Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Performance

Performance Majors

  • Bassoon
  • French Horn
  • Organ
  • Trumpet
  • Cello
  • Harp
  • Percussion
  • Tuba
  • Clarinet
  • Harpsichord
  • Piano
  • Viola
  • Double Bass
  • Historical Performance
  • Saxophone
  • Violin
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Trombone
  • Voice

Each student is assigned to a member of the faculty for private instruction. Individual instruction is given in one-hour lessons; every effort is made to consider the student’s preferences in studio assignment.

Degree Requirements

The DMA is granted upon successful completion of a program of study, written and oral qualifying examinations, and terminal projects appropriate to the student’s field of specialization. Students must earn a minimum of 48 course credits with grades no lower than B− in graduate-level coursework. All degree requirements must be completed within seven years of the date of matriculation.

Participation in musical organizations is a vital component of the graduate programs. These organizations and ensembles include:

  • Chamber Chorus
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Collaborative Piano
  • Opera Theatre
  • Opera Workshop
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Symphonic Chorus
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Time’s Arrow New Music Ensemble
  • Concert Choir
  • Wind Ensemble
  • Women’s Chorale

Proficiency Examinations

All entering Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts students are required to take both the Proficiency Examination in Music Theory and the Proficiency Examination in Musicology. These examinations are given before the start of classes. Incoming students are notified of the exam dates and are responsible for taking them. Exam results are used for purposes of advisement and may establish prerequisite or required coursework. Material covered in these examinations is commonly presented in most undergraduate degree programs in music. Detailed descriptions of these exams are supplied to incoming students in advance of exam dates. Students in composition, music theory, and musicology will also be examined in fugue; historical performance students will be examined in counterpoint.

Students with insufficient background in music theory may be required to take CFA MU 400 Graduate Theory Review, which may be used as elective credit. MU 400 is a seven-week, online course given three times per year in the second half of Fall, Spring, and Summer Terms.

Program of Study

Students must complete a minimum of 48 graduate credits including music history and music theory, as follows:

Music Research Techniques (MU 749) and Doctoral Pro-seminar in Theory (MU 719)
(MU 749 must be completed within the first three semesters of doctoral study.)
6 cr
Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 cr
Applied Music (if appropriate) 18 cr
Approved Music Electives 18 cr

Choral conducting majors must take 8 credits of Choral Literature Seminar.

Qualifying Examination

After completing at least 30 credits, students may take the doctoral qualifying examinations, consisting of written and oral examinations in music theory, music history, and the major field. One or both of the music theory and history examinations may be taken in a given semester. Details on these examinations are available in the School of Music Graduate Handbook.

The student has three opportunities to pass examinations in each area. Once a student has passed an individual area exam, he or she need not repeat it even if required to retake another area exam. The student proceeds to oral examinations only when he or she has passed all written examinations.

Requirements for examinations vary by concentration.

Dissertation Track

Each candidate in performance and historical performance must present three public recitals, each consisting of at least one hour of performing time.

For candidates in collaborative piano, the programs for the three recitals should reflect the specific interest of the individual student, who may wish to specialize in either vocal or instrumental literature. Chamber music (compositions for three or more instruments) must make up at least one-third of each recital program.

For candidates in string performance, two of the recitals will consist of solo literature (unaccompanied and/or works with piano, including sonatas), and one recital will be composed entirely of chamber music (not including sonatas with piano).

Candidates for the DMA in conducting must give two public recitals. The programs for the recitals can reflect the specific interest of the individual student, but the programs must include literature from a broad historical span.

Terminal Project: Independent Research/Dissertation and Lecture-Recital

The student must write a substantial document demonstrating the ability to conduct independent research. This document should stress source materials, comparative editions, score analysis, and performance practice. The student must give a lecture-recital based on this document and use the medium of performance to illustrate it. The lecture-recital must be supervised and approved by assigned faculty readers. A copy of the lecture must be included as an appendix in the final copies of the document. Conducting students are not required to give a lecture-recital.

Recital Track

DMA candidates may pursue the recital track following successful completion of one semester of DMA-level coursework and applied lesson study, and upon approval by their major teacher and area head. Appropriate paperwork must be filed with the applied department chair. In lieu of the dissertation as terminal project, each candidate in performance and historical performance must present five public recitals: solo recital, concerto recital, chamber music recital, recital prepared without guidance, and lecture recital. Detailed requirements for each recital vary by area, and applicable written and research components require faculty approvals.