The Composition program is structured to develop students’ creative and technical abilities in writing music. All students take individual lessons with members of the composition faculty, typically studying with more than one faculty member during their course of residence. They may also pursue training in a variety of related topics, including score-reading and conducting, orchestration, musical analysis, contemporary styles, historical periods, and world music traditions. Students in composition select a minor field from among four areas: ethnomusicology, musicology, theory/analysis, and computer music. Coursework in each area culminates in an article-length PhD paper which is defended before a faculty committee.

Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition

The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition offers numerous opportunities for graduate students in composition to supplement their coursework. The Center’s concert series provides a space for student composers to develop and showcase new work, performed by the resident Grossman Ensemble and various guest artists specializing in new music, and it features a number of graduate student-led projects each season. A cadre of distinguished guest composers present new works on the series each year as well, offering composition students further opportunities to engage with and learn from the greatest creators of contemporary music. For composers of electronic music and sound, the Center’s CHIME studio offers an exploratory space for the many realms of electronic music and its integration with other media.

For detailed information about course requirements for the PhD program in Composition, please visit the Graduate Curriculum webpage.