Doctor of Musical Arts

The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) is a research-based professional doctorate in music performance, conducting or composition open to highly talented and skilled musicians with strong scholarly abilities. The DMA will suit candidates with a research background who wish to enhance their skills while taking advantage of the exceptional teaching available at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The emphasis of the course is the supervised program leading to a public performance or creative works portfolio and a dissertation of 25,000–30,000 words, both of which shall be an original contribution to a field in the candidate's area. Research development is supported by research training and coursework.

Language requirements for international candidates

An IELTS level of 7.0 with no component below 6.5 is normally required for entry to this degree.

Course structure

The Doctor of Musical Arts can be completed either in three to four years of full-time study or six to eight years of part-time study.

During the first full year of candidature (or the part-time equivalent), Doctor of Musical Arts candidates undertake units of study in creative works projects, research methods and elective subjects, as well as participating in seminars.

As a research degree, the coursework credit points represent one quarter of the degree structure and students need only enrol in units of study for the coursework component. The program of supervised research (comprising three-quarters of the degree) forms the main part of the candidature. This supervised research program will culminate in a substantial public performance or creative works portfolio and a dissertation which together form the thesis.

Areas of research

Innovative and research-based performance, conducting or composition.

Candidature includes:

  • completion of units of study giving credit for a total of 36 credit points during the first full-time year of candidature, or its equivalent part-time
  • end of year 1 confirmation presentation
  • presentation of performance/creative works during the first and second years of candidature including (i) the final assessment of Creative Work Project 2 in the first year of full time study; (ii) a substantial recital/lecture recital accompanied by critical notes, or a /presentation of creative work in an approved format (composers) at or by the conclusion of the second year of full-time study, or equivalent.
  • participation and presentation at research seminars, and
  • a program of supervised research leading to a substantial performance/portfolio of creative work and a dissertation of 25,000-30,000 words, both of which shall be an original contribution to the field concerned.

Candidates normally complete the following units of study

  • PERF5600 Graduate Research Methods
  • PERF5601 Creative Work Project 1
  • PERF5602 Creative Work Project 2
  • Two other units of study chosen from the table of postgraduate electives

Preparation and Examination of the final submission - the thesis

At the end of the candidature the student will submit the complete thesis for examination. The thesis will include both the performance/creative work portfolio and the dissertation. Where performance forms part of the thesis, the performance will be presented to the examiners in recorded format. For those preparing a final performance as part of the thesis, it is essential to ensure that a suitable recording is made for presentation to the examiners. A preface can be used to introduce the components of the thesis.

The thesis will be examined in accordance with University of Sydney policy by three approved examiners, including at least two examiners external to the University of Sydney.

Please refer to the HDRAC website for further information on preparation for submission and examination.