Texas Tech University

Student & faculty in front of a computer

School of Music
Doctor of Musical Arts

Doctor of Musical arts in Composition

The Doctor of Musical Arts degree is oriented toward professional practice in music composition emphasizing the creation of musical works. The degree culminates in four doctoral composition projects, the last of which is the capstone major composition project. The projects are designed to suit the professional interests and aspirations of the student.

The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Composition at TTU is designed to provide the composer with a professional portfolio of music compositions and professional skills in preparation for careers in an ever-growing array of fields involved with the creation and design of music, including media music—commercial, video-gaming, film scoring, recording/engineering studio training, sound for animation, and music informatics—as well as careers as professional composers and in academia. We have established faculty for the long-standing emphases in computer music and traditional composition (chamber, wind band, orchestra, vocal, and choral areas). The flexibility built into the program allows the candidate to pursue coarse work that can lead to various career paths.

What Sets Us Apart

The DMA in Music Composition degree provides opportunities to explore education and creative experiences in many of the new music avenues that are now so easily accessible—media, commercial, recording, and computer music are available fields with opportunities to be explored with the help of our world-class faculty. The final doctoral project allows wide flexibility with a goal towards performance and career enhancement, and so can encompass an array of possibilities including traditional large ensemble works, but also chamber works, electronic works, mixed media, and music informatics (an emerging field for designing complex software and hardware-based music technologies). We particularly encourage interdisciplinary capstone projects that could incorporate a music composition with film, dance, theater, and other imaginative collaborations with a goal of live performance, recording, and filming to enhance the candidate's media exposure and reputation as part of their career development.

Combine Fields

Combine imaginative fields within composition to create a unique profile and a unique portfolio

Collaborative Projects

Combine music of any kind with the visual, dance, and theater arts

Interdisciplinary Vision

Help create career defining pathways by combining music with art installations, film, and dance works 

Music Media

Music Media is a fast-growing field within the composition discipline

Program Highlights

Our composition program includes intensive study in the creation of original music. We offer traditional focuses on either or both acoustic instrumental music and computer music, and have expanded into the fields of media composition where the creator can design and assemble a professional portfolio that is on the cutting edge of national and international standards. Performance opportunities abound as our talented performance students and faculty lend their musical skills to our composition projects, and our new technology areas can collaborate to realize your works.

The capstone project is the final of a set of four doctoral projects, all with particular attention to building a compelling and impressive portfolio of creative works. We seek for the candidate to have the ability to excel in one or a number of different compositional pathways. The paper may be on any relevant subject matter of interest with the goal of perfecting writing skills and developing publication potential.

Teaching Assistantships are available through both the Composition and Theory Areas to provide teaching experience for our candidates. The program requires 45 hours of coursework beyond the master's degree, with a capstone doctoral creative project.


There are four doctoral projects that represent the capstone of the DMA in Composition. They begin with a portfolio review, with attention given to the breadth of genres and media represented, mastery of orchestration and notational practice, or conversely, mastery of media and application processes, issues of performance practicality, and the presence of both a personal aesthetic and distinctive compositional voice. Performances of new and/or existing works are expected. The last two projects involve a significant original work and accompanying document. With the approval of the candidate's committee, we encourage both traditional types of work as well as any kind of interdisciplinary work. Pursuing new and imaginative ideas is especially endorsed.

Facilities & Technology

The Composition Area features a newly built computer music lab with iMac computers. Software includes Finale, Sibelius, Logic Pro, Audacity, Ableton, the Microsoft Suite, Adobe Suite, as well as software for specific sound design and media creation.

Our Equipment and Technology

In 2020, we began major updates in our production facilities. Concert venues and studios are now connected via Dante and NDI networks for the highest quality and efficient audio and video production workflow. Here are some examples of our equipment in service today.

  • Dante Mic Pre-Amps/ADC: multiple units of Focusrite RedNet MP8R and X2P
  • A range of Microphone brands that we use: Schoeps, DPA, Neumann, AKG, AEA, and Royer
  • Panasonic Professional 4K cameras, Blackmagic video switcher and video recorders

Composition faculty have additional resources for computer music and media generation as part of their teaching offices. 

Student Labs

Student Lab with iMac stations all equipped with keyboards and notation/DAW software

Student Labs

Professional Equipment

Experience using 4K professional digital cameras and advanced recording techniques

Professional Equipment

Technology Courses

Computer music sound design projects and Max interactive live music courses available

Technology Courses

Live Recordings

Experiences in studio and live recording, as well as recording engineering are available, both as courses and/or employed work-study programs

Live Recordings


We welcome students from many different backgrounds and experiences. Entering first-year students with limited composition experience will take an Introduction to Composition class that will begin the process of understanding the many different paths/tracks to take. The class will emphasize an understanding of a variety of musical languages and the many different kinds of composition in today's world. Of course, there will also be composing, with the goal of public performances of your works. Individual lessons within a faculty studio will normally begin after taking this Intro class. Students with a large and developed portfolio will usually be assigned studio lessons.


To be accepted into one of the Master's or Doctoral Degree programs in music, the applicant must be approved by the School of Music and admitted by the Texas Tech Graduate School. Instructions are here: Application Procedure [link to]

  1. A portfolio is required. Please choose up to three representative scores with recordings (a recording of a live performance is preferred, but a MIDI generated audio track is acceptable).

If applying for a media emphasis, again a portfolio is required. Please choose up to three representative works in audio/video format. Since these works are often without a score, please also provide written information on the applications used, and the process used to create each submission.

  1. The following are from the Application Procedure and are listed here for your convenience and for additional information that is required.
  2. A complete curriculum vitae showing your training and experience—please include:

A list of compositions, each with instrumentation, duration, year composed, performance info if available; if media compositions, each with the same information, but also include apps used.

Other musical activities (teaching, organizing, conducting, etc.)

Technology skills—music (notation programs, DAW's, music programming languages, sound apps)

Technology skills—other non-music applications (computer programming and languages, web design, productivity, video editing, graphic design, etc.)

  1. A personal statement on your accomplishments so far, and your goals for this degree plan and future professional aspirations.
  2. Sample of written work, such as term paper, master's thesis, published article, etc.
  3. Letters of recommendation (2-3) are required.
  4. A personal interview with the composition faculty is required. This will be set up after other application materials are complete.


Kimberly Calvert-Gibson
Graduate Coordinator




Some of our popular course offerings include:

Computer Music with Max/Msp

A course in designing interactive environments for live instruments and sound design. The course has a capstone music composition project that can be performed on the TTU Computer Music Concert (the T-Tech Concert). Long term projects are encouraged as part of a larger musical vision that can become a major part of your portfolio works.

Recording I and Recording II

New courses that are designed as part of our commercial music degree plan. Graduate students may design their curriculum to include these popular and job-oriented courses into their program. The courses explore the latest creative methods and technology in sound and video productions, including live concert recording/filming, ADR for Anime, and more. Hands on experience in mic placement, DAW work, mixdown, and engineering are invaluable experiences we are proud to offer our students.

Music Informatics

Explores new possibilities in a combined field of music, science, and technology, through developing electronic musical instruments using Arduino and other devices. Further study explores the advanced use of technology in music and media productions through developing new electronic musical instruments/devices using Arduino/Teensy, sensors, and a 3D Printer. 


Alumni Success & Careers


Media Music 
Commercial Music 
Film Scoring 
Video-Gaming Music 
Recording/Engineering Studio Training
Sound for Animation 
Music Informatics 
Professional Composer 
Academic Teaching Positions



Peter Fischer

Peter Fischer
Composition, Area Chair

Hideki Isoda

Hideki Isoda
Composition, Director of Media Production