Doctoral Transfer Credit Review

All DMA students at USC Thornton are required to complete the Basic DMA Curriculum, which consists of a variety of coursework totaling 20 units. Courses that you completed as part of your master’s degree may be considered for transfer credit to be counted toward the Basic DMA Curriculum, but note that the classes from your master’s degree must be very similar to what is expected of your DMA degree program at USC. The appropriate USC Thornton faculty must evaluate your master’s-level coursework in order to determine what, if any, of that coursework can be approved for credit toward your USC Thornton DMA degree.

For each master’s-level course being evaluated, you must submit the official course syllabus distributed to you from the same semester the course was taken as well as a sample of the written work completed as part of that class (examples: a mid-term analysis project and/or a final paper).

If you already earned a master’s degree from the USC Thornton School of Music, you should not complete a substitution request.  Your classwork will be automatically reviewed and applied to your DMA coursework (as applicable) by your academic advisor. 

In some cases, you may also need to submit an updated set of transcripts showing the grades earned in these courses. If an earned grade is not posted on your transcripts for a recent semester, we may need to revisit your request at a later time. 

It is very common for incoming students to have uploaded an incomplete transcript at the time of your DMA application, as you may have still been in the middle of your previous degree program.  Note that it is very likely that you will need to request your prior institution to send us an official, updated, degree-bearing transcript directly from that institution to USC in order for Thornton to consider any of the previous classes toward your DMA.  Please discuss this with your academic advisor in the fall. 

We will do our best to review your materials before you start DMA classes in the fall, but this is not guaranteed. Regardless of a finalized decision, having your substitution material submitted to us ahead of time will help you and your advisor better plan your first semester classes. 

Below is a list of the most common Basic DMA classes considered for substitution requests. If there are other courses that you would like to have considered for transfer credit, that will be discussed when we meet in person in the fall.

MUCO 501 Introduction to the Analysis of Tonal Music
Survey of common practice period (1650 – 1900) approaches to phrase design, tonal organization and type-forms (binary, ternary, rondo, sonata). 

MUCO 502 Introduction to the Analysis of Post-Tonal Music
Introductory survey of 20th/21st Century approaches to the organization of pitch (serial, modal, extended tonal, etc.), rhythm, texture and form.

MTAL 505 Teaching and Learning Music
Studies of the latest resources concerning the teaching and learning of music so that musicians can function more effectively as both teachers and performers. 

MUHL 570 Research Materials and Techniques
Introduction to music research, information science and technical writing.

Additional MUHL Topic-Specific Classes (graduate-level Music History courses in a variety of topics)
Three graduate-level Music History electives are required in the Basic DMA Curriculum, some of which may be potentially fulfilled through coursework completed for the Master’s Degree. (Examples include the following USC Thornton courses: MUHL 575: Music of the Baroque Era, MUHL 588: Special Studies in Music Since 1900.)

To request consideration of previous graduate degree transfer coursework taken elsewhere toward your Basic DMA Curriculum, please complete this request form. Review your materials to ensure that you submit all necessary documentation in order to have your requests considered.