Ph.D. in Composition
Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements: Composition
Students meet with members of the department's composition faculty on a weekly basis and in seminars with a special focus on contemporary music studies. Examples of seminar topics include Music 575S: Generative Media Authorship (Spring 2014) and Music 690S: Contemporary String Quartet (Fall 2012). Students also take course work in other areas of the department and participate in the discourse of the university at large. Student works are created and presented in collaboration with Visiting Artists and under the rubric of the concert series Encounters: with the Music of Our Time. Seminars by some of contemporary composition's important figures are frequent. Recent visitors have included Steve Reich, James MacMillan, Melinda Wagner, David Lang, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Meredith Monk.
The five-year doctoral program in Composition at Duke includes a Master of Arts degree (A.M.) en route to the Ph.D. Admission to the Ph.D. program is not automatically granted upon the student’s completion of the requirements of the A.M. degree, but is restricted to those students who have demonstrated the ability to do substantial and original work in composition. After passing the Qualifying Examination, the student will be notified regarding acceptance into the doctoral program. Upon successful completion of the en route A.M., a diploma can be requested.
- Seventeen Courses (51 units) of graduate instruction. The required courses include:
- One course in Musical Analysis
- Six Composition Courses
- Music 663 (Theories and Notation of Contemporary Music)
- Two courses in either Ethnomusicology or Musicology:
- Music 790S-1
- One course selected from:
- Seven elective graduate courses (500 level or above)
No more than four courses (12 units) of a completed Master’s degree may be accepted for transfer from another institution.
After the first year, graduate electives can be taken outside the Department of Music as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. The DGS will consider the student’s academic record within the Department and his/her reasons for enrolling in extra-departmental courses.
The Graduate School requires six semesters of “full-time” registration regardless of the number of courses taken or residence.
No more than one semester may be waived for a completed Master’s degree.
Classroom teaching is an integral part of the doctoral program. All graduate students will be required to complete eight semesters of teaching as a Teaching Assistant or Instructor of Record.
Examinations and Dissertation
- Diagnostic Examination
- Foreign Language Examination
- Ph.D. Qualifying Exam & Ph.D. Composition Portfolio
- Preliminary Examination
- Dissertation Article of publishable quality, submitted within six months after Preliminary Examination
- Dissertation Composition: a large-scale work
- Final Examination (the dissertation defense in Composition will take the form of a presentation by the composer on the Dissertation Composition).
Example Program of Study in Composition
The following represents a typical program for students entering the doctoral program in Composition, which begins with en route A.M. requirements and then proceeds to Ph.D. requirements:
|Semester||Typical Course of Study|
|Year 1, Semester 1 (12 units)||
|Year 1, Semester 2 (12 units)||
|Year 2, Semester 1 (9 units)||
|Year 2, Semester 2 (9 units)||
|Year 3, Semester 1 (9 units)||
|Year 3, Semester 2||