Return to: Graduate School of Arts & Sciences: Departments/Programs
112 Old Cabell Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400176
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176
(434) 924-3052 Fax: (434) 924-6033
The Ph.D. requires 54 credits of course work, up to 18 credits of dissertation research, and successful completion of a dissertation project. Students are admitted to the Ph.D. program only; there is no separate M.A. program. Students who successfully complete two years (36 credits) of course work and the projects appropriate to their concentration will be granted an M.A. at the end of their second year. Students entering with an M.A. degree may petition the department’s Graduate Committee to transfer up to 24 graduate credits.
Students in both concentrations are required to pass a written qualifying examination and complete a detailed dissertation proposal before admission to candidacy. Completed dissertations are defended in an oral examination.
The Concentration in Composition
Composition students register for private composition instruction for 6 semesters. Students are strongly encouraged to work with several different faculty as private instructors, in order to draw upon varied faculty approaches. All Composition students take MUSI 7457, and otherwise work closely with faculty to design the most appropriate course of study. Normally, Composition students will take at least two courses in digital media (such as MUSI 7540, 7543, 7545). Composition students are also encouraged to take seminars offered by the Critical and Comparative Studies faculty, as well as courses outside of the department in other areas of interest, such as cognitive science, computer science, or philosophy.
Generally, no more than two courses at the 5000 level may be counted toward the Ph.D.
Composition students are required to demonstrate mastery of at least one foreign language or computer language before admission to candidacy.
Year One Project
In their first year of study, Composition students create a significant work to be performed during the spring semester. Successful completion of this project is required for continuation in the program. After the performance, the Composition faculty meet to discuss the composition, and to advise on the nature of the student’s second year project and the areas that might be covered on the Qualifying Examination.
Year Two Projects
In their second year of study, Composition students write an article-length paper demonstrating analytical and critical abilities. Ordinarily this paper should be drafted by the end of the third semester of study, and submitted in revised form by March 15 of the fourth semester. Additionally, second year Composition students create another work that is performed in the spring semester.
At least one of the project compositions completed by the end of the second year should have an electronic component.
By the end of the second year of study, students should choose the principal faculty advisor for their dissertation project, and the other members of their Dissertation Committee. This Committee administers and grades the Qualifying Examination, and supervises the writing of the dissertation proposal. Final approval of the dissertation proposal is by the Graduate Committee of the Music Department.
Composition students normally take a Qualifying Examination during the fifth semester. Intended to demonstrate the student’s analytical and critical abilities, the examination consists of written exercises and an oral exam. One exercise focuses on an area of the student’s interest, to be determined at the conclusion of the second year project, while the second reflects the student’s broader familiarity with the field. The oral exam includes discussion of written work as well as current compositional projects.
The dissertation project in Composition consists of two parts: (1) creation of an extended composition for acoustic, electro-acoustic or electronic media; and (2) an article-length essay suitable for publication. In some cases a longer dissertation essay may be appropriate.
During the sixth semester, Composition students develop a proposal that describes both the composition and the essay that together will constitute the dissertation project. Students present the dissertation proposal to the Graduate Committee for approval.
Students are expected to complete all pre-dissertation requirements, including coursework, language proficiency examinations, qualifying projects and examinations, and the dissertation proposal by the conclusion of their sixth term of study.
The completed dissertation is defended in an examination before a Committee of at least four faculty, at least one of whom is from another department.
The Concentration in Critical and Comparative Studies
Students of Critical and Comparative Studies in Music ordinarily take 3 seminars each semester for two years, and one seminar per semester in the third year. MUSI 7511 should be taken in a student’s first semester.. Additionally, students of Critical and Comparative Studies may take up to 9 credits of course work outside the music department. The choice of such interdisciplinary study should be made in close consultation with faculty advisors.
Generally, no more than two courses at the 5000 level may be counted toward the Ph.D.
Before admission to candidacy, students of Critical and Comparative Studies must demonstrate mastery of one foreign language and proficiency in a second. Levels of language competency are defined elsewhere in the Graduate Record. In all cases, languages offered to satisfy this requirement must be pertinent to the student’s present or future research plans.
Exceptions to the language requirement are possible only when both of two criteria are met: (1) the student has a learning disability or other disability that creates significant difficulty in language study; and (2) the student has defined a research program for which knowledge of foreign languages is not essential.
This is a minimum language requirement, not a recommendation about appropriate language knowledge. The Department has a strong commitment to multicultural and multi-linguistic research and encourages all students to develop skills in foreign languages beyond the minimum requirement. In no case will the Department support a dissertation or other graduate research project for which a student lacks appropriate language skills.
Year One Project
At the end of the first year of study, students submit to the faculty a portfolio reflecting coursework throughout the year. By the first week of the following fall semester, students submit a polished essay reflecting their best work, and a brief reflective statement summarizing learning during the first year and goals for the future. CCS faculty meet early in the fall to evaluate this work, and the students receive a written evaluation. Students whose work is not of good quality may be asked to submit additional work. Students who do not fulfill this requirement by the beginning of the fourth semester normally may not continue in the program past their second year.
Year Two Requirements
By the end of the second year of study, students choose a Qualifying Exam Committee, including three Music faculty. As appropriate, there may also be a fourth Committee member from outside Music. Working in close consultation with these faculty advisors, students identify the areas on which their Qualifying Examination will focus.
By the end of the sixth semester, students of Critical and Comparative Studies take a written Qualifying Examination. Intended to demonstrate the student’s capacity for research and teaching in several fields, this examination will normally cover three fields (such as one theoretical approach, one geographical area or historical period, and one genre). At least one of these fields should be related to the area of the student’s dissertation; one or two others may develop out of course work.
In some cases, the student’s Committee may require the student to revise some or all of the essays in order to pass the exam. If two or all three of the essays show serious defects on the first attempt, the Committee may choose to recommend to the Graduate Committee that the student, while permitted to revise the exam, should not receive GTA and fellowship support for the following year; or may choose, rather than requesting revisions, to recommend to the Graduate Committee that the student, having failed the exam, should not be permitted to continue in the program.
Normally students may revise their work on the Qualifying Examination no more than once. Students who need to revise all or part of the exam a second time may do so only by petitioning the Graduate Committee. Unless the Graduate Committee grants an exception, a student who does not pass the exam, either on the first attempt or after submitting revisions by the specified deadline, has failed the exam and will not be permitted to continue in the program.
A dissertation in Critical and Comparative Studies consists of a book-length study demonstrating original research and critical insight.
By the end of the third year of study, students choose the principal faculty advisor of their dissertation work, and the other members of their Dissertation Committee, including two other Music faculty. As appropriate, there may also be a fourth Committee member from outside Music. Working in close consultation with these faculty advisors, students determine the general area of their dissertation project.
By the end of the seventh semester, students of Critical and Comparative Studies submit to the Dissertation Committee a detailed prospectus (with annotated bibliography) of the dissertation project. Students will present and discuss their dissertation proposal orally before the Committee and other faculty who wish to participate. Final approval of the dissertation proposal is by the Graduate Committee of the Music Department.
Students are expected to complete all pre-dissertation requirements, including coursework, language proficiency examinations, qualifying projects and examinations, and the dissertation proposal by the conclusion of their seventh term of study.
The completed dissertation will be defended before the Dissertation Committee; a faculty member from another Department must be present at the defense, either as a member of the Committee or by special arrangement.
Note: Courses numbered 5000-5999 are for advanced undergraduate and graduate students; courses numbered 7000 and above are for graduate students only.