Doctoral Certificate in Composition


Students are admitted to the Doctoral Certificate in Composition (DCC) program based on a selection process adjudicated by Department of Music composition faculty at the start of the student’s second year in Ph.D. program in Music. To request consideration for the Doctoral Certificate Program in Composition, the student should speak with a member of the composition faculty and the Department of Music’s graduate student services officer. At the time of consideration, the student must be in good standing in the Department of Music.


Once admitted into the program, students must complete a course plan to be approved by department faculty based on the requirements below.

Course List

Music 323 (9 - 12 units)

Doctoral Seminar in Composition (Doctoral Seminar in Composition (3 quarters required, 2 of which must be completed by the end of the second year of the doctoral program) ).

Music 324 (6 units)

Graduate Composition Forum (3 quarters required by the end of the second year, plus 3 additional quarters, for a total of 6 quarters) Note: The Graduate Composition Forum requirement includes participating in group discussions and presentations by guest artists, attending Composition Advising Council (CAC) meetings and helping produce CAC concerts, and attending milestone events associated with the Doctoral Certificate in Composition and the DMA in Composition (i.e. portfolio reviews, special area exam presentations, and final project presentations). There is, however, no residency requirement other than completing 3 of 6 quarters of Music 324 by the end of the second year. A quarter of second-year participation in Music 324 may be deferred if there are pressing research needs or other extenuating circumstances.

Music 325 (4 units)

Individual Graduate Projects in Composition (Individual Graduate Projects in Composition (4 quarters of individual instruction in composition for any number of units, minimum of 4 units); two quarters must be taken by the end of the second year; the student must have studied with two different composition professors by the end of the second year of the doctoral program, and three different professors by the end of year three of the doctoral program)

Other Requirements and Opportunities

A final project presentation in the fifth year of doctoral study, with or without a written component. Co-supervision (a DCC advisor), by a composition faculty member.

Undertaking the Doctoral Certificate in Composition entitles the student to participate in the Composition Advising Council’s selection of visiting ensembles. In addition, it entitles the student to engage in collaborations with, at a minimum, half the number of collaborations with artists invited by the CAC in which a typical DMA student would participate. 

Optional Requirements and Expectations

Qualifying Exam: optional but recommended; to be completed no later than the first term of year three. [See Qualifying Exam information under the DMA program tab.]

Portfolio Review: optional but recommended; can take place in the third year or after, in consultation with the adviser.