Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Associate of Arts (AA)
4 years for bachelor's degree
2 years for associate's degree
1-3 years for diploma
12-52 weeks for certificate
Bachelor's degree - direct entry; entry after associate's degree
Associate's degree - direct entry
Diploma/ Certificate - direct entry
Areas of Study
General arts, dance
Specialization areas include ballet, modern/ contemporary dance, stagecraft and production, choreography/ composition, improvisation, dance kinesiology, dance education, dance therapy, intercultural/ world dance, dance and technology.
Opportunity to work with visiting guest artists
Participation in public performance
Opportunity to participate in specialized competitions
There's more to studying dance then you might think! A wide range of styles as well as staging skills means a number of options in these competitive undergraduate dance programs.
At some schools, you can take a 4-year Bachelor of Arts or Fine Arts (BA or BFA) and major in various styles of dance such as ballet, tap, jazz, solo, modern/contemporary, world dance, etc. Other schools will allow you to study multiple styles within a major of performance, choreography or dance education. Dance education programs prepare graduates for licensure as teachers for K-12. Another option, albeit not as common, is the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Dance with a focus in dance therapy or dance education. Most of these programs combine practical dance training with academic study of dance history, theory and kinesiology (the study of movement of the human body). If you want to broaden your education, you may have the option of taking a double major. Universities and 4-year colleges may also offer shorter programs, like 1-year certificate programs in the more technical aspects of dance such as stage lighting, scenery, rigging, video production and more.
Dance programs are often offered at large universities and colleges. These schools may have their own Colleges or Schools of Dance, or dance programs may be found within a different College or School, such as Fine Arts or Theatre. Many smaller liberal arts colleges also offer dance programs, and those who want to study dance in a different context may want to consider taking dance at a Christian or women's college. Undergraduate dance programs prepare you for getting started on your career or can also be the prelude to grad school (did you know you can go up to a doctorate in dance?).
At the community college level, programs in dance and dance education leading to the Associate of Arts (AA) degree provide the technical foundation for the first two years of college study, and credits are often transferable to 4-year programs. Many community colleges also offer dance courses you can take, but that do not lead to a complete credential in dance. These may be offered to both credit and noncredit students.
So take the time to explore before you decide: there are many educational paths that can lead you to the dance career of your dreams.