DMA Academic Fields

The DMA degree in the Thornton School of Music requires three areas of concentration in addition to the Major Field and the Basic DMA Curriculum: one Academic Field and two Elective Fields. This page contains information regarding the Academic Fields that can be considered for your DMA degree.

The Academic Field consists of 8-12 units, may not duplicate a major or an elective field, and is chosen from among these five:

  1. Choral Music
  2. Music Teaching and Learning*
  3. Musicology
  4. Sacred Music
  5. Theory and Analysis

*Students majoring in Music Teaching and Learning may be approved to consider an Academic Field outside of the five listed above. Such approvals are rare and must be discussed in depth with your department faculty and advisor.

Each field is represented on the candidate’s guidance committee by a faculty member. The Academic Field is supported by courses that are determined by the department in which the field is administered.

No more than two of the four total fields may be under the guidance of the same department within the Thornton School.

The Comprehensive Examination for the academic field will consist of capstone requirements that may be written research papers, proctored written exams, projects, and a combination of several.


Application

DMA students must apply and be admitted to an academic field. The application form and all supplemental materials must be submitted by the following deadlines:

  • Fall Semester GCI – October 15 by 5:00 PM
  • Spring Semester GCI – February 1 by 5:00 PM

Review each Academic Field as described below to confirm what supplemental materials will be required as part of the application for admission to that field.

The information that follows lists sample curricula for the academic fields, but note that an actual program may involve different courses that may be individualized by the faculty to fit the goals of the students seeking that experience. The finalized curriculum must be approved by the Graduate Advisory Committee following the Graduate Committee Interview (GCI).


Choral Music

Curriculum (8-12 units)

  • MUCM 440 (2) Choral Development (Fall only)
  • MUCM 541 (2) Choral Literature I (Fall only)
  • MUCM 541 (2) Choral Literature I (Fall only)
  • MUCD 541 (2) Choral Conducting (Fall/Spring)
  • MUEN 5xx (1-1) Choral Ensemble

Comprehensive Exam

  • Written examination

Faculty Chair

  • Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe

Supplemental Materials Required for Application

  1. Personal Statement: A one-page statement addressing why you wish to pursue an academic field in Choral Music and how academic work in this field would align with your professional goals.
  2. Résumé: Include all choral music experience.

Music Teaching and Learning

Curriculum (8-12 units)
Choose 2-3 courses:

  • MTAL 607 (2) Alternative Models in Music Education
  • MTAL 503 (3) Philosophical Foundations of Music
  • MTAL 504 (3) Psychological Foundations of Music
  • MTAL 502 (3) Sociological Foundations of Music
  • MTAL 608 (3) Creative Thinking in Music
  • MTAL 615 (2) Assessment and Reflective Practice
  • MTAL 535 (2 + 1) Community and Entrepreneurial Engagement
  • MTAL 477 (1) Cultural Diversity in Music Teaching and Learning.
  • MTAL 501 (3) Historical Foundations of Music Education
  • MTAL 499/599 (2 or 3) Special Topics in Music Education
  • MTAL 500 (3) Research Foundations in Music Education
  • MTAL 793 (3) Qualitative Research in Music Education
  • MTAL 792 (3) Quantitative Research and Assessment in Music Education

And, choose 1-2 course(s):

  • MTAL 652 (2) Pedagogy for Collegiate Teaching
  • MTAL 550 (2) Teaching Music Appreciation and Fundamentals Courses
  • MTAL 475 (2) Music Teaching and Learning, Children
  • MTAL 476 (2) Music Teaching and Learning, Youth
  • MTAL 499/599 (2 or 3) Special Topics in Music Education
  • MUCO 550 (2) Teaching Music Theory
  • MPKS 450ab (2) Piano Pedagogy

Comprehensive Exam

  • Three academic papers

Faculty Chair

  • Dr. Beatriz Ilari

Supplemental Materials Required for Application

  1. Statement of Purpose: A one-page statement addressing all of the following:
    • Why you are pursuing a DMA degree;
    • How an academic field in Music Teaching and Learning would contribute to your personal and professional goals, and;
    • What specifically will you achieve through coursework, practice, and examinations in the academic field in Music Teaching and Learning.
  2. Writing Sample: A sample of your academic writing (e.g., Master’s thesis, recent term paper).
  3. Résumé: List all teaching experience. Also, list the name, title, and contact information for three education references (e.g., fellow music teachers, music supervisors, site or district administrators who are not related to you) who can vouch for the quality and integrity of your work with students in music education settings (early childhood through university level).
  4. Teacher Certification: If you have taught in public or independent schools in the US or abroad, complete the teacher certification document available from the Thornton doctoral advisor. If you have not taught in public or independent schools in the US or abroad, include a brief written statement that indicates this.

Musicology

Curriculum (8 units)

  • MUHL 5xx+ (2 units) MUHL 5xx (2 units) + MUHL 681 (4 units) … or …
  • MUHL 681 (4 units) + MUHL 681 (4 units) with each 681 being a different topic.

Comprehensive Exam

  • Two academic papers

Faculty Chair

  • Dr. Bruce Brown

Supplemental Materials Required for Application

  1. Recent Research Paper: A mature musicological study that reflects research into historical or primary data, contains a critical engagement with ideas from the relevant musicological literature, and reaches an original conclusion.

Sacred Music

Curriculum

  • MSCR 571 (2) Music of the Great Liturgies (May not be used by Choral Majors)
  • MSCR 572 (2) Sacred Music Administration

Plus three courses chosen from:

  • MSCR 473 (2) Hymns and Service Music
  • MSCR 474 (2) The Church Organist
  • MUHL 550 (2) Music and the Holocaust
  • MSCR 790 (2) Directed Research
  • MSCR 475 (2) Introduction to Jewish Music
  • 400/500 level Religion Course, or;
  • MUHL 400/500 level History Course

Comprehensive Exam

  • Written examination

Faculty Chair

  • Dr. Nick Strimple

Theory & Analysis

Curriculum (8 units)

  • Select from three categories of courses:
    1. 1. Tonal Sequence:
      MUCO 533a (2), MUCO 533b (2)
      MUCO 633a (2), MUCO 633b (2)
    2. Post-Tonal Sequence:
      MUCO 538a (2), MUCO 538b (2) Analytical Approaches to Post-Tonal Music from 1908-1950
      MUCO 539ab (2), MUCO 539b (2) Theoretical and Aesthetic issues in Music from 1950 to the Present
    3. Special Topics: MUCO 57x (2 each). These can be used in a mixed sequence.
      Ex. MUCO 572 or MUCO 575, each changes topic often.
  • Student and advisor may choose a single track or a mixture of courses from each sequence.

Comprehensive Exam

  • Academic analysis paper and written examination

Faculty Chair

  • Dr. Sean Friar

Supplemental Materials Required for Application

  1. Personal Statement: A one-page statement addressing why you wish to pursue an academic field in Theory & Analysis and how academic work in this field would align with your personal and professional goals.
  2. Recent analytical paper OR strong recommendation from a current member of the Thornton Composition faculty.