DMA Final Project

The Final Project represents the culmination of intensive and original research that will make a meaningful contribution to knowledge in the student’s field. Students should begin to consider a topic(s) for their Final Project early in their doctoral study. Ideas should be discussed and explored with their applied professor and their major advisor. Written work on a research document or a lecture-recital/performance document may begin only after a prospectus brief(s) has been approved and the student has achieved candidacy for the degree. 

Suggested topics:

  • The investigation of any significant historical document relating to a composition, analysis, or performance of a work or group of works
  • An exploration of the musicological problems (text, dating, extra-musical considerations) relating to a work or group of works
  • Preparation of a performing edition of a work presently unavailable in a modern edition
  • A detailed and sophisticated analysis of a number of works

There are three options for the Final Document, each of which carries one unit of credit.

Programs and individual Major Advisors have the flexibility to recommend or require any of the following three options to their students. 

1. Major Research Document

The Research Document (595) must represent intensive investigation and culminate in an original contribution to scholarship, pedagogy, literature, or performance, and is approximately a minimum of 100 pages in length. The major advisor is typically the ultimate reader for the document. To pursue the Major Research Document option, a student must receive Music Studies program approval in their first year of coursework, preferably after taking the Graduate Review of History, as well as approval from the primary faculty member. The approval process would examine their writing and research skills before a committee is ever formed. See office for details on the approval process.

2. Lecture Recital/Performance Document

The Lecture Recital/Performance Document (585-0-20) may be elected to fulfill the Final Project Requirement. The lecture portion that accompanies the recital must be written, substantiated by footnotes, and – in some programs – approved by jury examination no later than four weeks before the presentation of the lecture-recital. The performance portion must be studied with an applied professor. The lecture-recital should consist of no less than 30 minutes of spoken lecture and no less than 45 minutes of music performance. The Advisory Committee must approve lecture notes before any written work may proceed. Memorization of the performance portion is determined through discussion with the principal applied professor. The performance document will consist of approximately a minimum of 75 pages.

3. Lecture Recital/Coursework

The Lecture Recital/Coursework (585-0-21) may be elected to fulfill the Final Project Requirement. The lecture portion that accompanies the recital must be written, substantiated by footnotes, and – in some programs – approved by jury examination no later than four weeks before the presentation of the lecture-recital. The performance portion must be studied with an applied professor. The Lecture Recital should consist of no less than 30 minutes of lecture speaking and no less than 45 minutes of music performance. The Advisory Committee must approve lecture notes before any written work may proceed. Memorization of the performance portion is determined through discussion with the principal applied professor. The performance document will consist of approximately a minimum of 25 pages.

A required component of this Lecture Recital would include at least 30 minutes of lecture and a 25-page minimum written program analysis based upon the research for the Final Project Requirement. The length and scope of the recital program analysis is left to each program, but the length and scope of the program analysis will be under review as part of the qualifying oral exam. This requirement would demonstrate the skills learned in coursework for research and public presentation, in a format that is relevant to the modern job search. Program analysis, upon approval and completion, would be filed with the Assistant Director of Graduate Services and Financial Aid.

Three (3) units of additional coursework in Music Studies would be required for the Lecture Recital/Coursework option. When added to existing requirements, a total of nine (9) courses in Music Studies over two years would be completed. Coursework that would count towards this proposal would be pre-approved each year by Music Studies program coordinators, and would be subject to approval of the DMA Major Advisor. In the event that a Major Advisor has not been selected, the coursework would be subject to approval by the primary program advisor or program Assistant Director.

Courses taken for the Lecture Recital/Coursework option must be at the 400-level, will be research oriented and must have at least a 15-page written paper as a required component of the course. The class syllabus may be requested to confirm the requirement is being met. A student must receive at least a “B” grade or higher in each of the 3 additional courses in order to count the coursework towards the requirement.

The DMA committee for the Lecture Recital/Coursework option differs in membership, in that it consists of a minimum of two program faculty. A member of the Department of Music Studies may be on this committee, but is not required. The DMA committee must attend the Qualifying Oral Exam, review the final project and program analysis, and attend the Lecture Recital. A final review should take place after completion of the Final Project Requirement, to provide feedback on the execution of all requirements for the degree. The Lecture Recital may be recorded in the event that a committee member cannot attend in person. No faculty from the Department of Music Studies would be required to review the Final Project in this instance; however, the DMA Major Advisor may request that a DMA student include a member of the Department of Music Studies on the committee, depending upon the topic and scope of the proposed Final Project.

Regardless of which option is selected, the Final Project Requirement carries one unit of credit. Students may register for the Final Project Requirement (585/595) at any time during coursework and prior to entering Continuation. The final grade for 585/595, however, will not be submitted until all aspects of the Final Project Requirement have been completed. Until the Final Project Requirement is completed, student will receive a grade of K, or ‘work in progress’.

Formatting the document

DMA degrees are administered completely through the Bienen School of Music; however, when writing a document, students should follow the style guidelines defined by The Graduate School at Northwestern University:

Dissertation Formatting Guidelines

Note the proper format for the title page for DMA documents. DO NOT follow The Graduate School title page guidelines for the title page.

DMA Title Document Page Example

Oral Defense of the Final Project

When a DMA Final Project, including all approved revisions, has been completed and approved by the Advisory Committee, a defense of the document is scheduled. The defense includes questions from committee members concerning any aspect of the document or documents. The Advisory Committee may still ask for minor changes and re-submission after a defense.

Final Project Submission and Archiving

Following the successful defense of a Final Project Requirement, the signed Final DMA Major Project Requirement/Defense Report is submitted to Graduate Services. An electronic copy will be uploaded to the digital repository called Arch. You would login with your NetID and upload the DMA Final Project Requirement to become part of the library’s digital preservation program. Authors retain copyright and have the ability to limit access to their works to Northwestern affiliates or set a future release date if they wish.

Final projects may also be submitted to University Microfilms International (“UMI”, a division of ProQuest) at the discretion of the Advisory Committee. Because UMI retains the master microfilm and responds to all requests for copies from libraries and individuals, the student is required to complete the microfilm agreement form, describing in detail the author’s and UMI’s responsibilities related to copyright violations.

It is also advisable to obtain a copyright, which protects the author’s rights to the contents of the Major Document. Written work that is not copyrighted at the time of its first publication cannot be copyrighted at a later date for the purpose of appearing in another form, unless the original has been thoroughly and completely revised so as to result in a substantially new work. UMI will secure a copyright in the name of the author upon payment of the appropriate fee. If UMI is to act as the agent in securing copyright, this must be indicated on the microfilm agreement form.

ProQuest

If a DMA student wishes to submit their Final Document to ProQuest, he or she will need to fill out a form to request a publishing agreement. There are three options of preparing the document for submission - paper submission, PDF for online submission or via FTP site.

Additional Information about ProQuest