Program type:


On Campus
Est. time to complete:

2-3 years
Credit Hours:

60 (with prior M.S.) 90 (with prior B.S.)
Refine your composition skills at one of the nation's most comprehensive music schools recognized internationally for its artistic and academic excellence.
The graduate Composition program at the University of North Texas is one of the largest and most diverse in the nation — with 70 composition students and six faculty composers representing a wide range of compositional aesthetics approaches. One of the distinctive features of the UNT Composition program is the way that state-of-the-art music technology is integrated with acoustic composition within the curriculum, which provides both artistic flexibility and academic rigor, allowing you to refine your craft, develop your own personal voice and prepare for a career as a professional composer.

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Why earn a degree in Music Composition?

Our faculty members have been recognized for their acoustic, electroacoustic and intermedia work through grants, fellowships, commissions and performances throughout the world. Educational and artistic experiences are enriched through regular guest residencies, including composers and other new music specialists, as well as dozens of other events during the academic year.

The college is a vital component to the region's arts community, presenting more than 1,000 formal and informal concerts annually. Its facilities include more than 300 practice rooms, seven performance halls, numerous classrooms and rehearsal rooms, and computer labs.

Marketable Skills
  • Pedagogical practices
  • Music editing, copying, transcribing and arranging
  • Public event management
  • Book/journal editing, creating and promoting
  • Advance data collection, analysis and interpretation

Music Composition Ph.D. Highlights

The weekly Music Now forum encourages the exchange of ideas and information about the creation, performance and understanding of recent music.
The Composers Forum student organization brings new student works to the public's attention, coordinating performances of UNT composers' works on and off campus.
The division has access to a national network of professional composers through the Society of Composers, Inc. and an institutional membership to the American Composers Forum.
The Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI) provides a unique environment to explore time-based arts and is internationally renowned for its long history of innovation, particularly in electroacoustic music.
Students, faculty members, guests and collaborators from a variety of disciplines engage in research, creation and performances in CEMI's four production studios and the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater.
There are many performance opportunities available at UNT for composition students, including the Spectrum concert series that features new instrumental works, vocal works and works utilizing new technologies by faculty and student composers.

What Can You Do With A Degree in Music Composition?

Alumni of the program have achieved national and international success. They enjoy careers as university professors, commercial and media composers, arrangers and arts administrators.

Music Composition Ph.D. Courses You Could Take

Topics in Computer Music (3 hrs)
This course is an advanced studies in computer music and related media focusing on compositional techniques, interactive systems, software tools, hardware design, performance practices and analytical approaches.
Contemporary Notation and Performance Practices (3 hrs)
Student will study 20th- and 21st-century notation and performance practices, including notational innovations, extended instrumental techniques, and approaches to interpretation. The course includes a research project and written document.
Topics in Composition (3 hrs)
This course includes advanced projects in composition focusing on compositional techniques, practices and analytical approaches.
Topics in Contemporary Music (3 hrs)
Topics include advanced research in contemporary music focusing on repertoire, contemporary practices and analytical approaches.
Intermedia Performance Arts (2 hrs)
This course is an introduction to intermedia performance art through class performance, repertoire analysis, historical context and readings of critical texts. It includes production of and performance in individual and group projects in the presentation of intermedia compositions, emphasizing computer music media and utilizing the resources of the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater.
Composition Seminar (3 hrs)
Students will explore current compositional practices, including analysis of contemporary repertoire, discussion of the composer’s role in contemporary society, and survey of resources available to composers. They will create individual composition projects and class presentations.

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