Programme Title: DMus in Performance
Award:  DMus
NFQ Level: 10


The DMus in Performance programme is designed for outstanding performers, who wish to engage in doctoral-level research through performance.  Based at the Conservatory of Music and Drama, which has a long tradition in the provision of performing arts education and artistic research, the DMus programme fosters artistic, intellectual and creative development within an integrated and structured research programme in music performance.  

The Conservatory is home to The Research Foundation for Music in Ireland (, which promotes the dynamic musical life of Ireland, manifested in performance, musicology, pedagogy, and composition. Given the centrality of music to Ireland’s culture, the Research Foundation advances the study and performance of music in Ireland to national and international audiences, to the scholarly community and to the music industry.

DMus scholars also benefit from being part of DIT’s large research community through the Graduate Research School and collaborate with fellow artistic researchers at GradCAM: Graduate School for the Creative Arts and Media.

Learning Outcomes

- A systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial and challenging repertoire, which is at the forefront of the principal instrumental/vocal field.
- The creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research, or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy review by peers.
- A significant range of music performance experience; develop new skills, techniques and practices in music performance.
- Skills to respond to abstract problems that expand and redefine existing procedural knowledge.
- Personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent contexts.
- An ability to communicate results of research and innovation to peers; engage in critical dialogue; lead and originate complex social processes.
- Skills to critique the broader implications of applying knowledge to particular contexts.
- An ability to scrutinise and reflect on social norms and relationships and lead action to change.

Programme Structure 

The maximum duration of study for a DMus graduate research student is 4 years full-time or 6 years part-time.

There are four main elements:

1. Original Practice-Based Research
2. Research Plans
3. Discipline Skills
4. Employability Skills

 The programme is designed to ensure that graduates are well suited for careers in music performance, creative and cultural industries, as well as in academia and research.  

Original Practice-Based Research 

Each student follows a practice-based research path integrating performance and other outputs, such as a substantial written report, scholarly editions, archives, artistic compositions, recordings and multimedia materials.

Following submission of the thesis, the candidate makes a public presentation and completes a viva voce examination.  The presentation will be in public and the format will be dictated by the individual research project, but must include a substantial live performance element.  Normally the public presentation will not exceed 90 minutes in duration. The systematic interview of the student by the two examiners will be in private.

Research Plans

This element of the DMus programme consists of two categories:

1. The research and professional development plan (RPDP) including the annual evaluation.  The annual evaluation will be in public and the format will be dictated by the individual research project, but must include a substantial live performance element.   Normally the public presentation will not exceed 40 minutes in duration.  This will be followed by a systematic interview of the student by the examiner panel.

2. The transfer or confirmation examination.  The presentation will be in public and the format will be dictated by the individual research project, but must include a substantial live performance element.   Normally the public presentation will not exceed 60 minutes in duration.  This will be followed by a systematic interview of the student by the examiner panel.

Discipline Specific and Employability Skills Modules

The research programme includes taught modules to provide appropriate discipline-specific and employability skills training.  Students can select modules from a wide range of disciplines offered by the Graduate Research School.  The Conservatory of Music and Drama’s current postgraduate modules include Approaches to Analysis, Artistic Research Perspectives, Composition Perspectives, Music Research Methods, Music Career Preparation, Technology in Music and Ensemble. Students can also avail of modules offered by other DIT Schools and GradCAM.


Artistic and academic supervision is central to the successful completion of the DMus programme.  Supervisors play a key role in the research project, guiding the graduate student in their work, maintaining the general direction of the research and setting appropriate artistic and academic targets.

Admission Requirements

The entry requirements for the DMus in Performance programme are as follows:

- Minimum of a 2.1 honours degree (level 8) in music, or Transfer from the research Masters degree (level 9).
- Applicants must demonstrate an outstanding level of music performance through audition.

The Graduate Research School Office will verify the equivalency of non-Irish qualifications. 

Admission to research programmes is continuous and students may commence their projects throughout the year. Applications for a funded or a self-funded research programme are submitted to the Graduate Research School through the Quercus online application system.

An applicant, whose native language is not English, must display an adequate proficiency in English in four categories: speaking, listening (comprehension), listening and writing. The minimum level required for research programmes is International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6.0 or equivalent for the overall average score and a score not lower than 5.5 in each category.

Audition and Interview

Applicants for the DMus programme must submit a detailed research proposal,  an unedited video recording with professional quality audio, a repertoire list and curriculum vitae to the Conservatory of Music and Drama.  Suitable applicants will then be invited to the Conservatory to undertake an audition and interview.  An audition and interview panel will be arranged at least once each semester. 

The Audition and Interview Panel will normally comprise:

- Potential supervisor(s) for the project;
- The Head of Conservatory or their nominee [relevant Head of Department or nominee];
- The College of Arts & Tourism Head of Research or their nominee, who will act as chairperson [Head of Academic Studies or nominee];
- Any others as deemed appropriate by the Graduate Research School Board and Conservatory of Music & Drama.

When the audition and interview panel reaches an agreement on the selected candidate, the chairperson will prepare an interview report, which will be forwarded to the Graduate Research School Office.

Candidates should prepare a 60-minute programme of at least three contrasting pieces/movements, one of which should demonstrate the applicant’s suitability for the repertoire associated with the proposed research proposal. The repertoire should be at least the standard for a final postgraduate taught performance degree recital.  An outstanding standard of performance is expected. The audition panel reserves the right to halt a performance when it has heard enough to form a judgment.  Where relevant, candidates are requested to provide their own form of accompaniment (or supporting musicians) and to provide copies of the music (or outline scores) for the audition panel.

The interview is intended to assess the candidate’s suitability for entry to the DMus in Performance programme and will be based on the candidate’s submitted research proposal, previous music studies, performance experience and repertoire, research interests and career plans.  

Further Information

Key information on DIT research programmes can be found at the Graduate Research School website at  Please consult the Graduate Research School Student Handbook and Graduate Research Regulations. 

For further information on the DMus in Performance programme please contact:
Dr Clíona Doris