University of North Texas

College of Music | Graduate Studies

DMA Handbook (2018-2019)

Table of Contents

1. Important Contacts

2. General Degree Requirements

3. Residency

4. Entrance Exams and Transcript Evaluations

5. Introduction to Research

6. Degree Plan and Advisory Committee

7. Related Field Requirements

8. Dissertation Recitals

9. Qualifying Examinations

10. The Graduate Performance Degree Committee (GPDC)

11. The DMA Document

12. Application for Graduation

13. Dissertation Submission Procedures

14. Time Limit

1. Important Contacts

Dr. Benjamin Brand, Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Colleen Conlon, Graduate Academic Advisor, (940) 565-2930

Devyn Dougherty, Assistant to the Director, (940) 565-3721

Jessie Nui, International Liaison, (940) 369-7545

Linda Strube, Administrative Specialist: Concert Programs, (940) 565-3709

Laura Ford, Concert and Event Scheduling, (940) 565-3707

2. General Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements specified on the UNT College of Music Admissions Website. In addition, they must receive a grade of B or better for all courses counting toward the degree, including deficiency courses.

3. Residency

The minimum residency requirement for performance students consists of two consecutive long semesters (fall or spring) at UNT with a minimum of nine graduate hours in each term or three consecutive long semesters with a minimum of six graduate hours in each term. The minimum residency requirement for conducting students is four consecutive long semesters with a minimum load of nine hours each semester. Conducting students in wind studies may satisfy the residency requirements by enrolling in two summer sessions, two long semesters and two additional summer sessions, taken consecutively. Hours used to establish residency must apply toward the degree. Undergraduate courses and deficiency courses are not counted towards the residency requirement. Courses in which a student earns a grade of “C” or below and courses from which the student withdraws are not counted towards the residency requirement. Courses in which the student takes a grade of “Incomplete” are not counted towards the residency requirement unless the “Incomplete” is replaced with a grade of “B” or better. Finally, dissertation hours are not counted when determining residency. When submitting your degree plan, list the semesters that fulfill the residency requirement (ex: Fall 2012-Spring 2013).

4. Entrance Exams and Transcript Evaluations

The Graduate Placement Examinations (GPE) in music history and music theory must be taken during orientation week of the first semester in which the student enrolls as a doctoral student. Transcript evaluations are conducted by the appropriate area coordinator who evaluates applicant’s prior college transcripts; coursework deficiencies found in the transcripts will be emailed to the applicant. Questions concerning the transcript deficiencies should be addressed to the appropriate area coordinator. Students must enroll in remedial coursework (i.e. deficiency courses) assigned on the basis of the GPE and/or the transcript evaluation in the first semester in which these courses are available. Neither GPE nor transcript deficiency courses may be counted toward the degree plan or as electives.

With the exception of jazz studies majors, all incoming DMA students must either submit an acceptable score on the writing portion of the GRE or pass the Graduate Writing Exam (GWE) given by the College of Music five times annually. Students may enroll in graduate-level courses for one semester only without having satisfied this requirement. See GRE Requirement for more information on the GRE and Graduate Writing Exam (GWE) for a description of the GWE.

5. Introduction to Research

It is assumed that an entering DMA student will have had an Introduction to Research course at the master’s level (see the Graduate Catalog for course description). If not, the student will be required to take Introduction to Research (MUMH 5010) no later than the second semester of graduate work to facilitate research. This course will be considered a transcript deficiency and will not count toward the degree.

6. Degree Plan and Advisory Committee

Students should consult their major professor as they prepare a tentative program to meet the degree requirements and select an advisory committee. After enrolling in 18 hours of courses, which usually occurs in the second semester of study, the student must select an advisory committee by submitting the Designation of Advisory Committee form to the Graduate Studies Office. The committee must be comprised of at least three members and must include: 1) the major professor, 2) the related-field professor (i.e. the related-field representative) and 3) a third committee member. One of the committee members must have written a dissertation or a similar doctoral document.

At the same time, the student must submit a degree plan, which lists all courses required for the degree and is approved by the student’s major professor, the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School. All changes to the degree plan must be submitted in writing on the Graduate Degree Plan Change form, approved by the major professor and the Director of Graduate Studies, and filed with the Graduate Studies Office.


Courses listed on the degree plan must carry letter grades with the exception of those in which the student is engaged in individual research and is not attending an organized class. These courses, with the approval of the department, may be assigned pass/no pass grades. Degree requirements are determined by the Graduate Catalog in force in the semester the student has matriculated. Degree plans may not be filed in the semester a student plans to graduate. Click on the following links for particular degree plans:


  1. DMA Degree Plan (Brass Instruments)
  2. DMA Degree Plan (Collaborative Piano)
  3. DMA Degree Plan (Keyboard Instruments)
  4. DMA Degree Plan (Multiple Woodwinds)
  5. DMA Degree Plan (Percussion)
  6. DMA Degree Plan (String Instruments)
  7. DMA Degree Plan (Voice)
  8. DMA Degree Plan (Woodwind Instruments)
  9. DMA Degree Plan (Choral Conducting)
  10. DMA Degree Plan (Orchestral Conducting)
  11. DMA Degree Plan (Wind Conducting)


7. Related Field Requirements

All DMA students must pursue a related field of not fewer than 12 hours. The Graduate Catalog as well as area/division websites, specify the requirements associated with individual related fields. Students are responsible for consulting these resources as well as relevant faculty in order to ascertain these requirements. The following are additional requirements not specified in the Catalog or area/division websites.

Conducting – Pursuing a related field in conducting requires that the candidate apply to and be accepted by one of three areas: Choral Conducting, Orchestral Conducting, or Wind Conducting.  The candidate’s curriculum in the related field will be determined by the director of the discipline chosen.

Choral Conducting (
     12 hours selected from:
     MUAG 5000 – Choral Techniques
     MUAG 5800 – Advanced Choral Conducting (may be repeated)
     MUAG 5810, 5811, 5812 – Choral Literature

     Orchestral Conducting ( or
     12 hours selected from:
     MUAG 5850 – Advanced Instrumental Conducting (may be repeated)
     MUAG 5815 – Symphonic Literature I (3 hours)
     MUAG 5820 – Symphonic Literature II (3 hours)

     Wind Conducting ( or
     Prerequisite: MUAG 5850 - Advanced Instrumental Conducting (3 hours)
     Required in Summer Session: MUGC 5890 - Conductors Collegium (3 hours) and
     MUAG 5850 – Advanced Instrumental Conducting (3 hours)
     Prerequisite: MUAG 5860 Symphonic Literature – Winds I (3 hours)
     Required: MUAG 5861 - Symphonic Literature – Winds II (3 hours)
     Required: MULB 5173 - Wind Studies ensemble (4 hours)

Early Music – Required: audition and MUAC 5532 - early instrument applied instruction (4 hours)
MUEN 5530-5540 Collegium Musicum (2 hours)
6 hours selected from:
MUMH 5620 – Performance Practice: Medieval/Renaissance
MUMH 5630 – Performance Practice: Baroque
MUMH 5640 – Performance Practice: Classic/Romantic
3 hours selected from:
MUMH 5620 – Performance Practice: Medieval/Renaissance
MUMH 5630 – Performance Practice: Baroque
MUMH 5640 – Performance Practice: Classic/Romantic
And 3 hours of MUMH 5610 – Ornamentation and Improvisation 1500-1800.

Students wishing to pursue a related field outside the College of Music must submit the "Request for Related Field Outside the College of Music" form to the Graduate Studies Office along with a justification of ca. 300 words explaining how the proposed related field will further their professional and artistic goals. The Graduate Performance Degree Committee must approve the related field before the student files the Degree Plan and Committee Designation Form.

Request for Related Field outside the College of Music form

8. Dissertation Recitals


Before enrolling for MUGC 6951 (first dissertation recital), students must be accepted into the program by audition. Before enrolling for MUGC 6952 (second dissertation recital) students must file the Degree Plan and the Designation of Advisory Committee form. To register for recital and obtain the 4 or 5-digit class code, students must send a request to with the recital number, student ID, major professor, and the semester of registration. Students may perform a recital in their first semester of residence and may complete three dissertation recitals before taking the qualifying examinations. In addition, they may submit a Topic Proposal Form before passing the qualifying examinations.


After passing the qualifying examinations and having been admitted to candidacy, students must maintain continuous enrollment in MUGC 6954 during each long semester until the dissertation document has been completed and accepted by the dean of the Toulouse Graduate School. (MUGC 6951-6953 do not require continuous enrollment.) They are not required to register for MUGC 6954 during the summer if UNT facilities and faculty are not available. Students must be enrolled in MUGC 6954 during the semester in which they undertake the defense and apply to graduate.


Guidelines for Recitals 1-3 (MUGC 6951/52/53) Repertoire should be of a professional level in artistic merit and technical challenge. With the exception of chamber repertoire, pianists and vocalists are expected to perform entirely from memory; instrumentalists and conductors should consult with their area coordinator for specific memory requirements. All dissertation recitals in organ must include a minimum of 14 minutes performed from memory. Minimum length of a regular recital’s total musical content is 50 minutes with the following exceptions: brass players and percussionists must include at least 40 minutes of music; choral conductors must include at least 30 minutes of music. Maximum length is 60 minutes.


The major professor and the student may decide together that a portion of one DMA recital will be independently prepared by the student. The major professor will choose the work and hear it without comment to determine if it is ready for performance. The remaining jurors will be informed as to which piece has been independently prepared. Conducting majors may not choose this option.


For performance majors, two of the recitals must be solo recitals and the remaining recital may be flexible (for example chamber music, or an opera role, etc.). For students majoring in instrumental studies, all three major recitals must be comprised of classical works. Please see the individual division handbooks for further policies regarding repertoire. Exceptions to these policies will only be considered in response to written petitions to the Graduate Performance Degree Committee.


Conducting majors will submit three recital video recordings (cumulative) in addition to the lecture recital. Individual performances may be combined onto a single video recording and submitted as one recital (3 hrs of dissertation credit). The content of each of the three recordings will be determined in consultation with the major professor and must be approved by the Graduate Performance Degree Committee prior to the performances.


Candidates may complete three dissertation recitals before taking their qualifying examinations. A topic proposal for the lecture recital may be submitted before the qualifying examinations have been passed.


Forms DMA Recital Application Form (MUGC 6951/52/53)


DMA Recital Application Form (MUGC 6954)


DMA Recital Change Form


Procedures and Applications

  1. You must be enrolled in the appropriate dissertation course (MUGC 6951-4), or be fulfilling an incomplete from a previous semester, to receive credit for a dissertation recital. Students who perform a recital without being properly registered may not receive credit for that recital.
  2. Go online to the College of Music Calendar of Events. You may research a date and time for your recital by clicking the Roomview tab at the top of the page. The date you choose must be at least three weeks away to allow for the approval process to be completed. When selecting rooms to view, you may hold down the control key to select and view more than one venue at the same time.
  3. When a date has been selected and approved by your major faculty member and committee members, you can submit your recital date by clicking “Request” on the left side menu of the calendar page. Sign in with your EUID and Password. First time users will be required to fill out a registration form. Once you submit a recital request you will receive an email that it is “in process” and when the Concert Scheduling Office receives and processes your request you will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to proceed with the approval process.
  4. After planning the recital’s content in consultation with the major professor, a Dissertation Recital Application must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office no later than three weeks before the proposed recital date for approval. Please note: the application form must be signed by the major professor and two area faculty members who agree to attend your recital and serve as jurors. One member of the Graduate Performance Degree Committee may be assigned as a juror. Students giving off-campus recitals must still file the appropriate paperwork with the Graduate Studies Office.
  5. Students are responsible for providing a full program complete with date, time and location of performance, titles and dates of works, names and dates of composers, assisting performers and the appropriate recital course number and section (MUGC 6951-4) to Linda Strube in the College of Music Program Office (MU 241). This information is due NO LATER THAN three weeks prior to the performance. The student is also responsible for proofing the program once the first draft is completed by the Program Office. Contact or 940-565-3709 for assistance.
  6. The recital must be professionally recorded. It is the candidate’s responsibility to arrange for the recording through either the College of Music Concert Scheduling Office or an outside source. If the recording is prepared by an outside source, it must be properly labeled with the student’s name, instrument, recital date, time, place and repertoire in correct track order. It is the student’s responsibility to submit an outside recording immediately following the performance. Note that one CD copy of each recital must be included by the candidate as part of the final dissertation submission to the Graduate School; the candidate is advised to order an additional copy of the recording to keep for personal use.
  7. The candidate must submit a copy of each printed recital program to the Office of Graduate Studies in Music. Printed programs may be submitted in advance or the day after the recital.
  8. For MUGC 6954, your topic must be approved by the Graduate Performance Degrees Committee before you may reserve a recital date. After your topic has been approved, follow the steps above.



If you cancel or postpone your recital, you must immediately inform the Concert Scheduling Office (MU 247A) so the date and time can be made available to others and publicity concerning your event can be cancelled. The Graduate Studies Office must be notified of your new recital date/time with a Change of Date form (which is due at least two weeks before the rescheduled recital). For assistance with scheduling or reservations, contact Laura Ford, (940) 565-3707.


Procedures for Off-Campus Recitals


All off-campus DMA recitals must be approved by the GPDC, to which the student must submit a formal petition. The petition must demonstrate the following:


  1. The actual solo playing time totals 50 minutes. Ensemble time only counts if the student is still playing or singing a solo line.
  2. At least one member of the recital committee should be able to attend in person.
  3. The student must submit a recording (this can be a CD or a DVD) of the performance to the Graduate Studies Office. This is non-negotiable.
  4. You may not combine performances. The entire performance must occur during one concert. Conducting majors may split their events.
  5. The petition must include a letter or email from the professor in support of the off-campus performance.
  6. The performance must be in the future. Do not submit DMA recital applications for performances that have already taken place.

9. Qualifying Examinations

Each student must pass Qualifying Examinations in his or her major field (6 hours) and chosen related field (3 hours). The major professor coordinates the exams with members of the advisory committee and, when necessary, may designate additional faculty to assist in the creation and grading of the exams. All members of the advisory committee grade the exams.


The Qualifying Examinations measure a broad knowledge of musical study. They are designed to establish the student's ability to engage both in scholarly research and in professional work in the major area supported by a complete musical comprehension and a broad perspective. Qualifying Examinations are only administered during long semesters.


The student may take the qualifying examinations when the following conditions have been met:

  • all deficiencies have been satisfied
  • 30 hours of course work beyond the master's degree have been completed
  • at least two degree recitals have been completed (performance majors only)
  • an approved degree plan has been filed with the Toulouse Graduate School

The Qualifying Examinations are taken in two parts, of which the first consists of a written examination in the student’s major field (6 hours) and related field (3 hours). Exams must be written in English and no reference tools or translation devices may be used. Students must submit the DMA Qualifying Exams Form - Part I (Written) or DMA Qualifying Exams Form - Part I (Written)- Jazz only form to the Graduate Studies Office no later than three weeks prior to the date on which they take the written exam.

After having passed the written exam, students proceed on to the second part of the Qualifying Examinations, a two-hour oral comprehensive exam that includes questioning on the written examinations and on all other areas appropriate to the degree. Students must submit the DMA Qualifying Exams Form - Part II (Oral) to the Graduate Studies Office no later than one week prior to the date on which they take the oral exam. Students may not attempt the oral examination until the results of the written exams have been reported to the Graduate Studies Office.


Students may attempt no part of the Qualifying Examinations more than three times. They must pass all parts of the Qualifying Examinations within fourteen months. Once a student has passed both parts of these exams and completed all coursework, he/she will be recommended for admission to doctoral candidacy for the degree.


10. The Graduate Performance Degree Committee (GPDC)

The functions of the Graduate Performance Degree Committee include:

  • formulating policies for the DMA degree program
  • considering DMA topic pre-proposals and proposals for approval/denial. See DMA Topic Proposal Guidelines and Materials for more information.
  • considering all petitions for exceptions, including time extensions, course substitutions, etc. Petitions should be addressed to the chair of the GPDC and in letter form. They must also be accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s major professor.

The Graduate Performance Degree Committee meets on the fourth Monday of each month during long semesters at 4:00pm in the Dean’s Conference Room unless otherwise announced. All materials for the committee’s consideration must be submitted to the Graduate Office (Chilton Hall 211) on the following schedule:

  • Topic Proposals and Pre-Topic Proposals: by 12:00pm on the third Monday of each month during long semesters prior to a GPDC meeting
  • Petitions: on the Wednesday prior to a GPDC meeting

Additional meetings and email ballots may be convened at the discretion of the Chair.


11. The DMA Document

The DMA document comprises the written portion of the DMA dissertation and must conform to the requirements of style and format established in the University Dissertation and Thesis Manual.


Students choose one of three options:

  1. 3 recitals (3 credits each); 1 lecture/recital (50–60 minutes) with performance and critical essay (a minimum of 6,250 words excluding front matter, footnotes, bibliography and appendices) for a total of 3 credits.
  2. 3 recitals (3 credits each); 1 lecture (50–60 minutes) with critical essay (a minimum of 10,000 words excluding front matter, footnotes, bibliography and appendices) for a total of 3 credits
  3. 3 recitals (3 credits each); 1 thesis (a minimum of 25,000 words excluding front matter, footnotes, bibliography and appendices) for a total of 3 credits

Students who choose the first and second option must submit a complete draft of the DMA document (with an abstract, bibliography, etc…) to the advisory committee at least one month before the scheduled date of the lecture/recital or lecture. The committee members will provide the student with feedback for revision no later than two weeks before that same date. In the remaining time, the student will consult with the major professor as s/he makes the revisions and prepares the script for the lecture/recital or lecture. Due to reasonable limits of reading time, the script may be a judiciously abridged version of the written dissertation document. The measurement of the DMA document by word count rather than page number is a new policy approved by the Graduate Performance Degree Committee in the fall of 2013. Students whose topic proposals are approved in the fall of 2014 or thereafter must adhere to this new policy. Students whose topic proposals were approved before this time may adhere to the old policy established in the 2013-14 Graduate Catalog.


Editorial Assistance


A student may make use of an editor, paid or unpaid, in the writing of their final critical essay or thesis only if the major professor and Director of Graduate Studies approve this course of action via the Request for External Editorial Assistance Form, which should be submitted and approved prior to the approval of the proposal. The student and the editor, agree to limit any editorial intervention to matters of citations, grammar, style, and formatting, as well as overall clarity and structure. Such intervention will not pertain to content. The student must retain copies of all drafts of the critical essay/thesis with editorial annotations and will acknowledge the role of the editor in the acknowledgments.


12. Application for Graduation

It is the responsibility of the student to stay abreast of progress toward the degree and to file the appropriate degree application in the office of the graduate dean. Students anticipating graduation should consult the Academic Calendar and the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies website for filing deadlines, final dates for payment of fees and other graduation requirements.

13. Dissertation Submission Procedures

Once a student has successfully defended the final DMA document, the major professor must submit the Oral Defense Form with the signatures of the student's advisory committee and division chair to the Graduate Studies Office. The student must submit a digital copy of the DMA document to the Graduate Studies Office two weeks before the deadline established by the Toulouse Graduate School. This digital copy must be formatted as a single “.doc” or “.docx” file, must include the last name of the student in its title, and must be sent as an email attachment to This process provides the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the College of Music adequate time to read and approve the document. Once they have done so, the Graduate Studies Office will notify the student that s/he may submit the final document to the Toulouse Graduate School. The Graduate Studies Office cannot guarantee consideration of DMA documents submitted less than two weeks prior to the deadline established by the Toulouse Graduate School.


14. Time Limit

Students who filed degree plans before January 1, 2012 must complete all coursework credited to the doctoral degree within a period of 10 years. Those who filed degree plans after January 1, 2012 must complete such coursework within a period of 8 years from the date doctoral credit is first earned. No course credit beyond the master’s degree that is more than either 10 or 8 years old (depending on the time of degree plan submission) at the time the doctoral degree is completed will be counted toward the doctorate.

Time limits are strictly enforced. Students exceeding the time limit may be required to repeat the Qualifying Examinations, replace out-of-date credits with up-to-date work, and/or show other evidence of being up-to-date in their major and related fields. Students anticipating that they will exceed the time limit should apply for an extension at least a year before they will exceed that limit. Those wishing to apply must complete the Time Extension Form and submit it with the support of their major professor to the Graduate Performance Degree Committee. Holding a full-time job is not, in itself, considered sufficient grounds for granting an extension.