Is a BFA in Dance Right for Me?
Updated: May 27, 2021
There are so many options when it comes to seeking out a college degree and including dance as a component of your education. To what extent dance is a priority, will often determine the type of degree you might seek to obtain. Here are some of the possible 4-year bachelor’s degrees you may see offered by colleges, universities, or conservatories.
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Dancers that want to work professionally in performance AND who have the appropriate level of talent will gravitate toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. Most BFA programs are competitive and require at least one audition. Academic rigor in high school is not as important for a BFA program, but it can certainly help when it comes to scholarships. Still, a solid GPA is going to help the applicant get over the finish line. A typical BFA program will have 75% or more of the coursework dedicated to dance. There are generally few general education courses required outside of the BFA curriculum. Here is the link to an example from the University of Southern California. You will see that just 32 of the required 132 credits are university-required course credits. The remainder is for the major or electives within the degree.
Example: University of Southern California - BFA in Dance https://kaufman.usc.edu/degrees/bfa/curriculum/
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is designed for the student that wants to get a complete college education. This degree provides a student more flexibility to explore different academic areas of interest and is considered more relevant and appropriate to employers outside of the arts industries. BA programs may or may not require an audition of some type depending on the strength of the program and the number of students that apply each year. Students are often encouraged to pursue a double major or a minor in another academic area to strengthen their post-college resume and potentially find ties between their two interests. For instance, a student that wants to open a dance studio one day may want to get a BA majoring in dance and a second major in business or entrepreneurship.
Example: University of Minnesota: BA in Dance - https://cla.umn.edu/tad/ba-dance
Bachelor of Science
This is is not a common degree related to dance, but they do exist. BS degrees in dance will have a science-based curriculum component and are more interdisciplinary. Many of these degrees relate to the study of kinesiology or exercise science which is directly tied to the movement, health, and fitness of a dancer. Sometimes a BS degree will be related to a dance education (pedagogy) major or a related business major such as dance- arts administration.
Example: Texas A&M - B.S. in Kinesiology with a Dance Science Major https://dance.tamu.edu/degrees/
Each college or university has different requirements for core/general education courses, dance curriculum, performance requirements, and whether or not an additional major is possible, so don’t assume a BFA, BA or BS degree in dance from one college is the same as from another college. Dancers need to spend a significant amount of time researching potential dance programs and majors to find options that are a good fit from a dance and education standpoint.
Dance into College is offered by College in 3-2-1, a college counseling practice located in Clemmons, NC working with dancers throughout the US. At Dance into College, we know that dancers have unique interests and different talents and abilities. We help dancers find colleges that match their interests not only in dance but for many students, other academic pursuits. For more information on our services for 8th-12th grade students, visit the
Dance into College website.