Thank you for your interest in the Western Orthodox University Doctor of Sacred Music in Composition programme. The programme is designed for composers of an advanced standard, and allows for compositions for liturgical use or inspired by sacred subjects to be submitted for assessment.
The degree is open to sacred music composers in a variety of styles, and those who incorporate elements of popular music or non-Western music into their compositions are not excluded. However, first and foremost, the degree is a test of compositional skills and techniques, and the candidate should take care to ensure that, as well as being a satisfying piece of music in its own right, the work submitted shows an assured command of the musical forces in question and demonstrates sufficiently a variety of advanced aspects of the composer’s craft. It is unlikely that music that is predominantly straightforward harmonically and in structure, or that is written in a minimalist or simple popular style, would be able to demonstrate this.
Regulations for the degree of Doctor of Sacred Music (D.S.M.) in composition.
1. Format of the Examination
The candidate must send to the University not more than three substantial works of his or her own original composition upon which his or her claim for the degree is based; such works to include either an Oratorio, a Mass or Requiem, an extended work for piano or organ, an extended piece of Chamber Music, a Church Opera, or a symphonic work that has been inspired by a sacred subject, widely interpreted. The permissible sacred inspiration is not restricted to Christianity. Candidates are required to register for the degree, and may then proceed directly to submission.
Material submitted for D.S.M. must be the product of the candidate’s own work, and all quotations from the work of other composers should be disclosed. Candidates may not submit work for which a degree or diploma has already been conferred, either partially or in full.
Candidates found to be guilty of plagiarism will be disqualified from candidature or, if found to be so guilty after graduation, shall be deprived of their degree.
Candidates for the degree are not required to seek supervision or tuition in Composition, but for those wishing to do so it is offered by the University.
4. Registration at other institutions
Candidates are permitted to submit work prepared whilst registered as a student at another institution, subject to the provisions regarding originality stated above in regulation 2.
5. Previous experience of candidates
Candidates for the D.S.M. by composition must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, or a graduate diploma in music, or a diploma of appropriately high standard obtained in composition.
6. Expected standard of work
The standard of work expected from candidates is extremely high. At D.S.M. level the candidate’s composition shall not merely be free from errors, but shall indicate a possession of a genuine artistic merit that holds the attention of a musically-educated audience. Submissions for D.S.M. should be of publishable standard.
The presentation of the portfolio is regarded as in itself evidence of the candidate’s capabilities, and will be considered as such.
Candidates are recommended to adopt the following standard procedures:
All material should be presented on appropriately-sized manuscript paper, and on both sides of the paper. There should be adequate margins of at least 1½ inches on both the left and the right sides of the page.
Candidates should observe the following order of instruments:
In organ writing, the manual and pedal parts should be written on separate staves.
Candidates are required to submit a recording of a performance or of a sampled or sequenced demonstration of their portfolio. The recording should either be on compact disc or on cassette tape.
8. Submission requirements
Three copies of all material submitted are required. The portfolio should be either bound or contained securely in a clip file, and should include on a title page the name and address of the candidate, the title of the works, and the name of the degree for which they are submitted. Cassettes or CDs should be securely contained within the binding, in a pocket constructed for the purpose.
Candidates should note that all work submitted for examination will be retained by the University, and cannot be returned under any circumstances. Candidates are therefore recommended not to submit original documents (see also regulation 13).
It is recommended that a secure method of carriage be used in order to ensure the safe arrival of submissions. However, please do not use any method of carriage that requires a signature on delivery.
9. Examining Arrangements
Examination submissions shall be considered by the Examining Panel of the University convened for the purpose, which shall normally consist of at least two examiners. These examiners may be from within or outside the University. The Examining Panel will examine the candidate orally in the event of portfolios that lie on the pass/fail borderline. The decision of the Examining Panel shall be conveyed to the candidate as soon as is practically possible. The Examining Panel is empowered to recommend three courses of action to the University: 1. that the portfolio be accepted for the degree in question. 2. that the portfolio be accepted for the lower degree of M.S.M. 2. that the portfolio be referred with the opportunity for the candidate to re-submit on one further occasion. 3. that the portfolio not be accepted. Candidates are therefore advised to consider carefully the stage at which they wish to submit their portfolio for examination.
10. Re-submission after an unsuccessful submission
Candidates who have been unsuccessful in their submission for the award of D.S.M. may re-submit for the award on one further occasion only.
The Examining Panel are permitted to require the candidate to revise a part or parts of their submission before it can be accepted for a degree award. Such revision must be completed within the time specified by the Examining Panel (normally within six months of the original submission) and must receive approval from them before the candidate can be accepted for a degree. Candidates should note that the original submission will be retained by the University during this process.
12. Submission on the basis of previously published work
Candidates may submit for the University’s D.S.M. degree a composition or compositions that have been previously published, bearing in mind Regulation 2 above. They are required to state the details of the publication of their work (date of publication and publisher) upon submission, if these are not otherwise made clear in the submission itself. They should otherwise observe the regulations for the award of the degree by unpublished work.
13. Award of degrees
Candidates who have been advised by the Secretary that their portfolio for D.S.M. has been accepted may proceed to the award of the degree, subject to any revision that has been required by the Examining Panel.