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Reach your peak artistically and academically

With one of the nation’s premier college jazz programs, UNC provides you with tremendous preparation for a high-echelon career. Our Doctor of Arts in Music (Jazz Studies emphasis) enables you to learn from and collaborate with nationally recognized jazz musicians, acquiring professional skills that complement and support your artistic development. You’ll get the training you need to stand out as an educator, performer, composer, and academician. 

UNC’s jazz studies doctoral program is led by extraordinary faculty who serve as professional mentors and artistic collaborators. You’ll build on your musical strengths and explore your academic interests, while raising your profile as an up-and-coming performer. Hiring committees respect the high caliber of UNC’s music doctoral programs, so you’ll be able to compete for attractive jobs throughout the country.

Degree Details

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Degree Option

D.A. in Music: Jazz Studies Concentration

The Doctor of Arts degree provides you with the highest level of professional preparation. You’ll enjoy great freedom to personalize the program, working with a faculty adviser to tailor your studies to fit your artistic strengths and academic interests. Regardless of your focus area, you’ll deepen your knowledge of jazz pedagogy, history, improvisation, and arranging, with opportunities to perform in UNC’s nationally renowned jazz ensembles. You’ll complete the degree with two individual recitals and a dissertation based on original scholarship.

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

D.A. Program Details

Your Future in Jazz Studies

UNC’s Jazz Studies program enjoys an impeccable reputation with employers throughout academia and the music industry. You’ll graduate with a full complement of professional skills that enables you to stand out in the employment market, whether you’re competing for a faculty placement or seeking work as a performer, composer or arranger.

Consider UNC’s D.A. in Jazz Studies if you want to:

  • Teach jazz at a college or university
  • Conduct original research and scholarship in jazz composition, history, and/or theory
  • Take your performing, composing, and arranging skills to the highest level

You’ll learn:

  • Advanced musical theory
  • Jazz history and literature
  • Pedagogy for college jazz musicians
  • Composing, arranging and improvisation

Sample courses:

  • Advanced Arranging
  • Seminar in Jazz Composition
  • Jazz Program Administration, Planning and Development
  • Supervised Practicum in College Teaching

Beyond the Classroom

UNC’s jazz ensembles are diverse, dynamic and renowned. You’ll perform alongside more than 75 extremely talented young jazz artists and have opportunities to connect with top bandleaders, agents and record producers. With five big bands, vocal ensembles, small combos and a jazz guitar ensemble, we showcase a wide range of talents and styles. Our students have performed throughout the United States and overseas.

Where can your degree take you?

Faculty placement

University faculty placement

Professional music career

Professional music career

Opportunities to compose, arrance, and perform

High-profile opportunities to compose, arrange and perform

In the Spotlight: The Annual UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival

The largest event of its kind in the nation, the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival brings together internationally recognized artists, jazz lovers, award-winning clinicians, and over 250 college, high school, and middle school big bands, combos, and jazz vocal groups from across the country. Each year, over 8,000 participants enjoy the main stage concerts, after-hours sessions, daytime performances, and the many educational workshop sessions.

The Festival is a non-competitive educational and cultural facet of the UNC Jazz Studies Program, the UNC School of Music and the College of Performing and Visual Arts that furthers the University of Northern Colorado’s mission of lifelong learning and commitment to service. Learn more and register for the next jazz festival


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