Five Towns College 2021-2022 Catalog 
    May 18, 2024  
Five Towns College 2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Composition/Arranging, D.M.A.

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HEGIS Code: 1004.10     Inventory of Registered Program Code: 28276

The College through its Graduate Division, accepts prospective candidates for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.). The degree is granted in the fields of music performance, composition/arranging, music education, or music history and literature, and requires demonstration of distinguished achievement. 

Doctoral degrees in music at the College are intended for those planning to work at the most advanced academic and professional levels of musical endeavor. Students admitted to doctoral study are expected to achieve competence as musician/scholars who can communicate effectively both orally and in written form. They should be able to demonstrate the ability to write concisely with clarity and prepare critiques of musical performances that reflect mature, sensitive insights into musical values.

Attainment of a doctoral degree at Five Towns College requires outstanding scholarship and research culminating in a dissertation that contributes to the general fund of knowledge in the area of concentration. Qualified doctoral candidates must earn a minimum of 60 credits beyond the master’s level and must maintain a 3.0 G.P.A. or higher.

The Plan of Study includes 30 credits of core curriculum courses. In conjunction with their assigned major professor, students are responsible for selecting the elective courses to complete a Plan of Study that identifies course work needed to fulfill degree requirements.

Doctoral study requires a minimum of three or four years of graduate work. Completion of an appropriate Masters Degree is prerequisite to doctoral study. The degree program objectives listed below must be demonstrated by candidates for graduation as a prerequisite to qualifying for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree:

  • Intellectual awareness and curiosity sufficient to predict continued growth and contribution to the discipline;
  • Knowledge of representative literature, influential composers, and techniques to analyze compositions.
  • Expertise in music history, education, performance, or composition;
  • Expertise in the supervision of music programs;
  • Expertise in the application and utilization of appropriate research skills; and
  • Sufficient writing and speaking skills to communicate clearly and effectively to members of the scholarly and wider communities.

Composition and Arranging, D.M.A.

This program offers the student an opportunity to acquire training for a career as a composer and arranger or as a college teacher of music theory and composition. A thorough knowledge of contemporary harmony and a background in orchestration are essential for this degree.

The program in composition and arranging stresses creative activity emphasizing the development of a personal aesthetic expressible in sound. Competencies also include a broad knowledge of historical and contemporary compositional practices, music theory, history and criticism. The program involves the utilization and application of this knowledge to the compositional process.

Acceptance in the program in composition/arranging will be based upon an interview, audition, evidence of creative talent and a knowledge of craftsmanship in writing music demonstrated in a portfolio of compositions/arrangements that includes both the scores and recordings. The portfolio should consist of three original works and two arrangements that provide evidence of superior potential and creativity in a variety of settings.

Applicants are expected to perform two selections of contrasting style and tempo on their major instrument or voice. Students should also be prepared to demonstrate adequate sight-singing skills, aural skills, and keyboard competency.

Major Professor

After acceptance as a matriculated student seeking degree candidacy, the Director of Graduate Studies will act as the student’s mentor and will be responsible for helping the student select the electives to complete a Plan of Study and meet with the student periodically to review their progress toward completion of the dissertation and degree requirements.

Plan of Study

The Plan of Study includes 30 credits of core curriculum courses selected from those listed below. Students are responsible for selecting the elective courses to complete a Plan of Study that identifies course work needed to fulfill degree requirements.

D.M.A. Core
EDU 541 - College Teaching; (3cr)    
EDU 651 - Doctoral Research; (3cr)  
EDU 652 - Doctoral Seminar 1; (3cr)  
Music History Elective 500-800 Level; (12cr)  
Music Technology Elective; (3cr)  
Music Theory/Analysis Course; (6cr)  
Total Music Core 30

Admission Policies and Procedures (D.M.A.)

Applicants seeking acceptance must demonstrate exceptional musical skills on an instrument/voice, or present a record of outstanding pedagogical achievement, or submit a scholarly paper or portfolio of compositions/ arrangements that provide evidence of superior potential and creativity.

All applicants for admission to the Composition and Arranging, Music History and Literature, or Music Performance Programs must submit the following:

  1. A completed application.
  2. Three letters of recommendation.
  3. Official transcripts documenting the successful completion of an appropriate Master’s degree with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or better.
  4. Audition (Required for Composition/Arranging and Performance candidates only)
  5. 1,500 word essay on musical topic with citations (Required for Musical History and Literature candidates only)
  6. Evidence of English Fluency – TOEFL total score of 90 or higher

Audition Requirements

Piano Competency:
  1. Classically oriented performers can play a NYSSMA level 3 solo such as the Bach Prelude in C BWV924 or a selection from Tchaikovsky’s Album for the Young Op. 39. For Jazz performers standards such as “Autumn Leaves” or “Fly Me to the Moon” are acceptable. 
  2. Demonstrate ability to sight-read and harmonize melodies without chord symbols (music supplied by examiners).


Repertoire: Two memorized selections of contrasting style and tempo that best represent the singer’s stylistic abilities, technique, and stage presence. Two genres preferred.
Sheet music is required for both selections and will be performed with live accompaniment.
Repertoire: Two selections in contrasting styles are required, which will demonstrate technical ability, tone quality, musicality, and sense of style.
Piano, Woodwinds, Brass:
Applicants should be prepared to:
-Play two Jazz/Commercial music selections OR
-Play two contrasting classical selections OR
-Play one Jazz/Commercial selection and one classical selection
Guitar, Bass:
Applicants may audition on an electric or acoustic instrument, and should be prepared to:
-Play two Jazz/Commercial music selections OR
-Play two contrasting classical selections OR
-Play one Jazz/Commercial selection and one classical selection
Percussion applicants should be prepared to:
-Play two drum set selections in contrasting styles. OR
-Play 2 contrasting percussion selections (i.e. snare and mallets) OR
-Play one percussion selection and one drum set selection.
The College will provide guitar and bass amps, drum set, and vibraphone.

Establishment of Matriculation

The Graduate Governance Committee evaluates applications for matriculation based on the following criteria: (1) applicant’s grade point average from previous degree programs; (2) letters of recommendation; (3) original essay; (4) personal interview; and (5) individual requirements set forth in the descriptions for each of the programs.

Special Students

Students who do not wish to enroll in a degree program are permitted to register as nondegree special students. Special students are not eligible for independent study or advisement.

It should be noted that while in certain exceptional cases credits earned as a special student may later be applied to degree candidacy, special student status should not be viewed as a prelude or aid to the attainment of degree candidate status. In any case, no more than 12 credits of coursework earned as a special student can be applied to the D.M.A. degree. Past or present status as a special student is not considered during evaluation of an application for degree candidacy; the latter is considered a separate application, and different admissions criteria are applied. There can thus be no guarantee that individuals granted special student status will be accepted for degree candidacy should they apply.

International special students taking fewer than twelve credits a semester are not eligible for a student visa. All special students taking 6 or more credits a semester must comply with New York State immunization regulations.

Transfer Credit

Graduate courses completed at an accredited institution, not applied to another graduate degree, completed with a grade of A or B, may be presented for transfer of credit with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Grades below B in graduate classes do not carry doctoral credit.

Time Limitation/Leave of Absence

Students in the Doctoral Program must 12 credits during the first two years of study and all requirements within ten years of the date of matriculation. Exceptions are granted only in medical emergencies with the permission of the Graduate Governance Committee. Other exceptions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The following regulations are in effect for all doctoral students:

  1. Students must register for MUS 801 - Doctoral Advisement each semester after completion of EDU 652 - Doctoral Seminar 1. Registration for Doctoral Advisement entitles students to access both the main and Graduate Libraries and consult with their major professor in regard to their research project/dissertation.
  2. If a student who is still within the ten-year time period for degree completion does not register for at least one three credit course, matriculation will lapse unless he/she registers for MUS 800 - Continuous Registration.

Students who fail to maintain matriculation by the end of the given semester will be considered to have withdrawn and will be required to reapply for admission to continue working toward his or her degree. Readmission to the program is not guaranteed.

Leave of Absence

In extraordinary cases a student may be granted a leave of absence upon written application to the Director of Graduate Studies and with the approval of the Provost. Leave of absences are typically granted only in cases of serious illness. The duration of the leave may be counted as part of the ten years allowed for completion of the degree.

Comprehensive Examination/Dissertation

Comprehensive Examination/Candidacy

Before admission to degree candidacy, students must pass a Comprehensive Examination that tests the extent of the student’s knowledge in the general field of study and the area of specialization. The examination will be given upon the completion of all course work.

Students will only be permitted a second attempt to pass the Comprehensive Examination upon the recommendation of the Graduate Academic Standards Committee. The second examination may not take place until four months after the date of the first examination.

Doctoral candidates must be registered for either course credit or MUS 800 - Continuous Registration in every semester until they graduate.

Composition and Arranging Recitals

Candidates in the composition and arranging program must compose a major work as well as present two recitals of other compositions in a variety of media. Regulations governing publication of compositions are the same as those governing publication of dissertations.

The required abstract must address the formal, stylistic, and technical elements of the compositions.

Concerts and Performance Recitals

Candidates in the music performance program must conduct three major public concerts or present three recitals: (1) a solo recital during the second semester; (2) a recital of vocal and/or instrumental chamber music; and (3) a solo recital prior to graduation. No more than one concert or recital is permitted per semester. Each concert or recital will be evaluated independently by a panel of judges selected by the Graduate Academic Standards Committee. If a candidate’s performance is judged unsatisfactory, an additional one must be performed. In no case will a candidate be permitted to remain in the program if more than one concert or recital is determined to be unsatisfactory.


Doctoral programs require the completion of a dissertation or a major composition, which must meet required standards of scholarship and demonstrate the candidate’s ability to conduct original research.

The Dissertation Proposal should include a statement on the purpose, significance/need for the study, research methodology, possible conclusions and recommendations for further research, and cite examples of literature related to the topic. Candidates may not offer their dissertation to any agency for publication without explicit approval in writing from the Graduate Academic Standards Committee.

Enrollment in MUS 800 - Continuous Registration is required until the dissertation is completed. Doctoral candidates seeking financial aid may apply for full-time status with this registration or an additional enrollment in a three-credit course.

Final Dissertation Defense

Upon completion of all required courses and the dissertation, the candidate must schedule a Final Dissertation Defense. The defense focuses on the final document itself but can include general questioning related to the field of study within the scope of the dissertation. The Graduate Academic Standards Committee appoints at least three faculty members to conduct the defense.

After successful completion of the defense, the candidate will prepare the dissertation with the Director of Library before submittal for publication with ProQuest.

The Graduate Academic Standards Committee will recommend conferral of the doctoral degree by the College’s Board of Trustees.

Publication of the Dissertation

University Microfilms, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan processes the document and sends catalog information to the Library of Congress for printing and distribution of cards for depository catalogs and libraries. The abstract of the dissertation is printed in Microfilm Abstracts and distributed to leading libraries in the United States and elsewhere, and to a select list of journals and abstracting services. One copy of the dissertation is archived in the Graduate Library/Learning Resource Center.

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