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2022-2023 Application Deadlines

Deadline for Assistantship Consideration*: December 1, 2022

Auditions/interviews must take place by February 15, 2023

Deadline for Admission Only (no assistantship consideration): March 30, 2023

All applicants who wish to be considered for an assistantship must have complete files by December 1, 2022. Application comprises two required parallel processes:

1. Submission of all materials required on including three letters of recommendation from recommenders qualified to write about the applicant.
2. Application to the Graduate School.

Applicants will be notified approximately by the end of the first week in January whether they have been invited to audition or interview at James Madison University.

*All candidates applying for study during the traditional academic year (fall/spring) who have complete applications by December 1 will be considered for assistantships.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. William Dabback
Director of Graduate Studies and Graduate Admissions
School of Music, MSC 7301
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807


D.M.A. at JMU

(Please note that this page is for information about the graduate application process ONLY. For information about the Undergraduate and Master of Music programs, please visit those respective programs' application pages.)

The Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree is the most advanced course of study offered in the School of Music at James Madison University. The degree has been designed to make graduates more marketable in higher education by emphasizing pedagogy and literature along with advanced performance skills. We are seeking candidates who have the potential to pursue the highest level of achievement in performance and teaching. The degree requires completion of a minimum of ninety (90) credit hours including:

  • 18 - 24 hours of Applied Instruction (if 18 are taken, 6 are approved electives);
  • 22 hours of Literature, Analysis, and Topical Seminars;
  • 18 hours of Recitals, Documents, and Research Methods;
  • 6 hours of Pedagogy; and
  • 20 hours of area-specific courses.
  • During the degree program, exceptionally qualified students may earn up to 30 credit hours by examination and/or transfer. After completion of all course work and three recitals, D.M.A. students must pass comprehensive written and oral examinations.

Click here to apply for the D.M.A. in Music.

Entrance Examinations

Prior to the first week of classes, all applicants must take JMU School of Music diagnostic examinations in music history, written theory and ear training. The results are used for placement and advising. Applicants for assistantships in areas related directly to these examinations may be required to take them before assistantships are granted. Removal of deficiencies is required before applying for graduation.


The chief source of aid for graduate study is through assistantships awarded by the school. Teaching assistantships are awarded each year on a competitive basis. In keeping with the pedagogical nature of the D.M.A. degree at James Madison University, all doctoral assistantships will include a variety of supervised teaching experiences; assisting professors in classes and/or being responsible for teaching a class, teaching applied lessons (for performers), and conducting ensembles (for conductors). In addition to a stipend, assistantships include a tuition award. Full or partial assistantships may be awarded. Full assistantships pay for 24 credits per year and are accompanied by a stipend of approximately 14,800 per year.”

Degree Objectives

Students graduating from the D.M.A. program (with Concentrations in Performance, Pedagogy and Literature or Conducting, Pedagogy and Literature) will be able to:

Performance, Pedagogy and Literature:

  1. demonstrate application of musical and technical mastery through the performance of advanced repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (conducting, instrumental or voice).
  2. create and deliver effective pedagogical instruction.
  3. analyze the standard repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (solo, chamber or ensemble).
  4. communicate effectively about music through a) writing and b) speaking.

See Brass Concentration

See Percussion Concentration

See Piano Concentration

See String Concentration

See Woodwind Concentration

See Voice Concentration

See Voice - Option Singing Health Emphasis Performance, Pedagogy and Literature curriculum

Conducting, Pedagogy and Literature:

  1. demonstrate application of musical and physical conducting skills through the performance of advanced repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or vocal).

  2. demonstrate effective rehearsal techniques through the preparation of representative repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or vocal).
  3. create and deliver effective pedagogical instruction.
  4. formulate advanced insights into the artistic and formal structure of music through score study in the student’s area of specialization.
  5. communicate effectively about music through a) writing and b) speaking.

See Conducting Concentration

International Students

In addition to uploading the required materials on as explained above, international graduate applicants are also required to complete the graduate school application made specifically for international applicants. Applicants can find this application link and information including deadlines, language requirement, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and financial declaration here. You can also find information about international tuition and fees here. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is another page that could assist you in navigating various resources and services available to international students. ISSS provides (a) services, resources, and assistance to meet the students, scholars, and staff of JMU's visa and immigration needs, (b) programs and services to enhance their time at JMU, and (c) educational programs for the entire campus community.

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