn to recognize links between early dance forms and those which are a part of the current cultural scene. Emphasis is placed on connections between dance forms and the accompanying culture, place and events found within a specific time frame along with developments in the other arts. Students will be expected to analyze historical dance forms. 3 credit hours.

    Movement & Dance - Framing a Research Question

    Students learn how to frame a research question and effective research strategies for use in dance education contexts. In addition, students produce a protocol, requiring detailed preparatory research, testing of ideas, and presentation of theories and concepts in practice. Students work under faculty supervision and prepare a documented written report. 3 credit hours.

    Dance Movement Skills (Modern & Jazz) & Pedagogical Approaches

    Class involves the study of the technique and performance qualities of Modern and Jazz Dance. The focus is on an in-depth discovery of the methods of pedagogy for dance technique classes. 3 credit hours.

    Interdisciplinary Teaching & Advocacy in Dance

    Class involves learning how to use creative movement and dance to teach non-dance concepts and ideas, including using movement and dance to teach multicultural content. Techniques for dance education advocacy will also be presented. 3 credit hours.

    Doing, Teaching & Appreciating Choreography & Creative Dance I

    Students learn about presenting creative movement/dance lessons for elementary age children and improvisation/choreography classes for older students. Techniques for appreciating choreography are also presented along with active participation in creative movement, improvisation, and dance making based on basic choreographic principles and forms. 3 credit hours.

    Dance Lesson, Curriculum & Assessment Design

    Class includes learning to give differentiated feedback to students in movement skills classes; designing various types of dance-based lessons and curricula (modern, jazz, creative dance, choreography & improvisation); and structuring dance assessment instruments and rubrics. 3 credit hours.

    Thesis I

    Course builds on the initial research class by helping students refine a thesis topic and determine appropriate research methods. The course also includes work to define the purpose of the thesis, its significance, and possible sources for the review of literature. In addition, students describe a potential population of students for their project, along with the steps to be taken to complete their project. Possible thesis projects are a research-based dance performance, research-based dance curriculum, or qualitative study exploring a dance education question.

    Popular Dance Forms

    Students learn movements from a number of popular dance forms - salsa, ballroom, hip hop, krump, steppin, ’Bollywood, & country western line dancing & basic movements from yoga. Work on teaching progressions, pedagogical tips & lesson planning are also included. 3 credits.

    Doing, Teaching & Appreciating Choreography II

    Class is an investigation of dance improvisation and choreography as it relates to dance pedagogy and philosophy. More advanced techniques for appreciating choreography are presented along with active participation in improvisation and dance making based on intermediate choreographic principles and forms. Learning to design choreographic experiences for students of different ages and ability levels is also part of this class. 3 credits.

    Dance Production Techniques

    Course covers dance production techniques to give students an overview and practical experience in all aspects of producing a dance concert or dance performance for primary level through college age students. 3 credits.

    Thesis II

    Course involves step-by-step process of writing and defending candidate’s thesis project. 3-6 credits.

  • Resources

    The Dance Education Master of Arts program is designed for educators who wish to build their credentials while developing their knowledge in the field of Dance Education. In this program, you will be able to build on your teaching strategies, develop theoretical knowledge as it relates to teaching and learning, and develop your dance/movement skills.

    Dance Education MA students will learn the latest and most effective instructional methods for

    • Dance/Movement Teaching for K-12 including skills and techniques
    • Choreography, Creative Dance Improvisation and Popular Dance Forms
    • Dance Performance Production
    • Dance History
    • Designing Dance/Movement Lessons, Assessments and Learning Dance Research Methods
    • Movement and Dance to Teach Non-Dance Concepts and Ideas
    • Injury Prevention

    This master's program was designed with online delivery in the academic Fall and Spring plus summer workshops to fit into the schedules of current and aspiring dance educators. The summer face to face workshops will include courses on choreography and learning dance forms.

    The Dance Education Master of Arts program begins in the Fall of each academic year. A minimum of eight and a maximum of fifteen students will be admitted each year. Applicants must apply by April 1; selections will be made by the end of April.

    More Resources

    We also encourage you to visit the Graduate School website for more information.

  • Application

    Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree (not necessarily in dance); a teaching certificate is recommended, yet is not required. Graduate school admission is required. No GRE is required. NOTE: There are a limited number of states from which UNC cannot accept students for online coursework. For the current list of ineligible states please visit http://extended.unco.edu/programs/education-arts/dance-education-masters/eligibility.asp.

    For application details and access to the Graduate School application, visit http://extended.unco.edu/programs/education-arts/dance-education-masters/online.asp. Please submit your application, transcripts, and supplemental materials to the Graduate School by April 1. The following supplemental materials are required along with your application and transcripts:

    • Statement of Goals (You will upload this after you have completed and submitted the online application.)
    • Resume (You will upload this after you have completed and submitted the online application.)
    • Three Letters of Recommendation (You will start this process after you have completed and submitted the online application.)

    Once admitted to the program, students should refer to http://extended.unco.edu/current/graduate/education-arts/dance_ed_ma.asp, where they will get current student information such as their course schedule, course registration number, link to the syllabus and other important details.