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Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice

Major code: D730

Dr. Leslie John Flanagan
  • Baritone, Vocal Pedagogy, Area Chair
Prof. Valerie Bernhardt
  • Soprano
Dr. Joel Burcham
  • Tenor
Dr. Hyun Kim
  • Vocal Coach
Prof. Lorraine Ernest
  • Soprano
Dr. Nicole Kenley-Miller
  • Opera Stage Director
Prof. Mark McCrory
  • Bass-Baritone
Dr. Erin Palmer
  • Interim Vocal Coach
Dr. Jonathan Shames
  • Artistic Director of Opera


Concentration and Code
(click for Coursework Requirements)

Performance (R506)

Performance and Pedagogy (R511)


This degree requires the following profiencies. View the PDFs linked below for more details.


Voice students accepted into the graduate program in the OU School of Music must demonstrate competencies in foreign language (Italian, French, and German), diction (Italian, English, French, and German), vocal literature, and piano. These competencies will be assessed early in the student’s first semester through transcripts, interviews with the faculty, and/or written tests. All competencies must be completed before graduation.


Application Deadline

We are no longer accepting applications for this degree program for Fall 2024.


To receive full consideration for admission and graduate assistantships, the application deadline is December 1. The School of Music cannot guarantee an audition, interview, admission, or graduate assistantship if application is received after the deadline.

Submit the online application as described below. Following admission to the graduate school, supply the additional prescreening recording described below by December 1.

The deadline to apply for the Benton-Schmidt audition days is typically in mid January. See the Benton-Schmidt information at the bottom of this page for more information.


Residency Requirement

Per Graduate College policy, "The student must be in residence at OU for at least two consecutive 16-week semesters during the pursuit of the doctoral degree while enrolled and engaged in coursework or research activities as prescribed by the major academic unit."



There is no separate application for assistantship. Unless the applicant indicates otherwise, we assume that all applicants are interested in being considered for assistantships. Please note that assistantships are usually awarded for the Fall and Spring semesters together. We very seldom have assistantships available for anyone entering in a Spring semester. We do not award assistantships for Summer sessions.


Application Procedure

All applicants must complete the online application to the OU graduate college (see the Graduate Admissions page). The following items should be submitted along with the online application.


Application materials required for all graduate degrees

These items must be submitted to the online graduate application system.

  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
    • Submitted to the online application under the Statement of Purpose tab
    • Please compose a brief personal statement (approximately 2–3 pages of double-spaced, 12-point font text with 1-inch margins) regarding your desire to pursue a graduate degree in music. Include responses to the following prompts:
      1. How would you describe your professional path to this point?
      2. Why do you want to pursue this degree at OU?
      3. How do you want to grow musically, artistically, pedagogically, and/or intellectually during your graduate studies?
      4. What skills, expertise, and experiences do you bring to graduate study at OU?
      5. Describe your post-degree plans (i.e., How will you apply your newly acquired academic knowledge and expertise?).
  • Three letters of reference
    • Submitted to the online application under Recommendations tab
    • Your three reference letters should include:
      • At least one letter from: your studio professor, ensemble conductor, chamber coach, etc., or a person who has considerable knowledge about your abilities as a performer or composer.
      • At least one letter from: a person who can speak to your abilities as a scholar of music.


Scholarly writing requirement

This degree requires you to submit a sample of your scholarly writing.

  • Submitted to the online application under the Supporting Documents tab
  • The guidelines for this writing sample are as follows:
    1. Should represent your best writing and researching skills.
    2. Preferably not more than 3 years old; should be recently revised. If you do not have a recent scholarly writing sample on hand, we ask that you compose something original.
    3. Adhere to a consistent method of formatting and citations (e.g., Chicago, MLA, Turabian, APA) and include a bibliography/reference list.
    4. A minimum of 5 pages of double-spaced, 12-point font text (not counting bibliography) with typical 1-inch margins.
    5. Ensure your writing sample is representative of the field. Consider presenting a complete argument supporting a clear thesis, perhaps methodological in nature for empirical research, or other format reflective of various academic areas in music.
    6. Please contact the Graduate Music Office ( or the area chair for your program with any questions about meeting these requirements.


Prescreening application materials required for this degree

For DMA Applicants, a pre-screening video recording is required (also due by December 1). The video should include a mixture of arias and arts songs, similar to what might be presented in a Master's recital. The video should contain a performance of at least 30 minutes of solo vocal repertoire in at least the 4 major languages: English, Italian, German, and French. Your pre-screening can include more if you desire, but must include the 4 major languages.

  • Video files or links to online video recordings may be submitted to the online application under Digital Portfolio > Upload Media.


Audition Procedure

Applicants hoping to enter graduate voice programs are strongly encouraged to audition on the Benton-Schmidt audition days (see the section below for more details). These audition days will serve as your audition for the School of Music and the DMA program, as well as consideration for Benton-Schmidt scholarships. Full acceptance is pending upon review and acceptance from the School of Music Graduate Studies Committee, with a thorough review of the writing sample. Any prize money awarded from the Benton Schmidt Scholarships is pending full admittance into the School of Music and Graduate College.

Applicants who do not participate in the Benton-Schmidt audition days should contact Dr. Leslie John Flanagan by email at to schedule an audition. The repertoire requirements listed on the Benton-Schmidt page below also apply for auditions scheduled in this manner.


Benton-Schmidt Vocal Scholarships

The annual Benton-Schmidt audition days provide scholarship awards up to $40,000 to promising incoming graduate students. Awards are given based on excellence in vocal performance and versatility as revealed through the performance audition. Scholarship prizes are for the academic year beginning the following Fall semester.

Funds for these scholarships were made possible through the bequest of Joseph H. Benton, internationally-acclaimed tenor, long-time teacher and devoted supporter of vocal art, in honor of his much-revered voice teacher at the University of Oklahoma, William George Frederick Schmidt.

View the page linked below for repertoire requirements, dates and deadlines, and the online application form.

Benton-Schmidt Vocal Scholarships