Doctor of Music

Doctor of Music
The full-dress robes of a Doctor of Music at Cambridge.

The Doctor of Music degree (D.Mus., D.M.,Mus.D. or Mus.Doc.), like other doctorates, is an academic degree of the highest level. The D.Mus. is intended for musicians and composers who wish to combine the highest attainments in their area of specialization with doctoral-level academic study in music. (In the UK, apart from only a few universities (such as those of Oxford and Cambridge) and some music conservatories, the majority of doctoral level qualifications in music are styled with the generic doctoral title of PhD).

D.Mus. students complete advanced studies in one of typically three musical areas: performance (including conducting); musical composition; or musicology. Assessment varies with subject matter and University. A musicologist would be expected to produce a thesis on a specialised subject matter, whilst a performer would give recitals, and a composer would present a portfolio of compositions. Once obtained, D.Mus performers and composers may expect to be able to progress into their associated professional careers, whilst musicologists may continue with post-doctoral research.

In the United Kingdom, Ireland and some Commonwealth countries, the DMus is a higher doctorate, awarded on the basis of a substantial portfolio of compositions and/or scholarly publications on music. Most universities restrict candidature to their own graduates or staff, which is a reversal of the practice in former times, when (unlike higher degrees in other faculties) candidates for the degree were not required to be a Master of Arts. While most graduate programs in the United States offer a D.M.A. degree, Indiana University has been issuing the DMus degree since 1953.[1]

The Doctor of Music degree has also been awarded honoris causa when presented to musicians and composers such as Joseph Haydn,[2] Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Joan Baez, Matthew Bellamy, Richard Strauss, Daniel Barenboim, Bruce Dickinson,[3] Bob Dylan, Kenny Garrett, Billy Joel, Mark Knopfler and Sir Paul McCartney. It has also been awarded as an honorary degree to musical artists who were not composers, including the ballet dancers Dame Alicia Markova and Dame Beryl Grey, as well as female royalty regardless of their experience in music[citation needed].

See also


  1. ^ Correspondence with Graduate Music Office, Indiana University Bloomington.
  2. ^ Hughes, Rosemary S. M.. "Haydn at Oxford 1773–1791". Music and Letters 20: 242–249. doi:10.1093/ml/XX.3.242. 
  3. ^ "IRON MAIDEN Singer Receives Honorary Doctorate In Music From Queen Mary University". July 20, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 

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