CUA Sacred Music degrees: info wanted
  • To anyone here who has graduated from CUA's graduate sacred music programs:

    1) Do you recommend the academic program there?
    2) Where did your practical experience take place, on the campus or off (or both)?
    3) Does the university and/or program offer financial aid, graduate awards, etc.?

    I've heard great things about the program and it has been recommended in my school search, and I would appreciate hearing your first-hand experiences.

    Thank you for your assistance in advance, and Happy Epiphany!
    Thanked by 1TMcD
  • Hello Little Durufle,

    I finished my degree at CUA in 2005, so much has changed in the meantime, but:

    1. Yes. It was very challenging, but it was well worth the effort. I went in with dreams of 90s-style music bands and came out with a real appreciation and knowledge of the mind of the Church when it comes to music. It was also my first experience with the CMAA, work-studying under Fr. Skeris.

    2. Both. All students (at that time, anyway) were required to be working in a parish as well as taking coursework. I also cantored part-time at the shrine.

    3. Again, it did in 2003-05. There were a few spots a year in the Justine Ward Scholar program, which was a full scholarship.

    Leo Nestor has since retired, and I believe that Dr. Grayson Wagstaff is no longer the head of the music school, either. I don't know much about the current situation, unfortunately, but my experience there was formative.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • RJayH457
    Posts: 8
    CUA terminated the graduate degrees in sacred music (MSM and DSM) in December 2016
    (as per Dr. Timothy McDonnell, Dean)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,639
    There's still material on the web about graduate programs at CUA:

    There's a notice about not accepting applications for the DMA; but the MM program seems to be open.
    Thanked by 1TMcD
  • TMcD
    Posts: 1
    As a member of the Sacred Music faculty I'm pleased to report that the graduate program in sacred music is very much alive at CUA! In fact, we have just revised and strengthened the curriculum to better prepare our students for service to the Church in music. For instance, we have increased the Organ Literature and Choral Literature courses so that students will have a full exposure to the repertoire and its history. Previously, in choral literature, students only studied one period of choral literature out of four. This is a significant improvement. Moreover, this semester we are starting a new repertory chorus, composed of professional singers, in which our students are trained in conducting and choral leadership. This course includes both liturgical practica as well as recital performance. Conducting students also have the opportunity to conduct student choruses from time to time in sectionals, and even in performances. These new changes will not be posted in our general academic announcements until after next October, but they are already in effect. It is true that we are not currently accepting any students into the doctoral program at this time, but master's applicants are being reviewed. Anyone who is interested in more information on the program should contact Dr. Timothy McDonnell, head of sacred music and choral activities at CUA at
  • @TMcD Thank you, Dr. McDonnell. This information helps.

    And thank you to everybody here who contributed to the discussion. God bless!