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Jazz Studies

Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance – Jazz Studies


The DMA in jazz studies requires a minimum of 65 units beyond the bachelor’s degree and consists of the following areas of study: the basic DMA curriculum, course work in the major, an academic field and two elective fields. Four doctoral recitals are required.

Sample Summary of Program of Study

Basic DMA Curriculum (20 units)

MUCD 441 Choral Conducting II (2 units)
MUCD 443 Instrumental Conducting II (2 units)
MUCO 501 Introduction to the Analysis of Tonal Music (2 units)
MUCO 502 Introduction to the Analysis of Post-Tonal Music (2 units)
MUED 505 Teaching and Learning Music (2 units)
MUHL 570 Research Materials and Techniques (2 units)
MUHL 574 Music of the Renaissance (2 units)
MUHL 575 Music of the Baroque Era (2 units)
MUHL 500-695 Music History electives (2 units)
MUEN 5 Ensemble electives (two 1-unit courses)

Lessons, Ensemble and Performance Classes (12 units)

MUJZ 653 Individual Instruction (lessons) (four 2–unit courses)
MUEN 532 Jazz Chamber Music (combo) (four 1-unit courses)

Program Intensive Courses (12 units)

MUJZ 443 Jazz Pedagogy (2 units)
MUJZ 545 Jazz Ensemble Development (2 units)
MUJZ 547 Jazz Composition (two 2-unit courses)
MUJZ 688 Special Topics in Jazz Performance (two 2-unit courses)

Academic Field (8-10 units)

Choose one from:

  • Musicology
  • Analysis
  • Music Education
  • Choral Music
  • Sacred Music

You must apply to your chosen field. An individualized program of study will be created for you in this field in consultation with a faculty advisor in this area.

Elective Fields I and II (12-16 units)

Choose two fields from among over 50 possible areas in topics within Composition, Performance, Early Music, Jazz Studies, Music Education, Choral Music, Sacred Music, Conducting, Pedagogy, Electroacoustic Media, Music Industry, as well as areas outside of music.

You must apply to your chosen fields. Individualized programs of study will be created for you in each field in consultation with your faculty advisors in these two areas.

Capstone Projects

Two recitals of original compositions and arrangements written while in the DMA program
One lecture-recital in conjunction with an appropriate research project
Qualifying Exams which include the major area, one academic field and two elective fields

All curricular requirements are evaluated on an annual basis and are subject to change. Students follow the curricular requirements as published in the USC Catalogue for their year of matriculation. A typical graduate credit load is eight units per semester.

A maximum of 30 units from the Masters Degree may be applied toward the 65 units beyond a Bachelors Degree required for the DMA.  Petitions must be prepared with the Thornton academic advisor, all of which must be signed and approved by the appropriate faculty.

A language examination to demonstrate reading knowledge in one foreign language (French, German, Italian or Spanish) must be passed before the qualifying exams are taken.

Music Graduate Entrance Exams (MGEE) are administered during Orientation Week just prior to the start of your program. See the MGEE page for more information.