Character Description

The Doctor of Musical Arts degree is a terminal degree, available with emphases in Composition, Conducting, or Performance. It combines advanced technical study with a broad knowledge of music history, theory, and context.

Degree Description

The Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) is a terminal degree in the fields of music composition, conducting, and performance. It is a comprehensive degree that requires technical skill, demonstrated musical ability, and advanced work in academic courses and research. All D.M.A. students complete a final capstone project appropriate to the area of emphasis. Emphases are available in Composition, Conducting, and Performance. All DMA degrees include work in advanced knowledge of the historical periods of Western European music in terms of genres, forms, styles, composers, and performance practice; advanced knowledge of common practices and contemporary theoretical concepts and structures and the ability to apply these in the processes of harmonic and formal analysis and composition; and the ability to conduct successful research. Programs of study are divided into five major areas: major field, music history, music theory, electives, and research.

The Doctor of Musical Arts with an emphasis in Composition provides advanced professional training in composition for those outstanding students of composition who are preparing for professional careers, including teaching positions at the university level. The degree allows intensive interaction with the composition faculty and other units within the school. Graduates of this degree conduct research on an original topic that culminates in the writing of a major composition.

The Doctor of Musical Arts with an emphasis in Conducting is a practice-oriented degree. This degree prepares advanced and qualified musicians to become conductors and scholars in their field, with a refined gestural, musical, and leadership skill. This arises from a strong foundation in repertory, knowledge of historical and analytical techniques, effective and efficient rehearsal technique, and a general understanding of style and interpretive choices. Doctoral students in Conducting receive extensive individual attention and have regular opportunities to rehearse and conduct a variety of ensembles—this, indeed, is one of the principal strengths of the program. The final project for this degree comprises 75-90 minutes of conducting in formal concerts with university ensembles. Students must also successfully defend the preparation and performances in a defense which can explore conceptual, organizational, notational, or other matters related to the repertoire performed.

The Doctor of Musical Arts with an emphasis in Performance is a practice-oriented degree. Graduates in this program achieve a professional level of performance, preparing them for careers as performers or for teaching positions at the university level. The program provides extensive faculty and guest artist interaction and opportunities to develop advanced skills in pedagogy. There is rich opportunity to collaborate with music scholars, theorists, composers, educators and other performers. Students must complete a minimum of three public degree recitals demonstrating appropriate levels of technique, musical style, and performance practice. A final capstone project can take the form of either a traditional research paper (dissertation), a lecture recital (with written research component) or a full-length recording project (with written research component).

Degree Awarded: DMA

Degree Code: DMA_MUSI

School/College: Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Old College
Athens, GA 30602-1732


Academic Department: School of Music

250 River Road
Athens, GA 30602-7287

Graduate Coordinator: Adrian Childs


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