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Contact the Music Graduate Office

Office Location
East Studio Building 120 (JS 120)
205 S. Jordan Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405

Mailing Address
1201 E. 3rd Street
Bloomington, IN 47405

Hours: 8 am–12 pm, 1–5 pm
Phone: 812-855-1738Phone

E-mail: musgrad [at] indiana [dot] edu

musicdgs [at] indiana [dot] edu (Eric Isaacson), Director 
serbes [at] indiana [dot] edu (Sara Erbes), Advisor
anmiller [at] indiana [dot] edu (Angie Miller), Recorder
musgrad [at] indiana [dot] edu (Victoria Wheeler), Secretary
musdoc [at] indiana [dot] edu (Janis Cooper Parker), Doctoral Clerk

More Information

Doctor of Music in Composition—Dissertation

DM students in composition write an original composition as a dissertation. The topic proposal must be approved before the oral examination.

Students should submit an application for graduation no later than the beginning of the semester in which they plan to graduate. (Graduation information)

These guidelines pertain to the dissertation for Composition majors only. There are different procedures for the PhD and DME dissertation, the doctoral final project, or piano essay.

Step 1: Topic Proposal

Submit the completed topic proposal form to the Music Graduate Office (either one paper copy or email the proposal as a PDF attachment). The topic proposal requests a title and short description of the work you propose to write, and also proposes a Research Committee consisting of three members of the composition faculty.

The form will be distributed to the members of your Research Committee for their approval, which may take up to two weeks. You will be notified via email once all committee members have approved your proposal. You may not schedule a date for your oral qualifying examination until your dissertation topic is approved.

Step 2: Compose the Dissertation

Complete your dissertation and write program notes in coordination with the chair of your Research Committee and in accordance with these formatting guidelines.

Step 3: Approval for Distribution

When the chair of your committee feels that the dissertation and program notes are ready for review by the rest of the committee, your chair should notify the Music Graduate Office (by phone, in person, or by e-mail).

Step 4: Submit Review Copies

The review copies need to include all front matter, click here to see the templates.

1. Submit a PDF of the document to the doctoral clerk by using this online submission form.  

2. Submit one bound, double-sided hard copy to your research director.  This reading copy should conform to departmental formatting requirements, but may be reproduced on paper of any reasonable quality, with spiral or comb binding. The research director will circulate the bound copy to the other committee members. 

Candidates must submit reading copies of the dissertation by November 1 for fall graduation or March 1 for spring graduation. This process can be completed only during the fall and spring semesters; dissertations are not approved during the summer.

Step 5: Approval and Revisions

Once all three committee members have reviewed the document, the Research Committee chair will then go over any final adjustments with you. 

Incorporate any changes or corrections into the dissertation and program notes, consulting with the chair as needed.

The Research Committee Chair indicates final approval by notifying the doctoral clerk by email.

Step 6: Final Submission

Prepare the final copy and submit it as outlined below:

This must be done by the last day of classes for the semester in order to graduate in a given semester.  Dissertations are not approved in the summer.

IU Performance of Dissertations

Dissertations (or portions thereof) with a duration of 15 minutes or less will be considered for performance with an IU orchestra, band, or the New Music Ensemble. To have a dissertation placed in the pool for performance consideration, composers must follow the procedure outlined on the Composition department web site (click here).