At the University of Miami Frost School of Music, a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree is offered in Jazz Performance (instrumental or vocal). This program requires a minimum of 60 credits beyond the master's degree, including studies in performance, jazz composition and arranging, and general core courses in music history, music theory, and music education. The program culminates with a doctoral essay. For more information, please contact Graduate Admissions at the Frost School of Music.

The Frost School’s Studio Music and Jazz Instrumental Program offers students the chance to study with top professionals via an innovative, concentrated, and individualized curriculum. The program is designed to train the total musician, developing skills in performance, composition, arranging, studio recording/technology, and music business/entrepreneurship. Frost students are exposed to a wide range of improvisation-based music, from the traditional jazz canon through the most current trends, while having the opportunity to develop an individual voice and pursue a personal musical direction. The MSJ faculty includes numerous Grammy award winners and nominees, a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, and veterans of the bands of Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Roy Haynes, Maria Schneider, Jack McDuff, Eddie Palmieri, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich and scores of other past and present jazz legends.

Our jazz graduates can be found in all corners of the music industry, performing with current jazz masters (Jeff “Tain” Watts, Esperanza Spaulding, Roy Haynes, David Liebman), TV orchestras (Jimmy Kimmel and Saturday Night Live bands), pop stars (Gloria Estefan, James Taylor, Rolling Stones, Paul Simon) and behind the scenes in recording studios, orchestra pits, and ensembles of all types and sizes throughout the world. Many are also accomplished composers, conductors, producers, and music business entrepreneurs. Frost jazz graduates populate all the world’s major music centers, and hold teaching positions at over one hundred universities and arts academies across the globe. Frost students routinely win awards from organizations such as Downbeat, ASCAP, Betty Carter Jazz Ahead, Thelonious Monk Institute, and numerous national instrumental competitions.

Frost jazz majors study one-on-one with a world-class private teacher each semester, along with courses in theory, keyboard, ear training, improvisation, arranging, composition, jazz history, music technology, and the business of music. At the core of the experiential curriculum is doing, and Frost students spend most of their time making music. The ensemble program includes both big bands and small groups, concentrating on a wide array of genres including classic bop, hard bop, post-bop, Latin, fusion, “ECM”, odd meter, Avant garde, and composer/theme ensembles dedicated to the music of the masters. Faculty artists Brian Lynch and Dafnis Prieto both mentor student-artist ensembles that feature both their own works and student compositions. Advanced students also can organize and direct their own ensembles for class credit.

Departmental student performances are scheduled twice a week, and numerous acclaimed international guest artists perform and lecture on campus each year. Recent artist residencies include Dave Holland, David Liebman, Chris Potter, Kenny Barron, Alan Ferber, Christian McBride, Jason Moran, Maria Schneider, and Joshua Redman. The Frost Henry Mancini Institute, under the artistic direction of James Newton Howard, affords students the opportunity to perform large-format works in conjunction with world renown guest performers, composers, and conductors.

Our jazz community is a recording culture! Jazz majors have access to four state-of-the-art recording facilities: the department’s own dedicated recording studio, the Weeks studio, the Gusman Hall Studio, and the film/media production lab. Find out more about Frost facilities, including the new Patricia L. Frost Faculty Studios, and visit our YouTube channel.

In addition to experiencing music on-campus, the greater Miami metropolitan area (population: five million) is rich with international, multiethnic opportunities for gigging, study, and fun. Students perform regularly in clubs, cafes, concert halls, and various other live venues. Frost students can also study abroad for a semester at four partner institutions located in Europe and Australia, and can participate in a five-year program combining the undergraduate performance degree with master’s in jazz pedagogy, effectively saving an entire year of graduate tuition. 

We invite you to contact Frost music admissions and schedule a visit to view in person the unique advantages of studying Studio Music and Jazz at Frost.

Admission Requirements

The application priority deadline is December 1st.  
The supplemental materials deadline is January 1st.
Please click here for special deadlines related to our Arts Presenting, Media Writing, Music Business, and Music Engineering programs 
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Step 1 - Apply

Step 2 - Submit Supplemental Materials

All supplemental materials must be submitted either via email to fsom.graddocs@miami.edu or via US Mail to PO Box 248165, Coral Gables, FL 33124.

Required for all applicants:
  • Transcripts – an official transcript from ALL post-secondary schools attended, regardless of if a degree was granted or not, must be sent directly to the Frost School of Music from the issuing institution in order to be considered official
    • Applicants with international transcripts, please click here for specific instructions about approved evaluation services
    • An official transcript is required for every school attended, even if it was only a single class
    • Current University of Miami students applying to a new degree program must provide an official University of Miami transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation - sent through CollegeNet as part of application submission. These do not need to be sent separately
  • Resume - attached to the application at the time of submission. This does not need to be sent separately
The following supplemental materials may be required for some applicants:
  • GRE Score - Please contact your program faculty for specific GRE information
  • TOEFL/IELTS Score - Please click here for more specific TOEFL/IELTS information
  • Teaching/Conducting Sample
  • Writing Sample
  • Prescreening/Audition/Interview
  • Portfolio

Not all supplemental materials are required for all degree programs. Please see the Degree Program Requirements for specific requirements.

For information regarding specific program requirements, please see Application & Program Requirements.

Applicants are responsible for tracking the status of their application materials and should do so on CaneLink.  Please allow at least two weeks for documents to be processed and marked as complete. If you are unable to access your CaneLink account, please check the CaneLink FAQ.

Step 3 - Audition/Interview/Upload Portfolio

Audition - If your program requires an audition, you will be contacted after the December 1st deadline to schedule a date. All performance programs require a prescreening and invitations to audition will be extended to those applicants approved by faculty review. Check the Audition/Portfolio Requirements page for specific requirements. Do not make travel plans until you receive a confirmation email from Frost Admissions.

Interview - If your program requires an interview, you will be contacted by department faculty to schedule a date. 

Portfolio - If your program requires a portfolio, please upload it through SlideRoom.  Check the Audition/Portfolio Requirements page for specific requirements. 

Music, Media, & Industry Application Deadlines

If you are applying to Music Business & Entertainment Industries, Arts Presenting & Live Entertainment Management, JD/MM, or JD/MA programs, the following deadlines apply:

December 1 - International applicants and priority domestic applicants
April 1 - All JD/MM and JD/MA applicants 
June 1 - Final application and supplemental materials deadline for domestic applicants 

If you are applying to Music Engineering Technology or Media Writing and Production, the following deadlines apply:

December 1 - International applicants and priority domestic applicants
February 1 - Priority portfolio deadline
April 1 - Final application and portfolio deadline - all applications/supplemental materials/portfolios are due by this date

International Applicants

  • TOEFL/IELTS - Test scores are required for international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not received a degree from an accredited English-speaking institution. Additional information can be found under International Applicants.
  • Applicants must submit a copy of their passport before a decision can be made. The name on your passport must match the name with which you apply.

If accepted, you will be contacted by the Office of Admission to submit documentation of financial responsibility.

Documents Required 

Submit the following educational documents to an approved international credentialing evaluation service:

a) Official original diplomas and certificates in the original language, and

b) Official original transcripts in the original language (names of courses, grades, and hours of instruction) for every year of study. 

Documents in a language other than English must be accompanied by professional, certified English translations.  Translations supplement but do not replace, the official documents.

Type of Evaluation Required

The Frost School of Music is requiring international applicants to their programs to complete a course-by-course evaluation with GPA. 

Where to Submit Documents for Evaluation

Josef Silny & Associates (JS&A), Inc. International Education Consultants, is the preferred evaluation service for international applicants to the University of Miami due to their competitive prices and high-quality service.  Click here for more information, including the Application for Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials.

World Education Services (WES) is the second preferred evaluation service for international applicants to the University of Miami.  Click here for more information, including the Application for Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials.

Please note that international applicants are not required to use the services of JS&A or WES exclusively, but the University of Miami requires that an international credential evaluation must be done by one of the approved evaluation vendors found on this list.

Evaluation Fee

Applicants are responsible for the evaluation fee.

Submission of Evaluation

The evaluation vendor is required to send all official copies of related documents to:

Frost School of Music
PO Box 248165
Coral Gables, FL 33124-7610

or electronically to: 

  • Please click here for additional details
  • Applicants who are applying with a current degree in progress will be required to have their final transcripts and diploma evaluated upon arrival at the Frost School. If applicants use Josef Silny for the initial evaluation, the Frost School will cover the evaluation. If applicants choose a different vendor, they will be responsible for the cost of the re-evaluation.


Students are recommended for admission to the Frost School of Music by the faculty and admission committees. Final acceptance to the Graduate program is made after all materials requested by the Frost School of Music have been received and evaluated. Scholarships and/or Assistantships are awarded based on faculty recommendation. Admission decisions are sent out starting in late March.  

Application Guidelines

  • Applications are accepted for the fall term only
  • Applications are accepted for only one degree program 
  • Graduate applicants must have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA for consideration
  • Applicants must be in-progress toward completing or have earned the appropriate prior music degree(s) from a regionally accredited institution in order to apply for a graduate level music program. If you are accepted and decide to attend the Frost School, you will be required to provide a final transcript showing a conferred degree.
  • The MM in Music Business & Entertainment Industries and the MA in Arts Presenting & Live Entertainment Management do not require prior music degrees. The MS in Music Engineering Technology is open to students who have completed an undergraduate degree in an appropriate engineering/science field.
  • Current University of Miami students applying to a new degree program must provide an official University of Miami transcript 
  • Materials submitted in support of an application cannot be released for other purposes nor returned to the applicant
  • For information on where to submit supplemental materials, please see our Contact Information

Curriculum Requirements

Performance Courses
Applied Lessons6
Performance Electives (improvisation, ensembles, applied lessons) 13
Creative Activities
MED 702DMA Essay Proposal1
MSJ 832 23
Doctoral Recital
MSJ 831Doctoral Essay8
Jazz Courses
MSJ 644Jazz Pedagogy and Administration3
MSJ 720Analysis of Jazz Styles3
MED 790Teaching Music in College1
Jazz Performance Ensembles3
Jazz Electives2
Allied Music Courses
MCY 728Music Bibliography3
MTC 717Analytical Techniques (or other MTC course)3
MED 662Psychology of Music I3
Musicology/Music Theory Elective3
Select 12 credit hours of Cognate/Electives12
Total Credit Hours60

*Doctoral Qualifying Exams must be complete prior to the defense of the Doctoral Essay/Dissertation proposal.

Sample Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
MSJ XX7 Applied Lessons 2
Jazz Performance Ensemble 1
Jazz Performance Elective (improv, ensembles, lessons) 3
MSJ 644 Jazz Pedagogy and Administration 3
Jazz Elective 1
 Credit Hours10
MSJ XX7 Applied Lessons 2
Jazz Performance Ensemble 1
MSJ 720 Analysis of Jazz Styles 3
MSJ 832 Doctoral Recital (or Elective) 1
MCY or MTC Elective 3
 Credit Hours10
Year Two
MCY 728 Music Bibliography (or MCY Elective) 3
MSJ XX7 Applied Lessons 2
Jazz Performance Ensemble 1
MED 702 DMA Essay Proposal 1
MTC 717 Analytical Techniques (or other MTC Elective) 3
 Credit Hours10
Jazz Performance Ensemble 1
MED 662 Psychology of Music I 3
MSJ 832 Doctoral Recital 1
Jazz Elective 1
Cognate/Elective(s) 3
MSJ 831 Doctoral Essay 1
 Credit Hours10
Year Three
Jazz Performance Ensemble 1
MSJ 832 Doctoral Recital 1
MED 790 Teaching Music in College 1
Cognate/Electives 6
MSJ 831 Doctoral Essay 1
 Credit Hours10
Jazz Performance Ensemble 1
Cognate/Electives 3
MSJ 831 Doctoral Essay (or Cognate/Elective) 6
 Credit Hours10
 Total Credit Hours60

* This is a suggested Plan of Study.  Your actual course sequence may vary depending on your previous academic experience as well as current course offerings.  Students should meet with their academic advisor each semester to determine the appropriate course selection.

*Doctoral Qualifying Exams must be complete prior to the defense of the Doctoral Essay/Dissertation proposal.


The mission of the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Jazz Performance is to:

  • Provide the terminal degree through advanced, in-depth study in the areas of musicianship and performance practice that will support a professional performance career as a jazz artist;
  • Provide performance opportunities that integrate the skills learned in both performance and academic classes, foster creativity and research, demonstrate advanced musical techniques and a thorough understanding of historical style and performance practice;
  • Continue to develop the skills for analyzing and articulating thoughts about music in a scholarly written format;
  • Provide requisite skills to manage the non-performance aspects of a career.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate proficiency in musical and academic presentation skills necessary to support a professional career as a leader in the music industry.
  • Students will demonstrate understanding and application of jazz scholarship on an approved research project related to the major area of study.
  • Students will develop individual instrumental performance skills necessary to be competitive in jazz and contemporary music professions. Students will be able to prepare difficult musical performances without assistance.