Musical Arts

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) 

The doctor of musical arts (DMA) is a professional degree for creative and performing students who possess the talent as well as the breadth of knowledge, background, outlook, and scholarly capacity requisite to a doctoral program. Fields of study are composition, instrumental conducting and literature, literature and performance of choral music, performance, and performance/pedagogy. Performance and/or performance/pedagogy concentration areas are brass instruments, guitar, harpsichord, organ, percussion, piano, string instruments, voice, and woodwind instruments. Outlines of specific programs may be obtained online at and from the office of the associate dean for graduate studies.

Prerequisites. Entrance requirements include a master’s degree in music or demonstrated background comparable to that of the master of music degree at this university. All graduate applicants must complete an audition, interview, or some other demonstration of their ability in the major field. If at all possible, a visit to the campus is strongly encouraged. As part of the application, composition majors should submit representative scores and recordings (CD format), and a list of completed compositions. Performance majors should submit a repertoire list and arrange for a personal audition and interview, if at all possible. (Some areas require applicants to send a pre-audition screening recording of their performance.) Conducting majors must submit a DVD of their performance. All DMA applicants must also submit a scholarly writing sample that demonstrates ability in critical thinking, appropriate research techniques, and skill in the cogent use of English. Full details concerning audition and application requirements may be found online at

Program Requirements. The following program description supplements the requirements applying to all graduate students found in the Graduate School section and in the introductory section on Graduate Degree Programs in this College of Music section. Information on quality of work, credit by transfer, application for admission to candidacy, comprehensive examination, and final examination found under the PhD description is applicable to the DMA degree. DMA degree work must be completed within six years of first registration.

  • Advisory Committee. Each DMA program is directed by a five-member advisory committee headed by the major advisor, who is usually the student’s main studio teacher. At least one member must hold the PhD degree.
  • Residence Requirements. The minimum residence requirement is six semesters of work beyond the attainment of an acceptable bachelor’s degree. Two semesters of residence credit may be allowed for a master’s degree from another institution of approved standing, but at least four semesters of residence credit, two of which must be consecutive in one academic year, must be earned for course work and/or dissertation work taken at this university.
  • Not more than one-half semester of residence credit may be earned in a summer session. Students must be registered full-time to earn residence credit. For employed students, only those with one-fourth time or less in work that does not contribute directly to their degree program may earn full residence credit. 
  • Continuous Registration. After the residence requirements for the doctor of musical arts program have been satisfied, a student must enroll for fall and spring semesters of each year until attaining the degree. If a student has enrolled in all required dissertation courses but has still to complete the work, he or she should enroll in TMUS 8019 Precandidate for Doctor of Musical Arts Degree, or TMUS 8029 Candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts Degree, until the degree is completed. 
  • Degree Plan. A degree plan approved by the advisory committee will be presented to the associate dean for graduate studies no later than the second semester of residence. The student’s major professor is responsible for helping the student formulate this plan. The plan should include designated members of the student’s doctoral committee, projected remedial and supporting course work, proposed dissertation projects, and tentative dates for the comprehensive and final examinations.
  • Language Requirement. Each DMA student must satisfy a foreign language requirement, and the one foreign language used to satisfy the requirement must be approved by the student’s advisory committee. Additional language work is required for voice students. Advanced competence in music technology may be approved as an alternative to the foreign language requirement. Appropriate courses and projects are prescribed by the college’s music technology faculty. International students whose native language is not English are  exempt from the requirement.
  • Course Requirements. Students must take a minimum of 30 hours of course work, of which at least 18 hours are dissertation projects. Students take two doctoral topic classes (at the 6000 level), one each in musicology and music theory; prerequisites are stipulated by the theory and musicology faculties. Some areas require specific course work prior to or in conjunction with work on dissertation projects. In other instances students may be advised to take course work in preparation for the comprehensive examination. Applied music instruction may be elected for the duration of the residency requirement.
  • Dissertation. The DMA dissertation consists of a specified number of performances, projects, and documents. The student’s permanent advisory committee must approve all dissertation projects.