Master of Arts (MA) in Theatre & Dance

Our Graduate Degrees

Program Overview

Department of Theatre & Dance

The Master of Arts (MA) in Theatre and Dance with an emphasis in Dance History and Criticism is a two-year program that prepares the student for teaching, practice, and/or pursuit of a Ph.D.The program develops research skills and an effective scholarly approach to the study of dance. The degree requires a thesis of original research and writing that explores in depth a particular, carefully focused subject related to your area of emphasis. The experience of researching and writing a Master’s thesis is invaluable preparation for the rigors of completing a doctoral dissertation.

The MA in Theatre and Dance with a concentration in Theatre Education and Outreach is temporarily on hiatus while we revise and improve the program’s curriculum. Please check back regularly for more information.

MA Theatre & Dance Admission Requirements

Requirements for Admission:

  • To be considered for admission to any of our graduate programs, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.*
  • We require a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (B) or better. Exceptions can be made to the GPA requirement, but it is extremely rare that we admit students whose undergraduate GPA in their major is below 3.0.

*Students may apply during their final year of undergraduate study; however, any offer of admission is contingent upon successful completion of the bachelor’s degree.

*In rare, extraordinary cases, students who have completed more than 100 hours of undergraduate coursework but do not have a degree may be considered for graduate admission based on a strong professional record.

  • Professional experience may compensate for uneven academic preparation. If you believe that your life experiences make up for gaps in your undergraduate training, you should make this clear in your letter of intent.
  • Please note, however, that professional experience in the performing arts is not by itself a substitute for a completed bachelor’s degree. All our Graduate Programs are academically rigorous, and require solid preparation in reading, writing and research skills.
  • Computer literacy: We expect all graduate students to be computer literate to the minimum extent that they can use basic word-processing and e-mail programs. Many of our courses require students to use e-mail and virtually all our courses require assignments to be typed/word-processed.
  • For students who do not own their own computer, the University maintains a number of free labs or computer pods where students can use Windows or Mac computers to write papers, access e-mail, etc.

How to Apply:

Log on to the Admissions website at and apply online. Please follow all the directions provided. Be sure to include all the required materials.  Information can be found at the website listed below:

Required Materials: 

  • Select: College of Fine Arts; MA Theatre and Dance: MA in Dance, Emphasis Dance History and Criticism
  • Letter of Intent clearly expressing your ability to undertake graduate study.
  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • 1 UNOFFICIAL transcript from each college you have attended. (Exception: UNM transcript)
  • An UNBOUND Academic writing sample (10-20 pages)
  • There is a $50.00 non-refundable application fee

There are additional requirements for Applicants who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents. Please contact:

  • Office of International Admissions

(505) 277-5829,

Please note that application materials will not be returned.

M.A. in Theatre and Dance

Concentration: Dance History and Criticism.

The Department of Theatre and Dance offers master’s level work in theatre and dance for the students preparing for teaching, practice, or further graduate study. In general, the focus of the program is the creation of new works of theatre and dance for stage and classroom and development of research skills.

Required Courses:

The purpose of the required courses for the Master of Arts degree is to provide a common conceptual framework for all graduate students in the program. The required courses aim to strengthen critical and practical skills that will support and guide students’ direction and concentration in the remainder of the program and beyond.

  • THEA/DANCE 500 Introduction to Graduate Study 3
  • THEA/DANCE 503 Performance Theory 3
  • THEA/DANCE 506 Critical Issues in the Performing Arts 3
  • THEA/DANCE 512 Graduate Seminar (elective) 3

Degree Plans:

(Dance concentration in History/Criticism):

Dance History/Criticism

  • Required core: 500 and either 503 or 506 6
  • Dance History Courses: 6 hours from 562, 563, 564, 565 6
  • DANCE 531 Criticism 3
  • Electives related to concentration 9
  • Thesis 6


Total                                                                                                    30


Plan I – Master’s Thesis

This is the traditional M.A. program, and culminates in the writing of a formal Thesis, a work of original research and writing (typically, 60-85 pages) that explores in depth a particular, carefully delimited subject related to the student’s area of study. Plan I is especially recommended for students who intend to eventually pursue a Ph.D. The thesis must be written in the UNM Office of Graduate Studies format. The oral defense of the Master’s Thesis serves as the final exam.  Applications should be submitted to the UNM Admissions Office, NOT to the Department of Theatre and Dance. International Applicants should submit their application to the Office of International Admissions. The UNM Admissions Office will review your application for completeness and minimum eligibility. Upon approval by the Admissions Office, your application packet will be sent to the Theatre and Dance Department where it will be reviewed by faculty members in your area of intended emphasis. In certain cases, the faculty may contact you to arrange an interview (by telephone for out-of-state candidates). Notification of admission or rejection will normally be sent in late April (notification may be earlier or later depending on the volume of application in a given year). If, at any point in the process, you wish to inquire as to the status of your application, you may e-mail Rebecca Medina at We will respond only regarding the status of your application. We cannot provide information about admission or rejection via phone or e-mail.

Other Options for Graduate Study

Graduate Non-Degree Option:

Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university are welcome to enroll in some of our graduate courses on a space-available basis, by registering as a non-degree student. For details on non-degree graduate registration, contact the Office of

Graduate Studies at (505) 277-2711. If you later decide to apply for admission to the Graduate

Program, up to twelve (12) credit hours of non-degree coursework may be counted toward your degree. Please note, however, that enrolling as a graduate non-degree student does not guarantee admission into the Program.

Transfer Option:

Students transferring from graduate programs outside of UNM must complete the same option of accepting up to six (6) credit hours of graduate-level work completed at another institution and routinely does so provided that the credit is from an accredited graduate program and applies to the proposed area of emphasis at UNM. Students hoping to transfer credits from another institution should make this clear in their Letter of Intent, and (if admitted) should work with

OGS and the Graduate Faculty Advisor from their area to determine exactly how many credit hours UNM will accept before making the transfer. The policies regarding transfer of credit also apply to students transferring from graduate programs within UNM.


Entering the Program

Undergraduate Deficiencies:

Because the Department allows itself some latitude in its acceptance standards, we reserve the right to determine the actual level of preparedness of each student entering the program.

Typically, this is done through transcript evaluation and a meeting with your area Graduate Faculty Advisor, at which point your advisor will notify you if any remedial coursework will be required.


All students in the graduate program are required to meet with their area Graduate Faculty Advisor at least once each semester. The Graduate Faculty Advisor’s job is to help you select courses, solve problems related to your work in the program, and graduate on time. Your

Graduate Faculty Advisor may or may not turn out to be your Thesis or Master’s Essay Advisor.

The Graduate Coordinator will help you meet deadlines. The graduate Faculty Advisor for Dance History and Criticism is Brianna Figueroa

Degree Resources
Graduate Handbook >

New students accepted Fall Semester only. Application Deadlines: postmarked no later than Feb.1 for financial aid and no later than Apr. 15 if spaces remain.

How to Apply

• All students must be admitted to the University, whether as an incoming freshman, transfer student, or non-degree student. Apply online through the Admissions Department at UNM

•After meeting all CFA admission requirements, students must apply to become a declared major.

Academic Advisement

The College of Fine Arts Student Success & Advisement Center is committed to serve the UNM community with compassion, guidance, and respect as we promote academic excellence.

To speak with a CFA advisor, please call (505) 277-4817.