Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition (DMA)
The D.M.A. program is designed for composers who have already reached a high level of proficiency and artistry in their fields and who may wish to teach at the university level. This program offers an opportunity to bring creative and performance achievement to a high level while enriching individual backgrounds with academic studies, including specialized training in music history and theory, and other areas. Graduate student composers work closely with faculty in composition and music theory, and are expected to compose major works for public performance in addition to fulfilling course requirements.
What makes the program unique?
Considered one of the finest programs of its kind in Canada, the UBC Composition Division provides an array of opportunities for the creation, exploration and performance of contemporary music.In addition to a variety of course offerings, the division sponsors numerous composition events, including regularly scheduled Student Composer Concerts, seminars, workshops and collaborations with local professional ensembles, performances by the Contemporary Players ensemble, and annual readings sessions by the UBC Symphony Orchestra and the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble. The Composition Division also frequently hosts world-renowned guest composers and performing ensembles from across Canada and abroad. The School houses a state-of-the-art electronic music studio for students interested in creating works which involve sound synthesis, digital audio editing, or interactive computer music.
Graduate student composers have occasions to hear their works in regularly scheduled concerts as well as in their degree recitals. The UBC Symphony performs or reads students' orchestra pieces annually and the choirs are all active in presenting student works. The computer music studio is of considerable scope and is open to students on a 24-hour basis. Visit the compositions division page for more information about the program. https://music.ubc.ca/composition
I knew I wanted to pursue graduate studies at a university with a strong choral program, and where I could study with a composition teacher who specializes in choral music. Since choral composition is a relatively small sub-field within composition, there were only a handful of universities that offered what I was looking for, and UBC ended up being the best fit for me.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
Supply a brief statement of intent that outlines your professional goals as a composer and your reasons for applying to this program at UBC. Submit a term paper (not less than ten pages in length). Submit hard-copy scores of at least five (5) works for varied media. Submit corresponding audio/video of these works.
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 93
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 6.5
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
Prior degree, course and other requirements
Prior Degree Requirements
M.Mus degree in composition, or acceptable equivalent
i. Outstanding ability in composition ii. M.Mus. degree in composition, or acceptable equivalent
A portfolio of PDF scores and corresponding audio/video of least five (5) works for varied media. Submission instructions will be emailed to applicants after the application deadline. Upload deadline is January 3.
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2022 Intake
Application Open Date15 September 2021
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date10 September 2022
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition (DMA)
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
The 1200-seat, world-class Chan Centre for Performing Arts, one of North America's premier musical venues, the historic Old Auditorium and the intimate Roy Barnett Recital Hall form the core of UBC Music’s performing venues. The UBC Computer Music Studio is a teaching studio for the use of students in the electroacoustic music, computer music, and film scoring courses. The ICICS Computer Music Studio is available for students interested in pursuing research in Digital Audio or Interactive Computer Music.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,732.53||$3,043.77|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$1,052.34 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,126.20 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Program Funding Packages
Students admitted to the School of Music’s graduate programs are automatically considered for scholarships under the GSI (Graduate Support Initiative) program. These competitive awards typically range from $1,000 to 12,000 and are guaranteed for two to four years.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Research Assistantships (GRA)
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
9 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 0 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 8 graduates:
Sample Employers in Higher Education'Gh. Dima' Academy of Music
University of Alberta
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationCypress Choral Music Inc.
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationComposer (2)
Artistic Director: Jubilate Vocal Ensemble
Music Theory Instructor
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition (DMA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
|2018||Dr. Koenig explored the process of creating a musical representation of the emotions experienced from the perspective of a child who has become lost. The various emotional stages were transformed into musical ideas, motifs, and phrases for full orchestra. The subsequent work was able to express this narrative without specific program notes.|
|2018||Dr. Kobayashi studied musical composition, theory, and technology. In the themes of embodied virtuality and musical affordance, he developed interactive performance systems and generative programs. His thesis piece Forms, for string quartet and computer, represents the dynamic integrity of phenomena that form the universe harmoniously.|
|2018||Dr. Kuo completed her DMA degree in music composition. She wrote a large orchestral work, titled Urban Suite, and several pieces of chamber music during her study. Her thesis, Fantasies, is a sixteen-minute suite for a chamber ensemble.|
In addition to a variety of course offerings, the division sponsors numerous composition events, including regularly scheduled Student Composer Concerts, seminars, workshops and collaborations with local professional ensembles, performances by the Contemporary Players ensemble, and annual readings sessions by the UBC Symphony Orchestra and the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble.