The doctor of musical arts requires 90 credits, 60 credits beyond the Master's degree in music.  The doctor of musical arts concentrations are composition, conducting, and performance. While these concentrations share some of the required course work, each is also distinct in course requirements. Professional musicians earn the DMA to enhance and extend their knowledge and practice within their area of specialization. The DMA student focuses on the profession of music performance, as well as the theory and practice of the discipline.

Admissions

Requirements

In addition to meeting all admission requirements for graduate study, applicants should submit the following:

  • Master's degree in music from an accredited university;
  • GPA of 3.00 in master's-level music course work, 3.50 in courses related to the prospective area of doctoral study (performance, composition, or conducting);
  • Three recommendations;
  • Satisfactory scores on GRE;
  • A sample of academic writing such as a graduate-level paper from a (musicology or music history) course taken during MM studies;
  • Audition (performance and conducting students only). Specific details of those requirements are available from the advisors.
  • A portfolio of recent compositions and recordings of performances (composition students only).

Applicants should refer to the graduate admissions page of the School of Music website for specific details on what is required and how to submit their materials.There is no "provisional" admission. Students must meet appropriate standards prior to commencing doctoral studies.

Policies

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP .6 Graduate Policies. See College of Visual and Performing Arts for policies specific to the college.

Reduction of Credit

Students must have a master's degree before being admitted to the Doctor of Musical Arts Program. Most students receive a reduction of study of 30 credits based on their previous master's degree.

Banner Code: AR-DMA-MUAR

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 90

The following degree plan is based on a student who receives a full 30 credit reduction. Students who do not receive a full credit reduction should choose additional credits in consultation with their advisor.

Placement Examinations

Prior to the beginning of the first semester of doctoral studies, the student must complete placement examinations in music theory, music history, and musicianship (including aural skills and keyboard skills). Positive scores on the placement exams may reduce or eliminate prerequisites for courses in music history and music theory. Recitals can be scheduled only after completion of any necessary prerequisites in music theory, music history, and musicianship.

Doctoral Coursework

The doctoral student must maintain a minimum of 3.00 GPA in courses presented on the degree plan, which may include no more than 6 credits with a grade of C. The GPA calculation excludes all transfer courses and Mason extended studies or non degree credits not formally approved for the degree.

Students must complete the following required courses as well as those in their chosen concentration:

Select 3 credits of Music Theory elective from the following:3
Topics in Music Theory
Graduate Orchestration
Music Theory Pedagogy
Topics in World Musics
Advanced Topics in Music Theory
Doctoral Research Methods in Music
Doctoral Seminar in Analysis
MUSI 830Doctoral Seminar in Music History3
Two credits of2
Doctoral Recital
CVPA 600CVPA Graduate ProSeminar 10
Total Credits8
1

Must be taken within the student's first 2 semesters.

Concentration in Composition (CPO)

Select 1 credit of approved graduate electives 11
MUSI 610Topics in Music Theory3
or MUSI 710 Advanced Topics in Music Theory
MUSI 614Music Theory Pedagogy3
Four credits of4
Graduate Chamber Ensemble
Six credits of6
Doctoral Seminar in Analysis
Fifteen credits of15
Doctoral Applied Music in Composition
MUSI 880Doctoral Major Ensemble1
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Topics in Music History and Literature
Topics in World Musics
Advanced Topics in Music History
Total Credits39
1

Approved electives could be from music history, music literature, world music, music theory, conducting, music education, secondary Applied Music, ensemble (including chamber music), or relevant nonmusic courses.

Concentration in Conducting (CDC)

Select 5 credits of approved graduate electives 15
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Topics in Music History and Literature
Advanced Topics in Music History
MUSI 770Advanced Topics in Pedagogy3
MUSI 810Doctoral Seminar in Analysis3
Fifteen credits of15
Doctoral Applied Music in Conducting
Four credits of4
Doctoral Major Ensemble
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Topics in Music Theory
Advanced Topics in Music Theory
Composition for Conductors and Performers
Total Credits39
1

Approved electives could be from music history, music literature, world music, music theory, conducting, music education, secondary Applied Music, ensemble (including chamber music), or relevant nonmusic courses.

Concentration in Performance (PFM)

Select 15 credits of Graduate Applied Music from the following:15
Doctoral Applied Music in Keyboard
Doctoral Applied Music in Voice
Doctoral Applied Music in Woodwind
Doctoral Applied Music in Brass
Doctoral Applied Music in String
Doctoral Applied Music in Percussion
Select 3 credits of approved graduate electives 13
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Topics in Music History and Literature
Advanced Topics in Music History
Select 2 credits from the following:2
Graduate Chamber Ensemble
Advanced Topics in Applied Music
MUSI 770Advanced Topics in Pedagogy3
MUSI 810Doctoral Seminar in Analysis3
Select 4 credits from the following:4
Doctoral Major Ensemble
and Advanced Topics in Applied Music
Doctoral Major Ensemble
Advanced Topics in Applied Music
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Topics in Music Theory
Advanced Topics in Music Theory
Composition for Conductors and Performers
Total Credits39
1

Approved electives could be from music history, music literature, world music, music theory, conducting, music education, secondary Applied Music, ensemble (including chamber music), or relevant nonmusic courses.

Residency

More than half of all credits (minimum 72) must be taken in doctoral degree status, after admission to the degree program. One year (fall and spring) of consecutive full-time study (9 credits per semester; 18 credits per year) is recommended. Or, the academic residency requirement may be fulfilled by earning 21 credits within 12 months (fall and spring semesters and summer term). Academic residency should be completed during the first year of study. Any necessary prerequisite courses at the 500 level can be included to meet the residency requirement. Language courses at the undergraduate level may not. Note: The academic residency does not imply meeting the standards of Virginia residency for tuition purposes.

Language Requirements

Reading proficiency is required in a language appropriate to the student's major area of study. Normally, this will be German, French, or Italian. The director of graduate studies and the Graduate Committee will determine the appropriate area of study. Reading proficiency may be accomplished by completing a reading examination provided by the music faculty. The reading examination provided by the faculty will normally consist of translation (with dictionary) of appropriate technical passages relevant to the student's area of study within a two-hour period. The language reading proficiency should be completed prior to earning 12 credits of courses at the 600 level or above.

Graduate Committee

The Graduate Committee will evaluate the progress of the student annually. Continuation in the program is subject to the endorsement of this group.

Comprehensive Exams

After the completion of required courses (excluding dissertation credits) or during the semester when completion of those courses is anticipated, the student will take comprehensive examinations. The written exams will be followed by a one-hour oral exam to clarify issues included in the written exams.

Doctoral Research

Select 13 credits from the following:13
Dissertation Proposal (a minimum of 3 credits)
Dissertation (a minimum of 7 credits)
Total Credits13

Advancement to Candidacy

Before doctoral students may be advanced to candidacy by the dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, they must complete all course work required by the program faculty, be certified in all relevant doctoral research skills, pass the comprehensive exams, and be recommended by the Graduate Committee, the director of graduate studies, and the director of the School of Music. Students advanced to candidacy after the add period for a given semester must wait until the following semester to register for MUSI 999 Dissertation.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation is the capstone experience of doctoral study. The dissertation will be guided by the Dissertation Committee consisting of at least three members of the music faculty. The student's major professor will chair the committee.  The director of graduate studies of the School of Music may be part of the committee; if not, he or she will serve exofficio. All Dissertation Committee members will be appointed by the dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and have graduate faculty status, as approved by the university provost. Performance and composition recitals are also subject to the approval of the Dissertation Committee.

Final Defense and Graduation

When all degree requirements have been satisfied, including completion of the doctoral dissertation, the doctoral candidate may request a doctoral defense. Approval for the defense must be obtained from the Dissertation Committee, the director of graduate studies and the director of the School of Music, and the dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Notice of a defense must be circulated to the university community two weeks before the defense date.

All relevant rules regarding schedule, fees, and other matters as described in the catalog must be followed. All copies of the dissertation materials and fees must be paid before the doctoral degree is awarded.