Degrees

Yale University awards three graduate professional degrees through the School of Music: Master of Music (M.M.), Master of Musical Arts (M.M.A.), and Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.). For younger students of great promise, there is a Certificate in Performance program, an Artist Diploma program for outstanding performers holding a minimum of a high school diploma, and a combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Music (B.A./M.M.) program offered in conjunction with Yale College.

Graduate study in music history and theory, leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree, is offered through the Department of Music in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Master of Music

Students holding a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent are qualified to apply for admission to this degree program in the Yale School of Music. To qualify for the M.M. degree, two years of residency are required, and students must pass a minimum of 72 credit hours with an average grade of B. All programs in the School of Music require that students earn a grade of B or better each term in both Individual Instruction in the Major and Seminar in the Major. Students who receive a grade lower than a B in either course will be placed on academic probation. Candidates for the M.M. degree must present a juried degree recital or its equivalent in the second year of study. All proficiencies and required courses must be completed satisfactorily before the Master of Music can be conferred. Residence in Greater New Haven is required.

Admission to the program is through personal audition for the relevant area faculty. For students for whom English is not a native language, a TOEFL score of 86 or higher is required.

Master of Musical Arts

The Master of Musical Arts degree is conferred on candidates who successfully complete two years of study (at least 16 credit hours per term). Applicants must hold a Master of Music degree or its equivalent in the field in which they are planning to apply. The program provides intensive training in the student’s major field—performance, conducting, or composition—supported by studies in theoretical and historical subjects. Individual courses of study will be assembled as recommended by the individual department and the academic adviser. Students who hold an M.M. degree from the School of Music are expected to complete the program in one year. Those who hold a D.M.A. degree or are currently enrolled in a D.M.A. program are not eligible to apply for the Master of Musical Arts program.

Degree requirements include public presentation of recitals and/or compositions during each year of the student’s residence. Internal candidates must perform one recital accompanied by a pre-concert lecture. External candidates must perform two recitals, one of which must be accompanied by a pre-concert lecture. The substance of pre-concert lectures will be prepared with and guided by a faculty member. M.M.A. students participate in the School of Music ensembles including chamber music, Philharmonia, New Music New Haven, and opera. Enrollment in any courses designed for the M.M.A. is required, in addition to one nonperformance course each term. Residence in Greater New Haven is required.

M.M.A. candidates hold M.M. degrees, so a fundamental knowledge of musicianship and the history of Western music is presumed, and students are tested in these areas when they enter the program. If deficiencies in musicianship and/or music history are evident, students are required to pass appropriate courses from the Analysis and Musicianship sequence and/or the Music History survey.

Admission to the program is through personal audition for the relevant area faculty. For students for whom English is not a native language, a TOEFL score of 86 or higher is required.

Doctor of Musical Arts

The Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Yale is a distinctive program comprised of a two-year residential component on campus followed by a three-year dissertation period during which candidates develop and demonstrate professional and artistic excellence. The degree provides intensive training in the student’s major field—performance, conducting, or composition—augmented by studies in theoretical and historical subjects. Yale University confers the Doctor of Musical Arts degree on those candidates who have successfully completed four terms of residential requirements, demonstrated expertise in the major field through artistic excellence and distinguished achievements in the dissertation period, and concluded the program requirements by passing the final D.M.A. recital and oral examination.

“Distinguished achievements” will be determined by the quality and extent of professional accomplishments reflecting the candidate’s own initiative and ability, including, but not restricted to, any professional position the candidate might hold. The level of achievement should be substantially higher and broader than the existing high standard of professional activity at the time of matriculation into the program. Innovative and creative contributions to the profession will be considered particularly significant.

The candidate’s attention is drawn to the fact that the School’s doctoral degree is earned in Musical Arts. The School interprets this degree in a most comprehensive manner and expects that all candidates will possess both great depth and breadth within the field of music. The candidate for Yale’s D.M.A. degree should demonstrate:

  • exceptional competence as a performer, conductor, or composer;
  • intellectual curiosity about music and an ability to discuss in depth its history, theory, styles, sources, and relationship to the other arts and to society;
  • extensive knowledge about many aspects of music making and real experience in these closely allied fields. For example, an instrumentalist should be familiar with the elements of compositional techniques. By the same token, every composer should display considerable skill as a performer.

Applicants for a Yale D.M.A. must have completed a Master of Music degree or equivalent in the field in which they are planning to apply prior to matriculating in the program. All D.M.A. applicants must come to New Haven for an audition and examinations. Applicants are required to audition before a faculty committee; pass examinations in music history, analysis, and musicianship, as well as assessments in keyboard proficiency and a foreign language; and submit a term paper or other sample of scholarly writing. For students for whom English is not a native language, a TOEFL score of 86 or higher is required.

Those who hold a D.M.A. degree or are currently enrolled in a D.M.A. program are not eligible to apply for the Doctor of Musical Arts program.

Structure of the D.M.A. Program

Residential Component

Degree requirements include public presentation of recitals and/or compositions during each year of the student’s residency. A D.M.A. thesis, as well as a lecture based on the thesis, is required of all candidates. A thesis prospectus must be submitted at the start of the second D.M.A. seminar. Candidates are required to pass comprehensive written and oral examinations in order to qualify for the dissertation period. Residence in Greater New Haven is required during the residential component of the degree program.

Dissertation Component

During the three-year dissertation period, D.M.A. candidates will be focused full-time on compiling a dossier of distinguished artistic and professional achievements. Throughout this phase of the degree, candidates must annually submit updated summaries of their professional activities to the D.M.A. committee by March 15.

Applying to Return for the Final D.M.A. Recital and Oral Examination

All candidates must apply to return for the final D.M.A. recital and oral examination by January 15 of the third year (sixth term) following the completion of their D.M.A. residential component. As part of this application, candidates must submit dossiers of their professional activities, accomplishments, and credentials. Letters from recognized individuals who are professionally qualified to evaluate the candidate’s work are required. These are requested directly by the School of Music. The names and addresses of at least five individual references, together with a brief description of the professional relationship to the candidate, are to be provided by the candidates. References from current members of the Yale faculty and from alumni who graduated within the past ten years may not be included.

The final application must be completed—including forms, dossier, references, and supporting evidence such as programs, compositions, reviews, articles, publications, recordings, and any other materials that may be pertinent—by March 15 following submission of the application to return. Permission to apply to return after the third year will be granted only under exceptional circumstances. In cases where the initial applications to return are not approved by the D.M.A. committee, candidates may, at the D.M.A. committee’s discretion, reapply one additional time only.

Standards of Review and Evaluation

The D.M.A. committee monitors the progress of each enrolled doctoral student. D.M.A. students will be evaluated on the level of achievement in required doctoral courses, recitals, thesis and lecture presentation, comprehensive written and oral examinations, and overall compliance with program deadlines, attendance policies, and all other requirements. Students whose work does not meet the Yale School of Music’s doctoral program standards may, at the School’s discretion, be subject to dismissal. The School of Music’s leave of absence policy applies to D.M.A. students, both in the residential and dissertation periods.

Recital and Oral Examination

Candidates whose dossiers have been approved by the D.M.A. committee will be invited to return for the final D.M.A. recital and oral examination during the subsequent academic year.

Recital

The performance is to be an appropriate demonstration of the candidate’s professional expertise in the major field. It is expected that candidates will consult with the major professors and the D.M.A. committee chair regarding recital planning and programming. Candidates are responsible for all aspects of the D.M.A. recital, including arrangements for equipment and performers.

Oral Examination

Candidates must pass a comprehensive oral examination. Candidates are expected to demonstrate thorough knowledge in all facets of their musical specialty and in other dimensions of music.

A jury consisting of members of the Yale faculty, possibly augmented with professional musicians from outside the University, judges the performance and participates in the oral examination. If approved, the candidate is then recommended for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, which is conferred at the close of said academic year.

Artist Diploma

The Artist Diploma curriculum is a highly selective program for exceptionally gifted instrumentalists and singers on the cusp of a major international solo career. Applicants must hold at least a high school diploma. Those who hold a D.M.A. degree or are currently enrolled in a D.M.A. program are not eligible to apply for the Artist Diploma. Students who hold another School of Music degree and are admitted to the Artist Diploma program are expected to complete the program in one year.

The course of study for Artist Diploma candidates is flexible and designed for the individual needs of advanced students. A minimum of 14 credits, which must include one nonperformance course, are required per term for the Artist Diploma candidate. All courses in the School of Music and Yale University are open to Artist Diploma candidates with permission of the instructor. Artist Diploma candidates may apply for up to four weeks per year away from campus for professional engagements. Students accepted must be exclusively enrolled in the School of Music and be in residence in Greater New Haven for two years.

Minimum performance requirements during the two years of residence include two solo recitals (one for internal candidates), one chamber music recital, and one concerto performance. In addition, performers participate in the School of Music ensembles including chamber music, Philharmonia, New Music New Haven, and opera. Funding will be provided for one international performance presented by a partner institution or presenter.

A fundamental knowledge of musicianship and the history of Western music is presumed. Artist Diploma candidates are tested in these areas when they enter the program. If deficiencies in musicianship and/or music history are evident, students are required to pass appropriate courses from the Analysis and Musicianship sequence and/or the Music History survey.

Admission to the program is through personal preliminary audition for the relevant area faculty and, in a final round, for a distinguished external committee. For students for whom English is not a native language, a TOEFL score of 80 or higher is required.

Certificate in Performance

The Certificate in Performance is designed for a few excellent performers who have not completed a bachelor’s degree. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission. Students enroll full-time in a program of performance and academic studies and participate in Philharmonia, Chamber Music, New Music New Haven, or other ensembles as appropriate. The Certificate in Performance is a three-year program requiring a minimum of 96 credits (16 per term). To qualify for the Certificate, a student is required to maintain an average grade of B. All programs in the School of Music require that students earn a grade of B or better in both Individual Instruction in the Major and Seminar in the Major. Students who receive a grade lower than a B in either course will be placed on academic probation.

It is hoped that, after receiving the Certificate in Performance, a student will complete a baccalaureate degree at Yale or elsewhere. On completion of a bachelor’s degree—and providing that performance, course, examination, and proficiency requirements for the M.M. degree were met during the Certificate studies—the student may petition the faculty to convert the Certificate to a Master of Music degree. The 72 credits in performance and academic studies required for the Master of Music degree may not be applied toward completion of an undergraduate degree. Performance credits required for the certificate may not be used toward completion of the undergraduate degree. Residence in Greater New Haven is required.

Admission to the program is through personal audition for the relevant area faculty. For students for whom English is not a native language, a TOEFL score of 86 or higher is required.

B.A./M.M. Program

The Bachelor of Arts/Master of Music program is designed for instrumentalists with outstanding abilities in performance who are also interested in a liberal arts education. Admission to the B.A./M.M. program is through acceptance into Yale College as well as a separate, successful audition through the School of Music, either before matriculation into Yale College or during the third year of the B.A. program. B.A./M.M. students usually complete requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree in their first four years and for the Master of Music degree after one year of the Master of Music program in the School of Music (year five). By the end of the fifth year, all students participating in the B.A./M.M. program must have met the School of Music’s standard in Analysis and Musicianship and in Music History either through testing or through coursework; they must also have completed the School of Music’s keyboard proficiency requirement and nonperformance course distribution requirement. To ensure this, candidates admitted to the B.A./M.M. program are required to sit for placement examinations in the School of Music at the beginning of their senior year (year four); they must also meet with both the deputy dean for academics and the coordinator for academic studies at the beginning of each term in the program for advising regarding performance activities and academic coursework.

Students accepted to the B.A./M.M. program before matriculation into Yale College must enroll in Individual Instruction in their instrument during every term in the program (six terms of MUSI 445 followed by four terms of MUS 540). In addition, at some point during their first four years, they must enroll in two terms each of MUS 543 (Chamber Music), MUS 544 (Seminar in the Major), and, where applicable, MUS 542 (Philharmonia Orchestra); guitarists and keyboard players should consult with their major teacher about requisites beyond lessons and Seminar in the Major. Finally, during their first four years, they must enroll in at least four academic music courses at the intermediate or advanced level in the Department of Music (or, with permission, equivalent courses at the School of Music); given the School of Music’s focus on notated music in the Western European tradition, optimal courses in the Department of Music include MUSI 210, MUSI 211, MUSI 350, MUSI 351, MUSI 352, and advanced courses in Groups II and III.

Students accepted to the B.A./M.M. program during the third year of the B.A. must enroll in Individual Instruction in their instrument during every term in the program (four terms of MUS 540). In addition, during their fourth year, they must enroll in two terms each of MUS 543 (Chamber Music) and MUS 544 (Seminar in the Major). Where applicable, they must also either enroll in MUS 542 (Philharmonia Orchestra) or play in the Yale Symphony Orchestra throughout both terms of their fourth year; guitarists and keyboard players should consult with their major teacher about requisites in the senior year beyond lessons and Seminar in the Major. Finally, by the end of their fourth year, they must have enrolled in at least four academic music courses at the intermediate or advanced level in the Department of Music (or, with permission, equivalent courses at the School of Music); given the School of Music’s focus on notated music in the Western European tradition, optimal courses in the Department of Music include MUSI 210, MUSI 211, MUSI 350, MUSI 351, MUSI 352, and advanced courses in Groups II and III.