Doctoral Project

MUPG 770 is for students who started the program prior to September 2019
MUPG 771 is for students who started the program from September 2019 and onwards.

The doctoral final project consists of a research paper and one of two options:
Option 1: Presentation of the research paper (35 minutes) followed by questions from the committee and the audience, and a final recital (60-70 minutes of music).

Option 2: A research paper and a lecture-recital (35 minutes plus 35 minutes) based on the research paper. The core subject matter is developed through the comprehensive examination process.



Graduation date

Project proposal

Recital Application Form Submission

Final day to hold final recital or lecture-recital

Paper Submission

Final Paper Submission with Revisions

Spring (May, June)

By October 15

By February 15 By May 1 By April 1 By May 1

Fall (October, November)

By February 15


By May 31 By August 1 By September 1

Winter (no convocation)

By August 15 By October 1 By December 15 By December 1 By Early January
  • One month before your project proposal is due:  Submit a complete draft to your advisory committee for approval.
  • Submit your project proposal to [at] (Graduate Studies) by the deadline above. The proposal will be circulated to the Graduate Performance Sub-Committee for additional feedback.
  • At least three weeks before lecture-recital or presentation: Submit your presentation/lecture-recital draft (text and handout materials) to your advisory committee.
  • Email the final draft of your research paper to [at] (Graduate Studies )for committee review and comments by the deadline above at the latest. The paper must be approved by the teacher and the music research supervisor by this date.  Committee review will take about two weeks, after which you will make revisions as indicated.
  • Submit the final version of your research paper via email to [at] (Graduate Studies) including revisions proposed by the committee, by the deadline above. Print waiver and library copyright documents required for submission of research theses and complete. Scan and attach to the final PDF. Indicate the number of your ethics approval document (if applicable), in your abstract.

Evaluation Criteria

The doctoral project is evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Clarity of expression and the development of ideas;
  • Grasp of subject matter, awareness of previous work in the field, and critical thinking;
  • Contribution of research and its implications for performance practice;
  • Artistic quality and expression of musical performance.

A passing grade is dependent on completion of all components of the Doctoral Project.

Evaluation Committee

The doctoral project evaluation committee is normally the advisory committee set up during your first semester in the program.

Project Proposal

The project proposal includes:

  • A copy of the complete concert program and technical set-up requirements
  • A cover sheet signed by the Supervisor and the Co-Supervisor (Music Research Supervisor): PDF icon DMusLectureRecitalApplicationForm_19-20 [PDF]
  • A two-page project description (see below for guidelines)
  • A bibliography (one page)
  • Ethics documentation if human subjects are involved in your research
  • A chapter outline is recommended

Project Description Tips

An effective project description (2 pages) builds a clear vision of the artistic, historical or analytical framework guiding the work by:

  • Citing sources, performance practices and other artistic/scientific initiatives that have inspired the project;
  • Identifying a gap that your work will fill; and
  • Explicating the methodological choices, musical repertoire, scores, performers, composers, archives, historical instruments, rehearsal or creative strategies, and/or scholarly and analytical approaches that will be used.

It has two parts:

The introduction has a clear and concise title and opening impact that situates your topic. It concisely states what the goals and objectives; the methodology; why it is worth doing (originality, value, benefits), particularly as it informs performance practice.

The body points to the outcomes of the project by briefly describing what each work on the recital component contributes or will illustrate about the topic.

Option 1 – Paper Presentation and Final Recital

The presentation of the research paper is a 35-minute presentation of the content of your paper, typically using power point or handouts. The presentation is followed, by a short question/answer period with committee members and the audience.

The final recital consists of 60-70 minutes of music presented at a separate, later, occasion than the paper presentation.

Option 2 - Lecture-Recital

The lecture-recital includes 35 minutes of music followed by a 35-minute presentation defending your ideas and artistic/scientific approaches. Afterwards, there is a short question/answer period with committee members and then the audience.

The format is flexible, but there should be a handout or power point presentation (as with an academic paper). Identify musical examples or quotations with captions indicating source and page or measure numbers.


The paper is typically 50-100 pages plus bibliography and appendices. The paper should include:

  1. A title page (the title of the thesis; the name of the author and department followed by "McGill University, Montreal"; the month and year the paper was submitted; the following statement "A paper submitted to McGill University in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of D.Mus. Performance Studies"; the universal copyright notice followed by the author's name and the year the paper was submitted);
  2. a detailed table of contents;
  3. a brief abstract in English and French;
  4. an introduction that clearly states the rationale, objectives and originality of the research;
  5. chapters presenting different aspects of the topic as appropriate;
  6. a final conclusion and summary;
  7. a bibliography or reference list;
  8. recording of the lecture-recital performance if possible and applicable.

Final submission::

The following forms must be signed, scanned, and submitted to with your final submission.

1. McGill Thesis Non-Exclusive License (MNL) Form

McGill Library and Archives Canada (LAC) consider graduate theses important sources of original research, and make theses available in electronic form. As a thesis student you hold the copyright of your thesis. With your final  submission, you are required to sign PDF icon this form. The McGill license permits McGill University to make your thesis available in electronic form through McGill’s repository eScholarship @ McGill and the Library and Archives Canada website.


Please forward the final copy and library waiver form to [at]

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