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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Composition students receive individual lessons and participate in group seminars, and both the School of Music and the Twin Cities offer a wide range of new music performance opportunities. The Contemporary Music Workshop provides ongoing interaction between composition and performance students. Composition faculty represent national and international profiles in a variety of media and seek to nurture students’ original creative interests and knowledge.

Students applying to this program should have completed basic professional preparation, defined as the equivalent of a minimum of one year of orchestration, one semester of counterpoint, and three years of theory and analysis (tonal and post-tonal).

Program Prerequisites (do not count towards degree program)

  • MUS 5541 Counterpoint (3 credits) or equivalent
  • MUS 5561 Orchestration I (3 credits) or equivalent
  • All requirements of master of arts in composition (or equivalents)

Program Requirements: Minimum 56 credits (in addition to all credit requirements from MA in composition)

1. Emphasis: 15 credits

  • MUS 8550 Composition (12 credits at 3 credits per semester)
  • MUS 5592 Music Informatics (3 credits)

2. Related fields: 14 Credits. 

  • Four courses distributed as follows:
    • one course in analysis at the 8xxx level
    • one course in musicology or ethnomusicology at the 5xxx or 8xxx level
    • two courses in creative studies and media at the 5xxx or 8xxx level
  • Ensemble:  2 credits

3. Supporting program: 3 Credits.  May include music or non-music course(s)

4. Research tool. Reading knowledge in language, or technological or computational skill, in consultation with advisor

5. Thesis: 24 credits of MUS 8888. Comprised of original creative work and supporting paper; documentation of performances (can include public presentations of work not requiring human performers) totaling 45 minutes minimum

6. Comprehensive exams

  •  Preliminary exams, written and oral (2 hours)
  •  Final exam, oral (1 hour)

View degree plan for the composition PhD.