Designed for students seeking the highest degree in the field, the DMA is a rigorous three-year course of study culminating in three doctoral recitals/performances in lieu of a dissertation.
The doctoral degree is awarded on the basis of demonstrated competence, not on a specified number of credit hours. Completion of the program normally requires six terms of full-time study beyond the master’s degree. Students are expected to attain candidacy effective at the beginning of the sixth term. Course elections must include the following:
- Music Performance 891: Directed Performance (2-6 hrs), and Music Performance 550, Performance Seminar (1 hr.), elected each term in residence as a pre-candidate
- Music Performance 781: Seminar in Performance Problems (1 hr), elected each term in residence as a pre-candidate
- Music Performance 995: Dissertation/Candidate (8 hrs), elected each term in residence as a candidate, or at least one term.
Musicology & Music Theory
- Musicology 503: Bibliography of Music (3 hrs), elected in the first term of enrollment as a pre-candidate
- A minimum of fifteen hours of graduate work in music theory and musicology, or at least five courses totaling a minimum of twelve hours.
- At least one of the musicology courses must be at the 600-level.
- Additional course work as prescribed by the student’s advisor. The courses in music theory and in musicology are especially recommended for pre-candidates preparing of the general preliminary examinations.
At least one academic year of full-time residence is required.
Requirements for Candidacy
Every doctoral student in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance must satisfy the pedagogy requirement during the first two terms of enrollment. A list of courses that satisfy this requirement may be found in the Handbook for Rackham Students in Music, Dance, or Theatre.
Preliminary Examinations Prior to Candidacy
- Music History General Preliminary Examination (or the coursework alternative)
- Music Theory General Preliminary Examination
- Performance Preliminary Examination in the field of specialization
- Comprehensive Oral Preliminary Examination.
The preliminary examinations required for admission to candidacy are taken after the student has satisfied the language, residence, and pedagogy requirements; has completed most of the course work; and is prepared to concentrate his or her efforts on the dissertation recitals. At least two courses in musicology, including MHM 503, must be completed prior to taking the preliminary examination in that field, and at least two courses in music theory must be completed prior to taking the preliminary examination in theory.
During the examination in performance the applicant must satisfy a jury that he or she has achieved the requisite musical competence to undertake the preparation of the public programs to be presented in lieu of a written dissertation. Both the performance and comprehensive oral preliminary examinations are administered by a committee from the Department of String Instruments.
Candidacy will be conferred upon completion of these requirements and examinations. A dissertation committee must have been appointed by the time candidacy is achieved.
Three public recitals are required in lieu of a written dissertation after reaching candidacy. One of these performances may be a lecture-recital or an appearance as a soloist with a large ensemble in the performance of a concerto or a work of similar scope. One of the dissertation recitals may be presented off campus provided that an acceptable recording can be furnished to the dissertation committee, which is appointed to supervise this phase of the student’s work.
An abstract listing the music performed and, if space permits, providing program notes and commentary is required.
Final Oral Examination
A final oral examination concerned primarily with the field of specialization will be conducted by the dissertation committee after all of the other requirements have been completed.
For requirement details, please see the Degree Requirements and Term-by-Term Layout for Current Students.
Nearly all DMA students receive full-tuition fellowships. Most also receive health benefits and a stipend attached to a Graduate Student Assistantship, which can vary in proportion to the appointment fraction and the duties associated with it. In addition to the funding packages offered by the SMTD, Rackham students are also eligible to apply for a wide range of fellowships to fund research, travel, and performance.
How To Apply
Applicants to the Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance: Strings must have completed a master’s of music degree or equivalent to be eligible for admission.
- Apply to U-M via the Rackham Graduate School Application by December 1
- Submit an SMTD Artistic Profile by December 1
- Send official transcripts from all previous schools to the Rackham Graduate School
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