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Graduate Composition


Performed in over 450 venues worldwide, our composition faculty write in a wide range of styles and idioms, and we encourage our students to develop and refine their own voices.  The Department prides itself on the close relationship between student composers and our large and excellent graduate performance program.  The tradition of new music championship runs deep in the Department, which encourages performers, composers, and scholars to interact in integral ways.


Composition Faculty

Matthew Barnson, Composition, Theory & Musicianship
Nirmali Fenn
, Composition, Theory & Musicianship
Perry Goldstein
, Composition, Theory & Musicianship  
Margaret Schedel
,   Composition, Computer Music & Theory
Daria Semegen
, Composition, Theory & Electronic Music
Daniel Weymouth
, Composition, Computer Music & Theory


Graduate Studies in Composition

The Master Of Arts in Music (Composition)

The capstone of the MA in Composition is a composition portfolio.  Preparation for this includes a grounding in Western classical theory (musicianship, counterpoint, and analysis), music technology, orchestration, specialized composition topics courses, and participation in weekly Composers Forum meetings.  A principal aspect of training is weekly composition lessons.  We operate on an “open studio” model: students have the option of studying with several teachers over the course of their study. 

In the second year, in addition to submission of the composition portfolio, students take a qualifying exam in analysis of tonal and post-tonal music. 

The PhD in  Music (Composition)

In the first year of study, PhD students are assigned a faculty committee, to determine with them an appropriate course of study that takes into account prior coursework and student interest.  Students create works for a PhD portfolio. 

Prior to advancing to candidacy (normally after two or three years in the program), composition students submit their PhD portfolio, take a field exam covering “new music” from the last 100 years, present a PhD colloquium and submit a PhD essay, both on topics in 20th and 21st Century music of their choice. 

The thesis for the PhD in Composition is a substantial creative work.


Application Process

  1. Read through the Admissions Information page.
  2. The application deadline for Fall 2024 admissions for the MA or PhD in Composition is December 10, 2023.
  3. Complete the application found here:
  4. Please note that the Composition program may email you to request an interview (to be held on Zoom on January 17), in order to learn more about your interests and potential in the program. 

Required Materials for Application