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Composition students may pursue either the Ph.D. or DMA degree. They participate closely with students from other concentrations in seminars in history, theory/analysis, and ethnomusicology. A number of public performances each year are devoted solely to the presentation of students' compositions, and excellent facilities are available for those interested in computer music.
Course Requirements for PhD Composition Majors
A minimum of 60 credits of approved course work is required for a Ph.D. in Music and D.M.A.–Composition. Courses will be credited toward the Ph.D. and D.M.A.–Composition only if they are part of a program approved by the Executive Officer or his/her deputy.
For students concentrating in composition, whether for the Ph.D. or for the D.M.A., the first 30 credits should include the following five courses (or their equivalent): introduction to musicology; bibliography and research techniques; one seminar in theory/analysis; one seminar in music history prior to 1900; two tutorials in composition. For the Ph.D., the student concentrating in composition will normally take four 2-credit tutorials consisting of individual lessons in composition plus two composers’ forums and two advanced seminars that deal with various compositional issues. He/she will also take four 80000-level research seminars in music history and theory, one of which must be on music before 1600 or ethnomusicology. For the D.M.A., the student will normally take four 3-credit tutorials consisting of individual lessons in composition, plus two composers’ forums and two advanced seminars that deal with various compositional issues. He/she will also take one course in twentieth/twenty-first-century performance practice and two research seminars.
To apply directly to the PhD or DMA program, you must submit the following:
(1) A completed application by filling out an online application;
(2) Two letters of recommendation;
(3) Scores from the Graduate Record Examination: Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical.
(4) One or two samples of your written work, that is: a substantial term paper or a chapter from an undergraduate or Master's thesis, etc.
In addition, send three or four recently completed compositions (scores and recordings when possible) directly to:
Professor David Olan
Doctoral Program in Music
Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York
In addition to the general University requirements for admission, applicants for the Composition degree must present a strong background, as judged by the Admissions Committee, in the area of music history, music theory, and analysis as well as exceptional achievement in composition.  Prospective students may be asked to come for an interview with the Composition Faculty.
For Information about the Composition Ph.D. or D.M.A. programs, contact David Olan at