Degree Requirements - Jazz - DMA Jazz Performance

A trumpet player holding his instrument

Degree Requirements

Jazz Studies

DMA • Jazz Performance


The three-year Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree in Music Performance trains students as informed artist-performers. In addition to demonstrating technical mastery of their instrument or voice, students are expected to exhibit a thorough understanding of the theoretical, pedagogical, and historical aspects of the major, as well as a knowledge of the literature of their performance area.


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Graduate Advisor | Director of Graduate Studies

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Division Contacts

Director of Jazz Studies

Division Head, Jazz



  • Paul Deemer

    Specialist in Jazz Trombone
  • John Fremgen

    Associate Professor of Jazz Studies, Double Bass
    Director, Alternative Improvisation Music Ensemble
    Division Head, Jazz Studies
  • Sean Giddings

    Lecturer in Jazz Piano
  • Adam Jackson

    Lecturer in Drum Set
  • John Mills

    Professor of Jazz Composition, Jazz Saxophone
  • Diego Rivera

    Director of Jazz Studies
    Director, Jazz Orchestra
    Associate Professor of Jazz Studies & Jazz Saxophone
  • Mike Sailors

    Professor of Practice in Jazz Trumpet
  • Bruce Saunders

    Lecturer in Jazz Guitar
  • Omar Thomas

    Assistant Professor of Composition



Degree Requirements 

The D.M.A. in Jazz Performance requires 54-70 hours of registered coursework, two comprehensive examinations, and four public recitals. A treatise option is available. 

Major Coursework 

Major Coursework for the D.M.A. in Jazz Performance
Hours Course Number Course Title/Description
8 Inst. 290J/490J or
Inst. 290/490 
Advanced Graduate Performance (any combination of 2 and/or 4 credit instrumental private lesson courses, to total 8 hours)
6 MUS 387L  Advanced Studies in Music Literature (2 semesters) 
3 MUS 388T  Analytical Techniques 
6 MUS x99N  Non-Treatise Lecture Recital Document (after entering candidacy) 

Supporting Work 

Supporting Coursework for the D.M.A. in Jazz Performance
Hours Course Number Course Title/Description

Music theory courses selected from the following: 

MUS 387L: Jazz Perspectives 
MUS 388P: Jazz Pedagogy 
MUS 388J: Improvisation Styles & Techniques 
MUS 398T: Pedagogy of Music Theory 
MUS 388C: Composition 
MUS 388K: Projects in Jazz Composition 
MUS 388M, Topic 3: Contemporary Styles & Techniques 
MUS 328M: Studio Arranging 
MUS 329E: Introduction to Electronic Music 
MUS 276J: Beginning Jazz Piano Techniques (strongly recommended for non-pianists) 


Music history/ethnomusicology courses selected from the following: 

MUS 379K: Conference Course in Music Literature 
MUS 380: Advanced Studies in the History & Culture of Music 
MUS 387L: Advanced Studies in Music Literature 
MUS 381J, Topic 2: Foundations of Ethnomusicology 
MUS 385J: Seminars in Ethnomusicology 
MUS 334: Music of the Americas 
MUS 342: Area Studies in Ethnomusicology 


Music & Human Learning courses selected from the following: 

MUS 391: Foundations of Music Education 
MUS 384J: Research in Music & Human Learning 
MUS 383: Seminar in Music & Human Learning 
MUS 384J: Advanced Studies in Music & Human Learning 
MUS 392: Psychology of Music 
MUS 393: Special Problems in Music and Human Learning 


Applied music courses selected from the following: 

Inst. 280: Graduate Performance (secondary instrument suggested for saxophonists) 
ENS 18x: Problems in Performance Practice OR 
MUS 28x: Chamber Music 
CON 280/480: Graduate Conducting 

6   Related courses inside or outside the School of Music for which the student has the necessary prerequisites. 


Treatise Option

Doctoral students in music performance who wish to pursue the treatise option must obtain permission from the Graduate Studies Committee in music before applying for candidacy. Differences from the non-treatise are:

  • The Chamber Recital is not required.
  • Students in candidacy register for MUS x99 Treatise instead of MUS x99N Non-Treatise Lecture-Recital Document.
  • The lecture-recital document is expected to be a substantial research paper of a scholarly nature.

Four Public Recitals

  • Solo Recital I. Performed before entering candidacy, typically in the third semester of study. 
  • Chamber Recital. Performed before entering candidacy, typically in the fourth semester of study.
  • Solo Recital II. Performed after entering candidacy without the assistance of the supervising professor, typically in the fifth or sixth semester of study.
  • Lecture-Recital. Performed after entering candidacy, typically in the final semester of study. Includes a written lecture-recital document and defense.

Find recital scheduling procedures on the Butler School Operations website.


Doctoral students must perform a jury for the first two semesters of study; faculty will decide as to whether doctoral students need to perform any further juries at the end of the second jury. Students perform juries in combos and should prepare 5-6 minutes of music per student. Repertoire should be chosen in collaboration with instructors. 

Postponements are allowed for extenuating circumstances (injury, death in the family, etc.).  No-shows are considered a failure. If a jury is postponed, the student must perform the jury within the first twelve class days. 

Jury comments from faculty will be shared with students. The jury constitutes 50% of the semester grade for applied lessons and is determined by averaging individual grades of the jury panel (not including the primary studio teacher). 

Find more information about this semester's juries, including FDFJ forms and deadlines. 

Comprehensive Examinations

Common Comprehensive

The common comprehensive examination consists of score identification and music history exams. Competency in music theory is tested as part of the final examination process of each section of the MUS 388T Analytical Techniques course. They are offered once per semester and in the summer.

A student who fails any portion of the common comprehensive exam on the first try must re-take the failed portion of the exam. If a student fails a portion of the exam twice, that student must choose one of the following options:

  1. Take one or more graduate courses as determined by the musicology or theory faculty. The student must achieve a grade of B or higher in the specified course(s) to complete the requirement and officially pass.
  2. Take the relevant portion(s) of the exam a third time, with the understanding that a third failure will result in termination of the student’s degree program.

Specialized Comprehensive

The content and procedures for the specialized comprehensive exams vary across divisions. Consult with the head of your division for additional information about the specialized comprehensive exams.



Advising & Registration

For information about course registration, deadlines, adding and dropping courses and other policies, visit the Graduate School Academic & Registration Policies webpage.

Students who wish to take an independent study course need to fill out a Consent Form. Once the faculty member and Graduate Coordinator have approved your request, the bar to register for the course will be lifted.

To be eligible for fellowships, scholarships and assistantships, graduate students are required to be enrolled full-time (at least 9 hours).

All international students are also required to be enrolled full-time during each long semester, regardless of whether they receive funding from the Butler School of Music.

Transferring Coursework

A new doctoral student may petition to substitute up to twelve credits of graduate level coursework completed at another institution for degree requirements at the University of Texas, subject to approval by the Butler School Graduate Studies Committee. This process must be completed during the first semester of enrollment, before the close of the fall advising period.

Courses approved for substitution typically fall into the areas of music history, theory, literature, and pedagogy, as well as chamber music.

Under normal circumstances, transferred coursework should have been completed within the four academic years prior to the start of the doctoral work at UT. The GSC will consider on a case-by-case basis whether coursework completed more than four years prior to the start of doctoral study at the Butler School can count toward the program of study.

Coursework completed for a master's degree at the University of Texas at Austin may be included in the course work for the doctoral degree without a petition form, but is subject to approval by the Graduate Studies Committee chair in Music, the candidate's supervising committee, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.



Graduation Timeline

Semester-by-Semester Overview

Prior to 1st semester

  • All students must take the diagnostic examinations in music history and music theory. Additional diagnostic exams are administered for students in composition, voice, jazz and music theory.

Semester 1

  • For students who completed an M.M. degree before coming to UT Austin, course transfer requests must be submitted in the first semester. If they have not been submitted by the advising period for spring classes (i.e. late October), the student’s registration will be barred.

Semester 2

  • All first year D.M.A. students should meet with the Graduate Coordinator for an audit of their coursework during the advising period for summer and fall classes in April. Registration will be barred until this meeting takes place.

Semesters 3–4

  • Students typically perform their Solo Recital I and Chamber Recitals in their second full year. Please note, both recitals may not be performed in the same semester without approval from the Director of Graduate Studies.

Semester 4

  • Students must submit a completed D.M.A. course outline to verify completion of coursework.
  • Unless there are mitigating circumstances (for example: insufficient number of Master’s level credits that can be transferred or an unusual number of deficiency courses a student must complete) documented and approved by the Graduate Coordinator, all D.M.A. students must attempt the common comprehensive exams.
  • All D.M.A. students must complete their specialized comps before applying for candidacy.

Semester 5–6 (Candidacy)

  • All D.M.A. students who pass the common and specialized comprehensive exams must form their committees and apply for candidacy. See the Candidacy Timeline below for a step-by-step process at this stage of the degree.
  • Students who have to re-take all or a portion of the common comprehensive exam in their 5th semester must form their committee and apply to candidacy prior to the 12th class day.


D.M.A. Candidacy Timeline


  1. Schedule Solo Recital II
    • Scheduling procedures
    • Graded by performance members of committee; performance co-supervisor required to attend.
  2. Set Doctoral Committee
    Committee consists of six members:
    • Performance co-supervisor (primary instructor).
    • Academic co-supervisor (member of the Musicology, Theory or Music & Human Learning faculty).
    • Three other Butler School faculty members (two performance, one academic).
    • One member from outside of the Butler School of Music.
    • At least three of the five Butler School committee members must be part of the Graduate Studies Committee.
  3. Officially Apply for Candidacy
    • Application is available on the Graduate School website.
    • Students must be registered for classes in the semester they plan to become a doctoral candidate. MUS 394/694 Directed Reading courses are recommended.
    • Non-Treatise – Do not add an abstract, indicate “D.M.A. option 2” in the abstract field.
    • Treatise – Supply the Graduate School with a short abstract.
  4. Change Registration
    • The Graduate Office will help you change registration to MUS X99(N/W) once your application is approved.
    • Check the Graduate School website for deadlines.
  5. Schedule Lecture Recital
    • Contact to schedule your lecture recital (you do not have to be in candidacy to start the scheduling process)
    • At a minimum, your two committee co-supervisors and two other committee members must attend (virtual attendance is acceptable)
    • Must take place before the last two weeks of the semester
    • Defense should not be scheduled for the same day
  6. Schedule Final Defense
    • The Request for Final Oral Exam must be officially filed with the graduate school
    • Must be scheduled at least two weeks prior to the defense date
  7. Apply for Graduation
  8. Final Defense
    • Must be completed prior to last week of class of class
    • Should not be the same day as Lecture Recital
    • Five of your six committee members must attend (virtual attendance is acceptable)
  9. Final Certification & Report of Dissertation
    • The Graduate School will email your Final Certification document
    • Gather all committee signatures after your document is approved
    • File with the Graduate School by 3pm on the last Friday of classes
  10. Final Document, Thesis & Dissertation
    • Non-Treatise students forward completed and approved documents to the graduate coordinator
    • Treatise & Dissertation students must upload their documents to the graduate school database and submit all required pages to the Graduate School



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