The Ph.D. program in Composition stresses training in the craft of composition, contemporary repertory, and theory and analysis. Instruction in composition comprises much of the course requirement; such instruction takes the form of private lessons. Participation in the concert life of the department and attendance at Composers’ Forum events complement that instruction. Students are assigned to particular instructors for composition lessons by the Director of Graduate Studies on the advice of the composition faculty. Composition instructors are assigned on a rotating basis to assure that all students are exposed to a variety of approaches and have the opportunity to work with each member of the composition faculty during the period of coursework. The Department of Music at the University of Pennsylvania also offers a Ph.D. program in Music Studies, and composition students also take several courses with the music studies faculty during their coursework. 

Music Studies

The graduate program in Music Studies (Ethnomusicology, Historical Musicology, Theory of Music) at the University of Pennsylvania serves students who intend to conduct cutting-edge research, produce high-quality scholarship, and develop teaching and professional skills in order to pursue academic positions in music studies; it also serves those who want to consider career opportunities beyond academia in both music and non-music domains. Faculty apply methodological tools from ethnomusicology, sound studies, musicology, and music theory to a wide range of research projects. The goal of the graduate program is not to entrench these disciplinary distinctions, but rather to seek out productive and innovative means of placing them in dialogue with each other. This orientation toward holding all of the sub-disciplines in view is reflected in the graduate curriculum as well as in the annual colloquium series that animate departmental life.