In these programs, students further refine their abilities as composers through advanced study with accomplished faculty members. They compose original music for public performance and also learn about advanced music theory and music history. DMA programs in composition also focus on research, writing, and analysis, and students are required to produce a major research paper, pass a comprehensive oral and written test, and compose and present an original score in order to graduate.
Most programs last for three to five years, and some courses may be available online. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree and have several original works to their credit.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Music Composition and Theory
- Music History and Literature
- Music Merchandising and Management
- Music Pedagogy
- Music Performing
- Musical Conducting
- Musicology and Ethnomusicology
- Piano and Organ
- Stringed Instruments
- Voice and Opera
Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition
Along with a faculty advising committee, DMA candidates typically develop their own curriculum based on their background and professional goals. Coursework typically consists of composition seminars in which original music scores are evaluated and critiqued. Students can also expect to conduct independent research studies. They are also required to compose in a wide variety of genres and present their works to the public. Coursework includes:
- Composition seminars
- Music theory
- Music history
- Research methodology
Popular Career Options
DMA program graduates usually work for colleges and universities teaching advanced music courses. They may also work in arts management, music technology, or as professional composers for symphonies, popular music performers, or television and movie production companies.
Continuing Education and Certification
Those working as teachers may be required to complete a certain number of continuing education courses to maintain their teaching license. Continuing education requirements vary by state.
Overall, a doctorate in music composition is a great educational option for experienced composers who want to enter the field of academia or pursue high-level careers in music.