DMA in Historical Performance Practice

This program in early music (up to 1850) combines advanced study in performance, music history, and performance practices. Students should expect to spend four years in full-time study in Cleveland.


Applicants with good academic records from fully accredited universities and colleges will be considered for admission to graduate study at Case Western Reserve University. Admission must be recommended by the department or professional school of the university in which the applicant proposes to study and must be approved by the dean of graduate studies. 

Admission to the program is granted to those who demonstrate the potential to be leaders in the field of early music: candidates are expected to show excellent scholarly potential in music history and performance practices, and to demonstrate a high level of performance skill. Students are admitted by audition and interview, and are required to take an initial placement test in music history and theory on matriculation. 

More information about the graduate application and audition process in music is provided in the Graduate Application Procedures.

Graduate Application Procedures

Program Requirements

All programs are formulated to suit the needs of the individual student (based in part on a diagnostic examination taken upon entering the program) and require the consent of the Head of Historical Performance Practice. A minimum of 33 credit units of academic coursework is required, together with a minimum of 18 credit units of applied music, proficiency in two relevant foreign languages, a jury,  the first lecture-recital and the recital (3 credit units), all to be completed during the first three years of the degree. Qualifying examinations are taken early in the fall of the fourth year: after the successful completion of these examinations, the student will advance to candidacy and prepare and perform the second lecture-recital (6 units) by the end of the fourth year. Students may also take academic classes during this year, but are not required to.

Find detailed program requirements, course distribution, and a sample plan of study in the General Bulletin

Music Handbook and Advising

Current graduate and professional students in music should review departmental policies and procedures in the Graduate Music Handbook. The handbook provides additional information regarding graduate assistantships, general expectations and responsibilities, program outcomes, decision points, performances, scholarly activity, outside work, prizes/awards, deadlines, petitions, examinations, advancement to candidacy, and student record-keeping.

Additional resources and forms are available on the Resources for Current Graduate and Professional Music Students.