Graduate Division

Music: Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology Ph.D.

Section 1


The Department of Music at the University of California, Irvine invites applications to the PhD program in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT). The program is taught by a core faculty whose work embraces diverse forms of music making, challenging conventional distinctions between classical composition, computer music, improvisation, and jazz. Students will receive close personal attention from faculty, and are encouraged to work on interdisciplinary projects. We seek students with a strong foundation who wish to develop new creative work integrating a wide range of contemporary music and ideas.

What Sets Us Apart?

In addition to the six core ICIT faculty, the Music Department includes many other performers, musicologists, theorists, and historians, making for a rich environment in which to develop critical skills that are essential for the 21st-century musician. The Claire Trevor School of the Arts is home to excellent graduate programs in Dance, Drama, and Studio Art. UC Irvine is a quickly growing campus within one of the nation’s leading research university systems. Located near the coast in Orange County, Irvine is an hour south of Los Angeles, a major art world center with vibrant contemporary music scenes.

You can learn more about the program here.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Doctoral Program

Normative Time to Degree

4 years

Capstone Type


Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

In addition to meeting all general requirements for admission to graduate study, applicants should normally hold a B.A. in Music or a B.Mus. A master's degree is not required, but students with prior graduate study may request course requirement waivers as detailed below under Course Requirements. Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in vocal or instrumental performance commensurate with at least two years of individual undergraduate instruction, including exposure to improvisation and non-notated music.

The online application must be submitted and all supporting materials must be received by December 1. Supporting materials must include the following: Composition portfolio, Academic writing sample, and Performance audition (video).

Applicants are expected to have good general knowledge of music history and music theory and competence in basic musicianship skills. Entering students will be given diagnostic tests in these areas prior to the beginning of classes and will be expected to remedy any evident deficiencies during the first year in residence.

Financial Support

Are teaching assistantships available?

Yes. Most of our graduate students work as teaching assistants during some or all of their years in the program, assisting faculty with undergraduate classes. Teaching assistants are paid a salary by the university for their work.

I received a letter about funding that describes a 25% TAship. What does this mean?

The percentages listed on funding letters are based on a 40-hour work week. Graduate students are only allowed to work at the University up to a maximum of 50% (20 hours per week). Most often, our graduate students receive teaching assistantships for 25%, which equates to an average of 10 hours per week over all 11 weeks of the academic quarter. That usually includes the time spent attending the class itself.

What would I do as a teaching assistant?

Assignments vary each quarter and may include anything from assisting a professor with a small undergraduate music major class, to assisting with grading student work in a large lecture class, to assisting with a performance ensemble. Naturally, when assigning teaching assistantships, the department takes into account students’ strengths, and we also do our best to provide a variety of assignments so that students gain diverse teaching experiences.

Do you offer funding or teaching assistantships for non-California residents? For international students?

Anyone who has been accepted into a graduate program is eligible for funding support, including TAships. Graduate student funding resources change each year, but almost all of our graduate students, including international students, receive some form of support through fellowships (stipends) and/or TAships (salary).

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2018-19

  Fall 2018 Winter 2019 Spring 2019 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 137.88 137.88 137.87 413.63
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
eTech Fee * 60.00 60.00 60.00 180.00
Document Fee † 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,348.00 1,347.00 1,347.00 4,042.00
Total California Resident $5,795.88 $5,794.88 $5,794.87 $17,385.63
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $10,829.88 $10,828.88 $10,828.87 $32,487.63

Posted 10 August 2018 at

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

The non-refundable eTech Fee is required of all students and is used to support the maintenance and improvement of existing education technology, and new services and capabilities. The eTech fee is listed separately as the charged amount varies based on the amount of undergraduate units the student is enrolled in and is assessed later in the term than the other fees listed. The fee is $4 per unit of undergraduate lecture course, up to a maximum amount of $60 (or 15 units) per quarter. It will be assessed after the third week of instruction. The $60 eTech Fee included on this chart reflects the maximum possible fee.

† The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Michael Dessen is a composer-improviser who performs on the slide trombone and computer. Active in a variety [...]

Christopher Dobrian is the director of the Gassmann Electronic Music Studio and the Realtime Experimental [...]

Mari Kimura is a violinist, composer, researcher, and a leader in the field of interactive computer music. [...]

Lukas Ligeti is a composer and improvisor (on drums and electronic percussion) whose work is informed by a [...]

Nicole Mitchell is creative flutist, composer and educator. Founder of critically acclaimed Black Earth [...]

Kojiro Umezaki is a performer of the shakuhachi, a composer of electro-acoustic works, and a specialist in [...]

Academic Data

academic data

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Career Outcomes

Career outcomes data is not yet available.

Students & Alumni

Music PhD students are perpetually engaged in a multitude of areas of creative work. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the faculty in your specific program of interest in order to learn more about what they’re doing.