Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Performance

Changes to this program will take effect in the 2018–2019 academic year.

DMA Performance students must take a minimum of 18 credits of applied lessons (maximum of 23 credits). The 18 credits must be taken over six semesters of study, with no more than 4 credits per semester. No more than 5 credits of extra applied lessons may be applied to the degree as elective credits.

Performance Majors

  • Bassoon
  • Flute
  • Organ
  • Trumpet
  • Cello
  • French Horn
  • Percussion
  • Tuba
  • Clarinet
  • Harp
  • Piano
  • Viola
  • Collaborative Piano
  • Harpsichord
  • Saxophone
  • Violin
  • Double Bass
  • 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 Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance 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 in performance. Each major has specific requirements for ensemble participation.

Proficiency Examinations

All entering Doctor of Musical Arts students are required to take proficiency examinations in the areas of music theory and musicology. These examinations are administered online before the start of classes. Incoming students are notified of the exam dates and contents in advance and are responsible for taking them by the specified deadline. Exam results are used for advisement and may establish prerequisite or required coursework. Material covered in these examinations is commonly presented in most undergraduate degree programs in music.

Students with insufficient background may be required to take review courses as appropriate.

Language Requirement

Reading proficiency is required in one language, chosen from German, French, and Italian. Students may demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language by passing its corresponding reading course at the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences: GRS LG 621, GRS LF 621, or GRS LI 621. Students may also satisfy the requirement by passing a foreign language examination, administered once each semester by the School of Music.

Program of Study

A minimum of 48 graduate credits is required for the degree. Students are expected to declare either Dissertation or Recital Track by the beginning of the second year of study.

DMA Performance Curriculum (Dissertation Track)

Applied Lessons 18 cr
MH 711 Research & Bibliography 3 cr
MT 701 Pro-Seminar 3 cr
Courses in Musicology (MH) 3 cr

Courses in Music Theory (MT)

3 cr
Courses in Music Theory or Musicology 3 cr
MU 995 Dissertation 3 cr
Graduate Music Electives 12 cr
Total 48 cr

Qualifying Examinations

In any semester, after all required courses have been completed and there are no incomplete grades outstanding, students may undertake doctoral qualifying examinations, written and oral. There are two written examinations: one in the area of music theory, and one in the areas of music history and the major field. Either or both of these examinations may be taken in a given semester.

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 the oral examination only after passing all written examinations. Requirements vary by concentration.

Dissertation Track and Dissertation Presentation Recital

Performance majors in the DMA dissertation track programs are required to give three public recitals and one public dissertation presentation recital. Students must pass a recital permission examination prior to each of the three public recitals and must be enrolled for private lessons in the major area during the semesters in which these recitals are given.

  • Two public recitals must be solo recitals, each at least 60 minutes of music.
  • One of the three recitals must include works for chamber music groups. Consult individual departments for repertoire requirements.
  • The Dissertation Presentation Recital must be based upon the candidate’s dissertation and is approximately 60 minutes in length. The following timeline must be observed:
    • At least eight weeks prior to the presentation, the supervisor agrees that it is a complete and full document, and the draft is submitted to the second and third readers for review.
    • At least four weeks prior to the presentation, the second and third readers agree that the presentation may proceed. At this point, the presentation date and venue should be confirmed.
    • It should be understood by all that all major editing is completed prior to the presentation and that only minor edits will be necessary following the presentation.

Students pursuing the DMA Dissertation Track 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 Dissertation Presentation Recital based on this document and use the medium of performance to illustrate it. The Dissertation Presentation Recital must be attended, supervised, and approved by assigned faculty readers. A copy of the presentation must be included as an appendix in the final copies of the document.

Recital Track

The Doctor of Musical Arts recital track option does not involve writing a dissertation. Five recitals are required (as opposed to three in the dissertation track), along with a smaller-scale written document keyed to one of the recitals. This option is available within the following departments: Brass, Woodwinds, Percussion, Collaborative Piano, Historical Performance, Piano, Strings, and Voice. Each department specifies its own set of program requirements, which can be found on the DMA Policies website under the heading Recital Track. Students must be enrolled for private lessons in the major area during the semester in which each recital is given (with the exception of the self-prepared recital). Students must also enroll in CFA MP 705 in order to prepare for the lecture-recital.