University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Doctor of Musical Arts

Course structure

Throughout candidature, students will work with their supervisory team as agreed.

During the first year of candidature (or the part-time equivalent), students commence work on the development of the research project in consultation with their supervisors. This work is supported through enrolment in units of study to develop skills and knowledge to support development of research-led composition/performance and scholarship. Students also participate in the Creative Work Seminar.

During the second and third years (or part-time equivalent), students focus on the development of the research working with the support of the supervisors towards the final submission of creative work and dissertation. During the second year students will give a mid-candidature presentation.

The supervised research program will culminate in the completed thesis including creative work to be submitted for examination as described below.

Progress Plan and course requirements

In addition to the information given below, candidates must fulfil the requirements stated in the Progress Plan, and in the University rule and policies relevant to higher degrees by research.

Candidature includes:

  • Completion of units of study giving credit for a total of 24 credit points during the first full-time year of candidature, or its equivalent part-time. These include participation and presentation at the interdisciplinary Creative Work Seminar.
  • Confirmation presentation late in the first full-time year of candidature
  • Mid-candidature presentation: a substantial presentation of creative work (recital, lecture recital and so on) or an approved format (composition) accompanied by critical notes normally at or by the conclusion of the second year of full-time study, or equivalent.
  • Program of supervised research leading to a thesis comprising (i) a substantial final creative work presentation/portfolio and (ii) a dissertation of 25,000-35,000 words, both of which shall be an original contribution to the field concerned.

Units of Study

The University of Sydney introduced a new coursework requirement for Higher Degree by Research students commencing from Research Period 1 2021. Coursework is intended to give students the opportunity to take units of study that expand their existing skills or work toward developing novel capabilities that will complement their research and career development. Units of study students can choose to fulfil the Higher Degree by Research coursework requirement are listed in Table R of the Interdisciplinary Studies Handbook. Students can enrol in units of study in Sydney Student and plan professional and academic development activities with their supervisors in the Research Education Candidature System. Award requirements for each degree are outlined in the respective course resolutions.

Candidates complete the following units of study during the first full-time year or part-time equivalent

  • MCGY5111 Creative Work Seminar 1
  • MCGY5112 Creative Work Seminar 2
  • 12 credit points of elective units of study normally selected from the Conservatorium's list in Table R or other approved postgraduate electives.

Preparation of the thesis

At the end of the candidature the student will submit the complete thesis for examination. The thesis will include both the final presentation of creative work or composition portfolio and the written research dissertation. A preface can be used to introduce and contextualize the components of the thesis, and students should consider the entire project when choosing the thesis title. Where performance forms part of the thesis, the performance will be presented to the examiners in recorded format. Candidates preparing a final creative work presentation (recital, lecture recital, recording) as part of the thesis must ensure that a suitable recording is made for presentation to the examiners. Candidates preparing a composition portfolio are expected to include recordings of the included compositions.

Students should also refer to the Higher Degree by Research pages on the University’s Current Students website for further information on preparation for submission and examination.

Further information

Refer to the Higher Degree by Research pages in the Current Students website and to the relevant policies available in the University Policy Register.