Department of Music College of Arts and Sciences Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Department of Music College of Arts and Sciences Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Stony Brook, NY
student ratio
Not Reported
total students
average amount to complete degree
January 15
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
6 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


Department of Music

The Department of Music at Stony Brook offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in composition. Students in the M.A. in composition program take a series of core courses in their discipline, including work in analysis--analysis of twentieth-century music or an advanced course in twentieth-century theory or analysis, such as topics in theory or topics in analysis. The first year often involves one or two semesters of intensive ear-training in foundations of musicianship and/or graduate musicianship. In addition to regular composition lessons (advanced composition), composers often take an intensive review of tonal harmony and counterpoint and an introduction to electronic music. Other electives often taken are a workshop in instrumentation and orchestration, introduction to computer music, and advanced projects in computer music. In the second year of the master's program, composers develop a portfolio to be reviewed by the composition faculty and take comprehensive examinations in musical analysis, which are written essays on two assigned compositions, one tonal and the other post-tonal.

Students admitted at the M.A. level are provisionally admitted to the Ph.D. program; they usually spend two years at the master's level, although it is possible to advance faster. The end of master's-level work is an "articulation point." Students continue into the Ph.D. program if all master's-level work is satisfactorily completed, and upon recommendation of the faculty.

In the first year of study, Ph.D. students are assigned a directing committee of 3 to 4 faculty members, with whom they create their own curriculum by drawing up a doctoral contract. The contract lists courses to be taken and projected work and includes a number of compositions demonstrating fluency in working with a variety of contemporary performance media. The contract also requires foreign language competence (a reading knowledge of French, German, Italian, or Spanish) and the presentation of a public colloquium on a topic of significant interest in twentieth- or twenty-first-century music. Students who did not complete their master's degree at Stony Brook must also take the comprehensive exam in analysis required of master's students. Prior to advancing to candidacy (normally after three years), students must submit a prospectus outlining the nature and aims of the dissertation (an extended composition for composers) and pass a preliminary examination that demonstrates preparation in the area of the dissertation composition. Students who successfully complete the Ph.D. in composition are well qualified to teach composition or related subjects at the college level, or to pursue a career as a freelance composer.

Research Facilities

The Department of Music has fully equipped electronic (analog) and computer (digital) music studios. There is an e-media digital arts site in the Music Building, which is shared by music, theater arts, and art students and a Laboratory for Technology in the Arts, which is an interdisciplinary studio for music, art, and theater arts housed in the Theater Arts Department. In addition, student composers have the opportunity to have their compositions performed by advanced instrumental and vocal students in the M.M. and D.M.A. programs. The music library contains an extensive research collection of books, periodicals, scores, microfilms, and recordings and includes an excellent listening facility.

Student Outcomes

Oded Zehavi and Isabel Soveral, both of whom received their Ph.D.'s in composition in 1994, are now Chair of the Composition Department at Haifa University in Israel and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, respectively. Gregory Glancey (Ph.D. composition) is Assistant Professor of Music and Assistant Chair of the music department at Vanguard University of Southern California. Other recent graduates hold faculty positions at American universities, including the University of Wisconsin--Madison and Pomona College.

Graduate Admissions

The University and The Department

Established in 1957 as part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook is now recognized as one of the nation's finest public universities. Stony Brook is classified as Research University (very high research activity) by the Carnegie Foundation. This distinction, granted to fewer than 2 percent of all colleges and universities nationwide, reflects Stony Brook's high volume of federally sponsored research, high percentage of doctoral students, and emphasis on scholarship. A study published by Johns Hopkins University Press placed Stony Brook among the top three public research universities in the country--second only to the University of California at Berkeley and tied for second with the University of California, Santa Barbara--n research per faculty member.

Stony Brook's music programs have grown out of an unusual partnership between the academy and the conservatory and are designed to favor interaction among musical disciplines that have traditionally been kept separate. The Department believes that a sound education for any musician must involve a solid theoretical grasp of musical structure, an understanding of the historical and cultural forces that shape music, and practical experience with music making on a professional level. The program in composition is enriched by daily contact with students and faculty members in the performance programs. Interdisciplinary studies are central to the educational philosophy of the Department. A number of courses are team-taught by 2 or more faculty members, examining topics from several disciplinary viewpoints. The Department frequently offers courses in collaboration with the Departments of Philosophy, Comparative Studies, Theatre Arts, and Art, as well as the programs in cultural studies and women's studies and in Stony Brook's Humanities Institute.

Location & Contact

Department of Music

College of Arts and Sciences
Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
United States

Dr. Perry Goldstein


Phone: 631-632-7340
Fax: 631-632-7404

Monica Gentile


Phone: 631-632-7340
Fax: 631-632-7404

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Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Music Performance Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
      Master of Music (MM)
    • Music History/Theory Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Arts (MA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 17
    • Doctoral Degrees 38
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Not reported
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? Not reported
    • Terminal master's degree available? Yes
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


22% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 339
    • Accepted 100
    • Acceptance Rate 22
    • Enrolled 45
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $100
    • Application Fee - International $100
    • Electronic applications accepted? Not Reported
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Not Reported
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 15th Not Reported Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline October 1st Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & Fees$4,685
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsNot Reported
    • Types of financial support availableTeaching Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students244
    • Female Percentage51%
    • Male Percentage49%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students244
    • Part-time Percentage3%
    • Full-time Percentage97%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino7%
    • Black / African American2%
    • White / Caucasian62%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native1%
    • Asian16%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races3%
    • Unknown9%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty64
    • Full-time Percentage39%
    • Part-time Percentage61%
    • Female Percentage39%
    • Male Percentage61%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchTwentieth century music, musicology, chamber music
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last yearNot Reported