Taught course

Musical Arts

University of Otago · Division of Humanities

Entry requirements

Admission to the degree programme shall be subject to the approval of the Senate.

Every candidate must be a university graduate and produce evidence of ability to undertake study in the proposed area. Such evidence shall include:

  • a Bachelor’s degree with first or upper second class Honours or equivalent; or
  • a Master’s degree (including an appropriate research component); or
  • appropriate experience in the proposed area of study.

A candidate for a Master of Music degree may apply to transfer to candidature for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, and may have the date of admission backdated as is considered appropriate.

If your first language is not English you need to meet our English language requirements as follows: IELTS score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0); we also accept a number of other English language tests. Due to COVID-19, we currently accept Duolingo English Test (DET), IELTS Indicator Test, and TOEFL iBT Special home Edition.

Don’t meet the English language requirements? The University of Otago Language Centre "English for Otago" programme offers a pathway for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to meet the English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Months of entry


Course content

The Doctor of Musical Arts is a three-year full-time programme in Music with three areas of specialisation: Performance, Composition or Studio Production. The DMA offers creative musicians the opportunity to develop their skills to the highest artistic and professional levels, while working within the innovative and stimulating environment of Otago's Music Department.

Attaining a DMA will demonstrate your mastery in a creative field of music performance, composition or studio production. The DMA signals to the professional and creative musical world that you are capable of

independently conceiving and presenting high quality musical creative outputs in your area of specialisation.

The degree of Doctor of Musical Arts is awarded on the basis of the presentation of:

  • a performance programme;
  • a portfolio of compositions; or
  • a studio production.

The submission of an exegesis pertaining to the performances, compositions or studio productions will be required. The exegesis is a scholarly critique and analysis of the process involved in each case. Each artistic production and the exegesis (all of which are considered research outputs) should give evidence of the candidate’s ability to carry out research, that the candidate has shown originality and independence in research and artistic creation, and that the candidate has made a significant contribution to knowledge in the particular field. The work in the exegesis must be at a level worthy of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The research should be of a kind that a diligent and competent student might reasonably be expected to complete within three years of full-time study, and must achieve creative outputs that demonstrate a professional level of skills,

competence and originality.

Structure of the Programme

The Senate shall approve the proposed area of study on the recommendation of the Head of the Department of Music and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).

As a guide to the candidate, the recommended relative workload weighting can vary from 90% for the creative portfolio, performances or studio productions, and 10% for the exegesis, through to 70% for the creative portfolio, performances or studio productions, and 30% for the exegesis. The workload weighting will be determined by the Department's Postgraduate Committee, based on the nature of the proposed project. Detailed and descriptive programme notes should accompany each performance. Students are required to sit an oral examination.

Information for international students

Otago offers students an unrivalled campus experience and a vibrant, social student culture. The majority of Otago’s 21,000 students live, work and play in Dunedin - New Zealand’s only true university city. Otago is home to over 3,000 students, from over 100 countries.

Fees and funding

International students
NZ $32,696

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • DMA
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Awarded in Composition, Studio Production or Performance.

Course contact details