The Doctor of Musical Arts examines music in its interdisciplinary, cultural, and intellectual contexts while providing a mastery of the theory and practice of performance, with concentrations available in Performance, Historical Performance Practices, and Composition.

The Doctor of Musical Arts program combines comprehensive study of music literature, historical styles, and performance practices, all using the most recent analytical methodologies. Curriculum and research strike a critical balance between music performance and scholarship that equips you to make an impactful contribution to the music profession. Faculty includes highly trained performers and musical scholars whose diverse interests range across musicology, performance, and composition; they bring their passion for music and scholarship into the classroom and serve as invaluable mentors. Under their guidance, you’ll join a long list of accomplished graduates who have gone on to become college and university professors, members of professional ensembles, music directors in churches, and solo performing artists.

Program Highlights
  • The Music Department puts on an array of concerts that offer ample performance opportunities.
  • Studio faculty are drawn from The Claremont Colleges and the outstanding pool of musicians in the greater Los Angeles area.
  • CGU is home to the highly respected music journal Performance Practice Review.
  • Historical performance practice programs will connect you with period instruments that include three harpsichords, a fortepiano, a chamber organ, and various stringed instruments.

Program at a Glance

72 units

3–5 years

*Actual completion times will vary and may be higher, depending on full- or part-time course registration, units transferred, and time to complete other degree requirements.

Fall | Spring


Doctor of Musical Arts

Featured Courses

Music Literature and Historical Styles Analysis

Provides an overview of music literature from the Middle Ages to the mid-twentieth century with concentrated analysis of representative works, using analytical techniques that fit each period.

Research Methodology & Bibliography

Introduces the many types of electronic and print bibliographic tools needed to pursue research in music, as well as research methods, citation practices, and ways to evaluate research.

Interdisciplinary Music Criticism & Cross-Cultural Aesthetics

Introduces the study of aesthetics, its historical basis and vocabulary of concepts as well as the application of these concepts specifically to music in the late eighteenth century.

Application of Music Technology I

Explores music technology, the basics of MIDI and audio, music notation software, digital audio workstations and sequencing software, and music sample libraries.

20th Century

Surveys concert music literature in Europe and the United States from approximately 1900 to the present, focusing on musical style and structure during this period and the many remarkable changes that occurred in the last century.

Areas of Concentration



Core Requirements
Music Literature & Historical Styles Analysis
Research Methodology & Bibliography

Doctorate in Performance or Compositions Requirements
8 units: 2 MUS 401–406 Era Courses
16 units: Major area of concentration (performance or composition)
4 units: Fortepiano, Baroque Violin, Viola da Gamba, or Baroque Flute (any student whose degree concentration is the modern counterpart of one of those instruments).
4 units: Instrumental/vocal instruction
2 units: Instrumental/vocal instruction (until the recital requirement has been met)
Music electives: As needed
8 units: Interdisciplinary courses
Four recitals or substantial composition*
DMA Paper on topic dealing with historical performance practicers
4 units: Transdisciplinary Studies course
*For students in the Keyboard Studies program (majoring in two or three keyboard instruments), speak with department chair concerning Lesson/Recital/Lecture-Recital requirements

Doctorate in Historical Performance Practices (including Keyboard Studies) Requirements
8 units: 2 MUS 401-406 Era Courses
16 units: Major area of concentration (performance or composition):
4 units: Fortepiano, Baroque Violin, Viola da Gamba, or Baroque Flute (any student whose degree concentration is the modern counterpart of one of those instruments).
4 units: Instrumental/vocal instruction
2 units: Instruction on each of the two chosen instruments
2 units: Instrumental/vocal instruction (until the recital requirement has been met)
4 units: History of Performance Practices
4 units: Interdisciplinary Courses
Music electives: As needed
4 units: Collegium Musicum and/or Chamber Music
Two Recitals and two Lecture-Recitals, dealing with historical-performance-practice topics
One Recital and one Lecture-Recital*
DMA Paper
4 units: Transdisciplinary Studies course
*For students of keyboard instruments only, two Solo Recitals and two Lecture-Recitals (dealing with historical-performance-practice topics), or two Solo Recitals, one Lecture-Recital (as above), and one entirely Collaborative Recital

Capstone Project
For those who write music, the culmination of the CGU music education is the opportunity to present an original composition. Though there is no strictly prescribed form, work in most cases will involve orchestra or large ensemble (soloists, choral forces, or electronics as additional components are possibilities). Whether you write and perform a symphony or concerto, it’s the best way to test and establish your musical vision.


Faculty & Research

Robert Zappulla profile image

Robert Zappulla

Professor of Music
Fred W. Smith and Grace Hobson Smith Chair in Music
Chair, Department of Music

Research Interests

Harpsichord, Historical performance practices, Baroque music

Peter Boyer profile image

Peter Boyer

Professor of Music
Helen M. Smith Chair in Music

Research Interests

Composition, Conducting, American film music, 20th- and 21st-Century music, American composers

Jenny Soonjin Kim profile image

Jenny Soonjin Kim

Assistant Professor of Practice

Research Interests

Piano, Fortepiano, 18th & 19th-century performance practices, 20th century atonal piano compositions, digital keyboard laboratory, the board of directors of Los Angeles Master Chorale: Education Committee and Gala Host Committee


Extended Faculty

William Alves

Harvey Mudd College

Research Interests

Traditional music around the world, Indonesian gamelan; computer music; abstract animation and visual music; and alternate tuning systems

Holly Gardinier

The Claremont Colleges Library

Research Interests

Information literacy, Research strategies

C. Joti Rockwell

Pomona College

Research Interests

Music theory and analysis, 20th-century American popular music, Mathematical models of music

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Request information about the Music program

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Jill Steggall

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-1186