Students who do not already have a master’s degree in music earn the Master of Fine Arts in the course of their study; but the M.F.A. is not normally viewed as a terminal degree at Cornell, and those wishing to earn only the master’s degree are not usually admitted. All doctoral students are admitted with four full years of funding in the form of 1.5 years of fellowships and 2.5 years of teaching assistantships.
In addition to seminar work and lessons, students will be required to present a public concert of their work comprising at least 30 minutes of music in various media composed during their study at Cornell. As part of the D.M.A. thesis, students are required to complete a single composition or a portfolio of totaling at least twenty minutes’ duration. If a single twenty-minute work is submitted, it must be scored for “large forces”; if a portfolio is submitted, it should cover a range of forces and genres, but again at least one work should be for large forces.
The works by doctoral composers are performed by the student-managed Cornell Contemporary Chamber Players, typically three times a year; the Festival Chamber Orchestra (a professional group of fourteen players, modeled on the London Sinfonietta) presents an annual concert of doctoral candidates’ chamber-orchestra scores.
For detailed information regarding the Composition program, please see the Composition Program pamphlet .