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Doctor of Music

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Title: Doctor of Music  
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Collection: Doctoral Degrees
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Doctor of Music

The full-dress robes of a Doctor of Music at Cambridge.

The Doctor of Music degree (D.Mus., D.M., D.Mus.A., Mus.D. or Mus.Doc.), is an academic degree given in music. Music is the only practicing arts field with a doctorate as the standard terminal degree. (The MFA is the standard terminal degree for most other arts and creative writing) DMA programs are intended for musicians and composers who wish to combine the highest attainments in their area of specialization with doctoral-level academic study in music. D.Mus. students complete advanced studies in one of typically three musical areas: performance (including conducting); musical composition; or, less often, musicology. Assessment varies with subject matter and University. A musicologist would be expected to produce a thesis on a specialised subject matter, whilst a performer would give recitals, and a composer would present a portfolio of compositions.

The DMA exists in conjunction with the PhD as doctoral degrees in music. The former is typically for practitioners of music, most commonly for performers. The PhD is typically given to a more academic or scholarship focused emphasis, such as musicology, ethnomusicology, or music theory. For composers, there are both DMA programs (especially in the context of conservatories) available as well as PhD programs (which are more prevalent in universities).

In the United Kingdom, Ireland and some Commonwealth countries, the DMus is a higher doctorate, awarded on the basis of a substantial portfolio of compositions and/or scholarly publications on music. Most universities restrict candidature to their own graduates or staff, which is a reversal of the practice in former times, when (unlike higher degrees in other faculties) candidates for the degree were not required to be a Master of Arts. While most graduate programs in the United States offer a D.M.A. degree, Indiana University has been issuing the DMus degree since 1953.[1]

The Doctor of Music degree has also been awarded honoris causa when presented to musicians and composers. Such as Joseph Haydn,[2] Richard Strauss, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Simon Rattle in classical music, and Joan Baez, Matthew Bellamy, David Bowie, Phil Collins, Bruce Dickinson,[3] Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, Kenny Garrett, Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, David Gilmour, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, B.B. King, Mark Knopfler, Annie Lennox, Jon Lord, Sir Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Jimmy Page, Paul Simon, Joe Walsh, Brian Wilson and Neil Young in popular music. It has also been awarded as an honorary degree to musical artists who were not composers, including the ballet dancers Dame Alicia Markova and Dame Beryl Grey, as well as female royalty regardless of their experience in music.

See also


  1. ^ Correspondence with Graduate Music Office, Indiana University Bloomington.
  2. ^ Hughes, Rosemary S. M. "Haydn at Oxford 1773–1791". Music and Letters 20: 242–249.  
  3. ^ "IRON MAIDEN Singer Receives Honorary Doctorate In Music From Queen Mary University".  

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