Doctorate in Composition and Theory (PhD)
Our PhD degree program in composition and theory offers in-depth study in composition, theory and analysis and electro-acoustic music. We provide you with the time and means to develop a secure command of the craft of composition under the guidance of our award-winning faculty. Your compositions will be performed and recorded as part of the graduate student composers' concert series, New Music Brandeis. You may also have your compositions read by the Lydian String Quartet and by ensembles-in-residence that are invited to Brandeis by the music department.
Preparation for teaching careers is an integral part of our PhD program in composition and theory. You'll serve as a teaching assistant during your second, third, fourth and fifth years of training. As such, you'll be responsible for course preparation, lecturing, administering and grading exams and meeting individually with undergraduates.
Your culminating doctoral thesis will consist of an extensive original composition and a written analytical thesis.
At Brandeis, you can hear your compositions performed and recorded as part of New Music Brandeis, a contemporary concert series that showcases the work of Brandeis student, faculty and alumni composers. You may also have your compositions read by the Lydian String Quartet and by ensembles-in-residence that are invited to Brandeis by the music department.
Our state-of-the-art facilities include:
- The Slosberg Music Center, which houses
- 30 pianos including the one used by Leonard Bernstein as a child!
- The Jencks Early Music Room, which contains an extensive collection of period instruments, including two harpsichords and an historic Viennese fortepiano.
- An electro-acoustic studio (BEAMS).
- The Creative Arts Library, with holdings in scholarly music editions, journals and microfilm reprints of original materials, as well as the Walter F. and Alice Gorham Collection of Early Music Imprints, 1501-1650.
We also belong to the Boston-area library consortium, so you can use books in major libraries in the area.
Careers and Alumni
Graduates of our PhD program have gone on to successful careers in composition and in teaching at colleges and universities throughout the country.
- Steven Mackey, PhD’85, Professor, Princeton University
- John Mallia, PhD’03, Director of Electronic Music Studio, New England Conservatory of Music
- Sally Pinkas, PhD’91, Professor, Dartmouth College
All doctoral students are awarded 5 years of full tuition, generous fellowship funding and health coverage. Additional funding is available from both the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the department for travel to conferences and for research-related travel. Students may apply for additional dissertation funding, including the Dissertation Year Fellowship, Provost Award and University Prize Instructorship.