Apply in 5 Steps: Music Theory M.A.

Already prepared? Go straight to On#, the graduate application form.

Step 1: Connect

  • Contactjonathan.wild [at] ( Prof. Jonathan Wild) if you have questions about the program or [at] (email our admissions staff) for help applying.
  • Visit or speak with us at anytime about the university and student life in Montreal.

1a. Explore the program and faculty profiles

Make sure this program fits your needs and find out what Music Theory faculty members are working on. Depending on your interests, you might want to explore profiles in other areas too. It's not mandatory, but we encourage you to discuss your interests with a potential supervisor before applying.

You can find tips about connecting with a potential supervisor on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) website.

1b. Bookmark admission dates and deadlines

Application opens Deadline to apply for fall admission Admission decisions sent to applicants
October 1 December 1 (all applicants) February to March

If you've missed the deadline, [at] (email our admissions staff). Late applications may be cancelled without refund and may not be considered for entrance scholarships/financial aid.

1c. Meet minimum admission requirements

Acceptance into this program is competitive and the final admissions decision rests with the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office. To be considered, you should have:

  • A bachelor's degree in music theory, or its equivalent, from a university recognized by McGill. 
  • A cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of at least 3.0 out of a possible 4.0, or a grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 out of 4.0 in your last two years of full-time studies.
  • Proficiency in English, the primary language of instruction at McGill.

Step 2: Check costs and funding options

Find out about funding and financial aid opportunities, cost of living and tuition fees.

Step 3: Prepare application materials

You will need to submit the following when you apply:

  1. Online On# graduate application and application fee.
  2. Transcripts from each college/university-level institution that you have attended.
  3. Two letters of recommendation (if you are currently a McGill student, you are exempt).
  4. Personal statement: Describe your reasons for applying to the Music Theory Ph.D. program at McGill University, mentioning any significant elements of your background ​and previous studies. Outline your professional goals and your perception of your strengths along with any gaps in your background or special circumstances that could be helpful in evaluating your application. Describe the kind(s) of research you envisage pursuing in our program, and, if known, your supervisor preference(s) (PDF format maximum 2 single-spaced pages ).
  5. Curriculum Vitae (CV): An overview of your experience and qualifications including academic degrees and (where applicable) publications, scholarships and other awards, and your research experience. You may also include performing and composing experience where applicable. (PDF format, maximum size 5 MB).
  6. Your supervisor preference (optional).
  7. Proof of English language proficiency, if required. 
  8. Music Theory Portfolio: Samples of your previous work that demonstrate your musical skills and your proficiency in scholarly writing.

    Please combine all items into two PDFs, separated into work that is predominantly based in musical notation, and work that is predominantly based in prose. For each file, list the contents on the first page of the file. Include as many samples of your academic work as you find helpful.

    These may include:

    • Musical work such as counterpoint, harmony exercises, model compositions, Schenkerian graphs, and other practical exercises. Upload to Theory Portfolio – Notated (PDF format, maximum 15 MB.)
    • Written work in music theory or music analysis, and other academic papers: where applicable you may upload papers ​on theoretical topics, or that illustrate your ability to write analytically on a range of styles.You may also include an essay on a music historical topic or an academic paper from another field if relevant. For PhD applicants, if you have completed or are completing a Master's thesis, please include a summary or abstract; ​you may also include thesis chapters or the complete thesis. Upload to Theory Portfolio –Written (PDF format, maximum 12 MB.)
      These suggestions are meant to illustrate the range of things you might include; we do not expect candidates to submit work corresponding to every single suggestion above. If you have questions about what to include you are welcome to contact the Area Coordinator.
  9. An interview (campus or via Skype) may be requested.

Step 4: Apply online

  1. Get your supporting materials together. Please apply by December 1st and upload your documents by December 15th. Documents are uploaded after you file your application.
  2. If this is your first time using On# (McGill's graduate application form), create an account. You will be given a username and password for future use.
  3. Complete the admission application HERE. During this stage, provide the names and valid institutional email addresses of the people providing your letters of recommendation. McGill will contact them directly. 
  4. Pay the non-refundable application fee of $129.03 online. After this, you will get an email confirming that you have successfully applied and that you can upload your supporting materials.
  5. Upload your supporting material to your application.
  6. Arrange for submission of proof of English language proficiency to McGill, if required.

Step 5: Accept

Already applied and trying to track your application status? Newly admitted? Take the next steps.

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