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Doctor of Musical Arts (2020 entry)


The Sydney Conservatorium of Music places a high emphasis on its research activity, with a vibrant and diverse community of staff and students. The Doctor of Musical Arts at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music is a research-based doctorate in music performance, conducting or composition open to professional-skilled musicians with strong scholarly abilities and interests. The DMA will suit candidates with a research background who wish to enhance their already high-level research and creative work abilities and experience by taking advantage of the exceptional research and teaching community available at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. 

Students pursue a supervised research program leading to the submission of a thesis comprising two components: (i) a public presentation of creative work (recital, lecture recital, recording or other appropriate format), or a composition portfolio; and (ii) a written research dissertation of 25,000–30,000 words. Both components are expected to be an original contribution to the candidate's field of creative research. 

Research development is supported by research training and coursework. During the first full year of candidature (or the part-time equivalent) in the DMA, students undertake units of study in creative works projects, research methods and elective subjects, as well as participating in seminars. 


Subject areas

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your fee

How to apply

Research areas

Innovative and research-based performance, conducting or composition.

Applying for admission

1. Find a supervisor within the University whose field aligns with your proposed research. You may visit Research Supervisor Connect to start or contact the Conservatorium’s Associate Dean (Research Education) or Program Leader Postgraduate Research for advice. For information on our staff, click here.

2. Contact a research supervisor either through Research Supervisor Connect or email a supervisor and provide your academic/educational background and research experience with examples such as an academic transcript your CV/resume, your proposed research area and why you believe your research interests align with this supervisor.

3. In conjunction with your supervisor, develop plans for your proposed candidature and prepare a preliminary research proposal of 1500-2000 words on your creative work and dissertation plans. The proposal should outline the subject area, objectives, introductory literature review, method proposed, significance of your research and schedule of research.

4. If required, obtain two academic referee reports, each one written by a referee who is familiar with your previous academic achievements.

5. If you intend to study part-time (international student visa holders must enroll full-time), you will also need to supply evidence that shows you will have sufficient time available to plan and carry out the research under the supervision of the University, and complete the course within the maximum period allowed for a part-time enrolment; and a declaration from your employer (if relevant) confirming that you will be permitted to take the time required to effectively pursue your studies.

6. Submit your application along with your research proposal, CV, academic referee reports, academic transcripts, supporting evidence (where required) and other supporting documents such as identification and evidence of residency status. Applicants based in composition include a portfolio of compositions together with their application. Applications are made via the University's online application portal.

7. When you are ready to apply, select the `Apply’ button on the right hand side of this page.

8. Following receipt of the application, the Conservatorium will invite prospective candidates whose applications articulate a viable research area to attend a face to face interview, and, for those based in performance and conducting, including an audition. The applicant should demonstrate potential to undertake doctoral level creative work and research. When necessary interviews may be undertaken by skype, and auditions may be in the form of submitted recordings.

Completion requirement

Requirements and examination procedure as set out in the School resolutions for this course, and in the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011.

Admission requirement

To be eligible for admission to the Doctor of Musical Arts, you must have completed the equivalent of one of the following in a subject area related to your proposed research area: bachelor's degree with first class or second class honours or, master's degree by research or, master's degree by coursework with an independent research component such as a thesis, dissertation or a research project with a WAM of at least 80%. These criteria constitute the minimum requirements for eligibility and do not guarantee admission. That remains at the discretion of the relevant supervisors and Dean or Associate Dean, and access to supervision remains highly competitive. The University must certify that there are sufficient supervisory and other resources and facilities available to enable your candidature to be completed successfully.

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