Music Performance and Composition (PhD)

Department Website

Program Description

New York University is one of the few institutions in the United States that offers a PhD degree in music performance and composition. Faculty members are leaders in research and are internationally acclaimed artists and composers; many are members of renowned music organizations, such as the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Company, while others are drawn from the Broadway community and prominent jazz ensembles, including the Village Vanguard Orchestra.

Students must declare a concentration in Performance or Composition and may focus their studies in consultation with their adviser.

Career Opportunities

Most students enter the graduate programs of study in music performance and composition with the intention of pursuing a career in performance and/or composition coupled with teaching at the college or university level. Graduates of the master’s program have found that being in New York City during their graduate study was an important aspect of their musical education and a significant factor in building a network of contacts that launched their professional careers as composers, arrangers, conductors, or instrumentalists and vocalists working as freelance artists, studio musicians, or performers in Broadway productions.

Alumni from the program have gone on to significant careers in opera and Broadway, with debuts at New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and numerous Broadway shows. Instrumental, classical, and jazz performers have solo careers and play with major ensembles. Composers write for film and music theatre as well as traditional venues.

Graduates of the doctoral programs are professors of music in leading institutions in the United States and abroad.

NYU’s Greenwich Village location brings students to the center of jazz activities. Landmark jazz venues such as the Village Vanguard and the Blue Note Jazz Club are within walking distance. At these clubs, students experience jazz luminaries in performance on a regular basis.


Admission to graduate programs in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development requires the following minimum components:

  • Résumé/CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Proficiency in English

See NYU Steinhardt's Graduate Admissions website for additional information on school-wide admission. Some programs may require additional components for admissions.

See How to Apply for admission requirements and instructions specific to the following concentrations: