A degree in dance can pave the way to a variety of careers in the performing arts, including performing, choreography, education, private teaching, and in related areas such as arts management, technical theater, or dance and physical therapy.

Dance students at Iowa enjoy multiple performance opportunities. Earning the degree involves coursework in choreography, dance technique, human anatomy, and history as well as the broad liberal arts education provided for all University of Iowa students.

Why Iowa?

Iowa's Dance Program is widely considered to be one of the top 10 in the country, and it has an outstanding national reputation for its high standards and tradition of excellence in teaching and creative productions.

The late choreographer Alwin Nikolais described it as: "one of the best (programs) in the United States ... broad, yet professionally detailed, and handled with very experienced skill."

Dance students enjoy opportunities to perform in 10-12 productions each year and frequently collaborate with students in Iowa's Music and Theatre Arts programs to present operas and theatrical performances coordinated by Performing Arts at Iowa.

Faculty members in the Department of Dance include accomplished performers and internationally recognized professionals. Guest residencies bring outstanding artists in the field to campus for instruction through workshops and lectures.

Both majors and non-majors may take courses in ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, yoga, Brazilian Culture and Carnival, Brazilian Samba, and African Caribbean dance practices.

Admission Requirements

BA and BFA students must meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

There are two ways to gain admission to the BFA program:

  • Incoming students may be admitted to the program on conditional status for their first semester of study based on their supplemental application and audition. Students admitted on conditional status will apply for regular status during their second semester of study through an internal departmental process; or
  • Students who have been admitted to the BA program may apply for admission to the BFA during their second semester of their second year of study.

All students must submit a supplemental application for acceptance to the BA, BFA, and minor programs in Dance. BA and BFA applicants must audition either by video or in person for placement in ballet and contemporary movement courses.


Dance Pedagogy and Instruction (BA or BFA)
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
  Selective Admission
for BFA
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Careers for Iowa Dance majors include professional work in performing, choreography, education, private teaching, and related areas such as arts management, technical theater, or dance and physical therapy. Many graduates from our program are currently working in arts organizations throughout the United States.

The discipline and creative challenges of Dance training transfer well to other careers. Students have combined Dance with a second major in another field, such as Business or Communication.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad Programs and multiple Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Students have ample performance opportunities in the works of faculty, students, and guest artists and to produce their own choreographic work in the department's concert season. In addition to performance opportunities within the Department of Dance, students may have opportunities to perform in or choreograph for productions in the Department of Theatre Arts and the School of Music. Each year, a small group of dancers is chosen for UI Dance Company, a repertory company that performs throughout the Midwest and participates in community engagement projects.

The Undergraduate Dance Organization plays a vital role in supporting and generating student participation in departmental events.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college.

The websites for the Office of Admissions, the Office of Student Financial Aid, and the Department of Dance are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


Iowa offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in dance.

The BA program emphasizes a rigorous studio curriculum combined with a broad liberal arts background. You'll meet the degree requirements through course work, concert productions, and independent projects. The degree encompasses creative movement practices, body science, historical and cultural studies in dance, and other areas of inquiry.

Students in the BFA program, which has more extensive admission requirements than the BA program, experience deeper immersion in choreography, performance, and technique. BFA students must show outstanding commitment, advanced technical ability, and exceptional creativity, and must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.50 in dance courses.

Students in both programs take these courses:

  • Functional Anatomy
  • Dance Somatics (Alexander, Feldenkrais, and/or Klein Techniques)
  • Global Dance Studies (Performing Power/Protest, African Caribbean Dance, Brazilian Social Dance, and/or Brazilian Culture and Carnival)
  • Ballet and Contemporary Movement Practices
  • Dance Production
  • Production Run Crew
  • Music Essentials for Dance
  • Dance and Society
  • Dance Kinesiology
  • Dance History
  • Choreography I–II
  • Improvisation

All students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who wish to earn a bachelor's degree must complete the requirements of the GE CLAS Core. 

View Dance in the UI General Catalog to learn more about required course work for the BA, the BFA, the minor, and graduating with honors.