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Artist Diploma

The Artist Diploma (AD) is a two-year program for a very small number of extraordinary performers who already hold a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or equivalent conservatory or professional qualifications and who are on the threshold of a professional career in performance. By their performance and credentials, applicants must demonstrate that they are in the final stages of preparation to enter major competitions and/or to begin a professional performance career. Candidates for the AD must possess not only great talent, but the ability and determination to realize that talent in the contemporary musical world.

Designed to develop both artistry and professionalism, the AD provides an intensive individualized program of applied instruction along with ensemble, chamber music, and repertoire course work related to the major.

The AD is a terminal graduate program in performance. Performance standards for entry are significantly higher than those of the master’s degree.

Program length: The diploma normally encompasses a four-term residency. Extensions are rarely granted and funding is limited to four terms. A minimum of 20 credits is required for completion of the diploma.

Students who complete a Performer’s Diploma or master’s degree and wish to enroll in SMU’s Artist Diploma program may petition to apply one year’s work (10 units) from the master’s or PD to the AD. In such cases, the AD may be completed in one year.

Language requirement: Any student whose first language is not English must either present a minimum TOEFL score of 64 for the internet-based (iBT) with a minimum score of at least 20 on the speaking and listening sections and a minimum score of at least 12 on the reading and writing sections, a minimum overall score of 193 on the Computer Based TOEFL, or a minimum overall score of 6.0 with a minimum score of at least a 5.5 in each of the four sections on the IELTS.

Artist Diploma applicants that do not attain the minimum score outlined above still have the option to attend SMU, but they must complete a 6 week summer Intensive English Program offered by SMU before they begin their music studies. The cost of the program will not be covered by any scholarships that may be awarded by the Meadows School of the Arts.

Music Theory and History: Qualified AD students are encouraged to enroll for music theory and history courses. Graduate level assessments in music theory, aural skills, and music history and literature are offered before the beginning of each term. Artist Diploma students wishing to take elective courses in music history or theory are required to take these exams prior to enrollment in these courses. Remedial courses are also offered in both areas.

Click here for the Artist Diploma Audition and Application Procedure.

Areas of Study



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About the Division of Music

Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies


Artist Diploma

Artist Diploma Audition and Application Procedure

M.M. in Composition

M.M. in Conducting - Choral

M.M. in Conducting - Instrumental

M.M. in Music Education

M.M. in Musicology

Master of Sacred Music

M.M. in Theory Pedagogy

Performer's Diploma

M.M. in Performance - Orchestral Instrument

M.M. in Performance - Organ

M.M. in Performance - Piano

M.M. in Performance - Voice

M.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy

Classes (See Catalog)




Faculty and Staff

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MuSci Lab

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Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence

SMU Meadows Licensed Music Rights

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Opportunities for Non-Music Majors