Mike Winters, a Ph.D. student, playing a theramin while wearing a brain scan cap.

Ph.D. in Music Technology

Ph.D. in Music Technology

Our Ph.D. in Music Technology is a fully funded program, including a monthly stipend and tuition waiver. In this program, our students focus on novel research with a broad impact on music, collaborating with faculty on a variety of topics.

Additionally, our students are trained in research methods, teaching pedagogy, and an interdisciplinary minor field. We ensure all of our Ph.D. students are prepared for careers in academia, industry research labs, or their own startup companies.




In order to be accepted into the Music Technology Ph.D. program, you are expected to hold a Master’s degree in Music Technology or from a similar field, such as computing, music, engineering, or media arts and sciences. Regardless of what Master's degree you hold, all applicants are expected to demonstrate expertise of core masters-level material covered in Music Technology. This includes proficiency in:

  • Music theory, performance, composition, and/or analysis
  • Music Information Retrieval
  • Digital Signal processing and Synthesis
  • Interactive Music Systems Design
  • Music Cognition

We will determine your proficiency through an extensive review of a portfolio of your work, and an interview process.

Students may waive the requirement to enroll in specific courses by appealing to the Music Technology Graduate Program Committee. Such appeals will typically be granted only if the student has already taken the same course at Georgia Tech or has taken a substantially equivalent course at another institution, and if the student has earned an exceptional grade in that course.

The application deadline for Spring semester is September 1st. The deadline for Fall semester is January 15th.

Required Music Technology Core Courses
MUSI 6001 Music Perception and Cognition    3 Credit hours
MUSI 6003 Music Technology History and Repertoire    3 Credit hours
MUSI 6202 Digital Audio Processing for Music    3 Credit hours
MUSI 8001 Research Methods in Music Technology    3 Credit hours
MUSI 8002 Teaching Practicum    6 Credit Hours
Required Music Technology Research Courses - Students must take 12 hours of research:
MUSI 7100 Music Technology Research Lab    12 Credit hours
Required Music Technology Creative Courses - Student must take one of the following courses. Additional courses from this set may be taken as electives:
MUSI 6002 Interactive Music    3 Credit hours
MUSI 6004 Technology Ensemble    3 Credit hours
MUSI 6203 Project Studio in Music Technology    3 Credit hours
Elective Courses -  Student must take at least 6 additional hours of MUSI electives, which can be any MUSI 6000-8000 level course.    6 credit hours
Minor Field of Study -  To include the study of: a) relevant history and precedent in the field; b) relevant theory; c) current debate; and d) methods of analysis and inquiry    9 Credit Hours (minimum)
Additional Elective Courses -  Students must take an additional 18 credits of electives and students. These elective courses may include additional MUSI courses and/or courses in other academic units that are approved by the student's advisor.  18 Credit Hours (minimum)
Total Course Requirement 66 Credit Hours
Qualifying paper and Thesis preparation classes (credit is not counted toward the degree requirement)
MUSI 7998 Preparation for Doctoral Qualifying Paper 1 to 21 Credit Hours
MUSI 7999 Preparation for Doctoral Qualifying Examination 1 to 21 Credit Hours
MUSI 9000 Doctoral Thesis 1 to 21 Credit Hours

Minors, which are selected by students in consultation with their advisor, are designed to enable the student to apply knowledge from other fields toward work in Music Technology. The student is responsible for the full range of knowledge, at the level of professional competence, for the Minor field selected. Minors often focus on traditional fields of study associated with other professions, such as human-computer interaction, digital signal processing, and digital media. Minors typically constitute 9 hours of coursework.

As an example, a minor in social computing might include:

  • CS 6750 Introduction to Human Computer Interaction
  • CS 6460 Foundations of Educational Technology
  • CS 6470 Online Communities

The qualifying paper is designed to demonstrate the student’s capacity to effectively conduct, analyze and communicate research and to encourage the student toward continued scholarship and publication of research. The paper must present original scholarship. It will typically be written in the context of a particular sub-field within music technology. Examples of typical sub-fields include: music information retrieval, digital instruments, interactive multimedia systems, music composition, music cognition and perception, and acoustics.

The paper is to be written in the format of a journal article, aimed at a specific peer-reviewed scholarly journal or conference in the sub-field. The paper must be reviewed and approved by the Music Technology Graduate Program Committee.

An example of a successful qualifying paper in music cognition might be the presentation of a theory of sadness evoked by music based on data compiled from human subject tests. Such a paper would likely detail the related music emotion literature and perceptual expectation literature from psychology, a statement of the hypothesis, a detailed description of the motivation and experimental design, a statistical analysis of the results, and the implications of the data analysis for the hypothesis.


Music Technology students will take a common exam and an individualized exam. Both exams will include written and oral components. The common exam will cover the core areas of music technology as outlined by the courses in the music technology core, including research methods, theory, and analysis. The exam will focus on a list of topics and corresponding bibliography provided to students by the Music Technology Graduate Program Committee. The individualized exam will focus on the student’s minor field of study and its relationship to music technology. The student will develop, under the direction of her or his advisor, a description of the field of study and a bibliography to serve as the basis for the exam. The test will cover history and precedent in the field, theory (its evolution and current debate), and methods of analysis and inquiry. The proposal should delineate the parameters of the field of study and the literature pertinent to that field.

The student will propose, conduct, and defend a work of original scholarship. The dissertation topic must give promise of being either a genuine addition to the fundamental knowledge of the field or a new and better interpretation of facts already known. It will typically be written in the context of a particular sub-field within music technology. Examples of typical sub-fields include: music information retrieval, digital instruments, interactive multimedia systems, music composition, music cognition and perception, and acoustics.

An example of a successful dissertation in music information retrieval might be one where the student devises a way of unmixing a musical signal into its constituent parts by extending or generalizing algorithms previously used only for image processing. This might culminate in the development and distribution of open-source software that could be widely used by other music technology researchers. The written dissertation might include a comparison with other state-of-the-art technologies emphasizing novel and beneficial aspects of the new approach, a detailed description of the algorithm, and the results of an empirical evaluation based on realistic musical problems.


Learn More

Our B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. music technology students don’t just use technology to make music. They invent the next generation of technologies that will revolutionize the music industry. Learn more about the blend of creative and technical work at the Georgia Tech School of Music.