Music Composition, DMA

Home / Degree Programs / Music Composition, DMA

Develop advanced skills in traditional and contemporary techniques and collaborate with music scholars, theorists, performers, educators and composers for a well-rounded foundation for your professional career.

The DMA in music with a concentration in music composition is a comprehensive professional degree program designed for outstanding students of acoustic, electronic and multimedia 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 compositional techniques from a wide variety of styles and traditions 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.

At A Glance

Music Composition, DMA

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Degree 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 musicology and music theory is required of all new graduate music students prior to enrollment in the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre.

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 at

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a U.S. bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution or the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree from an institution in another country that is officially recognized by that country.

Applicants must have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of a bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee:
  2. School of Music, Dance and Theatre application (including a resume and personal statement):
  3. official transcripts
  4. prescreening portfolio
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency. The School of Music, Dance and Theatre does not offer conditional admission under any circumstances. In order to meet English proficiency requirements, students should have a TOEFL score of at least 550 (PBT) or 80 (iBT), or an IELTS overall band score of at least 6.5, or a Pearson Test of English score of at least 60.

Students should see the program website for application deadlines.

After receipt of complete application materials, including recommendation letters, transcripts and English proficiency, and review of prescreening materials, an applicant may be invited for an interview. Information about the interview may be found at

Information about this program

Visit the School of Music website for full details.