The Catholic University of America

This text is excerpted from the 2013-2014 CUA Announcements. Please refer to the Announcements for further information on academic policies and programs.

Doctor of Musical Arts 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.

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. as stated in the Admission Process section above, four letters of recommendation, including two from professional colleagues, not teachers 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:

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. Although the program will be organized to meet the individual needs of the student, a typical program may include:

  Semester Hours
Sacred and Choral Music (by advisement with director of program) 12
Prerequisites: Liturgical Music (MUS 584), Choral Development (MUS 637), Advanced Conducting I (MUS 638), Choral Literature I, II, or III (MUS 640, 640A, 640B), or M.M. music literature coursework equivalence in the area of specialization.  
Music History and Music Theory (by advisement with director of musicology) 12
Prerequisites: Research Methodology (MUS 731), History of Sacred Music (MUS 556), Analytical Techniques II (MUS 712)  
Liturgical Studies (by advisement with director of liturgical studies) 12
Prerequisites: Introduction to Liturgy (TRS 540), Liturgy: Theological and Historical Perspectives (TRS 741A), Eucharist: A Liturgical Theology (TRS 744)  
Private Instruction in Primary Field 12
Vocal Pedagogy 2
Music Performance: CUA Chamber Choir (MUS 507) 2
Upon completion of unit requirement, noncredit participation in CUA Chamber Choir is required each semester in residence. For this noncredit participation, the student should register for MUS 507A (0 credits).  
Colloquium in Sacred Music (MUS 641)  Enrollment is required each semester in residence. 0
Recitals (see below) 3

Performance Recitals (three) (MUS 914, 1 semester hour each). The public recitals, in the candidate's performance area, must include one with instrumental ensemble. Composition Recitals (two) (MUS 914, 1 semester hour; MUS 913, 2 semester hours) The public recitals must include a two-credit lecture-recital.

Treatise (see below) MUS 993 (3 credits); 993A (2 credits); 993B (1 credit) Directed Doctoral Research 6

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.