Post-Generals Course of Study (Composition)

After the generals exam
In the third, fourth, and fifth years, students are expected to make steady progress on both their compositions and the essay portion of their dissertation. All students must continue to attend the start-of-year meeting, attend all Princeton Sound Kitchen meetings and concerts, attend all Composition Colloquia, and to either take one seminar, or teach as a preceptor.
The Dissertation Proposal
Princeton University Graduate College

is due on the first day of fall term reading period during the third year, as emailed to the DGS and the Academic Programs Administrator. It should describe the goals and strategies of a dissertation both in composition and prose—a unified project expressive of your central concerns in the field of contemporary music. 

Completing the Dissertation
Princeton University Department of Music

Students should consult with their advisor and second reader regarding the completion of both portions of the dissertation (essay and composition) and scheduling a Final Public Oral (FPO). Both readers must approve the final text of the dissertation, along with the composition, before the FPO can be scheduled.

A Chapter Draft

must be submitted by the last day of classes in the spring semester in the third year. 

AI Instruction

Assistantships in Instruction (AI), teaching assignments awarded to graduate students, include stipends provided as salary. For other Professional Development opportunities, click HERE

Dissertation Completion Enrollment (DCE) and Funding

The Music Department provides funding (tuition and stipend) for all students in good standing.  Students who have not finished their dissertation at the end of five years and who are making progress on the dissertation may apply for DCE (Dissertation Completion Enrollment) status for years six and seven as necessary. DCE students are charged modest-cost tuition that includes mandatory health insurance.  

The following funding opportunities exist for DCE students:

  • Students who receive an external fellowship may be able to eligible to bank a year of funding.  
  • Students entering DCE status who have made substantial progress on their dissertations are eligible to be nominated for an Honorific Fellowship.
  • Students who have made substantial progress on their dissertations may be nominated by the Department for the new Sixth-Year Funding Program.

For further information, please see the Graduate Handbook. 

Princeton Sound Kitchen

The Princeton Sound Kitchen ("PSK") is a vital forum for the creation of new music. Serving the graduate student and faculty composers of the renowned composition program at Princeton University, PSK presents a wide variety of concerts and events. Some concerts are eclectic, and feature numerous soloists or groups and a mix of instrumentation, while others focus on a particular outstanding chamber ensemble. All demonstrate the extraordinary range of interests and abilities of the Princeton composers, many of whom take the stage themselves as performers of their own and others' music. Difficult to pigeon-hole, these composers might work with complex notation, improvisation, electronics, or vernacular music. One might encounter any of these approaches, and many others, at a PSK concert.

Ensembles that have been featured at PSK include the Brentano String Quartet, the New Millennium Ensemble, So Percussion, the Now Ensemble, Newspeak, the Crash Ensemble, the Janus Trio, Roomful of Teeth, and many others.

Princeton Sound Kitchen is directed by Prof. Dan Trueman, in collaboration with his staff and faculty colleagues and the graduate student composers. 

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