2006 - 2007 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Music Composition, D.M.A.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15                            [December 15 for international applicants]

Spring: September 15                         [August 1 for international applicants]

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 2

From Whom: Evaluations can be from a variety of sources who know the abilities of the applicant. Evaluators can provide insight into your abilities and talents, as well as comment on your aptitude for graduate study.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate Bachelor of Music degree at Temple University, which is based on a curriculum of 124 to 135 hours. Doctoral candidates must hold the Master of Music degree (or the equivalent) in the field of specialization from an accredited institution. Applicants accepted with deficiencies will find the deficiencies noted in the letter of admission. Deficiencies must be addressed prior to completion of the degree.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A master's degree in music is expected.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A bachelor's degree in music is expected.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should include your special interests within the discipline and expectations for the program.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE/MAT is required.

Minimum TOEFL score or range of scores needed to be accepted: 600 paper-based, 250 computer-based, or 100 internet-based.


Applicants must submit with the admission application evidence of compositional activity. Any compositions submitted will be returned to the applicant. If an applicant has enrolled in the Seminar in Composition prior to his or her application for formal admission to the program in Composition, the work accomplished there may serve to meet this entrance requirement, if satisfactory.


A resume is required.

Doctoral Writing Examination:

All doctoral applicants are required to complete the Doctoral Writing Examination as part of the admissions process. The results of this examination will figure in the admissions decision. Remedial coursework may be required.

Advanced Standing:

The D.M.A. in Composition program consists of 52 discrete credits taken beyond the master's degree. At the time of admission, the entire master's degree serves as advanced standing credits; these credits are not counted toward the 52 required credits in the doctoral degree. However, students may transfer into the doctoral degree up to 12 additional graduate credits in coursework taken beyond the Master's degree. Typically this coursework is undertaken after admission to the D.M.A. degree and must be approved by the major advisor and the Associate Dean. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 30.


The program provides opportunity for advanced study in composition that conforms to the very highest artistic and pedagogical ideals. For this reason, enrollment in the program is limited.

Due to the large number of applications for admission and the competitive nature of its music programs, the College admits only a portion of its applicants. In addition to the general admissions credentials required of all Temple University graduate applicants, Boyer College of Music specialized admission criteria (i.e., auditions, portfolios, interviews, recommendations, departmental term papers, and standardized examinations) are very heavily weighted in Boyer College of Music admission decisions. Graduate applicants may be rejected for admission for failing to obtain the required level of proficiency in any one area of the specialized admission criteria regardless of the level of success in meeting the Temple University general admission criteria. In addition to the level of success demonstrated in the above-mentioned criteria, a final admission factor is the College's Optimum Enrollment Policy. This Policy may preclude the admission of any student who meets the minimum requirements.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 52

Required Courses (40 s.h.)

Music Studies 509-513 (10) Seminar in Theoretical or Stylistic Analysis

                          540 (12) Composition Seminar

                          700 (3) Research in Music

                          999(6) Monograph Research

                           (9) Music History courses above the 400 level

Elective Courses (12 s.h.):


                            Music 497 (1) Early Music Ensemble

                            Music Studies 514 (3) Canon Fugue

                                                       546 (3) MIDI

                                                       701 (3) Aesthetics of Music

                                                       753 (3) Contemporary Music

                          Music Education 668 Academic Writing Skills

Up to 6 credits of Music Studies 540 Composition Seminar may be counted toward the D.M.A. degree. Applied  music may be elected for a maximum of 2 credits. Elective coursework must be approved by advisor.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination:   A language examination is required. Candidates in the Composition program will be expected to successfully complete a translation examination, specified by the department of composition in one foreign language: either French, German, Italian, or other national language with department permission. The examination must be completed before the preliminary examination may be taken.

Additional Requirements:

The student should register for Music 999 (Doctor of Musical Arts Monograph, 1-6 s.h.), each semester, fall and spring, until the final project has been successfully defended. Doctoral candidates are required to register for a minimum of six credit hours of Music 999 during their program as a whole, but must register for a minimum of one such credit each semester.

Oral Preliminary Examinations:

For those students who pass the written preliminary examination, no oral preliminary examination will be required. (This refers only to the oral preliminary examination and does not refer in any way to the oral defense of the dissertation, monograph, or final project). If a student fails one or more portions of the written preliminary examination, an oral examination will be administered by the major adviser and a minimum of two additional faculty members to be selected as follows: in the case of failure in one subject area, two members of that department will be asked by the student's major adviser to participate with the major adviser in the examination. In the case of failure in more than one subject area, at least one faculty member from each of the departments in which the failure occurred will be asked by the student's major adviser to participate in the examination. The examination is to be a formal oral examination rather than an informal meeting with graduate faculty from departments in which the examination revealed that the student needs further work. This does not preclude such informal meetings, however, in preparation for the oral examination. Upon passing the oral examination, the student as advised by the examining committee, will be permitted to schedule a second and final attempt at the failed portions of the written examination.

For all doctoral programs, only grades from "A" to "B-" can be applied toward degree requirements.

Lesson Fees:

Graduate assistantships and other forms of university-sponsored financial aid do not cover private lesson and Recital Extension fees.

Continuous Registration:

Continuous registration of at least 3 s.h. must be maintained each semester, fall and spring but not summer from the time of acceptance into the D.M.A. program in Performance until the completion of all coursework.

Written Entrance Examinations:

All doctoral students must take written entrance exams prior to or during the first semester of doctoral study. Candidates who fail the entrance examinations the first time may, upon application to the Associate Dean of the Boyer College of Music, be permitted to take the examinations a second time. A third opportunity will not be allowed. To continue registration in the doctoral program beyond the second semester of study, all portions of the examinations must be passed or the appropriate review courses (or the equivalent, as determined by the examining department) must be in progress. Students planning to take the written examinations should request a list of dates from the Graduate Secretary, and submit a written request to the Associate Dean one month prior to the administration date.

1. Music History Exam: a general examination covering the history of music will be administered. Questions relative to forms, styles, and periods of music will be included. It is expected that all examinees will be acquainted with the standard literature of music.

2. Harmony Exam: completion of a harmonic excerpt in advanced chromatic idiom and the creation of a bass line with figuration (figured bass) in Baroque style.

3. Counterpoint: from a given motive, complete approximately 20 measures of imitative counterpoint in three parts.

4. Form and Analysis: the analysis of specified passages from a designated score. The score will be provided at the examination.

5. Composition: there are several sections to the Departmental Entrance Examination. These include essay questions on stylistic analysis and historical context, the writing of a figured bass line, and the Piano Performance Examination.

6. Writing Sample:  A 90-minute examination of the student's ability to write at the doctoral level. Examination topics are of a general nature.


Each course or seminar will require an end-of-semester final grade based upon papers presented, recitals prepared, discussion and/or examinations taken during the course of the semester. Each semester of private study will culminate in a performance examination or jury, except during semesters in which the student has presented one of the required adjudicated recitals. Grades of less than "B-" cannot be counted toward the degree. Should the student earn a grade of less than "B-," s/he may, with permission of the department Chair and the Associate Dean, retake the semester of study one additional time. Screening for continuance in the program after the first semester of study will be conducted at adjudicated recitals, end-of-the-semester juries, and major examinations. This will assure that only the most qualified students will be continued beyond the early stages of the program.

Written Preliminary Examinations:

These examinations may be taken during the final semester of course work, but no later than in the semester after completion of the course work. Students planning to take the written examinations should request a list of dates from the graduate secretary and submit a written request to the Associate Dean one month prior to the administration date.

Independent Study Courses:

Independent study courses provide a special opportunity for graduate students to work in a highly individualized setting with one or more faculty members. All such study must receive the approval of the faculty member providing the instruction, the students' major adviser, and the Associate Dean. Approval will be granted only after the student has presented a detailed description of the intended independent study project. Approval of independent study projects will be granted only for students whose academic and musical record provides substantial support for the benefits of this type of study. In no case may more than 20% of a graduate student's curriculum be taken as independent study. Private lessons beyond those required in the curriculum are not an appropriate form of independent study.

Professional Development Policy:

All students in the Boyer College of Music, in addition to the required subjects toward their degrees, are obliged to serve in a number of capacities in order to enrich their academic and musical expertise. The Boyer College believes that such experiences give impetus to successful professional careers. Among the duties that may be required are conducting laboratory classes, tutoring, teaching private lessons, coaching, participating in the distribution and inventory control of University-owned musical instruments and instructional materials, participating in ensembles, accompanying, performing at admissions and open house events, supervising performance classes, and other academically related activities.

Composition Portfolio:

Scores of completed compositions in various media must be submitted on or before the date of the piano performance examination. Tapes of works in electronic media may also be submitted with or without graphic representation. All such submitted work of these designations should indicate the composer's abilities to use effectively both instrumental and vocal media, and, if appropriate, electronic media.

Acceptable English:

All students, including those for whom English is not the native language, are expected to present all written work in acceptable English. No double standard exists to differentiate students on the basis of proficiency in the use of the English language. Students are also responsible for becoming familiar with the College's statement on plagiarism and academic honesty.

Performing Ensembles:

1. Touring: All students in touring performing ensembles are required to participate in all scheduled tours. These tours, usually one or two weeks in length, often take place immediately after termination of semesters. Students must arrange their schedules to accommodate this requirement.

2. Non-Credit Participation: With special permission, graduate students for whom there is no ensemble requirement, or where previous ensemble credits exceed the graduation requirement, may participate in choral and instrumental ensembles without cost, with prior permission from the ensemble director, the department chair, and the Associate Dean.

A recital of the candidate's music of chamber dimension will be presented as a public event, the performances being the responsibility of the composer-candidate. A faculty committee selected from relevant performance and academic, as well as compositional, areas will be asked to attend this recital and to participate in an oral critique of the recital as a whole with the composer-candidate at a designated time closely following the recital, to be set by the Department Chair. This recital must take place prior to the preliminary examination. With departmental permission, a student may request a waiver of the recital requirement by presenting scores and recordings of five compositions that have received professional performances. The request must be made in writing to the Department Chair, and a committee convened to review the compositions with the candidate prior to the preliminary examination.

Piano Performance Examination:

1. The following should be prepared prior to the examination:

a. A twentieth century work for piano, of sufficient technical difficulty and expressive scope to demonstrate at least medium ability.

b. Score-reading a section of a nineteenth or twentieth century orchestral score.

2. The following will be given for sight-reading:

a. Bach chorale.

b. Eighteenth century orchestral score, in part.

c. Realization of a figured bass. If the applicant in composition gives evidence of outstanding ability to work in computer synthesis of music and has an educational background to support this kind of musical composition rather than one oriented to a more traditional performing medium, dispensation of the performance requirement may be made by the department, based on the applicant's evidence of skills related to the above or to other specialized modes of musical composition to be evaluated by the department. The applicant, if admitted on these qualifications in lieu of performance ability, will be required to undertake sufficient work at the piano to enable him or her to perform, as a minimum requirement, a prepared chorale harmonization by Bach and a relatively simple orchestral score, also prepared in advance.

Culminating Events:

Preliminary Examination:

The written preliminary examinations are administered several times each calendar year, and span two consecutive days of six hours of examination each day.

The written examination will confirm that the student has attained broad competency in the field of music and that within his/her area of concentration s/he can deal with specific questions in depth. Students planning to take the written examinations should request a list of dates from the graduate secretary and submit a written request to the Associate Dean one month prior to the administration date.

Written examinations should be taken no later than the end of the fifth year.

Faculty members within the student's major and minor subject areas are involved in preparing the examination questions.

At least two graduate faculty members read each section of the written preliminary examinations.

Students typically are graded "Pass" or "Fail" based on a consensus of the examination readers.

Students planning to take the written examinations should request a list of dates from the graduate secretary and submit a written request to the Associate Dean one month prior to the administration date. Students are notified in writing of the specific dates and administration times of the preliminary examinations for which they have been scheduled.


1. Upon completion of the preliminary examination, a Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC) shall be appointed by the Associate Dean to guide the monograph/final project and proposal. When the student, in consultation with the major adviser and Department Chair, has identified a tentative advisory committee, the Chair gives those names to the Associate Dean for consideration. The Associate Dean appoints the DAC. The DAC consists of no fewer than three persons: two faculty members from within the department and a third person from outside the department.

2. Each member of the DAC must sign the final proposal. The student copies the final proposal and delivers within thirty days one copy to each member of the DAC, the Department Chair, and the Associate Dean. Students register for Music 899 during the writing of the monograph proposal, and Music 999 after the proposal has been officially approved.


The DMA Composition monograph encompasses an original composition of dimension approved by the adviser for full or chamber orchestra with or without soloists, or for voices and orchestra, or other approved media is required. A written analysis of formal stylistic or technical elements of the composition shall form a part of the project.

When the monograph/final project is complete, the major adviser of the DAC asks the Associate Dean to appoint an outside reader. The DAC plus the outside reader comprise the Doctoral Examining Committee (DEC) for the monograph/final project defense. All members of the Doctoral Examining Committee attend the oral defense, and vote to pass or fail the monograph and its defense after the conclusion of the public presentation.

Changes in membership of a Doctoral Advisory Committee or a Doctoral Examining Committee must be approved by the Associate . The change also must be communicated to the Associate Dean and to the Graduate School.

Early in the semester in which a defense is anticipated, the monograph major advisor notifies the Associate Dean and requests that the Doctoral Examining Committee (that is, the Monograph defense committee) be appointed. The Doctoral Examining Committee consists of the Doctoral Advisory Committee plus at least one additional graduate faculty member from Temple or another university, but not from the faculty of the student's home department. One month prior to the requested defense date, the "Permission to Schedule Dissertation/Monograph Defense" form bearing all appropriate signatures must be submitted to the Associate Dean. This form is available in the Main Office. Two weeks prior to the oral defense, the student submits individual copies of the abstract and the completed dissertation/monograph to the Associate Dean and each member of the Doctoral Examining Committee.

The graduate secretary notifies the Graduate School and posts notices of the impending defense on bulletin boards located within the Boyer College.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Composition
Boyer College of Music and Dance
2001 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Department Contacts:


James Short


Program Coordinator:

Professor Maurice Wright


Graduate Chairperson:

Professor Michael Klein



Professor Michael Klein


About the Program

The objective of the D.M.A. degree in Composition is to provide opportunity for advanced study in composition that will conform to the very highest artistic and pedagogical ideals. The D.M.A. degree in Composition is intended to prepare composers to teach at the university level, to provide the student with the opportunity to create large-scale compositions, and to advance the student's professional career. The program encourages students to develop complementary musical skills as a performer, conductor, theorist, or software designer.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:


Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m.  Students are also able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).

Department Information:

Dept. of Composition
Boyer College of Music and Dance
2001 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Interdisciplinary Study:

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



The Boyer College of Music has been ranked among the top 30 music schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report.


The degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

Areas of Specialization:

Not applicable.

Job Placement:

Graduates of this program typically find employment as faculty in colleges and universities, in professional music organizations located throughout the world, and also among other employment venues in the music profession.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

At the discretion of the department, an applicant may be permitted to enroll for up to 9 graduate credits as a non-matriculated student on a probationary basis, permitting him or her to attend classes and to develop sufficient evidence of compositional talent beyond what is demonstrated at the time of application to qualify for full acceptance into the program.

Financing Opportunities

Boyer College offers a number of assistantships and academic internships to matriculated graduate students. Full awards carry a cash stipend plus full tuition remission for the fall and spring semesters. Partial awards also are available in values of 1/4 1/2 of a full award. Duties for assistantships and internships vary, but typically include teaching, tutoring, classroom assistance, research, artistic performance, and/or direct service related to academic programs. Applicants must submit an assistantship/internship application by March 1 to obtain priority consideration for an award. Applications are available online at the Graduate Financial Aid page of Boyer's website. Typically these awards are made only in the fall semester for up to two semesters, fall and spring. Awards may be renewed on an annual basis (typically up to one additional year for Master's students and up to three years for Doctoral students) based upon departmental needs as well as satisfactory academic and musical progress by the recipient.

February 2006