Dean's Essay Prizes

Schulich School of Music - Dean's Essay Prize

In order to encourage excellence in the art of writing about music, the Schulich School of Music offers two prizes each year to graduate students for essays that demonstrate skillful expression connected with the techniques of research in music.

Application deadline

Monday, February 26, 2024

Submission process

  • Email your essay to the Music Graduate Studies Office ( [at] in PDF format by Monday, February 26, 2024
  • Remove all author names from the document, which the selection committee will receive. Submit a cover page with the student author's name on it and date of writing.
  • If audio/visual materials complement the essay, submit these materials with the essay.

Amount and disbursement of funds

  • The First Prize winner receives $1000; Second Prize winner receives $500.
  • Winners are announced in March.
  • Winners must give the Music Library a copy of their work so that it can be put “on reserve” for consultation.
  • If the winning essay has multiple authors, the student award winner is responsible for dividing the award on the basis of work done by each student listed in the essay appendix.


All currently registered music graduate students are eligible to participate.

Academic staff at the School can also nominate graduate student essays for the competition.

Essay requirements:

  • Any type of essay can be submitted, such as: a contribution to a seminar, an unpublished article, or a work-in-progress based upon thesis research. 
  • One essay per student per year may be submitted. A multi-authored paper will be accepted if each student’s contribution is clearly defined in an appendix. For multi-disciplinary or technology papers, one of the authors may be a student supervisor or faculty member provided they are not first author and that their contribution is specifically detailed in the appendix.
  • Essays must be written in English or French.
  • A student who has won first prize cannot re-enter the competition unless they are in a new degree program (for example, a student who won first prize at the master’s level may re-enter the competition at the doctoral level).
  • Students who win second prize twice are no longer eligible.
  • Each submission must be written while the student is registered at the Schulich School of Music.
  • Essays should be written in a format suitable for submission for a Department of Research graduate seminar (following recommended style guidelines for bibliographic and footnote references as appropriate to the content and form of the paper).

Selection criteria

A reading sub-committee from the Schulich School of Music reviews and evaluates submissions and then makes recommendations to the Scholarship Committee.

Decisions are based on the excellence of the papers as examples of the “best of their kind” (journal article, semester paper, thesis chapter, conference presentation, etc.).  There are no ties and two prizes are not always awarded.

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