The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) Committee bases admission to the DMA program on the review of audition and entrance exam results, writing sample, and all submitted supporting materials and recommendations. The DMA program is small and highly selective, with only 10-12 students entering the program in most years. Successful applicants must demonstrate leadership as performers, combining breadth of repertoire with knowledge of style and literature. All DMA applicants must have earned a Master of Music degree from an accredited college or university prior to matriculation.

Application Process

We are delighted that you are considering applying to NEC! If you have any questions throughout the process, please do not hesitate to contact us. We strongly recommend that you contact the staff member who specifically handles your major or degree program.

Required Application Materials

Online Application, which will include submission of your prescreening recording, DMA Statement of Purpose, DMA Writing Sample, artistic resume (including a brief repertoire list), unofficial transcripts, English proficiency documentation (if applicable), contact information for your letters of recommendation, and the application fee of $115.

  • Unofficial transcripts: Electronic versions of academic transcripts must be submitted as part of the online application. Transcripts should show coursework completed, grades earned to date, and classes in which the student is currently enrolled. PDF files are preferred. Please do not mail hard copies of transcripts as part of the application process. Obtain an unofficial copy from your school and scan into a PDF file for upload to the online application. Please do not have electronic transcripts sent to NEC via a secure online system used by your school or university. Again, get an unofficial PDF copy of your transcript and upload it to the online application. Graduate applicants should upload transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate study, not just from the most recent program.
  • Recommendations: Three (3) letters of recommendation are required for DMA applicants. Please submit one artistic recommendation from your current or most recent private studio teacher and two additional artistic recommendations from other music teachers or ensemble directors/coaches.
  • DMA Statement of Purpose: a brief description of your professional goals in relation to the DMA program at NEC (entered into the online application).
  • DMA Writing Sample: 300-500 words on any topic (entered into the online application). Please note that it is not necessary for DMA applicants to submit full-length papers as part of their application to NEC unless they are applying to the Music Theory department.
  • Demonstration of English proficiency (for all applicants whose first language was not English, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents)
  • International applicants should also be aware of student visa and other international student requirements.

All applications, prescreening recordings, and transcripts should be submitted as part of the online application. Recommendation letters should be submitted via the online application form whenever possible. If your recommender cannot submit online, please contact your admissions counselor for further instructions.

Standardized tests: GRE scores are not required and do not factor into our admission decision.

No offer of admission will be made until all required documents are received.

All materials submitted as part of the application process become the property of NEC and will not be returned.


All online materials should be submitted by December 1 with the following exceptions:

      • Recommendation letters are due December 15.
      • Final audition video recordings for students not performing a live audition are due February 1.

Admission decisions are sent by NEC in late March. Graduate students must respond to the offer by April 15.


All DMA applicants in Performance must submit a video prescreening recording as part of the online application by December 1. For majors that do not have explicit DMA prescreening requirements listed in their Audition Requirements, please follow the live audition requirements. After review of the prescreening recording, qualified applicants will be invited to present a live audition and take the DMA entrance exams at NEC.

Applicants in Music Theory and Composition must submit written materials and compositions by December 1. Following faculty review, qualified applicants will be invited to NEC to interview and take the DMA entrance exams.

All applicants should review both the general Audition Information and the specific audition requirements for their major.

Auditions and Examinations

If invited to a live audition, DMA applicants must attend the audition at NEC on the date specified. DMA applicants may not audition via recording regardless of their country of residence.

DMA Entrance Exams are a critical component of our admission process for the DMA program. Applicants must pass both exams in order to be considered for admission. The two required examinations are three-hour written tests in music history (short answer and essay) and music theory. Examinations are in English, and no translation assistance is permitted. Applicants will be informed following the live audition or interview about whether they should sit for the exams, which are scheduled for the day following the live audition or interview; candidates should expect to be at NEC for two days to complete all components of the process. Applicants in Music Theory and Composition who are invited to interview and take the exams will be contacted by the Admissions Office to schedule an appropriate date in February.

NEC Alumni and Current Students

NEC alumni and current students interested in applying to the DMA program must submit a full application including transcripts and supporting materials. Official copies of NEC transcripts must be requested from the Registrar's Office and sent to the Admissions Office. The application fee for NEC alumni and current students is $75 per program/major.