DMA Application and Deadlines

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

Application and Deadlines

Applications and Pre-screening Materials for the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) program are due on December 1, deadline extended through December 15, and auditions will take place on Sunday, February 9 and Monday, February 10, 2020.    If you are unable to make any of these deadlines please send an email to  Please note, for the upcoming academic year, online applications will be available starting September 1st.

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

  1. Prospective students must complete the online graduate school application by  December 1, deadline extended through December 15, (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. 
  2. 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, deadline extended through December 15.
  3. Selected students will be invited to campus for interviews and audition on Sunday, February 9 and Monday, February 10, 2020; 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 Sacred Music's Calvin M. Bower 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 unofficial transcripts of previous degrees and course work (applicants should not send official transcripts until they've been admitted and confirmed)
  • three letters of recommendation from music professionals
  • no GRE general test required
  • the writing sample should be a paper 10-15 pages in length, demonstrating your ability to write about music at an academic level.
  • pre-screening material: a DVD and/or links to YouTube or alternative website with a 15-20 minute long compilation of excerpts performed by the applicant. It is recommended that these excerpts show a variety of repertoire. Audio and video accepted.
       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 of the applicant’s choice.
       b. Conducting concentration: applicants should send a video recording of rehearsals and performances, though the rehearsal need not be of the piece in the recording. We also ask that applicants send examples of them conducting music in different music styles or musical eras. For example, an applicant can submit a performance of a composition from the Baroque period as well as another from the 20th or 21st century and this would fulfill the requirement. 
    *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.   **PLEASE NOTE: Do not send pre-screening material as a .swf attachment.
  • 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. The TOEFL IBT minimum score is a total of 80 points, with a minimum of 23 on the speaking section. The IELTS minimum score is 7.0.
    *The Graduate School will waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement for non-native English speakers who spent a minimum of two years at an academic institution whose primary language of instruction was English. A letter from the Registrar’s Office (or the office responsible for academic records) confirming English as the language of instruction is required.

Guidelines for Auditions

Once the admissions committee has reviewed all of the application materials, successful applicants will be invited 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.