DMA Courses

The Doctor of Musical Arts consists of 48 credits, 4 of which are obtained as Research and Directed study and Dissertation. Students enroll in 24 credits of Music Education & Professional Education, 8 credits of Theory and Musicology, and 12 credits of Approved Electives.

Some doctoral students elect to attend courses on campus during the summer session. Residence hall accommodations are usually available, and online students find it exciting to study with online and on-campus students in Boston. More information including session dates, optional on-campus residence hall availability, financial aid, and tuition rates is communicated to students during the academic year.

For more information on what you will learn in the doctoral program, click on a course name to read the description.

Music Education & Professional Education (24 credits total)

ME 859: Critique in Music Education

This course normally serves as the final course in the DMA sequence. It brings theoretical and conceptual understandings from prior courses together with a range of research strategies, so that students can consider a possible research path.[4 credits]

ME 740: Introduction to Music Education Research

In this course, students become acquainted with a variety of research that informs music education, learn both to critique and apply that research, and develop their scholarly writing skills. Note: This course is typically waived for DMA students who have enrolled in a similar course during Master’s degree study. [4 credits]

ME 741: Foundations of Music Education I: Philosophy and History

The purpose of this course is to examine and discuss historical and contemporary philosophical ideas and problems in music and music education. A goal is for students to develop a sharpened sensitivity to past and present thought (primarily, but not limited to historical and philosophical thought) in the field of music education in order to better inform their own curricular and instructional choices.[4 credits]

ME 742: Foundations of Music Education II: Psychology and Sociology

The purpose of this course is to critically examine psychological and sociological concepts as they relate to music and education. Topics include key issues and concepts in psychology and sociology; psychology as related to music education processes; problems encountered in the sociology of music education; and cultural influences that affect both the psychology of the individual and the sociological aspects of group dynamics. [4 credits]

ME 841: Quantitative Research Methods in Music Education

Quantitative research methods and their application to educational research contexts; quantitative research design, sampling techniques, reliability and validity, descriptive and inferential statistics, quantitative studies in music education, and using software to conduct statistical analysis. [4 credits]

ME 842: Qualitative Research Methods in Music Education

This course introduces graduate students to key issues and concepts in qualitative research. Students develop skills in conducting interviews, and observations; they gain experience with ethnographic and narrative techniques including transcribing, coding, interpreting data and presenting results of analysis. [4 credits]

Musicology and Music Theory (8 credits total)

MH 700: Research and Bibliography (Musicology)

Methods and materials of research in the music disciplines including bibliographical and writing styles. [4 credits]

MT 400: Graduate Theory Review*

Review of fundamental music theory and analysis through the study of chord grammar, voice-leading principles, figured bass, four-part chorale harmonizations and form. Materials are approached through listening, writing and analytical work. Enrollment in this course is determined by results of the music theory proficiency exam. Credits from this review course will not apply toward degree completion. [2 credits]

MT 600: Analytical Techniques I

Investigations (systemic and empirical) into formal and compositional procedures of selected masterworks from the tonal repertoire. Lectures lead to individual analytical projects. [4 credits]

Approved Electives (12 credits total)

MH 835: American Music

Overview of early music in the colonies. Various attempts to create an individual “American” musical style. Diversity of influences: European, African-American, Indian, Spanish-Mexican, religious, jazz, folk song, minstrel, etc. Music of Billings, Lowell, Mason, Gottschalk, MacDowell, Ives, Gershwin, Copland, and others. [4 credits]

MH 837: Crossroads: Musical and Cultural Perspectives on the Blues

Examination of the blues in its musical and cultural dimensions. Focuses on defining the blues as a place where cultures and styles meet. Chord structure, cultural background, characteristics, major themes, different regional styles and dialects, and its place in history will be examined along with the cultural idea of “crossroads.” [4 credits]

MT 781: Jazz and Popular Arranging

Analysis of combo, vocal and jazz ensemble literature from a variety of grade levels. Development of arranging and composing skills in the jazz idiom. Overview of score study, rehearsal, and programming topics pertaining to jazz ensemble development and leadership. Individual analytical and arranging projects. [4 credits]

MT 630: Orchestration

Contemporary orchestral techniques, focusing on scoring for modern winds, brass, strings and mixed ensembles, including full orchestra. Concepts include chord spacing, melodic projection, layering and delineation of material, and extended instrumental techniques. Materials are approached through readings, listening, writing and analytical work. [4 credits]

ME 542: Music Technology Pedagogy

This course serves to expand the knowledge that many teachers have about uses of technology for teaching music. Students explore music technology pedagogy; that is, the practice of teaching music in a technologically enhanced environment and the special kinds of teaching skills required to do so effectively. Students examine theoretical foundations of the uses of technology for music teaching, including theories of student interaction with technology, multimedia principles, and technology-infused music curricula. Students will design a technology based curricular unit of music study and implement that unit in a real-world scenario such as their own classroom or studio. [4 credits]

ME 751: Community Music Perspectives

Drawing upon the social, cultural, political, and economic milieu including movements in music education, music therapy and ethnomusicology, this course first examines reasons for the growth and development of community music. Students will be asked to trace an aspect of community music that may be considered as part of its heritage and also to evaluate and critique a contemporary community music project through fieldwork. Students will then be in a position to articulate their own vision for community music both as a practicum and as a scholarly pursuit. [4 credits]

ME 840: Contemporary Issues in Music Education

Study of current issues influencing the state of music education in schools. Focus on the interpretation, implementation, and development of policy. Topics include public policy, politics, advocacy, diversity, evaluation, and curriculum. [4 credits]

ME 541: Introduction to Music Technology

The course will include activities designed to introduce students to significant technologies that can support music teaching and learning. These technologies will include music sequencing/production, recording, audio and MIDI editing, computer-based notation, graphic-based web authoring, social media for music distribution, and computer-assisted instruction software. The majority of learning activities will begin with a teacher demonstration of a set of skills in music software. Each demonstration will be followed by an assignment designed for students to practice those skills and demonstrate mastery of techniques. Successful completion of MU587 will qualify students for Level 1 certification through TI:ME (Technology Institute for Music Educators). Information will be provided at the end of the course for students to earn this credential for their professional profile.

ME 753: Principles of Child Development and Early Education

The purposes of this course are to 1) introduce students to principles of child development that will guide the provision of music education for young children (birth through age 8) and 2) investigate the landscape of early childhood education and the educational theories that underlie current approaches to early childhood education. Particular emphasis will be placed on the application of concepts to music teaching and learning. Learning activities will include instructor lectures, guest lectures, readings, and discussions. Students will also conduct no fewer than two observations in early childhood settings.

DMA Proposal & Dissertation (4 credits)

ME 921: Research and Directed Study in Music Education

All other courses must be completed prior to enrollment in MU780. A week-long residency on campus with faculty where students define a need for research, develop a research problem, think critically about theoretical frameworks, and discuss appropriate research strategies. [1 credit]

ME 995: DMA Dissertation

Last class (dissertation) in Doctoral program. Selection of dissertation topic; research techniques; compilation of preliminary bibliography. After students complete their coursework, they are given additional time to complete their dissertation under the direction of a faculty advisor. [3 credits]

While students are working on their qualifying examinations and dissertation, they are expected to enroll in Continuing Studies for 0 credits each Fall and Spring until they defend. Continuing Studies fees may be found here.


Music Theory Proficiency Exam
Qualifying Exam (music theory, musicology, and music education)

Total Credits (48 credits)

* Enrollment in MT 400 is determined by results from the music theory proficiency exam. It is a 2 credit prerequisite music theory course and is not eligible for Stafford Direct Student Loans.