Master of Fine Arts in Sonic Practice

We are thrilled to announce that Dartmouth's 2-Year M.A. in Digital Musics is transitioning into a 3-year M.F.A. in Sonic Practice. In light of this shift, applications will close for the current 2024-25 season and reopen to prospective M.F.A. students for the academic year 2025-26.

Why Sonic Practice?

-   Sonic indicates an expansive understanding of sound and vibration as aesthetic mediums that function far beyond conventional understandings of 'music'

-   Practice emphasizes a composer-performer link that all current affiliated faculty and students in the program manifest. An emphasis on making, doing, thinking, and innovating through sound is core to the curriculum.

-   Sonic Practice as a term stands apart from more common monikers in the field, such as degrees in Music Composition (which tend to emphasize score/notation-based concert music) and degrees in Sound Art (which tend to emphasize gallery-scale work angled at the art market).


The MFA in Sonic Practice offers critical, communal space to pursue hybrid approaches to sound.

Program Structure

The MFA in Sonic Practice offers 3 fully-funded academic years (tuition coverage + living stipend)  for a small cohort of students. Students study in person/on campus during Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, and pursue research and creative expansion off-site during summer terms.


Graduate Seminar

Each term the Graduate Seminar is taught by a member of the Sonic Practice faculty. These seminars focus on technical or critical areas of interest to the cohort, and also serve as a collaborative studio for sharing work, receiving feedback and engaging in critical conversation around shared interests. The Graduate Seminar is the consistent meeting place for the cohort, and it forms the academic spine of the students' two-year course of study.

Directed Research

Every term, students have the option to engage one-on-one with individual faculty members at Dartmouth through Directed Research. This may be focused on a particular topic or designed as a mentorship for a specific project. Directed Research is a flexible structure for graduate students in digital musics to build working relationships with mentors that have specific insight into a student's creative and/or academic trajectory.

Undergraduate Courses

Graduate students can take a wide range of undergraduate courses across the College, including but not limited to those in music, computer science, theater, engineering, studio art, philosophy, psychology, mathematics, languages, and women and gender studies. For a comprehensive list of courses, see Dartmouth's Course Catalog.

Student-Led Curation and Programming

In their second year, each student is asked to program a visiting artist, scholar or ensemble to visit the program and deliver a talk, performance or workshop. Funding for this is provided by the program, but the logistics and curation are student-led. 


Students are required to complete a thesis under the supervision of three Dartmouth faculty advisors, two of whom must be appointed in the Digital Musics program. A fourth committee member, who is external to Dartmouth, is allowed but not required. The thesis may take the form of a creative portfolio with supporting written and audio-visual documentation, applied research, or academic research.