Frequently Asked Questions

How many semesters is the MFA Program?

Bennington offers a two-year program. Our academic year consists of a 14-week fall term and 14-week spring term. Our spring term begins in late February after the completion of the undergraduate 7-week winter Field Work Term. MFA students are not obligated to complete a Field Work Term and may use this time, as well as the summer, for other studies or professional engagements.

Is it possible to study part-time?

Yes. MFA students may enroll for 8 credits, rather than the usual 16 credits each term.

Is it possible to do a low-residency schedule?

No. We are only in residence during the regular fall and spring terms.

Can I start in the spring term rather than the fall term?


Can I visit campus and sit in on a class?

Yes. Candidates should feel free to work with the Admissions Office to schedule a visit during term times.

Can I meet with a dance faculty member?

Usually, depending on faculty availability. A dance faculty member may be available for a brief chat about the program, but we will not be able to schedule a full interview until we have received an application.

Do you have MFA auditions?

No. Regular auditions are not scheduled. After reviewing applications in early February the faculty determines, at that time, whether to invite candidates to campus for an interview.

How many MFA students are typically accepted each year?

We generally have only two or three MFA candidates in the program at any one time, due to the time and attention needed for the oversight of each student.

What do you look for when choosing a candidate?

We seek candidates with substantial professional experience in the field who are ready to devote time to the development of their own choreographic work.

Can I pursue an MFA in Dance at Bennington if my undergraduate work was in a different area of study?

Yes. Acceptance to the program is based primarily on the portfolio of work submitted for review in the application.

What are the MFA degree requirements?

The main requirement is that candidates create and perform new work during each of the four terms. Candidates outline the kind of work they wish to accomplish – a “Plan” – that is overseen by faculty. Students complete a 16-credit course load each term including 6 credits for creative work in the Graduate Research in Dance and 4 credits for work completed with a Dance Assistantship (when an assistantship has been awarded). The additional 6 to 10 credits may be earned by completing courses in the undergraduate curriculum (2-4 credits) and/or through tutorials (2 credits) designed in consultation with their faculty advisor.

Does Bennington offer assistantships?

A limited number of assistantships may be awarded through the Dean’s Office. Candidates awarded an assistantship will support the Dance Program through teaching (when qualified), production assistance or archival work. The candidate will receive 4 credits and a half-tuition waiver.

Does Bennington offer scholarships or other financial aid?

The federal student loan is the primary loan resource for most graduate students. Federal Grad PLUS loans may be available to MFA students if the federal unsubsidized student loan will not cover expenses. Graduate students may also depend on private alternative loans.

Is it possible to take coursework outside the Dance Program?

Yes. Other courses may be elected from the full undergraduate curriculum, with expectations of a higher level of engagement and performance (2-4 credits each). Additionally, a candidate may develop a tutorial around a subject of particular interest, which will be overseen by a dance faculty member or other faculty member at the College (2 credits).