Masters Program in Digital Musics

The Masters Program in Digital Musics is an interdisciplinary program for composers, artists and scholars working at the intersection of sonic arts and other disciplines including performance, design, technology, music theater, installation, cognitive neuroscience, computer science, improvisation and acoustics. 

Graduate Overview

Who is this program for?

The Masters Program in Digital Musics is best suited to makers and thinkers who might not fit into traditional conservatory or graduate school programs. The flexibility of the program creates a space for individuals who are working in multiple fields at once. All three of the core faculty are composers reaching outside the scope of contemporary music, and into computer science, cognitive neuroscience, architecture, sculpture, music theater, and participatory performance. We see the program as a home for sonic misfits, oddballs and outsiders who are making work across the conventional boundaries of music and academia. The program works well as a prelude to a PhD or MFA program, but can also serve artists and practitioners who would benefit from time in the critical and intellectual environment of a graduate program in order to fortify a hybrid or non-traditional practice.

Program Structure

Dartmouth College operates on a quarter system, so Graduate Students in Digital Musics typically study on campus for seven 10-week terms over a two year period. Each term, students enroll in the Graduate Seminar and two other courses of their choice. These can be courses from the Undergraduate offerings at Dartmouth or independent Directed Research with Dartmouth faculty. At the end of the two years students present a Graduate Thesis which can take a creative, academic or hybrid form.

Graduate Seminar

Each term the Graduate Seminar is taught by one of the Digital Musics faculty members (Michael Casey, Ash Fure or César Alvarez). 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 Grad 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. These could be based on particular topics, or designed as mentorships for a specific project. The Directed Research is a flexible structure for Grad Students in Digital Musics to build working relationships with mentors that have specific insight into a student's creative and/or academic trajectory. 

Undergraduate Classes

Graduate students can take a wide range of courses across Dartmouth College, including but not limited to those in Music, Computer Science, Theater, Engineering, Studio Art, Perception and Cognition, Philosophy, Neuroscience, Mathematics, Languages, Women and Gender Studies, etc. For a comprehensive list of courses, see Dartmouth's Course Catalog.

Performance Lab in Contemporary Music

Each term the cohort meets regularly as an informal ensemble led by percussionist Amy Garapic. The Lab is a place to improvise, try out works-in-progress and build community in sound. In some terms the Performance Lab will choose to put on a public concert.

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. The funding for this is provided by the program, but the logistics and curation are student-led. 

Thesis Project

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.