Revisions in the M.M. in Jazz Studies were approved by the UNT Graduate Council on Sept. 21, 2006. See the document linked below for more information.

D.M.A. in Performance with local concentration in Jazz Studies

The D.M.A. in Performance with a local concentration (major) in Jazz Studies was approved by the UNT Graduate Council in September 2011. It received NASM approval at the November 2011 Commission meeting.

For further information about this major, please contact John Murphy at

For information on the Jazz Studies related field at the doctoral level, see this page in our student handbook.

Admission Requirements

  1. Apply for admission to UNT through the Toulouse Graduate School (
  2. Apply for admission to the College of Music with the application for admission, audition, scholarship, fellowship and assistantships available at The application allows you to submit links to a representative sample of your work in digital format (required file formats are listed below) for the required pre-screening materials. Also required: submit a letter of application and a professional resume as PDF documents uploaded as part of your college of music application. The letter must describe your professional background, make a statement of purpose for pursuing the degree, and outline your professional goals.
  3. The deadline for the pre-screening materials is the first Monday in December.
  4. If, on the basis of the materials submitted in step 3, you are invited for an on-campus audition: Perform an on-campus audition, and, while on campus for the audition, have an interview with members of the jazz faculty. Audition requirements are listed below. Students may choose to emphasize performance or composition/arranging in the applied study and dissertation portions of the degree. Students who wish to emphasize composition/arranging must pass a performance audition at the doctoral level in addition to submitting scores and recordings. The Friday, Feb. 3 audition date is strongly recommended for this audition.
  5. Submit GRE score (Analytical Writing Portion only) or take on-campus writing exam administered by the Jazz Studies Division during graduate orientation. More information about our GRE requirement.
  6. Attend all orientation sessions scheduled by the director of graduate studies in music.
  7. Take the Graduate Placement Examination (GPE) given by the College of Music.

Required file formats
Performance must be documented with video recordings. The higher the sound quality, the better. The image size does not need to be larger than 720p. HD quality is recommended but not required. The College of Music application interface allows you to include links to videos on youtube or links to files transferred via You may submit links to video files on a website that you control.
For those who intend to pursue the emphasis in jazz composition and arranging, score examples must be submitted in PDF. Audio files may be submitted in any high-quality format (mp3 at 320kbps, .wav, .aif, .flac).
Please contact John Murphy at for assistance with transferring files.

Audition requirements
Applicants to this program must choose as their principal instrument one of those instruments for which we have one or more full-time faculty members in the Jazz Studies division: saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass, drumset, voice.

If you are invited for an on-campus audition/interview, you'll be asked to send a sample of your research-based writing from your master's degree work in advance of the audition. It doesn't have to be a master's thesis. It can be a research paper from a class. It should be on a jazz-related topic. The interview will cover your career goals, research interests, teaching interests, and the writing sample.

Major Field in Jazz Studies
Last 60 Hours of Study

1. Major performance, 16 hours
Applied instruction in performance, 12 hours
MULB 5174 Large jazz ensemble, 2 hours
MUCM 5550 Jazz chamber music, 2 hours

2. Literature of the major field, 6 hours
MUJS 6010 Doctoral Seminar in Jazz History and Analysis, 3 hours
MUJS 6020 Doctoral Seminar in Jazz Pedagogy, 3 hours

3. Dissertation, 12 hours.
The written documentation should be at a level acceptable for peer-reviewed publication. Choose one of the following:
Option I: 3 recitals (3 credits each); 1 lecture/recital (50–60 minutes) with performance and critical essay (25 page minimum) for a total of 3 credits;
Option II: 3 recitals (3 credits each); 1 lecture (50–60 minutes) with thesis* (30 page minimum) for a total of 3 credits; or
Option III: 3 recitals (3 credits each); 1 written project with doctoral document (100 page minimum) for a total of 3 credits.
* Thesis registration is a minimum of 6 hours of registration.

4. Musicology/Music Theory Component, 9 hours
1. Musicology: 3 to 6 hours of 5000- or 6000-level courses to be chosen in consultation with the advisor.
2. Music Theory: 3 to 6 hours of 5000- or 6000-level courses to be chosen in consultation with the advisor.

5. Related field in music, 12 hours
Choose from one of the following areas of study: collaborative piano, composition, computer music, conducting, contemporary music, early music, ethnomusicology, music and medicine, music education, music theory, musicology, opera, sacred music, or vocal pedagogy.

6. Electives, 5 hours
Choose from any field in music or outside of music at the 5000 or 6000 level. Electives in jazz arranging and composition are suggested. Competence in arranging is an entrance requirement.

Frequently-asked Questions
If you have a question that is not listed here, contact John Murphy for further information.

Q. What is the deadline for applications?
A. The College of Music sets the deadline this way:
"To be considered for admission in the Fall semester, preference will be given to applications received by the first Monday in December. Applications received after that date will be reviewed, and auditions will be scheduled on a case by case basis depending on space availability."

Q. Is the Major performance part of the degree (the private lessons, large ensemble, and small group) in the jazz or classical idiom?
A. Jazz.

Q. What sort of job can I get with the DMA in Performance with a local concentration in Jazz Studies?
A. We expect that most if not all of the students in the program will be earning the doctoral degree in order to seek academic positions, including teaching positions and academic leadership positions such as Director of Jazz Studies.

Q. What kind of preparation do you expect students to have? A certain degree in a certain field?
A. Our entrance standard will be measured against a completed Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies at UNT, just as we consider the completed Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies at UNT as the standard for admission to our M.M. in Jazz Studies. A master's degree in Jazz Studies is the most relevant kind of preparation, along with professional experience. A master's degree in a closely-related field, with a substantial amount of work in jazz at the master's level, would be next most relevant kind of preparation. Students who lack this level of preparation, but otherwise meet the admission requirements (pass the audition, have high enough GPA and GRE score [remember--GRE Analytical Writing section only, not the entire GRE; or take the jazz studies in-house writing exam after admission]), may be assigned review courses at the master's level. These add time to completion of the degree and don't count towards the degree.

Q. What sort of financial aid do you provide to doctoral students?
A. Many doctoral students will be offered teaching fellowships or assistantships in Jazz Studies. For out of state students, this enables the student to pay tuition at the in-state rate. One of the things that make this an excellent place to earn a doctoral degree is the fact that our undergraduate and master's programs are large (190 and 70 majors, respectively). That means there will be a variety of opportunities to gain teaching experience while earning the degree. A small number of doctoral students will be offered full tuition scholarships along with a teaching fellowship.

Q. How much does a teaching fellowship pay?
A. The current pay rate for a full-time teaching fellowship (20 hours per week of teaching including some time for preparation) for a student who has earned 18 or more graduate hours is $6,400 per semester.

Q. What sorts of teaching do teaching fellows and teaching assistants do?
A. There is a list of their assignments on our faculty page.

Q. What is the cost of tuition and fees at UNT?
A. A full class assignment for a grad student is 9 semester hours. For current information on tuition and UNT fees, see this page. There are College of Music fees on top of that that can amount to several hundred dollars per semester depending on which classes a student is taking. As of Fall 2015, UNT provides a scholarship that covers 6 graduate credits per semester for all full-time teaching assistants or teaching fellows, and most of our doctoral students will be full-time TAs or TFs.

Q. How many doctoral students do you plan to admit?
A. The program will be selective. We anticipate admitting around five students the first year.

Q. You want applicants to submit recordings and play an on-campus audition?
A. Correct. We will study the recordings along with the documents you send as we prepare to listen to your on-campus audition and have the interview while you are here for the on-campus audition.

Q. I just completed a master's degree. Am I eligible to apply?
A. You are eligible to apply. The Jazz Studies faculty has expressed a preference for applicants who have professional experience along with academic training. Some students may have had professional experience before starting their master's work, or may have had professional experiences mixed in with their academic work. There is not a rule that prevents a student from continuing from a master's into our doctoral program. But if the only experience a student has is academic, that application will not be as competitive as applications that show extensive professional experiences.

Q. When you write "professional experience," do you mean only performing?
A. We mean performing, teaching, composing/arranging, or other professional experiences, or some combination.

Q. What is the residency requirement?
A. From the graduate catalog: "The minimum residence requirement for jazz studies students consists of two consecutive long terms/semesters (fall and the following spring, or spring and the following fall) with a minimum load of 9 hours each term/semester."

Q. Will I be able to complete all of the course work in two long semesters?
A. It wil take longer than two long semesters to complete all of the required course work.

Q. Are any of the required classes offered online?
A. Not at present.

Q. How many of the required classes are offered in summer sessions?
A. Few of the jazz classes are. Some of the classes in the music theory/music history component and the related field are.

Q. Which instruments can students in this program have as their principal instrument?
A. The instruments for which we have one or more full-time faculty members in the Jazz Studies division: saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass, drumset, voice.

Q. I am primarily a composer. Can I apply for this program?
A. Composers are eligible to apply for this program. They must demonstrate a performance level that would gain them admission to this program as performers. If a composer passes the playing audition and the review of scores and is admitted to the program, the applied study and the dissertation work would be in composition, or a mix of composition and performance, and the student would be expected to play on at least part of the recitals for the dissertation.

Q. What if I only compose, or I play but not at a level that would enable me to pass the performance audition?
A. Students in that situation may apply to UNT's Ph.D. in Composition. If you meet the requirements for admission and are accepted, you may do part of your applied study and dissertation work in the jazz idiom. For further information about the Ph.D. in Composition, see the Division of Composition Studies website.

Jazz Studies Degrees Overview

Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies

Master of Music in Jazz Studies

DMA in Performance with local concentration in Jazz Studies

Graduate Artist Certificate in Music Performance

Jazz studies courses can be taken to fulfill elective or related field requirements in other UNT degrees. Admission to the related field in jazz studies is by audition. For more information, see the UNT Graduate Catalog.

Many jazz studies courses are available for proficiency credit. At the start of each long semester, exams are given to enable those who can show that they have equivalent skills or knowledge to receive proficiency credit.

About our program
In 1947, The University of North Texas became first university in the nation to offer a degree program in jazz. Today, the North Texas jazz program, housed within the largest music school in the nation, retains its role as leader in jazz education. It has earned an international reputation for excellence in both the music education field and the professional jazz industry.

The UNT One O'Clock Lab Band is the centerpiece of the program, which offers bachelor and master of music degrees in jazz studies. Ten faculty, each renowned and respected in the field, instruct nearly 400 majors in areas of applied instrumental performance, vocal jazz and composition/arranging. Roughly 75 majors are recipients of endowed jazz scholarships.

America's Best Graduate Schools has been published annually by U. S. News & World Report since 1987. They began ranking graduate jazz programs in 1994 and the UNT Jazz Studies program was ranked number one in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997. After 1997, the publication stopped ranking graduate programs in music.

Master of Music in Jazz Studies

Here's a link to the copy from the new brochure about our master's program.

Here's a link to the UNT catalog. Use the menus to choose the Graduate Catalog, then College of Music, then scroll down to the bottom of the College of Music page to find Programs. Given the dynamic, database-driven nature of the catalog, with its frequent updates, it's better to use the catalog from the top level than to link to specific pages, because the URLs can change with each yearly update.

Note to current graduate students
The most authoritative information comes from the catalog and directly from the Jazz Studies graduate advisor (currently John Murphy) or from the College of Music Office of Graduate Studies, not from your fellow students and not from a website (even this one--there are hundreds of pages on this site and at certain times they may not be 100% accurate).
You can help yourself avoid expensive surprises by seeing your advisor now to do a draft degree plan if you have earned fewer than 12 graduate hours, and a degree plan that you will file formally if you have earned more than 12 hours.

Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies

Three areas of emphasis are available at the undergraduate level: instrumental performance, vocal performance, and arranging.

Sample degree plans in PDF format are available on this page under Academic Advising on the College of Music website.

Graduate Artist Certificate in Performance

This new degree was announced on May 10, 2005. And it's open to jazz performers: The Graduate Artist Certificate in Music Performance is a non-degree program providing an intensive, two year period of post-baccalaureate study in music performance. It is intended as an alternative to master's and doctoral degrees for exceptionally gifted and accomplished performers seeking professional performing careers. Complete information about it may be found here.

Second Bachelor's degree

The full story on second bachelor's degree status is found in our student handbook.