Apply in 5 Steps: Composition Ph.D.

Already prepared? Go straight to uApply, the online application form.

Step 1: Connect

Contact chris.harman [at] (Prof. Christopher Harman) for more information about the program or [at] (email our admissions staff) for help applying.

Visit us or talk with our student ambassadors anytime about the university and student life in Montreal.

1a. Find a supervisor

Explore Music Composition faculty profiles to find a supervisor before applying. Depending on your interests, you might want to explore profiles in other areas too. Once you've found someone with whom you are interested in working, contact them to discuss your research interests.

You can find tips about connecting with a 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. Check 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 master's degree in Music Composition, or its equivalent, from a university recognized by McGill. 
  • A cumulative grade point average (CGPA) should be 3.0 out of a possible 4.0, or your grade point average (GPA) should be 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: Review 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 uApply 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 Composition Ph.D. program at McGill University. Include qualifications, qualities or circumstances that are significant. Outline your educational and professional goals, your expectations of the program and your perception of your own strengths and weaknesses (PDF format, maximum size 5 MB).
  5. Research proposal: Outline the research path(s) you want to pursue during this program (2 pages, PDF format, maximum size 8 MB).
  6. Curriculum Vitae (CV): An overview of your experience and other qualifications, including employment, academic credentials, publications, honours, awards, contributions and significant achievements (PDF format, maximum size 5 MB).    
  7. Composition scores: A minimum of three scores of recent work, together with a brief presentation for each (e.g., program notes, explanatory notes, compositional techniques, etc.). Combine scores and notes into one PDF file (maximum size 50 MB).
  8. Composition recordings: If available, submit recordings of your three scores (MP3 format).
  9. Thesis summary/abstract, if you have completed or are completing a Master's thesis (PDF format, maximum size 2 MB).
  10. Your supervisor preference.
  11. Proof of English language proficiency, if required. 
  12. Two recent essays (in English or French) on any aspect of compositional research related to music theory, sound recording, musicology, music technology, music education, or to any other related field such as acoustics, mathematics, psychology, etc. Each essay must be a minimum of 10 typed pages, double spaced. Combine them into one PDF file and upload to Written Work in the application (maximum size 8 MB).

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 uApply (McGill's online application form), create an account. You will be given a username and password for future use.
  3. Complete the admission application in uApply. 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 $125.71 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, except for your composition recordings, to uApply.
  6. Upload your recording material, and your scores if your PDF file is too large for uApply, directly to the Schulich School of Music upload page.
  7. 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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