Degree Programs: Scope and Objectives

The undergraduate program offers majors in Dance and in World Arts and Cultures.

The B.A. in Dance thoroughly integrates learning to dance, learning to make dances, and critical interrogation of dance as a cultural practice. Students study a variety of dance techniques from around the world throughout their studies. They enroll in a four-term sequence in dance composition, with additional opportunities to participate in the creation of their own dances, as well as working as dancers in the creation of new works by faculty members and visiting artists. Further, they engage in a core of four courses in the study of scholarly discourse around the body and dance, launching a critical inquiry into their own study of bodily practices, internalization of the embodied experience, and how bodily ideas and embodied experiences are interpreted and communicated outwardly an interpersonally, both locally and globally.

The B.A. in World Arts and Cultures highlights culture and representation as key perspectives for understanding creativity in local and global arenas. Three areas of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary study are available: arts activism, critical ethnographies, and visual cultures. These areas define the department commitment to a range of practices, including ethnography, activisms, visual and related expressive arts, documentary and short films, museum and curatorial studies, performance, and other creative perspectives and methods. Courses combine theory and practice and are grounded in culturally diverse artistic expressions.

All students are encouraged to complement the required set of core and elective departmental courses with others offered across campus, such as courses from ethnic and area studies programs, and may organize their course of study in relation to particular interests or professional goals (e.g., international comparative studies, intercultural studies, education, area specializations such as Africa, Asia, or Latin America, minority discourse, gender studies).

The graduate program offers Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in Culture and Performance (CAP) and a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Dance with an emphasis on choreography. CAP students research communities, cultures and transnational movements through heritage and globalization studies, multi-vocal ethnographies, dance and theories of corporeality and embodiment, visual and material culture, critical museum and curatorial studies, documentary practice and internet interventions, as well as arts activism and interdisciplinary art-making. The MFA in Dance offers opportunities to engage multiple movement practices as students work on pioneering research in the form of new choreography. Students focus on media, dance history, and theories of the body as supplemental to their work as choreographers. The Art | Global Health Center presents further opportunities for learning and practice.

While operating with considerable independence, our two degree streams are unified by WACD's common concern for aesthetic production, corporeality and performance, the dynamics of "tradition," and "culture-building" in contemporary societies. Connections are forged between critical theory and artistic practice and attention is given to the changing social roles and responsibilities of artist practitioners and scholars of the arts in the U.S. and worldwide.

Undergraduates and graduates have excelled in fields including technology and the arts, videography, documentary work, public service, education, theatrical/events production, performing arts, urban planning, law, environmental activism, public health and medicine. They have made careers in community non-profits and activist groups, government arts agencies, museums and arts foundations. Potential careers for M.A., Ph.D., and M.F.A. graduates also include positions in research universities and colleges, and M.F.A. graduates are active as choreographers/ performers in their own companies or with other professional organizations.


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UCLA Department of World Arts Cultures/Dance
Box 951608, 150 Kaufman Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1608
Tel 310.825.3951
Email: wacinfo@arts.ucla.edu