Composition Ph.D. Admissions

Program Overview

The thesis for the Ph.D. in composition involves the creation of an original large-scale work and research that increases our understanding of music and musical processes. 

An option exists for specialization in:

Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

This program option is open to doctoral students who are interested in cross-disciplinary research that focuses on issues centrally related to gender, sexuality, feminist theory, and/or women’s studies. The Composition Ph.D. requirements are augmented by participation in a Research Methods course and a Graduate Feminism Symposium that engages with a diverse array of critical and empirical perspectives.

The program draws on the resources of the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies that includes faculty and graduate students from across the University. Supporting music faculty have interests in Opera, film studies, aesthetics, theory of performance, and popular/jazz studies.


Composers refine their musical language and artistic voice through private instruction with some of Canada's most accomplished composers, all of whom have distinguished themselves through high-profile commissions, performances, recordings, and awards. Faculty members have diverse interests that ensure composers will find a suitable mentor.  

Resources & Opportunities

Students benefit from:

  • Cutting-edge research and performance facilities
  • Equipment resources of the Digital Composition Studios and CIRMMT
  • International new music festivals, lecture and performance series, and conferences co-sponsored by the Schulich School of Music
  • A visiting artist series
  • High-quality performances, readings, and recordings of their works by some of the school’s most esteemed ensembles and advanced performers
  • Commissioning opportunities through an established composer-in-residence program and through student-initiated, performer-composer and interdisciplinary collaborations.


Students in this program have won the Jules Léger Governor General's Prize for new chamber music, have received funding from granting agencies and internships at the International Music Workshop and Festival, among other awards.


Graduates of this program have won prestigious awards (e.g., Jules Leger Prize, SOCAN competition) and gone on to have successful careers in:

  • university teaching
  • (freelance) composition
  • film
  • literature
  • conducting
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