Music PhD

Develop expertise in one of four areas of specialization with the PhD in Music in Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. Students in this research-based doctoral program can choose from the Composition, Music Studies, Music Theory or Musicology concentrations, depending on their creative and scholarly interests. Graduates pursue careers in composition and higher education, as well as make significant contributions to academic research.

Students have seven years to complete the Music PhD program on a full-time or part-time basis. At the end of your course work, you'll write a dissertation to demonstrate research skills gained during your time in the program. Composition students must compose an original work as part of their final dissertation.


Since the Music PhD program focuses on academic research versus performance, coursework is a blend of seminars focused on one of the following areas of study.

  • Composition-Music

    In the Composition concentration, you’ll refine your skills in writing music through coursework and seminars intended to hone compositional forms and techniques across a variety of genres.

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  • Music Studies

    The interdisciplinary Music Studies concentration allows you to focus on a combination of studies tailored to your professional interests, including Composition and Music Theory, or Musicology and Music Theory.

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  • Music Theory

    The Music Theory concentration focuses on how composers and musicians write music, including the concepts, methods and structures they use.

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  • Musicology

    In the Musicology concentration, coursework investigates the social and historical contexts of music. You’ll understand music as a critical part of history and society, as well as its function as a performance art.

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Classes & Curriculum

The Music PhD requires 42 credits beyond the master’s degree, and each concentration in the PhD program has its own required core courses. From there, you’ll work with your advisor to select additional courses based on your personal academic, creative and professional goals.

Available courses include some of the following.

  • Current Topics in Musicology and Theory
  • Composing Music for Films
  • History and Pedagogy of Musicology
  • Post-Tonal Theory
  • Seminar in Composition
  • Schenkerian Analysis​
  • Scoring and Audio Design for Video Games

Learn more about the required courses for the Music PhD.

Related Graduate Degrees

Related Graduate Certificates

Tuition & Fees

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to access and affordability, this Doctor of Philosophy offers a competitive level of tuition with multiple opportunities for financial support.

Tuition rates are set annually by the university and are affected by multiple factors, including program degree level (undergraduate or graduate), course load (full- or part-time), in-state or out-of-state residency, and more. These tuition costs apply to the 2023–2024 academic year.

Pennsylvania resident: $1,187.00 per credit
Out-of-state: $1,583.00 per credit

Learn more about our tuition and fees.


Additional Program Information