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  Mason Gross School of the Arts 2020-2022 Graduate Programs in Music Doctor of Musical Arts Program Performance Track  

Performance Track

The doctor of musical arts (D.M.A.) program in performance is designed for musicians who seek to refine their musical skills, expand their repertoire, extend their performing experience, and deepen their understanding of musicology and music theory. Musicians in this program have earned a master of music (M.M.) degree or equivalent and are preparing for a professional, public concert career, and/or a faculty position in higher education. Students admitted to doctoral study must have demonstrated a professional level of performance and are expected to achieve excellence as both musicians and scholars.

Required Course of Study

It is possible to complete all requirements for the D.M.A. degree within three years of full-time residence. Students must complete the program in no more than five years. With the approval of the graduate adviser, the Graduate Oversight Committee, and dean, the school may extend this maximum time limit. A typical schedule for each of the six semesters includes lessons in a major area of performance study, at least one ensemble appropriate for doctoral credit, and one or two courses not involving performance. The specific requirements are as follows:

Performance Study

1.Private study:Six semesters (credit by arrangement) in the candidate's major performance area are required.

2.Recitals: Two solo recitals, one chamber recital, and one lecture-recital are required. Conducting students perform one aggregate, one full recital, and one lecture-recital. The level of performance, which should be professional at the outset, is expected to mature significantly during the period of study. With the permission of the major teacher, D.M.A. and artist diploma (A.D.) students may petition the Department of Music's Graduate Oversight Committee to substitute one appearance on a concerto program or opera performance at Rutgers for one of the required solo recitals.

3. Independent research: Undertaken in connection with the required lecture-recital, this is accomplished by enrolling in 08:702:603,604 Lecture Recital Advisement with a faculty member active in research. It is the responsibility of the student to approach a potential adviser to request that they work together. The research project culminates in a formal paper of a minimum length of 11,000 words that is submitted for approval to the student's recital evaluation committee.

4. Special requirements: All voice students must perform a major role from an opera or oratorio. With the approval of the Graduate Oversight Committee, this performance may substitute in some cases for one of the solo or chamber recitals.


Ensemble participation is required in each semester of residency (six semesters total). One credit is earned each semester. Placement in ensemble must be approved by the graduate adviser in consultation with the department director based on audition results. There are two distinctions in ensemble: large and chamber. All orchestral instrumentalists and vocalists must be enrolled in six semesters of large ensemble (orchestra, wind ensemble, symphony band, opera workshop). Certain ensembles may require auditions as often as each semester.

In addition to the large ensemble requirement, D.M.A. instrumentalists are required to take at least two semesters of chamber ensemble (2 credits total). This can be fulfilled by chamber ensemble, brass ensemble, percussion ensemble, Helix, or Rutgers Baroque Players.

Pianists: All D.M.A. and A.D. pianists must enroll in a combination of six semesters of either chamber ensemble or studio accompanying. The general distribution is two semesters of chamber music and four of studio accompanying. Substitution of up to two chamber ensemble credits in place of studio accompanying credits is allowed with permission of the graduate adviser. Participation in a large instrumental ensemble, opera, and choral ensemble may also be substituted for studio accompanying with the permission of the graduate adviser. The department reserves the right to assign students to a particular ensemble.

Graduate Courses in Musicology, Music Theory, and Related Areas

Except for pianists, a minimum of 18 credits in advanced graduate coursework outside the candidate's applied study is required. The requirements include:

  • 16:700:501 Introduction to Music Research (3)
  • One of the following courses in Musicology (3):
    • 16:700:517 The History of Musical Style
    • 16:700:519,520 Proseminar in Music History
    • 08:702:550 Special Topics in Music History
  • One of the following courses in Music Theory and Analysis (3):
    • 16:700:525 or 526 Studies in Music Analysis
    • 16:700:541 or 542 Special Topics in Music Theory and Analysis
    • 16:700:571 or 572 Schenkerian Analysis
    • 16:700:573 or 574 Twentieth-Century Theory
  • Proseminar in Performance Practice 16:700:567, 568
  • Literature or repertory course
  • One 3-credit graduate elective

Pianists follow the same requirements as above with an additional literature course required for an additional 2 credits and a piano pedagogy course, resulting in a total of 21 credits in graduate coursework in related areas.

Voice Majors must also take 08:703:557 Acting for Singers (2).

A comprehensive list of graduate courses offered by the School of Graduate Studies (16:700) and by the Mason Gross School of the Arts (08:702 and 703) is available on this catalog page.

Pedagogical Component

Candidates in the D.M.A. programs in performance and conducting are required to fulfill a pedagogical component during the period of their D.M.A. coursework. The pedagogical element of the program is particularly important in today's musical environment, as nearly all performing artists are engaged in some form of teaching. This component may be satisfied by undertaking one in a variety of teaching opportunities. Many students satisfy this requirement by teaching secondary lessons at the MGSA Music Department (i.e., teaching piano lessons to undergraduate music students who are not piano majors) or by teaching in a supervised setting such as a community music school. Other means of satisfying this requirement may be proposed by the student and evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the student's major teacher in consultation with the graduate adviser.

Students who are engaging in satisfying the Pedagogical Component register for 08:702:597 Practice Training - Pedagogical. This 0-credit course requires a submission of a Project Form at the beginning of the semester along with a Self-Assessment at the end of the semester.

Foreign Language

The program requires a reading knowledge of French, German, or Italian. Voice students must also show diction/International Phonetic Alphabet (I.P.A.) proficiency. The student must take the language proficiency test before taking comprehensive examinations. Students may also satisfy the foreign language requirement by completing the summer language course offered by the School of Arts and Sciences through the School of Graduate Studies with a grade of A.

Comprehensive Examinations

Candidates must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations in the literature for their instrument and related issues in history, theory, and performance practice. Specific information related to the scope and particulars of the comprehensive exams are given to students by the graduate adviser.

D.M.A. Examination Procedures

The committee evaluating written examinations for D.M.A. students consists of two members selected by the area head. In some situations, a third reader may also be asked to evaluate the examination. The Oral Examination Committee is normally comprised of the major teacher, another performance faculty member from the student's area, the lecture-recital adviser, another member of the academic faculty (theory, composition, musicology), and the graduate adviser. Each area reserves the right to request the appointment of additional members to the committee. Students should contact the graduate adviser and the major teacher to determine the exact make-up of the committee.

The committee's decision on the results of the written comprehensive exam shall be by a simple majority vote, with the results communicated to the student within 15 working days. A student who has failed is provided with an explanation in writing as part of the notification. The committee will provide the candidate with guidelines to the areas in which it found the candidate's performance to be unsatisfactory. Reexamination may be scheduled at a time mutually acceptable to the student and examining committee. Unless the student can show a procedural fault occurred in the examination process, he or she may take only two reexaminations. If a student believes that a flaw in the process led to a negative decision, he or she must file a written appeal to the director of the Department of Music, who brings the issue to the Graduate Oversight Committee. That committee resolves the dispute by a majority vote.

The panel's decision on the oral exam is communicated to the student immediately after the exam's conclusion. Again, the student may take two reexaminations.

For additional information, contact RU-info at 848-445-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

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