DMA Application and Deadlines

Complete and submit the online application available at the Graduate School under "Graduate School Degree Seeking" section.

The application is a three-step process for all students:

  1. We will begin accepting pre-screening audition DVD/CD/web links on December 1 to Sacred Music Program, 542 O'Neill Hall (Stadium), Notre Dame IN 46556; phone: 574-631-1300 or emailed to Please see below for repertory requirements established by the faculty.
  2. Prospective students must complete the online graduate school application by  December 1 (fee $75.00).
    When applying online, please complete the "Graduate School Degree Seeking" section. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required for DMA applicants. 
  3. Regarding the TOEFL score for those who need it:  We will not be able to invite students to the live audition who have not submitted the TOEFL by January 15. All the rest of the application must be complete by December 1.
  4. Selected students will be invited to campus for interviews and audition on Sunday, Febuary 10 and Monday, February 11, 2019; a small number of these will be admitted to the program. Please note that those applicants who are invited for auditions will be given a basic musicianship and piano sight-reading (4-part hymn) exam in addition to an audition in the concentration. There will be assistance with transportation and accommodations.

Prerequisites & Application Requirements

Students applying to the Sacred Music DMA Program should have the following:

1)  A Master of Music degree (MM) or a Master of Sacred Music (MSM) degree with majors or concentrations in organ or choral conducting

2)   Application Requirements must include:

  • a curriculum vitae documenting all areas of musical, artistic and academic training, including languages
  • a statement of intent describing professional and artistic goals
  • all applicable transcripts of previous degrees and course work
  • three letters of recommendation from music professionals
  • no GRE general test required
  • the writing sample should be a paper of any length under 40 pages, preferably about music, or, alternatively, on topics in theology or other fields in the humanities. The paper needs to show ability to write in the genre of academic research papers, i.e. it should have a thesis supported by analysis and documentary evidence.
  • a DVD and/or links to YouTube or alternative website with a 15-20 minute long compilation of excerpts performed by the applicant (see below). It is recommended that these excerpts show a variety of repertoire. Submit required pre-screening material in either the portfolio section of the graduate school application, web- links by email to or a DVD or CD sent to The Sacred Music Program, 542 O'Neill Hall of Music/Sacred Music, Notre Dame, IN 46556.
  • International students whose native language is not English must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores, no later than January 15, to demonstrate language proficiency. Both tests are offered several times each year at sites in the United States and abroad; for those taking the TOEFL, the university’s institution code is: 1841.
    • If you are taking the TOEFL IBT, then the minimum score is a total of 80 points, with a minimum of 23 on the Speaking section.
    • If you are taking the IELTS, the minimum score is 7.0.

Guidelines for Audition Materials

A. Organ concentration: a major work by J. S. Bach (a Prelude and Fugue; Concerto; Trio Sonata; Major Chorale Preludes from the Leipzig Chorales or the Clavierübung III) and two contrasting pieces of masters-level repertoire.

B. Conducting concentration: The choral conducting pre-screening materials should consist of video recordings of both rehearsal and performance situations.  A variety of repertoire style is recommended. The video recordings should be delivered in DVD format by mail,  or as links to online postings on YouTube or a private website. For administrative reasons, online links are preferable.

Once the admissions committee has reviewed all of the application materials, successful applicants will be invited to a day long visit to the campus of the University of Notre Dame for a live audition. There will be assistance with transportation and accommodations.

Here they will meet with the faculty and students, and proceed through the following audition activities:

1. Diagnostic exam in musical skills. The applicants will be asked to harmonize a simple melody at the piano or organ, sightread an excerpt either by singing (conductors) or playing (organists), take aural dictation and analyze elements in a score, such as instrumentation and formal procedures (conductors).

2. Interview. The applicants will meet with the faculty to discuss their background and their artistic and career goals.

3. (For conductors only) Written diagnostic  exam in music history and analysis. The applicants will answer general questions about Western European and American art and sacred music history, including identification of musical styles and formal analysis of musical excerpts.

4. (For conductors only) Rehearsing and conducting our Concordia Choir. Applicants will submit two choices of repertoire to be rehearsed and conducted for 10-15 minutes with the Master Singers. The faculty at Notre Dame will indicate if either or both pieces can be conducted.

5. (For organists only) Audition in person in front of the organ faculty with previously agreed repertoire.