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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.

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.

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.

Language requirement: Any student whose first language is not English must either present a minimum TOEFL score of 550, Internet-based (iBT) of 80, or enroll for MUAS 6020 (Language Skills). Students are required to enroll for MUAS 6020 and receive a passing grade in each term of residency until they pass the TOEFL.

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



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts



Welcome to the Division of Music

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 Music History

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

Student Resources

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MuSci Lab

Meadows Artist Bridge

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SMU Meadows Licensed Music Rights

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Opportunities for Non-Music Majors