Doctor of Musical Arts

IMPORTANT: For complete information on graduate degrees offered at the Bienen School of Music, please visit the Current Students - Academics page.

The Doctor of Musical Arts at the Bienen School of Music is designed to foster the development of both musical artistry and scholarly achievement. The intense, two-year residency requires students to study their instrument for the entire period and to complete a rigorous course load that provides a strong background in supporting academic areas. In preparation for future career opportunities, the doctoral student typically is expected to develop teaching skills through structured experiences or individualized internships. All programs require at least 18 units of study.

Each DMA student has an Advisory Committee, comprising faculty members from both performance and academic areas. This committee supervises progress towards the degree, approves recitals, lectures and documents, and administers the Qualifying Exams.

All entering doctoral students receive full tuition funding and a work stipend.

Courses of study leading to the Doctor of Musical Arts degree:


Three or four professional-level recitals are required. Composition students must present one full recital of original works. Music for all recitals is subject to the prior approval of the DMA Advisory Committee.

Qualifying Examination

These written and oral exams test students in their specific performance area and related pedagogy, music history and bibliography, and music theory. Exams are usually taken after most course work has been completed and after the successful presentation of the first recital.

Written Projects or Major Document

All DMA students must submit written documents that receive a total of one unit of credit. Specific degree programs require students to either complete several smaller projects or one major document. In either case, the document(s) must represent intensive, original research that makes a meaningful contribution to knowledge in the student's field. This work is supervised by the student's Advisory Committee.