Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

University of Otago
3 years
Full time
Doctorate / PhD
Scholarships available

About this program

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

The Doctor of Musical Arts is a three-year full-time Program in Music with three areas of specialisation: Performance, Composition or Studio Production. The DMA offers creative musicians the opportunity to develop their skills to the highest artistic and professional levels, while working within the innovative and stimulating environment of Otago's Music Department.

Attaining a DMA will demonstrate your mastery in a creative field of music performance, composition or studio production. The DMA signals to the professional and creative musical world that you are capable of independently conceiving and presenting high quality musical creative outputs in your area of specialisation.

Why study Music?

Music is a very important part of our lives: the study of music enriches any student’s university course and opens the door to lifelong enjoyment. There are many types of music from different parts of the world, and from different times in the world’s history. At Otago we make Music, we know about Music, and we are passionate about Music and our role in educating a new generation of musicians and music lovers.

Admission requirements

Admission to the degree Program shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).

Every candidate must be a university graduate and produce evidence of ability to undertake study in the proposed area. Such evidence shall include:

  • a Bachelor’s degree with first or upper second class Honours or equivalent; or
  • a Master’s degree (including an appropriate research component); or
  • appropriate experience in the proposed area of study.

A candidate for a Master of Music degree may apply to transfer to candidature for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, and may have the date of admission backdated as is considered appropriate.

If your first language is not English you need to meet our English language requirements as follows: IELTS score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0); Internet-based TOEFL: Score of 95 with a minimum writing score of 22; Paper-based TOEFL: score of 587 (TWE 4.5), we also accept a number of other English language tests. Due to COVID-19, we currently accept IELTS Indicator Test, and TOEFL iBT Special home Edition.

Don’t meet the English language requirements? The University of Otago Language Centre "English for Otago" Program offers a pathway for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to meet the English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Does this course require proof of English proficiency?

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Program content

  • The degree shall be awarded in Composition, Music Production, Performance or a combination of these areas
  • The degree requires the submission of a thesis comprising a substantial portfolio of creative work, as well as a written exegesis (see regulation 8 below).
  • The nature of the proposed portfolio shall be approved by the School’s Postgraduate Committee before admission, and is subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) on the recommendation of the Head of the School of Performing Arts.
  • It is expected that the portfolio shall represent a significant body of work in the chosen discipline(s). For the purposes of providing a general indication, a significant body of work would comprise:
  • In Performance: four recitals of at least 50 minutes duration, in which the candidate is the featured performer.
  • In Composition: a substantial portfolio of significant works, as approved by the School’s Postgraduate Committee.
  • In Music Production (where the candidate is producing, but not making a major contribution to composition or performance): three to four full length albums, or an equivalent body of work.
  • In a multi-disciplinary portfolio, or a portfolio involving collaborations with other practitioners, it is expected that the length of the works be adjusted, and agreed upon by the candidate, supervisors, and the School’s Postgraduate Committee prior to the commencement of study.
  • The final presentation of any portfolio involving musical performance must normally take place in person in a public setting.
  • Candidates specialising in composition alone must present works or bodies of work in notated score form. The compositional works or bodies of work must also be presented in an audible format (this may be generated using notation software or take the form of an audio recording).
  • Candidates specialising in performance alone must normally present their work live in a public setting. Performances shall be assessed in the following manner:
  • A delegate from the School of Performing Arts (usually the internal examiner, or another person nominated by the Post-Graduate Committee in the School of Performing Arts) shall attend each performance to verify the fidelity and archiving of audio-visual recordings.
  • For every performance except the final one, external and external (international) examiners shall be provided with unadulterated live recordings of the performance.
  • The final performance, which shall take place near the end of the candidature, shall be attended in person by all examiners.
  • Candidates presenting work via a recording must fully acknowledge the contributions of any other creative specialists involved in the work and shall be examined only on their own creative contribution.
  • Candidates should aim to complete at least one significant work, body of work, or case study per year of fulltime study (or part-time equivalent). In the case of performances, these should be recorded, and will be kept on file by school administration.
  • The candidate shall not present a portfolio or part of a portfolio that has previously been accepted for another degree.

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the university website for more information.

Program delivery

Application details

Applicants should submit their online application form along with the following supporting documents: scanned copies of their previous official academic transcripts (awards gained, marks, grades); a certified copy of the personal details page of their passport or a birth certificate (in English); Educational Credential Evaluators report (ECE); and certified/notarised translations of original documents which are not in English. After completion of online application, applicant’s proof of identity document must be posted to: International Office, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand. International student applications for semester 1/summer school study close: Oct-31; Semester 2 study close: Apr-30.


International tuition fees per year: 39236 NZD

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About this institute

University of Otago

Founded in 1869, the University of Otago is New Zealand's first university. Otago has gained an excellent international reputation for its research and teaching. Ranked among the world’s top 1% of universities according to QS World University Rankings, Otago students...

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Why study at University of Otago

Otago’s approachable, world-renowned teaching staff are dedicated to fostering creativity and independence and helping students achieve their visions for the future.

Otago graduates are globally in demand, with 95 percent of graduates going on to employment or further academic studies. Otago’s Social Impact Studio provides volunteering and leadership opportunities, while programmes like Audacious support start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Otago boasts some of the best completion rates for a doctorate or master’s qualification in the world, with exceptional supervisory support.

At Otago, old meets new, from iconic historic buildings to modern, award-winning laboratories and teaching spaces, on one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.

Contact info

University of Otago

362 Leith Street
9016 Dunedin
New Zealand

Phone no: +64 0800 80 80 98

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