Monash University

Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2015 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

print version

This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2015 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Arts.

Course code4067
Managing facultyArts
Abbreviated titlePhD(MusComposition)
CRICOS code069110B
Standard duration of study (years)

3-4 years equivalent full-time

The student's PhD research project is to be conceived from the outset as clearly achievable within 3 years equivalent full time, with students expected to complete their degree within 3 to 4 years equivalent full time.

Study mode and locationOn-campus (Clayton)
Off-campus (Clayton)
Admission, fee and application details


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.


Candidature in a Doctor of Philosophy involves the independent investigation of a research problem that has been formulated by the student. It is expected that the research undertaken will make a significant contribution to the discipline in which the student is enrolled. Doctoral students are supported by a minimum of two supervisors throughout their candidature.

Students are required to complete a compulsory program of professional development training. These discipline-specific programs are designed to impart skills and knowledge that will assist students to conduct their research.


Successful completion of the program will signify that the holder has completed a course of postgraduate training in research under proper academic supervision and has submitted a thesis that the examiners have declared to be a significant contribution to knowledge and which demonstrates the student's capacity to carry out independent research.

Candidature rules

For all candidature rules and other important information for PhD students refer to the Handbook for Doctoral DegreesHandbook for Doctoral Degrees (


This course consists of:

  • a research and thesis component
  • a professional development training program.


Students must, in consultation with and under the direct supervision of a member/s of the academic staff:

(a.) carry out a program of research on an agreed topic approved by the school or department of enrolment in the student's chosen discipline for a specified period, including attending and/or presenting at seminars and other related activities as indicated by the relevant department/school

(b.) submit for assessment a thesis component which meets the requirements of the examiners consisting of:

  • a composition folio consisting of both musical scores and sound recordings
  • a written critical commentary.

The overall duration of the submitted music would normally be between 50 and 80 minutes. Depending on the complexity of the submitted music, however, the overall duration may deviate considerably from the given range. Students present at least 50 per cent of the music submitted in their folio in public concerts. The supervisor guides the student in the performance and recording of their musical works. Together with the folio of musical compositions students submit a critical commentary of between 20,000 and 25,000 words that demonstrates their capacity to articulate the conceptual and aesthetic basis for their folio of compositions, to assess their compositional work in the context of contemporary music and sonic art, and to research and convey creative processes involved in the production of sound and music. The commentary must be scholarly in character, and, at minimum address the following:

  • explication of a research-based argument that provides the conceptual basis for the folio and its contribution to knowledge
  • compositional approach, process, and techniques
  • aesthetic placement and stylistic predecessors
  • performance context.

The work will take the form of music compositions, a bound critical commentary and concert program notes. The concert program notes must provide evidence that a minimum of 50 per cent of the music submitted in the portfolio has been performed in public concerts. The music compositions are to be submitted in the form of a combination of individually bound musical scores and sound recordings (such as CDs). All materials (musical scores, sound recordings, critical commentary and concert program notes) are to be submitted as a single portfolio.

Submission of the thesis based on or partially based on conjointly published or unpublished workconjointly published or unpublished work ( may be permitted.

(c.) satisfactorily complete a program of professional development training as outlined under 'Areas of study'.

Areas of study


Doctor of Philosophy (Music Composition)