Doctor of Music

The Doctor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music develops versatile composers and performers through concentrated focus on contemporary music. Graduates of the program will be broadly trained composers and performers possessing a wide range of skills enabling them to fulfill teaching and creative responsibilities in the academic world, as well as in other musical settings.

The Doctor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music with specializations in composition or performance is a four-year program that requires a minimum of 66 hours beyond the master’s degree. Any required remedial work in history, theory or research methodology will be added to the applicant’s program and will not be counted in the required 66 hours toward degree completion.

Required Coursework

  1. Specialization: Private study in composition or performance (16 hours)
  2. Cognate in one of three minor areas of study (12 hours):
    1. Culture
    2. Digital Media
    3. Music Cognition

    The cognate in culture emphasizes aesthetics, history and philosophy. The digital media cognate is concerned with the utilization of technology in new performance and creative contexts. The music cognition cognate focuses on theory, perception and pedagogy. These are intended to be of professional use to the student.

  3. Multidisciplinary music seminars focusing on the collaborative process in the development and creation of new works and the examination of common issues in culture, digital media and music cognition (9 hours)
  4. Off-campus internship designed to develop nonacademic career options (4-12 hours)

    Because the time commitment of the internship may vary greatly, the opportunity for flexible credit exists. The individual’s doctoral committee will help determine the amount of credit that can be earned. Examples might include work in foundations, orchestral management, museums or the entertainment industry.

  5. Electives in and outside of music (9 hours)
  6. Culminating experiences (16-30 hours)
    1. Composition
      1. Recital of original works
      2. Composition project (original work for large resources)
      3. A research paper that combines the individual’s major and minor areas of study
      4. A portfolio (a collection of papers written during the degree program, as well as scores, tapes and programs of works written and/or performed in addition to the required recital)
    2. Performance
      1. Three solo/chamber music/ensemble programs composed of contemporary music (at least one off-campus). In some cases a major concerto performance with orchestra may be substituted for one of the recitals. Permission for any alternative to this requirement must be secured from the doctoral committee.
      2. Research paper that combines the individual’s major and minor areas of study.
      3. Portfolio (a collection of papers written during the degree program, as well as programs and tapes from performances in addition to the three required recitals).


  1. Language Requirement: Doctoral students must show a reading knowledge of one foreign language, as is appropriate to the particular specialization. As an alternative, a computer programming language can be substituted for this requirement with permission of the student’s doctoral committee. The language proficiency examination must be completed before the final semester of study.
  2. Preliminary examinations (written and oral) are taken after completing 40 hours of course work, not including the internship. These examinations will test the student’s knowledge in music history and theory, with particular emphasis on contemporary music. The examinations will also cover the student’s area of specialization, composition or performance. Successful completion of these exams will admit the student to candidacy. Upon admission to candidacy, the student will be allowed to begin the culminating experiences in composition or performance.
  3. Final examinations/defense (oral) are taken in the last semester of study and focus on the culminating experiences.

Auditions for the DMA in Contemporary Music will take place on
February 26 - February 28, 2024

Upon the review of application materials (due January 5, 2024), qualified applicants will be scheduled for an audition, at which time the following will take place:

  1. Entrance Audition

    Composition: Present a 15-minute analysis of one of the works in submitted portfolio for members of the doctoral audition committee.

    Performance (conducting): Present an audition in repertoire appropriate to the degree program emphasis (choral, orchestral, band/wind ensemble). The repertoire may include works from a variety of historical periods including contemporary. 

    Performance (instrumental or vocal): Prepare 60 minutes of music from which the audition committee will choose a 30-minute audition program. Selections should showcase music of the 20th/21st century, but include at least two works from other historical periods if appropriate to the instrument’s repertoire. 

  2. Entrance Examinations

    Composition and Conducting Applicants Only: Examinations in aural skills, sightsinging and sightreading that will assess readiness for advanced work in composition or conducting.

  3. Entrance Interview

    Interview with the doctoral audition committee to discuss specific qualifications, interests and long-term goals.

Assistantship offers will be made by phone and in writing by the Director of Graduate Studies as soon as possible after the audition. Acceptance into the DMA degree program is selective and competitive. See DMA Assistantship Information for more details.

Assistantship Information

Stipend: Current (2023) first-year, nine-month contracts provide a stipend of $14,000. Students also receive tuition and out-of-state fee scholarships. Domestic students who are not Ohio residents will be required to apply for Ohio residency after the first year of study. Total value of the assistantship in 2023-2024 ranges from  $22,419 to $33,212.

Appointment: August, 2024.

Qualifications: Full acceptance into the DMA degree program.

Information: A fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music, the College consists of nearly 60 full-time faculty and over 150 masters and doctoral degree candidates. Our students enjoy working in one of the nation’s finest music facilities, the Moore Musical Arts Center. The College of Musical Arts houses the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, devoted to the study and promotion of contemporary music and technology. The center builds on the internationally recognized activities of the College, presenting concerts, symposia, sponsoring research and collecting archival materials.

Location: Bowling Green State University is conveniently located 20 minutes south of Toledo, Ohio, on Interstate 75. Our region is served by the Toledo Express Airport, which is 30 minutes from campus. The campus is five hours east of Chicago, 90 minutes south of Detroit and two hours west of Cleveland.

Updated: 07/08/2020 11:57AM