Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Music Education

Degree Requirements

The DMA is granted upon successful completion of a program of study, written and oral qualifying examinations, and terminal projects appropriate to the student’s field of specialization. Students must complete a minimum of 48 semester credits with grades no lower than B- in graduate-level coursework. All degree requirements must be completed within seven years of the date of matriculation.

The DMA in music education is a professional degree for individuals committed to leadership in music education policy and practice in a variety of settings both in and outside of schools. The degree consists of three components: coursework, qualifying examinations, and a dissertation. A new cohort of students is admitted each fall. Cohort members progress through coursework and weekly seminars together and attend research seminars each year. They also interact with all music education graduate students as part of a nationwide community of scholar/practitioners.

Proficiency Examinations

All entering Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts students are required to take the Proficiency Examination in Music Theory and the Proficiency Examination in Musicology. These examinations are given before the start of classes. Accepted students are notified of the exam dates and are responsible for taking them. Exam results are used for advisement and may establish prerequisite or required coursework. Material covered in these examinations is commonly presented in most undergraduate degree programs in music. Detailed descriptions of these exams are supplied to accepted students. Students in composition, music theory, and musicology will also be examined in fugue; historical performance students will be examined in counterpoint.

Students with insufficient background in music theory may be required to take MU 400 Graduate Theory Review, which may be used as elective credit. The course is a seven-week, online course given twice per year in the second half of the Fall Semester and in the Summer Term.

Music Education Program Outline

Every student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 48 semester credits distributed as follows:

Music Education Core 20 cr
Music Theory and Musicology 12 cr
Approved Electives 12 cr
Residency 1 cr
Dissertation 3–4 cr
Total 48–49 cr

Language Requirements

Music education majors develop proficiency in appropriate research methodologies in lieu of foreign languages.

Qualifying Examinations

After completing at least 30 credits, students may take the doctoral qualifying examinations, which consist of written examinations in music theory and music history. One or both of the music theory and history examinations may be taken in a given semester. Details on these examinations are available in the School of Music Graduate Student Handbook. The student has three opportunities to pass examinations in music theory and music history.

Music Education Examination (major field)

After completing 44 credits, DMA students attend a five-day intensive residency on campus, engaging with faculty and peers in workshops and meetings designed to prepare the dissertation proposal. All DMA candidates will leave this residency with the rubrics that will be used to grade the dissertation proposal. After attending the residency, DMA students may submit a completed dissertation proposal during any subsequent grading period (contact the music education department coordinator for a calendar). At the end of the grading period, students will receive notice of whether the proposal is passed (in which case the major field examination is passed) or not passed (in which case the student will receive comprehensive feedback from faculty). Each DMA student may submit a completed proposal twice.

Final Projects

Institutional Review Board

Most dissertations in music education involve human subjects and thus require training in the ethical treatment of human subjects. The Boston University Institutional Review Board (IRB) approves all human subjects protocols. When music theory, music history, and major field examinations are passed, a music education faculty member will work with the student on the IRB application.

Dissertation

After the IRB approves human subjects protocols, the DMA student becomes a DMA candidate (ABD) and is assigned to a dissertation supervisor. Under the direction of the dissertation supervisor, the DMA candidate collects and analyzes data, presents the results of data analysis and conclusions, and suggests implications for the broader profession. A committee that includes at least two full-time BU faculty members reviews the dissertation, and the student can expect to make several revisions before finalizing the dissertation document. A dissertation defense is scheduled when the document is complete. The DMA student must pass the defense (and make any revisions suggested at the defense) before graduating.