At Western, doctoral study encompasses the following fields (as approved by the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies): Musicology, Music Theory, Music Education (Philosophy and Psychology) and Composition.
These fields may embrace historical musicology (including western art and popular music), music theory and analysis, aesthetics, psychoacoustics, the psychology of music and philosophy of music education.
The faculty pages provide information on specific research interests of faculty members, as well as a sample of recent master's thesis titles in Composition, Music Education, Musicology, Music Theory and Performance. To view recent doctoral dissertations, click here, and for dissertations in progress, click here.
Each doctoral student has an individual advisory committee of three or more faculty members, ordinarily drawn from more than one of the four fields listed above within the Don Wright Faculty of Music, and sometimes from a Faculty other than Music.
Since this committee has significant impact on your program, it is appointed as early as possible in your doctoral study.
Within the context of the basic requirements of the doctoral program, the committee will determine how many courses - and which ones in particular - will be required for your degree. It may assess your language competency and may require you to complete additional courses, or individual study in languages or other areas relevant to your proposed area of concentration, or simply to address deficiencies in your preparation for doctoral work.
The committee also assumes the primary responsibility of assessing your Comprehensive (9600) and Area examinations (9602).
Ordinarily, this committee continues to supervise your program and to monitor your progress throughout your doctoral study.
You may want to add new members as your area of research becomes better focused. The original chair of your advisory committee may become your thesis supervisor, or as your plans develop a different supervisor may turn out to be more appropriate.
The Associate Dean (Graduate Studies and Research), in consultation with you and appropriate faculty, will name your Advisory Committee. Upon recommendation of Advisory Committees the Graduate Committee formally approves thesis proposals and appoints dissertation supervisors and second readers.
Specific courses are chosen in consultation with, and must be approved by your advisory committee. The committee may require additional courses, depending upon your preparation for doctoral study and your research goals.
Seminars to be offered each academic year are ordinarily known by the preceding spring, and are posted on the graduate bulletin board (outside TC 216) and at the top of the General Information page.
The half-courses in Directed Research may be undertaken at any point in your doctoral study, although students typically begin them after writing their comprehensive exam. Your doctoral advisory committee should approve their focus and supervisor. Ideally, these courses should result in work of publishable quality.
Language Requirement (9692)
Students should be aware that certain areas of inquiry customarily entail foreign language skills while others do not, and should familiarize themselves with the expectations associated with their chosen fields of research. Students will be expected to possess or develop proficiency in any languages critical to their research. Each student's Doctoral Advisory Committee will determine the particular requirements for that student. Graduate reading courses will satisfy language requirements, as will completion of examinations approved by the student's advisory committee (such as the Graduate Student Foreign Language Tests offered by the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, N. J.); university language courses at the introductory level may satisfy them. Students are advised to fulfill their language requirements as soon as possible, but no later than the end of year three of their programs.
All degree programs must be completed within six years. Extensions require the approval of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. You should try to complete the program within four calendar years. The University will only fund you for 12 terms (15 from the beginning of your master's registration if you have transferred to the doctoral program without completing the master's degree). Ordinarily, if you enter with a master's (or after you transfer from a master's program), you should spend the first two years completing formal coursework, preparing for and writing your comprehensive exam, and developing ideas and bibliographies relevant to your directed research courses and your thesis. The final two years should be spent completing your directed research courses, completing your Area examination, submitting your thesis proposal, and writing and defending your thesis. All outstanding requirements must have been met before an oral examination can be scheduled.
The following is a sample timetable for completing the program.
You are expected to attend the doctoral colloquium series regularly. Not only will it help prepare you for your comprehensives, it will expose you to the latest research in a variety of areas. The colloquium ordinarily meets 8-10 Fridays per year from September through April at 3:30 p.m. to hear papers presented by Western faculty or graduate students, or by visiting lecturers. You should plan to present in that forum at least once during your doctoral study. It is a good idea to use the colloquium series to practise presentations you will give elsewhere, at conferences or job interviews. You will possibly be able to develop one of your seminar directed research papers into a report appropriate for the colloquium.
Written Comprehensive (9600)
Currently the Comprehensive Exams require you to write three papers of approximately 20 pages each over a four-week period in response to a set of fairly broad questions proposed by the PhD Committee.
New exams are created as needed. You are welcome to look over past examples on file in the office of the Graduate Program Assistant. Within reason, you may select your own starting date for the exam. Many students have found it convenient to write the exams during the summer term. The library is quiet (although its hours are reduced); your seminar and teaching commitments are ordinarily less burdensome. Since creating a new examination requires the input of several faculty members, please inform the Graduate Program Assistant at least one term in advance of the date you hope to write the comprehensives.
After you submit the paper, your Advising Committee will read and meet to adjudicate them.
The following results are conceivable:
Area Examination and Dissertation Proposal (9602)
You should consult informally with faculty interested in the general area of research, in order to refine your topic and to identify prospective supervisors. The proposal should then be developed in consultation with your prospective supervisor, who must be a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies with PhD supervisory privileges.
Once your thesis proposal is sufficiently developed, your advisory committee will conduct an examination in your area of concentration in consultation with your proposed thesis supervisor (if that person is not already a member of your advisory committee). This examination is essentially a discussion of your draft thesis proposal, relevant scholarly literature and research techniques, and the larger import of your topic.
The committee ascertains whether you have developed an appropriate topic, whether you have the expertise necessary to carry it to a successful conclusion, and assures itself that the available supervisory, library and other resources are adequate to support the project. In the event your advisory committee remains unconvinced either of the efficacy of your topic or of your preparedness, it may recommend revisions or further study.
Once your advisory committee is satisfied with your proposal, you should submit it to the Graduate Committee for approval. The form for Thesis Proposal Approval must be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant, signed by the proposed supervisor and second reader. The suggested supervisor will be invited to attend any meeting at which the proposal is considered. The Associate Dean will formally appoint the supervisor and second reader when the proposal has been approved.
PhD Thesis (9690)
For detailed information on all stages of the thesis process (from proposal to examination and submission), please consult the relevant documents on the Faculty of Graduate Studies web-site.
Please remember that your advisor and second reader may not be able to give immediate attention to your drafts when you submit them, especially if you have not made prior arrangements. The work of responding fully to what you write is energy and time consuming; several weeks may be required. Face-to-face discussion after drafts are submitted and read is often preferable to written communications only.
Musical examples in theses must ordinarily be produced in a manner that approaches professional notation. Photocopied material should be included only when it is essential for the integrity of the argument, and when preparation of manuscript is unreasonably cumbersome.
The following style guides are preferred:
Specifications for final copies are found in The University of Western Ontario Guide for the Preparation of Theses on the Faculty of Graduate Studies web-site. The final copies of theses are to be on standard 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper, with sufficient margins for binding. If the nature of the project appears to make this impossible, consult the Thesis Officer of the Faculty of Graduate Studies as early as possible.
You should use computer-based word processing technology to ease the preparation of the thesis. For drafts of the paper and for the copies submitted for examination, legible dot matrix print is acceptable. For the final copies, letter-quality print is required. If you are in doubt, consult the Thesis Officer of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, with a sample of the print you propose to use. Note also that all final copies may be photocopied, so long as at least one copy is on thesis weight paper.
The PhD dissertation defence, which takes the form of an oral examination, will be arranged and conducted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies according to the regulations of the university. See the Thesis Regulations on the Faculty of Graduate Studies web-site for details. Pay special attention to the various deadlines. Failure to meet these deadlines may give you no option other than continuing your registration into the following term.
To ensure that we have time to assemble and recommend to Faculty of Graduate Studies an appropriate examination panel, you should confirm with the Graduate Program Assistant your intention submit your thesis four months before the tentative date of the defense. The work must ordinarily be acceptable to your advisor and second reader, although an examination may be scheduled without the approval of one or both.
The original and four examination copies of your thesis must be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at least six weeks before the defense. The "Submission of PhD Thesis" form must be completed and signed by the Graduate Chair and by the thesis supervisor. The work of the examiners is facilitated if they may mark corrections and suggestions directly on the examination copies. You should indicate this on the submission form. Pages must be numbered. At the student's request, the thesis may be summarised in a public lecture of approximately 30 minutes, ordinarily presented immediately before the oral examination.
If a majority of examiners do not find the thesis acceptable at least five working days before the defense is scheduled, the oral examination will not proceed. The Faculty of Graduate Studies will form an ad hoc committee to determine what course of action is appropriate. If the defense takes place and is judged successful, required revisions must be completed and the final version and two copies must be submitted to FGS. Other eventualities are discussed in the FGS Calendar. Note that you must be registered in the term during which you submit your thesis, although there is a grace period at the beginning of each term. Take careful note of the relevant deadlines.