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Music and Multimedia Composition

Students in the Ph.D. program in Music and Multimedia Composition produce, analyze, and perform original works that may include the use of electronic music, acoustic composition and sound in combination with video, performance, installation and text. They conduct advanced inquiry into the cultural, theoretical, technical and aesthetic issues surrounding music and multimedia production in close collaboration with faculty researchers strongly invested in real-time, interactive sonic and visual media, sound art, instrument design and acoustic composition. The program welcomes students working from diverse influences and methods, expanding their creative practices and underlying technical knowledge to spur artistic innovation. In addition to faculty mentorship, students can collaborate with a broad array of professional performing ensembles and visiting artists presented on the Brown University campus.

The graduate program in Music and Multimedia Composition offers an array of resources unique to Brown. Students have access to the department’s Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments (MEME) studios, and the university’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. These specialized research facilities house recording studios, electronics shops, project studios, exhibition and performance spaces. Regular opportunities exist to interface with the larger arts and digital media communities at Brown, at the nearby Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence and the New England region. Music and Multimedia Composition students also partake in the many scholarly offerings of the Musicology and Ethnomusicology PhD program, with faculty specialties in technoculture, sound studies, copyright, improvisation and organology. A Brown doctoral degree in Music and Multimedia Composition leads to a career in college and university teaching, or to a position in applied work outside the academy.

Completion Requirements

A.M.: Eight courses selected in consultation with advisor; an original creative thesis project in the form of electronic/acoustic composition and performance, audio/visual work, art/sound installation, or online work; a written thesis to accompany the creative work; and a qualifying review. Students entering the program without the A.M. earn that degree as part of their progress toward the Ph.D. We do not encourage applicants who seek the A.M. as a terminal degree.

Ph.D.: In addition to the courses required for the A.M., five additional courses for a total of 13. Required courses include a minimum of four graduate-level seminars offered by the Music and Multimedia Composition program. After completion of all coursework in the third year, the candidate will take a three-hour oral preliminary examination. Passing the preliminary examination authorizes the candidate to proceed to the doctoral dissertation, which is completed during the fourth and fifth years.

Admission Information

Admission requirements: Submit on online portfolio of three to four examples of your best creative work; examples can include music, videos, installations, performances, scores or any other creative work. Please include brief notes about each work and anything else that may help guide in the evaluation process. A writing sample is not required but may be included. Candidates are evaluated primarily on their creative work.

GRE General: Required
GRE Subject: Not required
TOEFL/IELTS: As needed by foreign applicants. See the guidelines.
Application deadline: January 1