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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.