The policies set forth below and in related documents (University Catalog, College website, etc.) were determined by the faculty of College of Music, in accordance with the rules of the Graduate School and the University of Colorado. These formal written policies are used to guide all decisions made by the faculty and administration, and students are expected to refer to them often as they work toward earning their degrees. All official decisions pertaining to degree requirements, including special exceptions granted by the faculty or Associate Dean are recorded in written form and kept in the student’s digital file. Oral agreements are not considered binding without written record in the student’s file (e.g., official letters, printed email communications, etc.). The faculty regularly reviews all Degree Plans and academic policies; the most current versions are posted on the graduate advising website. When degree requirements change, students may choose, with the consent of their faculty advisory committee, either to follow the revised plan or to continue with the degree as it was defined when they began the program. Many College of Music policies are governed by the Graduate School Rules for the campus; other important campus policies are detailed at the Graduate School Website.

The University's Honor Code

The College of Music expects all students to abide by the University of Colorado’s Honor Code, which promotes “academic integrity, moral and ethical conduct, and pride of membership in a community that values academic achievement and individual responsibility.” The Honor Code Pledge is posted across the campus and also appears on many course materials as a reminder that honor is a fundamental value at CU: “On my honor as a University of Colorado at Boulder student I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance on this work.” The Honor Code system is comprised of various committees that support students and faculty in the implementation of the code. The Honor Code website includes essential information and links to numerous resources that help students to understand plagiarism and other violations. It also explains the formal processes in place for reporting suspected violations and imposing sanctions on students found guilty of violating the code. Because this information is readily available, the faculty assumes that students have studied it closely, and therefore students cannot claim ignorance as an excuse for violating the Honor Code.

All suspected violations of the Honor Code must be reported to the campus Honor Code office. The academic and non-academic sanctions for violating the Code can be severe; so please take the time to review the information at the Honor Code website, especially the “Student Information” section.

Preliminary + Major Field Examinations for incoming DMA Students

Immediately prior to beginning DMA degree work, students are required to take diagnostic Preliminary Examinations in music theory and musicology. The preliminary exams are offered online two times a year, two-three weeks prior to the beginning of Fall semester and one week prior to the beginning of Spring semester. Specific dates are announced in advance by the music Graduate Studies Coordinator, and students are expected to plan accordingly. The required preliminary exams differ slightly depending on the major area of study. Consult the Preliminary/Major Field Exam Requirements document and the Preliminary Exam Preparation and Remediation Information document for these and other important details. Students who earned a BM or MM degree from CU-Boulder are exempt from the written theory (not including tonal and post-tonal analysis), aural skills, and musicology/ethnomusicology preliminary exam requirements.

Results for each exam are posted directly on your digital student advising checklist/plan before the first week of classes as Pass (equivalent to B– or higher) or Remediate prior to the first week of classes. Any exam not passed on the first attempt in August may be taken a second time. IMPORTANT NOTE: Students who miss the scheduled mandatory preliminary examinations (for any reason) before their first semester of study must take the exam on the scheduled date during the week before their second semester and will forfeit their right to attempt a failed exam a second time.

Students who do not pass any required preliminary exam should begin enrolling in remedial coursework no later than their second semester of study, and are expected to address all deficiencies as soon as possible. Students can petition the Assoc Dean to begin addressing deficiencies during the second year, based on degree plan requirements. 

Keyboard, strings, woodwinds, choral conducting, orchestral conducting, and voice students also must take the Major Field examination during orientation week. The scope and format of this examination vary by discipline, but the general aim is to evaluate the student’s background in areas directly relevant to their chosen major. For example, voice majors are asked questions about music history and literature (with a focus on vocal and operatic repertoire), phonetics, and stylistic analysis/score identification of German and French Song examples. The area faculty uses the Major Field examination to advise students on coursework necessary for completing the degree requirements.

English proficiency

International students are encouraged to be evaluated by the staff in the International English Center (IEC) during the week before classes start. The IEC will recommend any necessary remedial coursework in English as a Second Language, and students are advised to begin enrolling in recommended coursework immediately to receive additional English language support. The IEC provides some Provost scholarship support so that students may study with specialists in ESL instruction.

Residence + registration requirements

The required period of residence is four semesters of full-time study beyond the master’s degree; at least two academic-year semesters must be consecutive; summer terms equal half semesters. For purposes of determining residency, a graduate student will be considered to be carrying a full load during a regular semester if registered for at least five semester hours in courses numbered 5000 or above or 1 or more credits of thesis. A minimal full load during a Summer Session is three semester hours of work in courses numbered 5000 or above. Students with certain types of federal and state financial aid must register for at least 6 hours to be considered full-time, and can receive Federal aid if registered part-time - although the amount of funding is less for part vs full time enrollment. For more information consult the Academic and Enrollment Status Grid.

The average time necessary to complete the degree ranges from three to five years, and the Graduate School mandates that all doctoral degrees be completed in six years. The length of time required to finish increases for students who must take additional coursework in preparation for the Advanced Studies courses in theory (MUSC 6801) and musicology (MUSC 6822), when coursework is required as a result of the Preliminary or Major Field Examinations, or when the student is required to take supporting courses in preparation for dissertation project completion.

Students may apply to earn a Music Theory and/or Arts Administration Certificate. Making the decision to earn a certificate earlier in your degree program will help to incorporate certificate course requirements into your degree plan, which results in an optimal financial and academic plan.

Doctoral advisory committee

The student’s main studio teacher usually serves as the major advisor (chair of the advisory committee) and is primarily responsible for advising the student toward completing all degree requirements. In consultation with the major advisor, the student should form the five-member faculty advisory committee by the third semester in residence. DMA students are allowed to complete one TMUS recital during the first two semesters of the program provided 3 members of the committee have confirmed their membership on the student’s advisory committee. All five committee members must hold graduate faculty appointments, and at least one member most hold the Ph.D. in a research discipline (the research faculty are rostered in music education, musicology, and music theory). Some areas specify the minimum number of committee members from the major area. The members signify their commitment to serve on the committee by signing the Graduate Advisory Committee form, which then must be approved by the Associate Dean and placed in the student’s digital file.

In selecting committee members, students should consider faculty members with whom they have studied directly, as well as those whose areas of expertise are especially relevant to the TMUS performances and research projects. Sometimes a particular area of interest emerges after the committee has been formed, and the student may wish to involve a faculty member who was not a member of the original committee. In such cases, changes to the committee may be proposed by the student, who submits to the music graduate office the Graduate Advisory Committee Substitution form (signed by the affected committee members and the major advisor).

All TMUS recitals and projects require grades and signatures from at least three committee members. (In the case of sabbatical leaves and exceptional circumstances, other qualified graduate faculty members may be asked to substitute for a regular committee member.) Once students are engaged in thesis projects and recitals (TMUS 8xx9), it is critical to plan well in advance to ensure that committee members are available to attend recitals/lecture recitals and also to provide detailed guidance on research projects. Students needing an accompanist are advised to schedule their recital(s) the semester prior to the intended semester of the recital. No recitals are allowed during the last week of classes or during the university scheduled final examination period.  Students are also advised to request and confirm a pianist prior to scheduling their recital date. A pianist must be requested at least 9 weeks prior to the scheduled recital. Students are required to announce the recital date to all committee members. Most College faculty members hold nine-month academic appointments that begin in mid-August and end in mid-May. Therefore, students should not expect faculty to do committee work during the summer unless special arrangements have been made directly with the faculty member. Faculty members grading the recital or lecture recital, except in extenuating circumstances as determined by the committee chair in communication with the Associate Dean, attend the recital. Other committee members may attend the recital, watch the recital via livestream (if available) or watch a video of the recital in order to offer feedback to the student or a recital grade.

DMA degree plan/advising checklist

A degree plan should be formulated under the guidance of a graduate studies team member, major advisor and advisory committee during the first year in residence. The advising checklist/plan (the link to which is shared with each student and advisor at the beginning of their program following an initial advising meeting with a graduate studies team member), serves as your individualized degree plan as it contains a semester-by-semester schedule for all required coursework, tentative dates (e.g. fall or spring) for the written and oral Comprehensive Examinations and a schedule of the TMUS recitals and projects (the latter should include a brief description of the topic whenever possible, along with committee member graders). 

In general, DMA students receive weekly applied lessons during the first four semesters of the degree, regardless of lesson credit registration. Be sure to register for the correct level (6000) of lessons and for no more than the required number of credits for your degree. To help with planning your registration, all TMUS courses are set up as variable credit. Do not register for more than the total number of credits required for each dissertation project.

Students should also submit the Graduate Advisory Committee form to the graduate studies office no later than the middle of the second semester in residence.  

The advising checklist should be signed (digitally) and dated by the major advisor at the bottom of the advising checklist no later than Jan. 1. The signed plan should include course registration for each semester of the degree, the names of your 5 committee members, and committee member reader/grader assignments.

Careful planning helps the student to anticipate required courses that are not offered annually, faculty leaves, and to complete the degree as efficiently and economically as possible.

Course requirements

Students must take a minimum of thirty hours of course and dissertation work. In general, DMA students receive weekly applied lessons during the first four semesters of the degree, regardless of lesson credit registration (which is variable dependent on the degree). During subsequent semesters, students receive weekly lessons in preparation for recital/dissertation project performances.

Some areas of specialization require more than thirty hours, including specific course work prior to or in conjunction with work on dissertation projects. Some students may be advised to take course work in preparation for the Comprehensive Examination. All academic course requirements must be completed prior to scheduling the Comprehensive Examination (prerequisites for the seminars are six hours of graduate-level course work in each of the two fields). Please consult your own Degree Plan for a detailed list of requirements.

Grades + quality of work

Grade Point Average: A student is required to maintain at least a B (3.0) average in all work attempted while enrolled in the Graduate School, and a student must have at least an overall 3.0 average to receive a graduate degree. Courses in which grades below B- are received are not accepted for doctoral degree programs or for the removal of academic deficiencies. (Grades received in foreign language courses taken to fulfill the language requirement are not used by the Graduate School in calculating grade point average.)

Courses taken toward the fulfillment of requirements for graduate degrees may not be taken pass/fail. Graduate students may not register for more than 15 credits during any one semester.  Students whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 at any time during their graduate career will be placed on probation by the Graduate School. See pp. 14–16 of the Graduate School Rules (2021 edition) for further information about academic standards.

An “I” or incomplete grade may be given when students, for reasons beyond their control, have been unable to complete course requirements. A substantial amount of work (50% or more of course requirements) must have been satisfactorily completed before an “I” grade request can be considered. See the Incomplete Grade Policy and Procedures for Graduate Students document for more information.

Transfer credit

Previous graduate-level coursework may be transferred toward the DMA degree requirements (up to a maximum of 21 semester hours for doctoral students), after completing 6 credit-hours at CU.  Students who wish to transfer previous credits should obtain the Request for Transfer of Credit form and submit the form no later than the semester prior to graduation. Carefully follow the instructions before submitting it to your major advisor for their signature.  The signed form, along with an original transcript, is then submitted to the Graduate Studies Coordinator, then to the Associate Dean for approval, who then forwards the form to the Graduate School for final approval.

Coursework taken (e.g., to complete a master’s degree) at CU-Boulder (or at other CU campuses) does not need to be transferred. The Graduate School does not allow courses counted toward another completed doctoral degree (at CU or elsewhere) to be transferred toward the requirements of the DMA. On the individual Degree Plans, courses listed as 0–x credit hours typically are background courses that do not need to be transferred toward the minimum 30 required hours for the DMA.

Foreign language requirement

Brass + percussion; collaborative piano; choral conducting; orchestral conducting; voice; and musicology students are required to demonstrate foreign language proficiency before being allowed to take the comprehensive examination. The choice of the language(s) must be approved by the student’s advisory committee.  Specific requirements include:

Brass + percussion: Passing score on a foreign language repertoire terms exam

Collaborative piano: instrumental emphasis: One year of French, German, or Italian; vocal emphasis: One year of two languages (selected from French, German, or Italian)

Choral conducting: Two years of one language

Orchestral conducting: Two years of one language

Voice: One year of three languages. Students may petition the voice faculty for an exception to this policy. Please see the DMA Voice Performance & Pedagogy degree plan for more information.

Musicology: Two years of two languages or specialty language training (with approval)

Foreign  language proficiency exams must be completed before taking the Comprehensive Exam. DMA students are advised to begin taking the foreign language exam(s) no later than the fourth semester of their program.  

Proficiency must be demonstrated by completing a second-semester (for a one year requirement) or fourth-semester (for a two year requirement) undergraduate course within six years of admission to the degree program or by passing the foreign language translation examination. Students can fulfill year 1 foreign language proficiency by taking a reading knowledge course, (for ex German 1500) and earning a grade of B or higher, with Assoc Dean approval. The two-hour translation exam asks students to translate prose excerpts related to music, song or aria texts, and/or passages from opera libretti. Students are allowed to use dictionaries, grammar guides, and verb charts (e.g., 501 French Verbs) during the examination.  

Currently, the College of Music offers year 1 and year 2 foreign language translation exams in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. A student can petition the Associate Dean to take a foreign language translation exam in another language. To receive approval, a proficiency exam and grader must be available, and the alternate foreign language request must be approved by the student’s advisory committee.  

Because international students whose native language is not English have already demonstrated their proficiency in a second language before being admitted, students in collaborative piano, choral conducting, and orchestral conducting whose area requires 1 or 2 years proficiency in just one language are exempt from this language requirement. International DMA voice students can petition the voice faculty to have their native language meet the proficiency requirement for one of the three required languages.

To schedule a foreign language proficiency exam sign up here. Please schedule the exam 14 days before the desired test date. 

Comprehensive examination

A student is eligible to take the Comprehensive Examination when all course work (including the foreign language requirement) has been completed, and with the permission of the student’s advisory committee. The comprehensive exam is usually taken in the fall (between Oct. 1- Nov. 1) of the third year of study, but it must be taken at least one semester before completion of final degree requirements. Students should avoid scheduling the written portion of the exam any later than the tenth week of the semester. In extenuating cases (e.g. student is taking a doctoral seminar course in the fall of the third year), students typically take the written portion of the comprehensive exam between finals week and the week prior to the first week of spring semester classes. In such cases, the oral portion of the exam is typically scheduled between Feb 1-15. The student must be enrolled full-time during the semester when they take the exam.

Listed below are the steps to follow for scheduling and preparing for the written and oral portions of the comprehensive examination, along with submission of the candidacy application.

  1. Meet with your major advisor to determine if you are ready to take the comprehensive examination.   

  2. Select tentative dates for the written portion (scheduled for 4 days: Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday) AND the 2-hour oral portion of the exam. The oral portion of the exam should be scheduled a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of 30 days after completing the written portion of the exam.

  3. Schedule a meeting with the Graduate Program Coordinator (Chris Martin) to discuss the process, get the approval forms and confirm dates.  

  4. Contact each member of your advisory committee to discuss preparation for the written exam question and to confirm the oral exam date and time.

  5. Once the date is confirmed with all committee members, you must submit the Doctoral Comprehensive Exam Form  to the Graduate School to receive approval. If this form is not filed at least two weeks prior to the scheduled comprehensive exam, the Graduate School will cancel your exam and the exam must be rescheduled. The student must reserve a room for the oral portion of the exam by emailing the College scheduling coordinator (

  6. Prepare for the exam. 

  7. Just prior to your scheduled first day of the written portion of the exam, the Graduate Program Coordinator will communicate details and procedures for each day's question.  Exams are taken remotely unless the committee member prefers to have the student use the library exam room.  The computers in the library exam room do not have internet connection and are best for Terms, Score IDs and questions where a controlled environment is preferred.

  8. After completing the written portion of the exam, prepare for the oral portion of the exam (information on preparation will be provided by your major advisor). You should review your responses and be prepared to defend and elaborate on your responses.

  9. During the preparation for the oral exam period of time, submit your candidacy application. Follow this link for candidacy application instructions.  

  10. After your oral exam, one or more members of your committee may place conditions on your responses. This means that you will need to rewrite one or more answers, or respond to a revised, although related, question before a passing grade is received.  Your committee chair will work with you to determine the timeline and requirements you need to meet.  Once your committee agrees that you have passed the exam, you must fill out the conditional pass completion form.   

The Comprehensive Examination is designed to assess the student’s breadth and depth of knowledge within the major area and beyond. The content is not limited to course work taken at CU Boulder. Some committee members will provide general information about the nature of their question, but others may opt not to offer much detail in advance of the examination. Faculty members are not expected to provide their question in advance of the exam. Passing the written and oral portions of this pivotal examination determines whether or not the student advances officially to doctoral candidacy, and therefore the faculty expects thorough preparation. A successful candidate must receive affirmative votes from a majority of the members of the examining committee.  In case of failure, the examination may be attempted once more, after a period of time determined by the committee. On occasion, the student's advisory committee will grant a "conditional pass" on the comprehensive exam. In such cases, the student's major professor, along with the advisory committee, will determine what conditions must be met before the exam will be considered "passed" or what parts of the written and oral examination are to be repeated.  If any part of the exam is to be repeated, students should not necessarily expect identical questions.  In all cases, the student will be notified in writing by the major professor as to the requirements prescribed by the advisory committee and a deadline for completing the requirements. When your committee confirms that you have met the conditions, the student must fill out the doctoral comprehensive exam conditional pass completion form.

Each committee member submits material to the Graduate Studies Coordinator one month prior to the first day of the written exam. The major advisor then reviews the questions from the other committee members and constructs the four-day written examination. The questions may pertain to the student’s coursework or research interests, or they may address broader topics or areas of expertise that are expected in the student’s chosen discipline. Some committee members will provide general information about the nature of their question, but others may opt not to offer any details in advance of the examination. Comprehensive exams are administered online except for questions that require library reserve/reference materials (that cannot be checked out to the student) and/or no use of the internet. The student may choose the order in which to write responses for each day of the examination. Students write for four consecutive weekdays, and are scheduled to write from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Thurs. through Fri., rest on the weekend, and then finish the exam on the following Mon. and Tues. Typically, three days of the exam will be from the student’s “area” committee members, with the fourth day being split between the “outside area” member and the “PhD” member. At the discretion of the committee chair, the “PhD” member may be asked to submit a full-day question, with a committee member from the student’s “area” submitting a half-day question. Faculty are expected to complete their review of written responses 1-2 weeks after the student has completed the written portion of the exam.

Comprehensive examinations should not be scheduled during the summer (from May through July). Students may petition the Associate Dean to take the written portion of the comprehensive examination during August, however, doing so requires the student to receive approval and meet with the Graduate Studies Coordinator prior to April 1. Questions from committee members must be received by the last day of spring semester final exams in order for the written exam to be scheduled in August. If you believe this is the best option for your comprehensive examination timeline, please be sure to discuss this option with the Graduate Program Coordinator well in advance.

The oral portion of the Comprehensive Exam lasts approximately two hours and should follow the written examination by a period of not less than two weeks nor more than thirty days. Students are advised to simultaneously schedule the written and oral portions of the exam. Because all five committee members must be present, the oral examination should be scheduled well in advance, before the end of classes for the semester. It is the student’s responsibility to determine a mutually acceptable date and time with the committee members, and to reserve a room for the exam. In-person oral examinations are preferred. However, remote or hybrid oral examinations are allowed, based on student and/or committee member circumstances.

The committee chair is responsible for providing guidance on how to prepare for the oral exam. DMA students are expected to explain, elaborate on, and orally defend their written responses without much, if any, guidance from committee members. Therefore, committee members may or may not provide verbal or written feedback to students prior to the oral portion of the exam. Committee members should inform the student in advance what kind of feedback, if any, the student can expect prior to the oral portion of the exam. The student is responsible for soliciting feedback from committee members prior to the oral portion of the exam. In cases where students need to substantially expand their written responses, faculty will provide written or verbal feedback to the student at least one week prior to the oral portion of the exam.

See this document for more information on Comprehensive Examination procedures and preparation.

Continuous registration

Once a student has passed the written and oral portions of the Comprehensive Examination, he/she is reclassified by the Graduate School as a candidate (category D-DMA), beginning in the semester immediately following the exam. The student must then enroll and pay tuition and student fees for fall and spring semesters of each year until attaining the degree or formally resigning. After becoming a candidate, the student will enroll in any remaining TMUS dissertation project hours or TMUS 8029, Candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts degree, until the degree is completed. In the rare case that a student has enrolled in all required courses but has not yet passed the Comprehensive Examination, he or she will enroll in TMUS 8019, Pre-candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts degree, until attaining candidacy status. Please see the advice below in the Dissertation section regarding strategies for enrolling in TMUS recitals and projects.


The DMA differs from the Ph.D. degree in that the dissertation is comprised of 5-6 performance, research, and/or composition projects rather than a single, extended dissertation. The DMA dissertation projects (numbered TMUS 8xx9) are listed in Category III of each Degree Plan, and there are different requirements depending on the major area. Dissertation projects include: recital/conducting practicum, chamber recital, lecture recital, research lecture, repertoire project, editing & arranging project, pedagogy practicum, major document, and recording project. After successful completion of relevant course requirements, DMA students will be advised to begin work on dissertation projects concurrently with preparation for the Comprehensive Examination. Thus the student may earn dissertation hours throughout the entire program, while taking other coursework.

Though the TMUS projects are numbered sequentially, they may be completed in any order, according to the guidance of the major advisor and the student’s committee. Most students schedule the first TMUS recital or concert during the second or third semester in residence, and proceed to other projects each semester thereafter. DMA-Jazz Performance students are permitted to play one required recital off-campus, provided the venue is approved by both the department chair and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Please see the Jazz Studies Off Campus Recital Guidelines for more information.

The faculty strongly recommends that one of the non-performance projects (e.g., pedagogy practicum, research lecture, etc.) be undertaken no later than the fourth semester in residence.

For each non-recital project, the student should select one member of the faculty advisory committee to serve as the main advisor (not necessarily the committee chair), who guides the student in preparing a written prospectus, which is then submitted to the faculty advisory committee for their suggestions and approval. A thoughtfully conceived prospectus is critical to launching a successful dissertation project. Students are encouraged to propose projects that ultimately will have multiple future uses in the beginning stages of their professional careers: as publications, conference presentations, interview presentations, and so forth.  With the approval of the faculty advisory committee and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, some DMA programs permit students to do a recording project for one of the TMUS dissertation projects.  Details can be found in the DMA Recording Project Guidelines document.

Before the student proceeds with the project, two members of the committee must agree to serve as first and second readers, who will guide the project to the final draft, which is then presented to the committee as a whole. Required documents should be in their final form before the public presentation of each lecture. Most students underestimate the length of time it takes to work through successive revisions with the faculty committee, so it is imperative to plan very carefully and communicate regularly with the advisor and committee.


Enrollment Advice: Because the TMUS projects collectively comprise the DMA Dissertation, and some take longer than one semester to complete, the Graduate School allows some flexibility as to when students enroll for each recital or project. If a recital or project is not completed during the same semester as registration, an IP (“In Progress”) grade is recorded. The IP grade is later replaced with the letter grade assigned by the faculty advisory committee, and the student does not need to register again for the same TMUS project. This means that when a student drafts a degree plan with the advisor, he/she may decide to enroll for a project one semester before or after the semester in which it is actually completed. Because DMA candidates must be continuously enrolled until graduation, it is usually more sensible economically to maintain enrollment with TMUS projects each semester instead of TMUS 8029 (Candidate for the DMA), which does not otherwise count toward degree requirements. 

In order for faculty to grade recitals and written projects, students are required to submit the TMUS grade form for each recital or written project.

Also, students are required to submit TMUS written projects  to CU Scholar via the Thesis Submission Form.

Students are required to submit recital recordings for on-campus and off-campus recitals to be archived. Please see the audio services page for recital recording services information and the  recital scheduling page for recording submission information. 

Final oral examination

The third major milestone, in the final semester of registration, is a defense of all work done for the degree, with emphasis on the dissertation documents individually and collectively.  All required documents should already have incorporated the final revisions suggested by the committee and be ready for official approval and signatures at least two weeks before the examination occurs. The final oral usually lasts one hour and is open to the public; students are encouraged to announce their final oral to the department and to attend final orals of their peers in preparation for their own exam. As in the case of the oral portion of the Comprehensive Exam, the student is responsible for arranging the date and time of the final oral with the five committee members and reserving a room by emailing the College scheduling coordinator ( In-person final oral examinations are preferred. However, remote or hybrid final oral examinations are allowed, based on student and/or committee member circumstances.

Students need to schedule the exam and submit the doctoral final examination docusign request to the Graduate School no later than 2 weeks prior to the intended final oral exam date. Note: If this request form is not filed two weeks prior to the intended date, the final oral exam may be canceled and need to be rescheduled. This could result in extending your degree completion date (and thus cost you money) so please be sure to meet this deadline!

In order for final grades and required documentation to be processed on time, this exam must be scheduled prior to the doctoral final examination deadline posted by the Graduate School. The campus-level deadlines posted by the Graduate School are inflexible, so students must pay close attention to these dates or risk the extra time and expense of their graduation postponed to a later semester.

Certificate for College Teaching 

Most students pursuing the DMA are planning on faculty careers in higher education. Some will already have experience as studio or classroom teachers, or have taken coursework in education (some DMA degrees at CU require coursework in pedagogy). Whatever the student’s previous experience, CU’s acclaimed Certificate for College Teaching is an especially valuable (and free!) resource for refining one’s teaching skills. The CTL (Center for Teaching and Learning) offers workshops and training throughout the year, and some graduate students decide to work toward obtaining the Certificate for College Teaching. The College of Music typically has two Lead Graduate Teachers, who are current graduate students, and who act as liaisons with the campus CTL office.  Workshops are offered throughout the year, within the College as well as on the campus at large. Find current information and resources on the CTL website.

25% Teaching Appointments:1 credit-hour scholarship

Compensation for 25% teaching appointment includes 5 credits of tuition remission each semester. Compensation also includes a maximum of 6 credit hours of funding to be applied toward degree required courses dispersed as a scholarship from the College of Music over the course of your degree. Registration for the credit hours covered by the College of Music scholarship will be determined under advisement at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. During the first year, if you are a nonresident or international student, the 1 credit-hour scholarship will be covered by the College of Music at the nonresident tuition rate. During all subsequent years, the 1 credit-hour scholarship will be covered at the in-state rate. For international students, the additional credit hour will be covered at the nonresident rate for the duration of the student’s appointment. 

CPT (Curricular Practical Training)

CPT is one type of off-campus employment authorization for international students on an F-1 visa. CPT is authorized in conjunction with registration for an internship course approved as a support course needed to complete one or more of the dissertation projects required for your degree.

There are two, 1 credit hour internship courses you can register for in conjunction with CPT, depending on the nature of the work:

  • MUSC 5908: Internship in Music Business: Music or music business organizations, including but not limited to ensemble performance, accompanying, conducting, and arts organization work

  • MUSC 5446: Supervised Teaching Practicum: Teaching at a community music school or school-based program

NOTE: Internships are regular work that are not one-time music engagements (gigs), with a minimum of 42 hours of work required per semester. MUSC 5908 is repeatable up to 3 total credit hours, and MUSC 5446 is repeatable up to 5 total credit hours. Both courses must be taken for a letter grade. It is strongly encouraged that you discuss the possibility of CPT with your faculty advisor in your first semester of coursework to determine if a music internship will add value to your studies.


Step 1: Read through the CPT guidelines.

Step 2: Contact an ISSS counselor to determine the first semester you are eligible to apply for CPT.

Step 3: Meet with your faculty advisor the semester prior to internship course registration to confirm their approval of internship course registration for the following semester. The internship should help to prepare you for research or performance requirements for one or more of your dissertation projects.

Step 4: Ask your faculty advisor to email the Assoc Dean confirmation that internship course registration is needed for the following semester. Faculty advisor approval is needed no later than two weeks prior to the start of the semester.   

Step 5: Register for the appropriate internship course.

Step 6: Apply for part-time CPT authorization. Be sure to list the Assoc Dean as your academic advisor and as the graduate program advisor. The CPT start date indicated in your offer letter must be at least 10 business days from the day you submit your CPT Request in the MyISSS portal to allow time for the Assoc Dean to sign the e-form and for ISSS to process the request.

Pre-completion OPT (Optional Practical Training)

Work authorization is needed for off-campus work that occurs on a less regular basis (e.g. gigs, subbing in an orchestra). See the pre-completion OPT website for more information on how to apply for this authorization. Use of any practical training (both pre- and post-completion OPT) is counted cumulatively with only a total of 12 months allowed for practical training. Pre-completion OPT will count against that 12-month total and reduce time available for post-completion OPT.