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Doctorate Programs in Music Technology

Music technology programs at the Ph.D. level are rare, and they're typically only available in campus-based formats rather than online. Learn more about the program in general, admission prerequisites, common coursework and career prospects.

What Does a Doctorate in Music Technology Entail?

Doctoral programs in music technology are interdisciplinary; as a Ph.D. student, you'll often work in other fields, including mechanical and electrical engineering, computer science, mathematics, industrial design and digital media. You'll learn the many different ways in which music creation, production and editing employ technology. You'll spend time learning theoretical aspects of music technology, but you'll also get out of the classroom and practice using various types of equipment in a music laboratory. Doctorate programs in music technology are rare and generally offered on-campus due to the hands-on requirements for the degree, such as teaching and laboratory work.

Field Focus (As relates to music) computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, digital media
Online Options Not available
Admission Requirements Master's degree in a related field may be required, portfolio submission
Common Courses Digital sound processing, advanced acoustics, computational analysis of music
Career Opportunities Development and testing of music technology, audio production and engineering, academics
Median Salary (2018)$49,630 (for music directors and composers)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)6% growth (for all music directors and composers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are The Admission Requirements?

To be admitted to a doctorate program in music technology, you may need to submit a portfolio of your work. This may be an audio or video recording or written work that exhibits your mastery of academic areas related to this field, such as music theory, music composition or digital signal processing. You may need to possess a master's degree in music technology or a related field, such as music theory, musicology or music performance.

What Courses Will I Take?

You'll be required to take a series of core courses which cover many facets of the intersection between music and technology. For example, you may take coursework in how technology has influenced the production and dissemination of music throughout history. You may also study how music is used and perceived on the Internet, in video games or on television. As a complement to these courses, you may learn about the psychology of music perception, which includes study of how the human ear and brain respond to music. Other course topics may include:

  • Digital sound processing
  • Advanced acoustics
  • Computational analysis of music
  • Designing music interfaces
  • Audio recording and mixing

You may specialize your studies in an area of personal or professional interest, such as music for film and multimedia, digital signal processing and interactive music systems. These programs often culminate with researching, writing and defending a dissertation. You may also have a comprehensive exam that includes both oral and written components.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

Upon earning a doctorate in music technology, you can work in a variety of fields related to the field. You may choose a research career focused on developing and testing new forms of music technology. You may also work in audio production or engineering. This includes work in music, radio, television, film and Internet. A doctoral program in music technology also prepares you to teach at a college or university.