The Dance Studies Certificate is a 14-credit certificate program for any undergraduate student interested in the exploration of dance from an interdisciplinary, academic approach — to understand its political, social, and historical significance. The certificate is designed to enhance a student’s main area of study and provide knowledge and skills in the analysis, interpretation, and contextualization of dance and movement in society and culture.

Courses in writing, body studies, history, and theory will prepare students to integrate the physical and theoretical knowledge of dance in written, oral, and embodied forms. Coursework for this certificate will fulfill the Comm B requirement, Ethnic Studies requirement, and some Humanities and Social Science breadth requirements. Students pursuing degrees in the School of Education can also satisfy their Global Perspectives requirement with this coursework.

This program is designed for students in a broad range of disciplines including the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Students who wish to integrate dance research into their existing degree program, those considering graduate study in Dance Studies or a related field in the arts and humanities, including Art History, Theatre Studies, Performance Studies, or Cultural Studies, will benefit from this program.

This certificate program is flexible and can be completed primarily through summer coursework. Students can opt to complete the majority of the courses online, primarily in the summers, or through a mix of online and in-person courses in the summers and academic year. 

How to Get in

All current UW-Madison undergraduates are eligible to complete the Dance Studies Certificate. BS, BFA, and Certificate candidates in Dance are eligible for the Dance Studies Certificate as long as there is zero overlap of coursework.  Undergraduate students in good academic standing may declare this certificate. University Special students who started as an undergraduate at UW-Madison, but graduated before completing the requirements are also eligible for this certificate.

Students should meet with the Dance Studies Certificate Advisor to discuss their intention to pursue the certificate. Appointments may be arranged via email. To declare the certificate, students must also complete the application form location on the School of Education's Certificate Programs page.


The Dance Studies Certificate requires the following course distribution for a minimum of 14 credits. At least 7 credits must be completed in residence. Completion of the certificate requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in certificate coursework.

Foundational Course

All students are required to complete the following:

DANCE 200 Writing the Moving Body3

Body Studies

Select 2 credits from the following:

DANCE 110 Workshop in Dance Activity1-2
DANCE 101 Social Dance I1
DANCE 102 Social Dance II1
DANCE 103 Modern Jazz Dance1
DANCE 105 Ballet I1
DANCE 106 Ballet II1
DANCE 107 Contemporary Dance I1
DANCE 108 Contemporary Dance II1
DANCE 115 Hip-Hop Dance Technique and Theory 11-2
DANCE 116 Workshop in World Dance2
DANCE 118 African Dance1
DANCE 111 Contemporary Dance Technique and Theory I1-3
DANCE 112 Contemporary Dance Technique and Theory II1-3
DANCE 211 Contemporary Dance Technique and Theory III1-3
DANCE 212 Contemporary Dance Technique and Theory IV1-3
DANCE 311 Contemporary Dance Technique and Theory V1-3
DANCE 312 Contemporary Dance Technique and Theory VI1-3
DANCE 125 Ballet Technique I1-2
DANCE 126 Ballet Technique I-B1-2
DANCE 225 Ballet Technique II1-2
DANCE 226 Ballet Technique II-B1-2
DANCE 325 Ballet Technique III1-2
DANCE 326 Ballet Technique III-B1-2
DANCE 131 Somatic Theory and Practices2
DANCE 132 Workshop in Body Studies and Practices1
DANCE 133 Relaxation Techniques for Embodiment and Stress Management1
DANCE 135 Pilates Mat I1
DANCE 136 Pilates Equipment I2
DANCE 156 Movement as Material Through Improvisation2
DANCE 157 Introduction to Movement Analysis2
DANCE 213 New Movement Techniques1-2
DANCE/​THEATRE  218 African Dance Performance2
DANCE 231 Introduction to Dance/Movement Therapy3
DANCE 235 Pilates Mat II1
DANCE 236 Pilates Equipment II2
DANCE/​FOLKLORE/​THEATRE  321 Javanese Performance2
DANCE 330 Functional Anatomy for Movement Practices2

Dance Theory

Select 3 credits from the following:

DANCE 168 Dancing Gender: Embodiment, Politics and Feminist Theory3
DANCE 268 Political and Cultural Perspectives in Dance Studies3

Dance History

Select 3 credits from the following:

DANCE 165 World Dance Cultures: Traditional to Contemporary3
DANCE 265 Dance History I: Dance in the Modern Era3
DANCE 365 Dance History II: Directions and Issues of Contemporary Dance3

Ethnic Studies Breadth

Select 3 credits from the following:

DANCE/​ASIAN AM  121 Asian American Movement3
DANCE/​AFROAMER/​MUSIC  318 Cultural Cross Currents: West African Dance/Music in the Americas3

Certificate Completion Requirement

This certificate is intended to be completed in the context of an undergraduate degree and for those seeking this certificate that is preferred. For students who have substantially completed this certificate at UW–Madison and may need one or two courses to complete the certificate, they may do so immediately after completion of the bachelor’s degree by enrolling in the course as a University Special (nondegree) student. The certificate must be completed within a year of completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students should keep in mind that University Special students have the last registration priority and that may limit availability of desired courses. Financial aid is not available when enrolled as a University Special student to complete an undergraduate certificate. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. Gain understanding of the main approaches and methodologies of the field of dance studies as an academic approach to dance with an interdisciplinary focus.
  2. Engage with dance as a site through which cultural, social, and political identities are constructed, manifested, and negotiated.
  3. Analyze dance in relation to the social, cultural, and historical circumstances in which it is embedded.
  4. Integrate physical and theoretical knowledge of dance in written, oral, and embodied forms.