Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees

Program Requirements

Ordinarily, doctor of musical arts candidates will be expected to show from 75 to 90 hours of approved coursework beyond the bachelor's degree (including the master's degree) on their planned programs. Approximately 80 percent of the coursework on the planned program must be at the graduate level (5500-5600).

If it is of acceptable quality and appropriate to the student's program, graduate credit not to exceed more than one-half the total credit earned beyond the bachelor's degree may be transferred from another institution to a doctoral program. Except for courses included in the earned master's degree, work done at institutions other than UMKC must have been completed within nine years of the awarding of the degree. A D.M.A. or Ph.D. student must take and pass the doctoral comprehensive examination and advance to candidacy within five years from the beginning of doctoral coursework (within four years if entering with a master's degree in the same or closely related field). After the establishment of degree candidacy, a maximum of five years will be allowed for completion of degree requirements. D.M.A. students in conducting and performance must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language. All D.M.A.  students must satisfy the residency requirement. Residency for the D.M.A. cannot begin until the first term of enrollment as a D.M.A. student at the Conservatory. The residency requirement for the D.M.A. may be satisfied in any one of the following ways: 1) two adjacent semesters with a minimum of nine hours each, or 2) one semester with a minimum of nine hours and two summer sessions with a minimum of five hours each, provided that the full-time semester is adjacent to one of the summer sessions [it is expected that the summer sessions will be consecutive], or 3) completion of 24 hours within 18 consecutive months.

The Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee for students seeking the doctor of musical arts shall consist of three faculty members who will approve the planned program of study and the doctoral research plan, and agree to serve as the three faculty responsible for writing and grading the major portion of the doctoral comprehensive examination.

Comprehensive Examinations

The Comprehensive Examinations consist of three separate exams.

First Exam Procedures

The First Exam focuses on Music History and Theory and is designed to assess students’ foundational knowledge for advanced study. The exams will be given the seventh Thursday and the eighth Monday of the spring or fall semester. Students will take the exam in their second full year of coursework (and no later than the first semester of their third year of coursework). The exams will consist of two three-hour exams which cover an integrated application of ideas from music history and music theory and will be designed, proctored, and graded by all full time faculty members in those two areas. Based on the collective recommendation of the faculty, students will be assigned a grade of high pass, pass, or fail for each section of the exam. Students who fail to pass any portion of the exam will be allowed to retake those portions the following semester. Students are allowed to retake portions of the exam they failed one time and must fully pass the First Exam to be eligible to take the Second Exam and continue to candidacy.

Second Exam Procedures

The Second Exam tests students’ understanding of their chosen field of study and are required for advancement to candidacy.  Each D.M.A. student is given eight hours in which to answer questions submitted by the three members of his or her committee with the exception of D.M.A. Composition students who complete a project under the supervision of their D.M.A. Committee. These exams are held the fifth week of both the Fall and Winter/Spring semesters and must be taken after the end of coursework and before work begins on doctoral projects.  Students wishing to take the exams should notify their committee chair of their intentions and submit a complete Comprehensive Exam Request Form to the graduate advising office by at least the last week of classes the semester before they take the exam.  Testing is proctored from 9:00 until 5:00 each day of that week, and students are responsible for arranging their schedules and signing up for the times in which they plan to take the test.

The Second Exam is administered by a D.M.A Committee made up of a faculty chair and two other faculty members.  Students are responsible for selecting their chairs, who normally will be the principle instructor or director of research, and then the remainder of their committee in consultation with the chair.  The committee members are communicated to the advising office through signatures on the Comprehensive Exam Request Form.

Each D.M.A. student is given eight hours in which to answer questions submitted by the three members of his or her committee.  Each member of the committee must contribute to the Second Exam, and while the number of hours for questions given to each member is at the chair’s discretion, typical practice is four hours for the chair and two hours for each member (Each “hour” of questions should take approximately one hour to complete).  Committee members must submit their questions to the chair by the Wednesday of the third week of the semester.  The chair then submits the entire exam to the Comprehensive Exam Coordinator by the end of the third week of the semester.  It is the chair’s responsibility in consultation with the committee to ensure that there are no overlaps in questions and that the exam adequately examines the field of study.  Content of the examination questions should reflect the content of study specific to each student’s degree.  Members of the D.M.A. Committee are responsible for determining the appropriate focus for questions.  Those questions should not function as a retesting of course information, but as an assessment of a student’s understanding and ability to connect and apply course content more broadly.

Grading for the Second Exam

Once a student has completed the exam, the Comprehensive Exam Coordinator distributes written responses to the faculty responsible for each question.  That faculty member grades the responses and relays their recommendation of high pass, pass, or fail to the committee chair and the Comprehensive Exam Coordinator.  Students must receive a grade of pass or high pass on each question to pass the Second Exam and advance to candidacy.  Students are allowed to retake portions of the exam they failed one time, and the format of that retest is at the discretion of the committee member responsible for the question.

Third Exam Procedures

At the conclusion of all doctoral points needed for the D.M.A. degree and contingent upon successful completion of the Second Exam, members of the student’s D.M.A. Committee will reconvene for a two-hour oral defense of the work done during candidacy for the degree.  In the case of areas that require dissertations, the dissertation defense acts as the Third Exam.  For all other areas, the Third Exam is expected to consist of questions synthesizing the student’s work in all areas of study in their doctoral documents and/or performances.  The Committee Chair will schedule the Third Exam, which may be postponed at the Chair’s discretion.  The Third Exam is the last step in the conferral of D.M.A degrees.

DMA Research / Artistic Applications

4 points required
DMA Research

Dissertation (4 hrs/4 points)

CONS 5699 – Supervised by five committee members, graded by major professor, reviewed by university, paper filed in library.

All students in the DMA program in Composition must complete a dissertation to satisfy degree requirements. This usually takes the form of an extended composition in a format approved by the composition faculty. Students in the DMA Conducting and DMA Performance programs may choose to satisfy degree requirements pertaining to doctoral research by writing a dissertation (other options for Conducting and Performance majors are described in the next section).

Other Doctoral Research Options

DMA students in Conducting and Performance may choose to satisfy doctoral research requirements through projects other than the dissertation. Five (5) options are currently offered. They include support papers for recitals, extended research papers, additional courses in research methodology, music products that might include compositions, arrangements, or performance editions, and, finally, an additional recital. Students must complete four "points" of research credit to fulfill the doctoral research requirement. These points can come from almost any combination of the five categories or, in some cases, can come from a single category. Projects can be initiated at any point during the program of study but at least one project reflecting the student’s ability to work independently must be completed after comprehensive exams are passed. Students must complete a DMA Research Applications Proposal (available from the Graduate Advising Office) and gather the signatures of the appropriate project supervisors as well as the supervisory committee. This document should be submitted to the Graduate Advising Office before in-depth research is begun.

Specifics for each doctoral research option are outlined hereafter:

Doctoral Recital Support Paper

(worth 1 point apiece; maximum of two points from this category for conducting majors and three for performance majors) [CONS 5697P for Performance majors; CONS 5697BP for Conducting majors]

The Recital support paper should be approximately 25-50 pages in length. It should address some aspect of the recital such as unusual pedaling specifications in a piece, biographical information about the composers, unusual aspects of performance practice, aspects pertaining to the form of the pieces, etc. The paper is supervised and graded by the student’s applied teacher, assuming that the faculty member holds some type of graduate faculty status. A copy of the final paper should be submitted for the student file.

Doctoral Research Problems

(worth 2 points apiece; students may do one or two projects from this category) [CONS 5698]

The Doctoral research paper should be approximately 50-75 pages in length. It may address any aspect of interest to the student and supervisor. Examples might include an extensive analysis of compositions by a single composer, literature dealing with performance anxiety, an analysis of a particular genre in a designated time period, etc. The doctoral research paper can be an extensive review of literature. The paper can be supervised and graded by any willing faculty member holding some type of graduate faculty status. A copy of the final paper should be submitted for the student file.

Additional Research Courses

(worth 1 point for each 3 credit hour course; students may take a maximum of two courses for doctoral research credit) [e.g., CONS 5594A and B]

The Conservatory requires CONS 5593 Introduction to Research and Bibliography for the DMA degree. Any course beyond CONS 5593 that specifically addresses research methodology as its primary focus may be considered for credit in this category. The Conservatory offers three courses, which may be taken for credit including Advanced Research and Bibliography (CONS 5693), Introduction to Descriptive and Experimental Research in Music (CONS 5594A) and Advanced Descriptive and Experimental Research in Music (CONS 5594B). Courses from other UMKC departments could also be considered. Courses that include research but do not specifically focus on methodology can not be included in this category. Students completing 2 points from this category must combine the additional research courses with a Doctoral Research Problems project (CONS 5698).

Doctoral Music Product

(credit is variable from 1-4 points depending on the length and complexity of the product; students may do 1-4 projects from this category) [CONS 5698B]

While the dissertation, doctoral recital paper, doctoral research problem, and to some extent the additional research course, will deal with "traditional" research expressed in standard writing formats, the doctoral music product allows a student to create through the medium of music. Products can take the form of original compositions, arrangements or transcriptions of music, or the creation of performance editions of existing works. The pieces should include a bibliography of sources consulted while developing the product and an analysis of the work recognizing specific performance or rehearsal challenges. The scope of the product, including the amount of credit to be awarded for the project, is developed in consultation with the supervisory committee. The project is supervised and graded by an appropriate, willing faculty member with some type of graduate faculty status. If composition faculty are to serve as supervisors for a project, certain prerequisite skills or classes may be required. A copy of the final music product with documentation should be submitted for the student file.

Additional Recital

(maximum of 1 point from this category) [CONS 5697C]

The extra recital is supervised by the applied or conducting teacher. The recital is graded in the same manner as other recitals for the Conducting and Performance degrees.