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Musical Arts (DMA) - Composition 
Program Description

Doctoral degrees are awarded to candidates who display deep understanding of the subject matter of their disciplines as well as the ability to make original contributions to knowledge in their fields. The University of Arizona FFSOM offers the Doctor of Musical Arts degree with concentrations in the fields of Composition, Conducting, and Performance, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree with concentrations in Music Education,  Music Theory, or Musicology. The FFSOM does not permit double use of courses in a major and a minor or in a second minor.   

Core Academic Courses for DMA Degrees

Composition, Conducting, and students in Voice, Piano/Keyboard, and Instrumental Performance must select fifteen units of course work from the following three categories of core courses:

  • Category A--Music Education (min. 3 units): 550, 551, 603, 604, 650, 654, 655, 672, 696a

  • Category B--Music Theory (min. 3 units): 520A, 520B, 521A, 521B, 521C, 534, 541 OR 542, 622, 623, 624A, 624B, 625A, 625B, 696c

  • Category C--Historical Musicology and Ethnomusicology (min. 3 units): 530, 531, 532, 533, 535, 536, 568, 595b, 596b, 696b, 696f

Ensemble Policy for DMA Degrees

Doctoral degrees may require large conducted ensemble participation as delineated in each degree grid. Applied music registration (MUSI) requires concurrent enrollment in the appropriate large conducted ensemble (MUS 500). The appropriate large conducted ensemble varies by degree plan. The required large conducted ensemble must be chosen from the following list, designed to support applied and academic study in each degree plan:

  • Bowed Strings: MUS 500O (Section 1), Arizona Symphony

  • Voice: MUS 500L Arizona Choir

  • Wind/Percussion: MUS 500D, E, O, or R

  • Piano/Keyboard, Harp, Guitar:  MUS 500 or 501 or 502

An audition process designed and administered by the ensemble directors in consultation with the applied faculty and approved by the Director of the FFSOM will determine participation in the appropriate large conducted ensemble. Students whose degree grids specify a large conducted ensemble requirement of two or more credits must participate in a large conducted ensemble in a two-semester sequence. 

For course and program requirements for specific DMA degrees in music, please see The Graduate Handbook

Department/Academic Unit(s)

School of Music -

The School of Music offers programs leading to the Master of Music (MM) degree, the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree, and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.  MM degrees may be pursued with emphases in composition, ethnomusicology, music education, musicology, music theory, and performance (including accompanying and conducting); The DMA degree has emphases in composition, conducting, and performance. In the performance emphasis concentrations are available in bassoon, cello, clarinet, double bass, euphonium, flute, guitar, horn, harp, harpsichord, oboe, organ, percussion, piano, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, tuba, viola, violin, and voice. In the conducting emphasis concentrations are available in choral or instrumental/orchestral conducting. The PhD degree can be earned with emphases in music education, music theory, or musicology.  According to the National Association of Schools of Music, graduate education in music should foster and develop (1) those talents, interests, and philosophies that preserve and extend our cultural heritage; (2) professional competence in the communication and dissemination of knowledge; and (3) individuals with the potential to solve contemporary problems in various aspects of music. The University of Arizona, ranked among the nation’s most distinguished research universities, is a particularly invigorating environment in which to pursue such development. The graduate student body within the School of Music is of sufficient size and diversity to permit formal and informal exchanges of experiences, ideas, and knowledge. The internationally-recognized music faculty includes scholars, composers, and performers. Students work individually with faculty members in small seminars and tutorials, in informal studio and coaching sessions, and in intensive consultations relating to the preparation of theses, dissertations, and performance projects. The School of Music and the College of Fine Arts possess considerable resources to foster intellectual and artistic development, and the intellectual diversity of the university as a whole provides a stimulating environment and invites interdisciplinary inquiry.

College of Fine Arts  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
David P McGuiggan
Graduate Program Coordinator
John T Brobeck
Director of Graduate Studies
John T Brobeck
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Christina M Inocencio
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

General Requirements and Procedures

Academic achievements are one indicator of personal commitment to the chosen discipline and to the highest possible standards of scholarly and creative performance. A minimum grade point average of 3.00 is required by the Graduate College of the UA for regular admission to all graduate programs. Applicants for master's degrees must have a bachelor's degree in music or its equivalent as determined by the FFSOM Director of Graduate Studies and faculty. Applicants for doctoral degrees must have a master's degree in music or its equivalent as determined by the FFSOM Director of Graduate Studies and faculty.


As noted in the Graduate College admission instructions (<>) applicants must submit official final transcripts to the UA Graduate College from all institutions attended, including summer institutes or workshops. Transcripts must list all degrees earned and must be submitted no later than 30 days after the beginning of the first semester in residence. Failure to comply may jeopardize financial awards and future registration.  


The FFSOM requests submission of all admissions materials for domestic student applications by no later than June 1 for fall admission, October 1 for spring admission, and March 1 for summer sessions. The FFSOM welcomes applications from international students. International student applications are due April 1 for fall admission, September 1 for spring admission, and February 1 for summer sessions. The UA Graduate College will not accept international applications after June 1 for fall admission. All students, domestic and international, who wish to receive the fullest consideration for financial aid or scholarships should submit all materials by December 1 for admission the following fall.     

The Graduate College will not issue a certificate of admission or supporting materials for visas until all required documents have been submitted and approved. Official transcripts or yearly mark sheets, including confirmation of degrees awarded, are required from each institution previously attended. If the records are not in English, applicants must provide the official original language document with a certified English translation. International students must also demonstrate proficiency in English as one of the conditions for admission. Please see <> for an explanation of Graduate College policies relating to this requirement.

International students whose native language is not English must meet or exceed basic university standards for the TOEFL examination to be admitted to our graduate programs (550 PB, 79 iBT, 7 IELTS). Students intending to hold a graduate assistantship involving student teaching or contact must also score 24 or higher on the TOEFL iBT Speaking Subtest. There are no exceptions for the English fluency requirements. The FFSOM will not request exemptions from standard Graduate College and U.S. Immigration procedures and policies.

Readmission to the University

Students must maintain continuous enrollment until the completion of all degree requirements or they will be placed on inactive status and must reapply to the university. Information regarding re-admission is available at <>.

Standardized Tests

Minimum TOEFL: 79 iBT; 24 Speak test for teaching responsibilities.
Minimum IELTS:  7.

Financial Aid

FINANCIAL AID FINANCIAL AID Graduate students in music may apply for several forms of financial assistance. Some examples of financial aid offered by The School of Music are described below. Students receiving fellowships, assistantships, and scholarships are required to maintain full-time enrollment status. Audited and undergraduate-level courses do not qualify in meeting these minimum enrollment requirements. Students may visit the Graduate College website at to learn about additional funding opportunities Fellowships Fellowships A few Graduate Fellowships are available annually. Exceptionally gifted students win these prestigious awards ($1,000-10,000) each year. Fellowships are awarded for one academic year; renewal is not automatic. The School of Music faculty nominates qualified recipients and the School of Music Scholarship Committee makes the final selection. All Fellowship recipients must submit a FAFSA or its international equivalent. Assistantships Assistantships The School of Music annually appoints approximately fifty graduate teaching assistants. Most are quarter-time appointments requiring a commitment of about ten hours per week. Successful applicants for teaching assistantships either display an aptitude for teaching or provide documents that demonstrate their effectiveness as teachers. The music education area additionally requires students seeking an assistantship to provide a video recording of a teaching demonstration, a letter of intent, and a writing sample. Applications will receive most favorable consideration if completed before February 1. Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) wages and benefits are adjusted annually. Quarter-time GTAs currently include the following benefits: 100% waiver of out-of-state tuition; 50% waiver of instate tuition; coverage of individual health insurance; 10% discount at the ASUA Bookstore; and employment wages (currently in the 5-6k range). The Arizona State Board of Regents requires compulsory training for all newly-appointed graduate teaching assistants. If the recipient of an assistantship is unable to complete the required training procedures, he/she will forfeit the assistantship. Graduate students who hold assistantships must register for a minimum of six (6) units of graduate credit. Audited courses and undergraduate-level courses do not qualify for these minimum registration requirements. All Graduate Teaching Assistants are evaluated each semester by their students and their supervising professors. Continuation of the assistantship is dependent upon satisfactory evaluations from the supervising professor. Students will invite their faculty mentors to observe and evaluate their work each semester to ensure continuation of their appointments. Assistantships may be held for up to four semesters, contingent upon favorable evaluations from the faculty supervisor, recommendation of the area coordinator, and continued availability of funding. Master’s degree students who continue into a doctoral program may be eligible to continue as GTAs. In such cases, the reckoning of years of service as a graduate teaching assistant begins again during the first semester of the new degree program. 6 Graduate Tuition Scholarships Graduate Tuition Scholarships A limited number of graduate tuition scholarships are available annually. All recommendations for these awards originate with the appropriate area faculty. The School of Music Scholarship Committee finalizes these awards. Cash Scholarships Cash Scholarships Scholarships The School of Music Scholarship Committee awards many need-based and merit cash scholarships annually. All recommendations for scholarships originate with area faculties. Recipients often have the opportunity of corresponding or interacting with the donors (or their heirs) of named cash scholarships and awards. Loans All student loans are handled through the University of Arizona Office of Student Financial Aid, 203 Administration Building. An applicant must be admitted to a degree program before submitting an application to the Office of Student Financial Aid. The total processing time at the University, bank and guaranty agency can take up to four months. Students are, therefore, urged to apply early.  

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: June 1
  • Spring: March 1

International Applicants:

  • Fall: April 1
  • Spring: September 1
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 2404

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

See The Graduate Handbook of The Fred Fox School of Music of the UA.

Minor Requirements

See The Graduate Handbook of The Fred Fox School of Music of the UA.

Student Handbook  
Persistent link:
Last revised 23 May 2017