Programs of Study

Undergraduate | MA | MM | PhD | DMA | Double

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> Official ESM Undergraduate Degree Program Information
> Official ESM Graduate Degree Program Information
> Composition Department course descriptions

Undergraduate

Undergraduate composition students may elect to follow two parallel Bachelor of Music programs of study at the Eastman School: the BM degree majoring in Composition or the BM degree majoring in Musical Arts with a concentration in Composition. The latter program allows for greater flexibility in course electives and is recommended for those composers who have intellectual interests and passions that complement their compositional activities. A double degree program is available for students with considerable experience and talent in both composition and another field, such as performance or an academic subject.In addition to the many interesting and demanding academic courses are offered by the Humanities, Musicology, Theory and Music Education Departments of the Eastman School, the University of Rochester, of which the Eastman School is but a part, offers composition students an extensive array of courses and programs of study from Mathematics and Physics to Religion and Classics. The University’s own Music Department complements the professional focus of the Eastman School by offering music courses for university students taking a BA degree. The Take Five Scholars Programadministered by the University allows students to take extra time to explore another department, or even another division of the University of Rochester.

Masters of Arts

The Masters of Arts degree program in composition at Eastman is offered under the division of graduate research studies. The emphasis in this degree program is on research rather than on the applied study of an instrument or voice. The MA requires 30 credit hours of study beyond the bachelor’s level with at least two semesters of full-time study.

AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION BETWEEN MM AND MA DEGREE PROGRAMS

Because the MA is a research degree, a strong emphasis is placed on writing and research skills. Full command of written English is assumed for students admitted to MA programs, and is required before students are permitted to begin a thesis or dissertation project.

Composition and music education may be undertaken within the division of graduate research studies (the MA as described in this section) or within the division of graduate professional studies (the MM). The two programs have differences in emphasis and course content. As part of the application process, the master of music requires an audition on an applied instrument or voice; the master of arts does not require an audition for admission. It is especially important that composition applicants decide whether they should apply to the MA or MM program, based on their backgrounds and future goals.

Applied Music

As stated above, admission to the master of arts degree program does not involve an audition on an applied instrument or voice. However, all candidates for the MA degree are encouraged to avail themselves of the School’s applied-music instruction. The area and extent of such study will be determined in consultation with the student’s adviser and the applied-music faculty.

Masters of Music

The Master of Music degree program is designed to foster high achievement in the performance of music as well as broad intellectual development. A final professional performance degree for many students, the MM requires 30 credit hours of study beyond the bachelor’s degree, with at least two semesters of study in residence. Students are offered up to four semesters in faculty studios and performance ensembles to complete the MM.

AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION BETWEEN MM AND MA DEGREE PROGRAMS

Master’s degrees with majors in composition and music education may be undertaken either within the division of graduate professional studies (the MM as described in this section) or within the division of graduate research studies (the MA). All MM degree programs have a strong performance emphasis. Thus students applying to the MM in composition or music education must audition on an applied instrument or voice for entry into the degree program, and will follow a curriculum that includes applied study; the MA does not require an audition for admission, and includes applied study on the secondary level, if at all. Composition and music education majors who are applying to the MM degree program should be prepared to perform an instrumental or vocal audition, and to continue applied study as part of the curriculum.

PhD

The Doctor of Philosophy(PhD) degree is awarded for completion of scholarly research satisfactorily defended in a dissertation or for outstanding creative work in the field of composition. It is assumed that recipients of this degree are not only well-versed in the subject matter and techniques of a specific discipline, but also have demonstrated a breadth of interest and originality of outlook that indicate real promise of success in research or composition, as well as mastery of the teaching of their disciplines. All work leading to the degree is subject to the regulations and standards for scholarly work established by the Council on Graduate Studies of the University of Rochester.Doctor of philosophy students majoring in composition usually will have earned a master’s degree before being admitted to the PhD program.

Composition may be undertaken within the division of graduate research studies (the PhD as described in this section) or within the division of graduate professional studies (for the DMA). The respective programs have differences in emphasis and course content. In terms of applying, the doctor of musical arts requires an audition on an applied instrument or voice; the doctor of philosophy does not require an audition for admission. The composition major contains a stronger emphasis on research and writing in the PhD degree program, and have an emphasis on performance in the DMA degree program.

DMA

The Doctor of Musical Arts degree is awarded for high attainments in the practice of music, with emphasis on the arts of performing and teaching. A candidate for this degree must be a capable artist who demonstrates intellectual attributes of high order.

Composition may be undertaken within the division of graduate professional studies (the DMA as described in this section) or within the division of graduate research studies (the PhD). The respective programs have differences in emphasis and course content. In terms of applying, the doctor of musical arts program requires an audition on an applied instrument or voice; the doctor of philosophy program does not require an audition for admission. Emphasis is on practical applied music in varying degrees in each of the DMA majors, and constitutes a distinctive feature of the division. Thus the composition major contains a strong performance component in the DMA degree program, and have a strong research component in the PhD degree program.

Double

The Eastman School allows the development of individualized double degree and double major programs on the graduate level as well as on the undergraduate level. Such programs, for example, may combine performance with an academic area of specialty or with conducting, composition, or music education. Students contemplating a double major or double degree should expect to augment significantly the minimum number of courses for the single major or single degree program.

Double degree or double major programs normally are formed after the student has been accepted to and has begun study in one major or degree. Once a student has begun a single major or degree program at Eastman, approval for a double major or double degree program is obtained from the Graduate Professional Committee, the Graduate Research Committee, or both, as appropriate. However, an applicant may apply directly to more than one major or degree. Admission is based on the highest recommendations from all departments involved.

Eastman’s unique resources permit strong majors in a broad spectrum of fields of graduate study. Qualified students may pursue a combination PhD and DMA degree program. The PhD program normally will have a major in theory or musicology, combined with a DMA program in performance and literature. Complete details on doctoral double degree programs may be found on the Eastman Registrar site. Interested applicants are also referred to the individual department chairs to discuss the feasibility of combining various degree programs.