DMA Programs

This program is accepting applications for 2020. Apply to be a part of the DMA in music!

Students who are interested in achieving a doctoral-level education in collaborative piano and coaching, conducting, or performance are invited to apply to the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in the music program. Upon entrance, students must take the diagnostic examinations in tonal and 20th-century music theory, ear-training, and music history. Any identified deficiencies must be remedied during the first year of study.

Admission into the doctor of musical arts program is contingent upon the passing of an audition in addition to other entrance requirements. Learn more about the admission and auditions process.

Secondary Area of Concentration

The School of Music offers two ways of fulfilling requirements for the DMA degree. The Graduate School calls these options “informal emphases.”

  1. For the standard emphasis, students are required to perform five doctoral recitals (20 credits total), and a thesis (4 credits) after having passed the preliminary doctoral exams. Students with secondary area concentrations may still choose to complete five recitals in addition to the requirements for their secondary area.
  2. The second emphasis allows the student to choose a secondary area of concentration so that he/she will be professionally prepared in an area that will complement the performance major. The secondary area option requires the approval of the student’s advisor, the DGS, and the division sponsoring the secondary area, and it will be limited to secondary areas approved by the Graduate Committee of the School of Music. Under the emphasis with a secondary area, a student will perform three doctoral recitals (12 credits total) and also complete a thesis (4 credits) after having passed the preliminary doctoral exams. In addition, the student must fulfill the requirements for a secondary concentration as described below.

Official Entry to the Secondary Area

Before entering into a secondary area of concentration, a student must gain admission to the DMA program, after which point they may submit the following information to a faculty member in the intended area of study for approval by the appropriate division:

  1. A statement of interest in the secondary area of study
  2. A current copy of the University of Minnesota transcript
  3. Copies of graduate-level transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  4. A sample of work in the proposed field of study

A letter accepting the student into the secondary area, signed by the division head, must be placed in the student’s file before the GDP showing a secondary area will be approved by the DGS.

The Thesis Proposal for students in secondary areas must engage the secondary area in a significant way. The DGS will not sign the Thesis Proposal if it does not do so.

In addition, a mentor from the secondary area must serve as a member of both the preliminary and final exam committees. The student has the option of requesting that this mentor also serves as a co-advisor, in which case the co-advisor must sign the GDP form and Thesis Reviewers Report form when filed.

Description of the criteria for Secondary Areas

A secondary area comprises a minimum of 15 credits in total–normally five 3-credit courses, at least two of which must be at the 8xxx level. Students choosing this option will apply toward the secondary area the 8 credits that result from reducing the number of doctoral recitals from five to three. The remaining credits will be principally derived from the other areas of music study already built into the DMA–the areas of Musicology, Theory, Composition, etc. The distribution of these credits depends upon the specific secondary area chosen by the student.

A secondary area concentrates either on a single discipline–e.g., musicology, theory, composition, or choral conducting–or on an interrelated body of courses–e.g., educational pedagogy. The School of Music requires that all 15 credits of a secondary area be earned at the School of Music at the University of Minnesota (i.e., no transfer credits can be used in forming a secondary area, and no credits from outside of the School of Music may be used). Students who wish to do all five recitals and fulfill a secondary area may do so, although this will add extra time and credits. Students who choose a secondary area will be encouraged but not obligated to write their thesis in that area. A list of secondary areas and their course requirements follows:

Secondary Areas at the School of Music:


  1. MUS 8644. Seminar: Advanced Research in Historical Musicology.
  2. Four additional 3-credit courses in musicology/ethnomusicology, at least two of which must be at the 8xxx level.

Music Theory:

  1. A course in Schenkerian theory: either MUS 8581 Schenkerian Theory and Analysis, or MUS 5571 Shenkerian Analysis for Performers.
  2. An 8xxx-level course in 20th-century theory and/or analysis.
  3. A topic-oriented analytical course: MUS 8580, MUS 8590, or any other 8xxx-level analysis course.
  4. Two additional courses in theory/analysis.

Music Composition:

  1. Secondary Area Music Composition:
  2. A minimum of 15 credits total must be completed.
  3. At least 6 credits must come from composition classes.
  4. The remaining credits may be drawn from composition, improvisation (including jazz), orchestration, and music technology classes.
  5. Any DMA projects must have an element of composition material. Please discuss details with your composition instructor.

*Please note: all students must receive a division approval in order to participate in a secondary area*

Choral Conducting:

  1. MUS 8450 Choral Conducting (2 terms at 3 credits each = 6 credits)
  2. MUS 8237 Score Study: Choral (3 credits)
  3. MUS 8255Choral Literature: Baroque Era to the Present (3 credits)
  4. MUS 8299 Performance in Choral Conducting (3 credits)
  5. Supporting Project: Includes a conducting recital, lecture presentation, and concert program with detailed program notes


(Note: No courses used for an Education/Pedagogy secondary area may also count for “outside” major requirements)

  1. MUED 8280 Seminar: Current Trends in Music Education and Music Therapy [may be repeated] (3 credits)
  2. MUED 8284 Seminar: Research and Scholarly Issues in Music Education and Music Therapy (3 credits)
  3. The remaining courses can be chosen from:
    1. Any MUED course dealing with education/pedagogy issues at the 5xxx or 8xxx level, except MUED 5011.
    2. Any MUS course from the following list:
      • MUS 5101 Piano Pedagogy I (2 credits)
      • MUS 5102 Piano Pedagogy II (2 credits)
      • MUS 5270 Voice Practicum (1 credit)
      • MUS 5275 Vocal Pedagogy I (3 credits)
      • MUS 5277 Vocal Workshop (1-2 credits)
      • MUS 5279 Group Voice: Performance/Pedagogy (2-3 credits)
      • MUS 5341 Jazz Pedagogy (2 credits)
      • MUS 5421 Suzuki Violin Pedagogy I (2 credits)
      • MUS 5422 Suzuki Violin Pedagogy II (2 credits)
      • MUS 5423 Suzuki Pedagogy Practicum (1 credit)
      • MUS 5424 Advanced Suzuki Violin Pedagogy I (2 credits)
      • MUS 5425 Advanced Suzuki Violin Pedagogy II (2 credits)
      • MUS 5426 Final Project in Suzuki Pedagogy (1 credit)
      • MUS 5427 Violin Pedagogy I (2 credits)
      • MUS 5428 Violin Pedagogy II (2 credits)
      • MUS 5464 Cello Pedagogy (2 credits)
      • MUS 5466 Guitar Pedagogy (2 credits)
      • MUS 5471 Woodwind Literature and Pedagogy I (3 credits)
      • MUS 5472 Woodwind Literature and Pedagogy II (3 credits)
      • MUS 5481 Trumpet Pedagogy (2 credits)
      • MUS 5993 Directed Studies: Pedagogy project (1-4 credits)
      • MUS 8501 Music Theory Pedagogy (3 credits)