Degree Offered

Ph.D. in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT).
An M.A. may be awarded to Ph.D. students in progress toward the doctoral degree.


In addition to meeting all general requirements for admission to graduate study, applicants should normally hold a B.A. in Music or a B.Mus. A master’s degree is not required but students with prior graduate study may request course requirement waivers as detailed below under Course Requirements. Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in vocal or instrumental performance commensurate with at least two years of individual undergraduate instruction, including exposure to improvisation and non-notated music.

The online application must be submitted and all supporting materials must be received by December 1. Supporting materials must include the following: Composition portfolio, Academic writing sample, and Performance audition (video).

Applicants are expected to have good general knowledge of music history and music theory and competence in basic musicianship skills. Entering students will be given diagnostic tests in these areas prior to the beginning of classes and will be expected to remedy any evident deficiencies during the first year in residence.

Required Courses

Students may request that specific course requirements be waived based on equivalent graduate coursework completed at other institutions, up to a maximum of 12 units. Such requests must be submitted in fall quarter of their first year and accompanied by relevant course syllabi and transcripts.

Required courses:

  • Bibliography and Research (MUSIC 200), one quarter for 4 units
  • Critical Studies in Music (MUSIC 235), one quarter for 4 units
  • Directed Reading (MUSIC 250)*, at least two quarters for 4 units
  • Computer Music Composition and Production (MUSIC 215A), one quarter for 4 units
  • Composition (MUSIC 212), two quarters for 4 units
  • Contemporary Ensemble (MUSIC 276)*, two quarters for 2 units
  • Thesis Colloquium (MUSIC 239)*, one quarter per year until advancement to candidacy, for 1 unit (may be taken for 2 units with permission of instructor, for students presenting research in progress)

* Not eligible for equivalency from another institution

44 units of additional courses chosen from the following (may satisfy up to 8 units with an approved comparable graduate seminar in another department):

  • Seminar in Creative Practices (MUSIC 209)
  • Theoretical ICIT Seminar (MUSIC 236)
  • Practical ICIT Seminar (MUSIC 237)
  • Computer Music Programming (MUSIC 215B)
  • Contemporary Ensemble (MUSIC 276)
  • Seminar in Contemporary Music (MUSIC 230
  • Improvisation Seminar (MUS 231)
  • Seminar in Music History (MUSIC 220)
  • Topics in Analysis (MUSIC 201).

Assuming advancement to candidacy by the end of the third year, these requirements amount to 79 required units, leaving sufficient room for students to take additional coursework in other departments.

Language Requirement

Before advancing to candidacy, Ph.D. students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a language other than English, at a level sufficient to conduct research in that language. This requirement may be met either by attaining a passing score in a translation examination administered by the department or by earning a grade of B or higher in level 2C (representing ability equivalent to two full years) of an approved undergraduate language course.

Advancement to Candidacy

The normative time for students to pass the Qualifying Examination and advance to candidacy is 9 quarters (3 years). Candidacy Committee chairs are assigned in the spring quarter of the first year of Ph.D. study. Students must sign up for two quarters of MUS 250 with their Candidacy Committee chair to prepare for qualifying exams. During these quarters of MUS 250, the student works with the Candidacy Committee chair to designate the remaining four committee members, and develops a dissertation prospectus to submit to the committee prior to the candidacy exam. The candidacy exam consists of a response of roughly 20 single-spaced pages to a set of questions provided by the committee, followed by an oral examination with the Candidacy Committee.

Students are not admitted to an M.A.-only program, but may be granted an M.A. in recognition of progress toward the Ph.D. after completing six quarters of ICIT coursework and submitting a portfolio of original musical work completed during that period.


After advancing to candidacy, the normative time to degree is 3 quarters (1 year). The dissertation committee is chaired by a member of the core ICIT faculty and must include at least one other member of the Senate faculty in Music. A third committee member must be a UC Senate faculty from outside the UCI Music Department, and a fourth member must be a qualified faculty from any department including Music. The Ph.D. dissertation in ICIT combines innovative creative activity with scholarly research. The goal of the dissertation is to address a major intellectual issue in the integration of composition, improvisation, and technology, and to make an original contribution to existing knowledge of that issue through research and new artistic work. The tangible product will be a written dissertation that presents and contextualizes substantial innovative work in integrated composition/improvisation/technology, and music of significant scope that clearly demonstrates that work.