Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Composition

The Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at Boston University is a comprehensive professional program in the College of Fine Arts. Composers work to attain a personal compositional aesthetic and the techniques to express it through sound, as well as a broad knowledge of contemporary and historical compositional practices and a mastery of analytic techniques for tonal and post-tonal music. Students develop the skills necessary to navigate the professional world, and the Center for Music presents them with an array of opportunities to hear diverse musical styles.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the program, students are expected to demonstrate:

  • Advanced knowledge of current compositional trends and repertoire and development of a personal voice.
  • Advanced proficiency in tonal and post-tonal score analysis.
  • Knowledge and skill in related fields such as music theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology.
  • Superior proficiency in verbal communication of musical ideas and concepts.
  • Capacity for producing professional-level written documents such as program notes or scholarly essays.
  • Capacity for artistic growth and skills for navigating the professional world.

Post-Master’s DMA in Composition

The Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition 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. Graduate music elective courses may include ME, MH, MP, and MT courses numbered 500 and higher. PDP courses (e.g., tennis, dancing, or yoga) do not count as graduate music electives for graduate students. All degree requirements must be completed within seven years of the date of matriculation.

All Doctor of Musical Arts students must take at least 15 credits combined in music theory (at least 9) and musicology (at least 6), including CFA MT 701 (Doctoral Proseminar: Skills) and CFA MT 702 (Doctoral Proseminar: Analysis). All MH and MT courses used for the component must be 600 level or higher. Double majors are not permitted at the doctoral level.

Post-Baccalaureate DMA in Composition

Students who have completed a BA or BM may apply directly to the Post-Baccalaureate DMA in Composition program. Applicants must meet the general admission requirements for the MM program and must show evidence of strong academic performance as well as compositional achievement. Students who apply from the MM program prior to completion are subject to the same admission rules.