Academic Programs Catalog

College of Music

Graduate Study

Music Composition - Doctor of Musical Arts

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Music students must meet the requirements specified below.


To be considered for admission to the Doctor of Musical Arts degree program in music composition, an applicant must submit to the College of Music two original compositions representative of the applicant’s creative work. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to include in the application portfolio audio CD or video recordings of performances of all musical scores they submit. “Live” recordings are preferred, but Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) realizations are acceptable.

To be admitted to the program on regular status, an applicant must have a master's degree in music composition from a recognized educational institution or a total of 30 credits of approved course work.

Guidance Committee

The student’s guidance committee, which must be formed during the first year of graduate study, must consist of a faculty member in the area of music composition, who serves as chairperson, a second faculty member in the area of music composition, one faculty member in the area of music theory, and one faculty member in the area of music history.

Requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Music Composition

Each student in the program has a major professor who provides instruction in music composition, oversees the preparation of the original composition, and oversees the final oral examination based upon that composition.

The student must:

  1. Complete Music 830 Research Methods and Materials in Music and the courses in music composition, music theory, and musicology that are specified by the student’s guidance committee.
  2. Complete any cognate area and related courses that are specified by the student's guidance committee.
  3. Pass the written comprehensive examinations in composition, musicology, and music theory. Students become eligible to take the comprehensive examination in each of these areas during the semester in which they are completing the required course work in that area, with the exception of MUS 998 credits.
  4. Complete the following requirements in lieu of 24 credits of Music 999, a dissertation, and a final oral examination over the dissertation:
    1. Complete 24 credits of Music 998 Doctoral Music Composition.
    2. Complete an original music composition under the guidance of a faculty member in the composition area that is acceptable to the student’s guidance committee. A copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and will be retained as part of the permanent degree record.
The student must have completed successfully all of the required course work (with the exception of Music 998), the comprehensive examinations, and the original composition before the final oral examination may be scheduled.

Academic Standards

Doctoral study presumes continuing excellence in course work.  A student may accumulate no more than 6 credits with a grade below 3.0 in courses that are to be counted toward the degree.

The student’s original composition and the student’s performance on the final oral examination based on the composition must be approved by the members of the student’s guidance committee with not more than one dissenting vote. Should the committee fail to accept either the student’s composition or the student’s performance on the final oral examination based on the composition, the student shall be allowed to rewrite the composition or to repeat the final oral examination based on the composition only once. The composition must be rewritten or the examination must be retaken within one year, during a fall or spring semester.