Jul 17, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024

C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellows Program

The Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree program is the most advanced course of study offered at The Juilliard School. Admission to this program is limited to the most gifted and accomplished musicians who also possess a broad range of knowledge about music, a keen intellect, a natural curiosity for a wide variety of disciplines, and the potential for pursuing high level performance, scholarly, and teaching careers. The C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellows program, made possible by a generous endowment grant from the Starr Foundation, allows candidates accepted into the D.M.A. degree to pursue their resident studies on a full-tuition scholarship basis.



Length of Program

The Doctor of Musical Arts degree program requires a full-time residency of two years at Juilliard. All degree requirements must be completed within five years of admission. Following the required two years of full-time residency, doctoral candidates may continue on a non-resident basis by paying a required annual matriculation fee in order to complete the dissertation and/or recital requirements. Any requests for extension of the five-year limit on enrollment in the program must be made in writing to the Doctoral Governance Committee prior to that limit (the exact date for extension requests is specified in the D.M.A. program calendar). Extensions (which are rarely allowed) may only be granted if the candidate’s doctoral dissertation proposal has been approved by the Doctoral Governance Committee. Continued instruction in the major field is available upon request at an additional charge for the first year of non-residency.

Doctoral candidates who are officially enrolled during the first year following the completion of the two-year full-time residency will be considered “half-time” students. Eligibility for federal financial assistance and/or student loan deferments may be verified with the Financial Aid Office. Non-resident doctoral candidates enrolled beyond the third year will be considered “less-than-half-time,” and therefore will not be eligible for federal financial assistance. However, candidates may petition the Doctoral Governance Committee for consideration of continued half-time status.  All candidates are advised to contact the Financial Aid Office with questions regarding aid eligibility.


A minimum of 61 credits (beyond the master’s degree) is required to complete the Doctor of Musical Arts program. Click on any major listed under Programs below to see the curriculum guide for that major.

Performance Requirements

Except for composers, all candidates for the D.M.A. degree must present three public recitals, at least two of which must be given during the first two years of enrollment. Candidates are strongly encouraged to present at least one recital during the first year of residency. There should be no duplication of repertory in the required recitals. Further, since the purpose of the curriculum is to allow each candidate an  opportunity to expand repertory and explore musical horizons, recitals should primarily consist of works prepared during enrollment in the program. Candidates are expected to present a broad range of the repertory, including works written after World War II, and at least one substantial work written during the last 50 years.

In addition to the three public recitals, all candidates including composers must present a special lecture-performance (approximately one hour in length) before the end of the third year of enrollment. The lecture-performance, which must be prepared under the supervision of a D.M.A. faculty advisor, may focus on one work or on a group of works linked together thematically or conceptually. It may be presented either in a graduate-level class or in one of the School’s public performance spaces. Each recital program and lecture-performance program must be submitted to the Doctoral Governance Committee at least two months prior to the recital date, bearing the written approval of the major teacher. These programs are then circulated among members of the Doctoral Governance Committee for review and approval. All D.M.A. recitals and lecture-performances must be reviewed by two members of the faculty. The Doctoral Governance Committee will assign faculty reviewers who will submit written reports on these presentations.

Composers are expected to give the equivalent of one full concert of their own works during their enrollment in the program. The total collection of performance programs, together with scores and tapes, must be submitted to the Doctoral Governance Committee by the date specified in the doctoral program calendar.

All performer recital requirements (including the lecture-performance) must be fulfilled by the end of the fall semester of the candidate’s final year of enrollment in the D.M.A. program.

Foreign Language Requirement

All D.M.A. candidates must pass a Juilliard doctoral course in one modern foreign language or pass a Juilliard reading examination in that language by the end of the first year of  enrollment in the program. For those choosing to do so by examination, opportunities are provided at the beginning of each academic year. The examinations are given in French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. Individual departments may also require additional language skills. Applicants are urged to attain proficiency prior to enrollment in the program.

Qualifying Exams

All candidates must pass written and oral qualifying exams. The written qualifying exam must be taken during the spring semester of the second year of residency. Candidates are strongly encouraged to take the oral exam during the spring semester of the second year as well, but are allowed the option of deferring this exam until the fall semester of the third year.

Doctoral Dissertation and Oral Defense

Candidates must prepare a doctoral dissertation displaying original research into a musical subject. Dissertations are prepared under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Candidates should first discuss their ideas for the project with the Dissertation Proposal Review Subcommittee. Following approval by the Dissertation Proposal Review Subcommittee, the candidate may then proceed with the preparation of the formal proposal, which must be signed by the dissertation advisor. Guidelines for the preparation of the dissertation from proposal stage through final submission are available on the MyJuilliard section of the Juilliard website.

Candidates are encouraged to submit proposals before the end of their two-year residency, and in no case later than the end of their third year of enrollment. Candidates or graduates may not offer their doctoral dissertations to any agency for publication in print or electronic form without explicit approval in writing from the Doctoral Governance Committee.

Composers must submit a large-scale work composed during enrollment in the program as their graduation document. In addition, composers are required to produce a substantive essay/doctoral dissertation on a musical work or works (not their own). Composer essays should be similar in length and breadth to articles found in scholarly journals, and must be prepared under the supervision of a D.M.A. faculty advisor.

All candidates, including composers, are required to defend the substance of their completed doctoral dissertations, compositions, and essays before a faculty committee. This defense examination is usually taken at the end of the candidate’s final year of enrollment, providing that all other degree and course requirements have been completed.

Performance Ensembles

Doctoral students may be assigned to perform in major ensembles or chamber groups. These assignments are based on the interest of the student and made in consultation with the director of orchestral activities and the director of chamber music.

Standards of Review and Evaluation

The progress of each enrolled doctoral student is closely monitored by the Doctoral Governance Committee. Areas of assessment include the level of achievement in required doctoral classes, required recitals, the lecture-performance, oral and written examinations as well as overall compliance with program deadlines, attendance policies, and all other  requirements. Grades below B- in graduate classes do not carry credit at the doctoral level. Please note that incompletes are not granted on the doctoral level, except under extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Doctoral Governance Committee.

Doctoral students may not request leaves of absence in their first semester of residence. Thereafter, any leave request must be submitted to the Doctoral Governance Committee for consideration. Students are expected to attend all required classes during the two-year residency period. Although a candidate may request permission for short-term leaves related to competitions or other professional engagements, extended absences that warrant missing more than two classes during a semester are not usually permitted.

Doctoral students are expected to comply fully with Juilliard’s “Code of Conduct,” as outlined in the Student Handbook, and will be held to the highest standard of academic honesty. A student who does not meet Juilliard’s doctoral program standards may, at the School’s discretion, be subject to dismissal.

Faculty concerns are discussed with students in individual conferences. A student may be asked to leave the program if their work in the program is deemed to be below the level required for the D.M.A. degree.


    Doctor of Musical Arts


      Doctoral Requirements