Christmas concert in Basilica

Please note: The School of Music is temporarily not accepting applications or auditions to the D.M.A. in Sacred Music.

Concentrations in Choral Music, Composition, Organ

Prerequisites and Entrance Requirements

For general information pertaining to all advisory degree programs, please consult the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree section of these Announcements.

Prior to submitting a formal application, persons interested in the Doctor of Musical Arts in Sacred Music degree must communicate with the director of the program.

The applicant must have completed the Master of Music in sacred music or equivalent. Acceptance as a graduate student by the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music is required.

The applicant must submit the following:

  1. two letters of recommendation (including one from a professional colleague, not teacher of the applicant) attesting to the applicant's past and potential ability in the field of sacred music and music ministry; and
  2. completed repertoire and professional experience record, obtainable at: http://music.cua.edu/graduate/doctoral.cfm.  

Applicants in the areas of performance (choral music and organ) will submit a 30- minute tape, video preferred, audio acceptable. Applicants in composition will submit representative manuscripts in lieu of the audition tape. Tapes and manuscripts must be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions with all other application documents. Invitation to campus for audition, interview and testing is based on evaluation of the above materials. Applicants in organ concentration will perform for the organ faculty at the time of their visit. All concentrations require an on-campus visit for testing and demonstration of conducting skills. Testing consists of demonstration of keyboard proficiency, open score reading, and sight- singing. The conducting audition comprises two specified works with CUA Chamber Choir and will determine placement in the conducting sequence. Auditions are held once each academic year. The applicant should contact the school of music for details and dates.

Written examinations (two hours each):

  1. music history placement examination;
  2. music theory placement examination;
  3. entrance examination in sacred and choral music.

In addition, the student must consult with the School of Theology and Religious Studies regarding prior equivalent course work, prerequisite courses, and/or testing-out procedures in the area of liturgical studies.

Placement and entrance examinations are given during the first and second semester registration periods.

The student must also demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language and is expected to pass an examination in that language within one year after beginning doctoral studies. The language will be chosen in consultation with the director of the program.

Program of Study

Based on the results of the entrance requirements and examinations, the advisory committee, in conference with the student, will arrange a program of study of 61 to 72 hours beyond the master's degree. The courses to be completed as part of the degree requirements will be communicated to the student in writing.

The required treatise, on a topic approved by the advisory committee, must be in dissertation format and must explore in depth some aspect of sacred music. For the composer, the submission and performance of a treatise-composition approved by the advisory committee. The treatise is a substantive and formal scholarly research work addressing a specific topic in the field of sacred music. The treatise follows the same format as that required for a dissertation but is typically not equivalent to the dissertation in length or scope. It may treat of kinds of research other than those typical in dissertations, such as cataloging of works or repertory studies, or a compilation of choral works for various liturgical seasons and their performance needs. The treatise shares the following elements in common with the dissertation: topic approval by the faculty, with treatise topic approval form submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies; work written under the direction of the major professor and treatise committee; oral defense; deposit with the Office of Graduate Studies. The procedures for the treatise differ from those for the dissertation in the following elements: approval by the faculty constitutes the sole determinant of the appropriateness of the topic, and the topic does not require external review; members for the oral defense are chosen from the members of the music faculty, as well as theology faculty as may be deemed appropriate.

Oral Defense

Successful completion of an oral defense is required upon completion and acceptance of the treatise.

Graduation Requirements

Comprehensive Examinations (MUS 998A w/classes; MUS 998B w/o classes). At the completion of coursework, three four-hour written comprehensive examinations are required in:

  1. sacred and choral music;
  2. music history and music theory; and
  3. liturgical studies.

Upon the successful completion of all three comprehensive examinations, the student may be admitted to candidacy.

Minor in Latin American Music

The degree program consists of between 61 to 72 semester hours of credit beyond the master's degree. The above requirements apply with the following exceptions.

  1. Depending on the results of the entrance examination in the area of music history, the student may be assigned from 0-12 semester hours of credit in this area by advisement.
  2. The program of study will include 12 semester hours of Latin American music electives.
  3. The treatise must be written on an Iberian or Latin American topic.