Music Composition, DMA

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The DMA in music with a concentration in music composition is a comprehensive professional degree program designed for outstanding students of composition who are preparing for professional careers, including teaching positions at the university level.

This degree program provides extensive faculty interaction as well as opportunities to develop advanced skills in traditional and contemporary compositional techniques with emphasis on fostering students' personal approach to composition. The opportunity to collaborate with music scholars, theorists, performers, educators and other composers provides students with a broad and well-rounded foundation for advanced careers in music.

Program Offered

Music Composition, DMA

Offered by
Herberger Institute for Design & the Arts


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Application Requirements

Application Procedures + Requirements

Application Deadlines
Spring 2021: October 1, 2020
Fall 2021: December 1, 2020

Curriculum Checksheet

Checksheets break down the course requirements for each degree program.

Music Composition (DMA)

Affording Grad School

Music Scholarships
All applicants are automatically considered for merit based scholarships, with priority given to those who audition and/or interview on-campus.

Teaching Assistantships
Teaching assistantships are offered to graduate students who convey exceptional ability. Learn more about TA benefits, eligibility and application procedures.

Financial Aid
ASU has many financial aid options. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. In fact, more than 70 percent of all ASU students receive some form of financial assistance every year.

Program Requirements

The credit requirements for the degree are distributed as follows:

major area (composition, music technology, electives) (36 credit hours)
music theory and music history (30 credit hours)
research (12 credit hours)
dissertation (12 credit hours)

The music composition concentration requires the creation of a significant original work of music (considered to be a dissertation) and either two article-length research papers or a substantial paper.

Additional Curriculum Requirements
Completion of diagnostic exams in music history and music theory is required of all new graduate music students prior to enrollment in the ASU School of Music.

Thirty credit hours from a master's degree may be applied toward the 90 credit hour degree requirement. Once admitted to the program, a student is required to be enrolled continuously, excluding summer sessions, until all requirements for the degree have been fulfilled. In general, the student should expect to spend at least the equivalent of three academic years in the program beyond the master's degree. A minimum of two semesters must be spent in continuous full-time residence at ASU. At least 54 credit hours must be completed in residence at ASU.

Additional information about degree requirements for all graduate music programs may be found on the check sheets.