DMA Document and Defense
Each student in a D.M.A. program is expected to write a formal research-oriented document under the direction of the student's Doctoral Advisory Committee, comprised of at least three faculty members, most often from the student's general performance area (e.g. Brass, Choral Conducting, et al.). Committee members may be from any area of the School of Music, and even from faculty outside of the School of Music, with the approval of the Committee Chair and Associate Director for Graduate Studies.
While the topic for this "D.M.A. Document" will most often be connected with one of the Doctoral performance or composition projects, the student (with the advice of the Committee Chair) may choose another topic. The D.M.A. document is intended to be a study of a repertoire-based, pedagogical, or other professional topic that is related to the primary area of study of the student. The goal of the document is to provide other members of the profession with a research-oriented resource.
Typically, the paper is 50-100 pages in length, prepared in a scholarly fashion using a style guide (e.g. Chicago, APA, MLA) and containing either footnotes or endnotes and a complete bibliography. A written proposal including an overview, justification, review of literature, methodology, table of contents, and bibliography is to be presented to the advisory committee for discussion, comment, and approval before the writing begins. The student is to submit initial drafts of the paper to the committee or committee chair for revision, comment, and improvement. The final version of the paper is to be provided to the full committee three weeks in advance of the Project/Document Defense. If and when the committee has approved the document, a title page is prepared by the Associate Director for the signatures of the committee members. The final paper is placed on ETD file in the Graduate School for reference by faculty and student. The contents of the paper are the possession of the student and may be copyrighted for future publication.
The defense of the D.M.A. Document will be conducted by the student's Doctoral Advisory Committee. All members of the committee participate fully in the examination and cast a vote. Professors other than members of the committee may participate in the examination but have no vote in determining the outcome.
The chairperson of the advisory committee should convene the examination by introducing the candidate, giving his or her background, and indicating the general procedures to be followed. Although some variation in procedure from department to department and from committee to committee is likely, the following general procedures are appropriate. Initially, the candidate should be given a short period of time (from 15 to 20 minutes) for an overview of the research project for the benefit of those in attendance who have not read the document. After this presentation, the candidate should be questioned by members of the committee in a way that will require a genuine defense of both the project/document and its research procedures. All members of the committee should have read and thoroughly familiarized themselves with the document before the examination, and copies of the document (not necessarily in final form) should be available for reference during the defense.
After committee members have examined the candidate, others in attendance should be permitted to raise questions or make comments. As indicated earlier, the defense is a public affair and the candidate should be able to defend his or her work before anyone who cares to question it. When ample opportunity has been given for questions from the audience, those not on the doctoral committee should be excused while the committee asks any final questions it chooses. When the committee is satisfied, the candidate should be dismissed from the room while the committee deliberates and comes to a decision concerning the adequacy of the candidate's performance. When a decision is reached, the candidate should be informed and the committee chairperson should forward to the Graduate School both a report of the outcome of the examination and a recommendation that the student be approved for graduation.
If corrections are needed, they are to be made by the student and the final paper submitted to the Graduate School for inclusion in the ETD collection.Return to the Graduate Handbook home page.