St. Vincent Organ

-This program is not yet approved for international students-

Organ studies at CUA have produced musicians working in some of the most important churches in the country. Building upon these successes, the Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art is launching a new degree program, the Master of Music in Organ Performance.

This program will build on a solid undergraduate foundation in organ technique by cultivating artistic judgment and performance acumen at the very highest level. Studies in organ repertoire, improvisation, and service-playing along with historical and theoretical studies form the academic basis supporting the artistic development needed for a career on the bench as recitalists and church musicians. In addition to the required recital preparation, the program offers several short format opportunities for performance throughout the academic year, often taking advantage of the extraordinary instruments that Washington, D.C. is so fortunate to host.

It is worth noting that the DMV region is rich with opportunities for employment for competent organists, and our students are often called upon to serve as organists and music directors in the churches of our community.

Because of the nature of the sacred music field, all organists receive an integrated instructional component in choral conducting, and have the extraordinary opportunity to conduct our Repertory Chorus.

Entrance Requirements

Prior to submitting a formal application, persons interested in the Master of Music in Sacred Music degree must communicate with the director of the program.  A formal application to the M.M. in Sacred Music will include the following:

  1. Letter of Application
  2. Current Curriculum Vitae
  3. Personal Statement relating candidate's professional goals to the practice of Sacred Music (500-1000 words
  4. Pre-screening Performance Video (does not need to be from an actual performance): video recording of A Prelude and Fugue by J.S. Bach; a major 19th/early 20th-century piece; a piece written after 1930. For the live audition: the same categories, but at least one of the pieces should be different. Other live audition requirements will be stipulated upon invitation to campus.

    Invitation to campus for auditions, interviews, and testing is based on evaluation of the Applicants will perform for the faculty at the time of their visit.
  5. Demonstration of conducting skills is required for both concentrations. Testing consists of demonstration of keyboard proficiency, open score-reading and sight-singing. Repertoire for conducting auditions will be stipulated upon invitation to the live on-campus audition. Auditions are held once a year, early in the spring semester; detailed information is posted on the music website.

All students entering the Master of Music degree program in Sacred Music must take the Music Theory Placement Examination and the Music History Placement Examination. These placement exams are administered by the Department of Music Theory, History, and Composition faculty, and are always offered in-person on the Saturday before a given term begins.

Musical Prerequisites

The undergraduate music degree (typically the Bachelor of Music degree) is a prerequisite except in extraordinary circumstances. Graduate entrance examinations will be administered.

Liturgical Prerequisite

TRS 540, Introduction to Liturgy. Equivalency in this field may be demonstrated by written examination. Incoming students must consult with the School of Theology and Religious Studies in May before their first fall semester. Credit for TRS 540 is prerequisite and cannot be applied to the degree program total credits.

Graduation Requirements

  1. The student may schedule comprehensive examinations (MUS 698A w/ classes; MUS 698B w/o classes) following the adviser's written approval. Four two-hour examinations are administered over a two-day period; the student must pass all four examinations.


    The examinations will be given as per the following schedule:

    1. Day 1:

      1. Liturgical Studies (two hours)
        TRS 741A Liturgy, Theological and Historical Perspectives
        TRS 744 Eucharist: A Liturgical Theology / Sacred and Choral Music (two hours)
        MUS 584 Liturgical Music
        MUS 746 Seminar in Sacred Music 

    2. Day 2:

      1. Music History and Music Theory (two hours)
        MUS 556 History of Sacred Music
        MUS 712 Analytical Techniques II / Music Literature* (two hours)
        *MUS 516 and 516A Organ Literature I & II

    3. *Candidate takes the Music Literature portion of the examination based on his/her MMSM specialization and coursework: organ performance.

  2. A one-hour public recital (MUS 697A w/classes; MUS 697B w/o classes) in the area of concentration is required.

Minor in Latin American Music

Requirements listed above apply, with the following exceptions:

  1. A minimum of 44 hours of graduate work is required.
  2. Six semester hours of Latin American music electives are required.A significant portion of the student's performance repertoire for the final recital must consist of music by Iberian or Latin American composers. For the composer, a significant portion of compositions must be works for Hispanic/Latin American liturgical needs.