Julie Lyn Barber in a meeting

The Doctor of Arts (DA) degree in music is unique in the industry in that it combines a strong primary study area, a robust secondary emphasis that is more significant than most other programs, and an emphasis on integrating teaching, performance, and scholarship appropriate to your area of study.

Primary Areas of Study

  • Performance (in voice, piano, and all symphonic instruments)
  • Piano chamber music/accompanying
  • Conducting (emphasis in Choral, Wind, or Symphonic conducting)
  • Music education 
  • Theory/composition 

Students spend 24 out of 90 credits in the Primary Area, allowing for a robust emphasis on their area of greatest interest. Additionally, the Secondary Area is 15 credit hours in one of our other graduate areas or in graduate study across campus. This allows a typical student to graduate with the equivalent of a master’s degree in a secondary area of study, thus increasing their marketability for future faculty positions. In addition to conducting, accompanying, music education, or another graduate music area, recent graduates have pursued sociology, musical theatre voice or musical direction, stage direction, higher education administration, and more as their Secondary Area. Recent graduates have also won positions integrating their Primary and Secondary Areas, for example as a voice teacher/director of choral activities or a conductor/music education specialist at a university.

In addition to a comprehensive written and oral exam, all DA students take part in a teaching internship at Ball State and a teaching externship at a nearby institution that is different in size or other characteristic from Ball State. This improves marketability for all our graduates by providing teaching experience at two institutions as part of the program of study. Additionally, DA students can choose a dissertation modality that suits their goals. They may choose either the lecture recital dissertation that is similar to a DMA program, or a traditional dissertation that is more like a PhD program. In this way a DA student can tailor their experience so they graduate with the portfolio that best suits their chosen career.

More Information

For more information, fill out our request form, visit the course catalog, or download the graduate student handbook.

Request Information  View Catalog  Download Handbook (PDF)

Paying for Your Education

School of Music Assistantships

An assistantship is an excellent opportunity to work closely with faculty, gain hands-on experience, and it provides a waiver of most of your tuition costs and a stipend. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

You will need to be admitted by both the Ball State Graduate School and the School of Music. 

Music Instruction Building exterior


The School of Music is home to two cutting-edge recital halls, nearly 10,000 square feet of dedicated recording studio space, and a plethora of practice rooms, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, and teaching studios. Take a closer look.