Dissertation Musicology Degree

Three to Five Year Degree (45-30)

The Supervisory Committee creates the Doctor of Musical Arts program for each student in order to fulfill the best interests of that student’s education. Therefore, it is important that a student form a Supervisory Committee as soon as possible after entering the doctoral program. It is the responsibility of the Supervisory Committee to assure an appropriate program of study for each student. Program requirements assume an academic background equivalent to a master’s degree in composition. See the master’s degree program requirements. The Graduate School requires ninety (90) credits for the doctoral degree, sixty (60) of which must be taken at the University of Washington. With the approval of the degree-granting unit, thirty (30) credits from an appropriate master’s degree may be counted toward the total enrollment requirement. In addition to coursework at the master’s level, the following is a breakdown of coursework required for the doctoral degree.

Major Area: 45
Graduate Composition Instruction: Enroll for a minimum of 18 credits, or until candidacy:
  • Music 591 Composition Lessons (3 credits ea.)
Doctoral Recital: Present a recital of graduate compositions prior to the defense of the dissertation, or demonstrate significant record of professional performances approved by the supervisory committee.  The recital must be scheduled with the approval of appropriate faculty. All recitals must be documented as “A recital in fulfillment of the requirement for the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree.” The program and recital approval form signed by appropriate faculty are placed in the student’s file.
Dissertation: A student must register for a minimum of 27 credits of dissertation writing, MUSIC 800 (D), over a period of at least three (3) quarters. At least one of the three quarters must come after the student has passed the General Examination. (See Final Examination)27
Other Studies in Music: 18
Music Electives: In addition to coursework taken at the master’s level, a student must take at least 18 credits of approved 400- or 500-level courses chosen from the fields of Composition, Analysis, Computer Music, Music Theory, Music History, Ethnomusicology, Performance, and Digital Arts Technology. Interdisciplinary study may be taken according to interest.
Other Electives: 27

Total Credits: 90

  • Foreign Language: Students must pass a foreign language examination, choice of language to be approved by the supervisory committee. If a student has fulfilled this requirement for the master’s degree, no additional language is required.
  • General Examination: The General Examination consists of a written examination and a general oral examination. The oral examination consists of three oral presentations, on topics to be approved by the supervisory committee: the first two presentations are to be given in the context of our weekly masterclass ("Composers Lab"), while the third one is to be given to the supervisory committee. The written examination will be taken before the oral examination and will focus on topics chosen by the supervisory committee. Doctoral students should have their committee established at least four months before the General Examination. They may sign up for MUSIC 600 with members of their committee in order to prepare for the General Examination. The Request for the General Examination must be submitted online to the Graduate School no later than three (3) weeks before the examination. The Graduate School requires completion of 60 credits of coursework (including coursework taken for the master’s degree) prior to the General Examination, 18 of which must be from the 500-level or above and 18 of which are from the 400-level or above and numerically graded.
  • Final Examination: Prepare a dissertation that consists of one or more substantial compositions approved by the student’s Supervisory Committee and present an oral defense (Final Examination) of the composition(s). Students must submit a draft of the dissertation to the Reading Committee no later than five (5) weeks before the Final Examination date. Once the Reading Committee has read a draft of the dissertation and agrees that it is ready to defend, the Final Examination Request form, signed by all members of the Supervisory Committee including the GSR, is submitted to the Graduate School no later than three (3) weeks before the exam date. See the Graduate School home page, http://www.grad.washington.edu, for information on formatting the exam, turning in the dissertation etc. A student must satisfy the Graduate School’s requirements for the degree at the time the degree is to be awarded.

Rev. 3/15

Admission requirements

An appropriate bachelor honours degree, or an appropriate postgraduate diploma, or a 480 credit bachelor's degree with a minimum of 96 credits at NQF level 8 in Musicology with an average of 60%. A student who is admitted on the strength of a postgraduate diploma or a 480 credit bachelor's degree with a minimum of 96 credits at level 8 and who has not completed a module in research methodology may be required to complete such a module (HRHMV81) at NQF level 8 for NDP before he/she will be allowed to register for the research proposal module. In addition to the above requirements, applicants must submit a transcript or an academic record, as well as a document describing their intended research. Students will be accepted on the following criteria:
Suitability and viability of the intended research;
Adequate supervisory capacity and research expertise in the discipline or department.
An approved selection procedure which is in line with Unisa's policies on equality and diversity in the discipline or department.

Research master's degree

A research master's degree comprises either a single advanced research project, culminating in the production and acceptance of a dissertation, or a research proposal module (where the outcome is an acceptable research proposal on a research topic). Once this module is finalised, the student may then proceed to register for the research component (ie a dissertation).

Research focus areas

Click here to view a list of departments and research focus areas for the College of Human Sciences.

Research outline

Unisa’s admission policy has changed and you are now required to submit a detailed research outline for each master's and doctoral qualification for which you apply. No application submitted without a detailed research outline will be considered. Although this research outline may differ for each qualification or academic department, the basic information required is as follows:

  • Title
  • Summary of topic
  • Short literature review
  • Expected contribution of the study
  • Methodology to be followed
  • Availability of the data
  • List of references
  • Reasons why you are interested in the topic

Student fees and funding your studies

Application fee

Pay the online application fee of R105,00 once you have received your Unisa student number. Please note that the application fee is non-refundable even if you decide not to study through Unisa or do not qualify for admission to Unisa.

Click here for student funding.

Student fees

Click here for the 2017 student fee information. The fee information for the 2018 academic year will be available at the time of registration. 


Only students whose application for admission was approved and re-registering students (who made sufficient progress during the current academic year) will be allowed to register online within the approved registration period for the 2018 academic year. No printed registration forms will be accepted.

Click here for registration information.

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