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Graduate Studies in Composition

The Master Of Arts in Composition

Students in these programs take a series of core courses in their discipline, including work in theory, methodology, analysis, and history. The first year often involves one or two semesters of intensive ear-training in MUS 505-506. Historians take MUS 500, Introduction to Musical Research, and several other topics seminars. In addition to regular composition lessons, composers often take MUS 501, an intensive review of counterpoint and tonal harmony; they also take MUS 515-516, the introduction to electronic music.

In the second year of the masters program, historians write a short thesis growing out of seminar work, and composers develop a portfolio to be reviewed by the composition faculty. At the end of the second year, all masters students take comprehensive exams in musical analysis; history/theory students also take a comprehensive exam on basic repertoire and literature in their respective discipline.

The PhD in Composition

In the first year of study, PhD students are assigned a faculty directing committee, with whom they create their own curriculum by drawing up a doctoral contract The contract lists courses to be taken and projected work (compositions or research papers).

Prior to advancing to candidacy (normally after two or three years in the program), history/theory candidates take an oral exam in their field of specialization, and present a prospectus for their thesis. For composers, the thesis is an extended composition.