DMus Composition

Course summary

Creative research in humanities has become an important part of postgraduate study at Masters and Doctoral level. It has helped performers and practitioners remediate their work as research, and allowed practitioners to reflect on the processes of practice as much as its ramifications. Like all our courses, the DMus reflects the mission and values of University of West London. It enhances progression and quality in education, and encourages widening participation.

Its emphasis on creative research, and its 'submission pathway' attracts recently qualified postgraduates and professional musicians who want doctoral recognition of their skills and experience - and this is sympathetic with the School's academic plan to attract mature and part-time students, together with the University's vision to reach out to students of all ages through flexible education.

The DMus extends the rich and eclectic musical experience our students enjoy at undergraduate and Masters level, to doctoral level, and enhances the London College of Music's growing postgraduate community. The DMus also maximises our research strengths in composition, performance and music technology.

Course detail

The DMus is a practice-led doctorate, and an alternative to the traditional PhD for experienced practitioners who wish to show an outstanding and innovative contribution a specific area of expertise.

MPhil
After a year of full-time study or two years of part-time study, You will have completed:

  • a portfolio of notated music composition, 30 to 40 minutes in performance duration - you may submit a recording of the portfolio piece, but this is not compulsory
  • a critical commentary of at least 5,000 words.

The MPhil portfolio may comprise several pieces to show a range of contrasting abilities, or just one structurally ambitious work. It may be part of an even larger work, which you can use for the DMus portfolio. Your portfolio piece should be innovative, and show a new technique within, or an extension to, an existing practice.

Your critical commentary will provide:

  • a 'literature review' of contemporary practice in the same field
  • an analysis and explanation of existing techniques
  • an explanation of how the creative work represents an extension of, or reaction to, this practice, and how it comprises an original contribution to the area of expertise
  • an account of the creative research process
  • conclusions and suggestions for future developments in creative practice.

You will normally be required to complete the Level 7 Research Methods module.


DMus
After approximately three years of full-time study or six years' part-time study, you will have completed:

  • a portfolio of notated music composition, 75 to 90 minutes in performance duration - of which the MPhil portfolio forms the first 30 to 40 minutes. You may submit a recording of the portfolio piece, but this is not compulsory
  • a critical commentary of at least 20,000 words, of which the first 5,000 words will be your MPhil critical commentary.

The DMus portfolio may comprise several pieces to show a range of contrasting abilities, but must include one structurally ambitious work lasting 20 to 30 minutes. Alternatively, you may submit just one extended structurally ambitious piece, which your MPhil portfolio may be part of. Your portfolio piece should be innovative, and show a new technique within, or an extension to, an existing practice.

Your critical commentary will provide:

  • a 'literature review' of contemporary practice in the same field
  • an analysis and explanation of existing techniques
  • an explanation of how the creative work represents an extension of, or reaction to, this practice, and how it comprises an original contribution to the area of expertise
  • an account of the creative research process
  • conclusions and suggestions for future developments in creative practice.


DMus by Submission

Your submission must include:

  • a portfolio of notated music composition, 75 to 90 minutes in performance duration. You may submit a recording of the portfolio piece, but this is not compulsory
  • a critical commentary of at least 20,000 words.

The DMus by Submission portfolio may comprise several pieces to show a range of contrasting abilities, but must include one structurally ambitious work lasting 20 to 30 minutes. Alternatively, you may submit just one extended structurally ambitious piece. At least one of your portfolio pieces will have been composed within the two years before you registered. They do not have to be published works, but should be innovative, and show a new technique within, or an extension to, an existing practice.

Your critical commentary will provide:

  • a 'literature review' of contemporary practice in the same field
  • an analysis and explanation of existing techniques
  • an explanation of how the creative work represents an extension of, or reaction to, this practice, and how it comprises an original contribution to the area of expertise
  • an account of the creative research process
  • conclusions and suggestions for future developments in creative practice.

The DMus by Submission is ideally suited to professional composers.


Proposal
Your proposal must not exceed 4,500 words. Unless you are studying for your DMus by Direct Entry or Submission, you will complete this proposal as part of the assessment regime for the Level 7 Research Methods module.

The proposal for the MPhil/DMus in Composition is different from a proposal for a PhD. The core of the proposal will be a list of works you intend for portfolio submission. It should also include the anticipated duration of and instrumentation for each piece. Proposals for DMus by Submission should also append the compositions, and you may choose to discuss the artistic ambition of each work. You must indicate, through backdated registration, the pieces intended for inclusion.

Although most of the pieces will be based on original ideas, you can also submit works developed from pre-existing material - for example, a folk-song arrangement or a fantasia on a theme.

Your proposal may discuss current musical or extra-musical influences on your work, and should explain how your portfolio constitutes an original and substantial contribution to the area of practice. For this, you should include:

  • a 'literature review' of contemporary practice in the same field
  • an analysis and explanation of existing techniques in the field
  • an explanation of how the creative work represents an extension of, or reaction to, contemporary practice.

Your proposal should also include a timescale for each part of the project, and append an outline bibliography. You may also identify areas of technical development, analysing how your portfolio pieces might enable this transition.

You may also include a CV with your proposal.

Assessment
This will involve an oral examination, conducted in much the same way as a traditional PhD. A viva voce will also be necessary when you 'exit' with the MPhil qualification.

Entry requirements

Either
A Masters degree in Composition with Merit or Distinction;

Or
At least five years' of appropriate professional experience as a composer, and a degree in Music (including Composition) with First Class Honours.

Candidates who, at interview, demonstrate an exceptionally high level of musicianship and autonomy may be considered for Direct Entry. (In such circumstances, the work will already exhibit impeccable craftsmanship and a thoroughly convincing sense of originality. The application proposal will demonstrate an impressively clear artistic and scholarly purpose.) Similarly, candidates who transfer from another institution with 'advanced standing' may also be considered for Direct Entry.

Equivalent overseas qualifications will be considered. (IELTS 7).

International students need to meet our English language requirement at either IELTS at 7.0 or above, and a minimum of 7.0 for each of the 4 individual components (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening).

In some countries where teaching is in English, we may accept local qualifications. Please visit http://www.uwl.ac.uk/international/your-country to check for local equivalencies.

We offer pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet these requirements. Find out more about our English Language courses

Fees

UK fees

Main fee
GBP2,000

International (non-UK/EU) fees

Main fee
GBP5,500
Find out if you are a home or overseas student.

Funding

Find out more about funding, scholarships and bursaries

Please note that fees given are per academic year unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to change. Costs can increase each year.

How to apply

Tips on applying

Apply for this course

During the course

What our students say

Jobs and placements

Career and study progression

The DMus may lead to a career in teaching and research in higher education.