DMA Requirements

Prerequisites

Applicants to the DMA program should possess a Master of Music degree or a Master of Arts degree with a major in music and should have completed theory, harmony, and solfége (20 credits); history of music (18 credits); and liberal arts courses distributed among the humanities and natural and social sciences (42 credits). Any deficiency must be made up without credit toward the fulfillment of the degree requirements.

A high level of scholarship is expected of applicants. Students in the performance degree program are expected to achieve a professional level of accomplishment. Prerequisites for admission depend on the area of specialization the student wishes to pursue.

At least two years of study beyond the master’s degree are needed to earn the doctoral degree. All degree requirements must be completed within seven years of the date of matriculation. Any extension of time must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.

Residency Requirements and Duration of Study

At least two years of study beyond the master’s degree are needed to earn the doctoral degree. All degree requirements must be completed within seven years of the date of matriculation. Any extension of time must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.

Every doctoral candidate must be enrolled as a full-time student for at least one academic year. Three 3-credit courses per semester satisfy the residence requirement. With the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee, the residence requirement may also be fulfilled by enrollment in Summer Term 1 and 2, combined with enrollment in either the preceding Spring Semester or the following Fall Semester.

Proficiency Examinations

Upon entering the School of Music, all graduate and special students must take proficiency examinations in the areas of music history and music theory for the purposes of placement and advisement. If the faculty determines that the student is deficient in either or both areas, the student will be required to take the appropriate prerequisite graduate survey courses.

The materials covered by the proficiency examinations include the following:

  • music theory, including basic harmony, ear training, form and analysis, orchestration, and counterpoint
  • for music history, the student must demonstrate the ability to write well in English

Language Requirements

The minimum requirement for students in all DMA programs of study in the School of Music is reading competency in modern French, German, or Italian.

Students in the areas of historical performance, organ, and voice are required to demonstrate proficiency in two of the above languages.

In addition, voice majors must satisfactorily complete an examination in the application of the International Phonetic Alphabet to English, French, German, and Italian.

All language requirements must be fulfilled before a student takes the Doctoral Qualifying Examinations.

Qualifying Examinations

After completing approximately 30 credits of doctoral study, students may apply to take the required doctoral qualifying examinations, which consist of written and oral examinations in music theory, music history, and the major field.

Once the student has passed an area, he or she need not take that section again even if required to retake another area of the examination. The student has three opportunities to pass in each area, including the oral. Applications to retake a portion of the examination must be made in the same manner as that described for the initial attempt. Students proceed to an oral examination in any area only after they have passed all written portions. Failure of the oral examination necessitates repetition only of the oral examination, but the student may be advised to complete specific courses, including CFA MU 719 Doctoral Proseminar in Theory, before again attempting an oral examination.

Requirements for the examinations vary depending on the area of concentration.

Final Projects

Upon satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination, the student is permitted to undertake the thesis for the doctoral degree. The candidate enrolls in research and directed study courses in which the preliminary research necessary for development of a dissertation/document topic is undertaken.