Questions Regarding Undergraduate Programmes

What is Music Technology?

Music Technology at McGill University is an Area inside the Music Research Department, Schulich School of Music. Our group consists of five full-time professors, three adjunct professors, one full-time and one part-time technician, and one instructor.

Music Technology encourages interaction between musical creation, technology and research. The pedagogical goal of the Music Technology program is to provide students with an environment for professional-level training in the science and technology of music. Training includes courses in Digital Signal Processing, Human-Computer Interaction, Music Information Retrieval, Psychoacoustics, and Acoustics. A list of music technology courses can be found here.

Who can I contact for information regarding entrance requirements?

All questions regarding entrance requirements should be directed to the Admissions office at the Schulich School of Music.

How much will my degree cost?

Tuition at McGill varies according to whether a person is a Quebec resident, a non-resident Canadian, or an international student. See the McGill Schedule of Fees for further information.

Where can I find information on courses and course descriptions?

See the Music Technology courses page for specific information on the courses we offer. See the McGill Course Catalog for a complete list of courses taught at McGill.

What undergraduate Major program should I pursue to prepare for the MA program in Music Technology?

Our graduate programs our strongly oriented toward scientific research applied to music and audio. Thus, we recommend that students pursue scientific undergraduate programs (engineering, computer science, psychology, …) and obtain the necessary Music Technology background by enrolling in our Musical Science and Technology (MST) Minor program.

Do I have to audition on a musical instrument?

No. The applications for the Minor programmes in Music Technology do not require an audition. Students from most faculties at McGill University can apply to the Minor programmes at the end of their first year of study.

Note: Students that wish to apply to a Bachelor's program in the Schulich School of Music must audition. See the requirements regarding auditions for more information.

Further questions regarding auditions should be directed to the Admissions Office.

What is the difference between the MST and MAT Minor programmes?

The answer to this question is found here.

Why was the B.Mus. with Honours program in Music Technology cancelled?

The Music Technology students and faculty, as well as members of an external program review committee, all felt that there was not enough flexibility in the Faculty of Music programs to allow music technology Honours students to get the necessary background in other related fields (sciences and engineering) to be competitive at the graduate level. We also felt that if students want a job in the music technology sector (other than sound recording and production), they are probably better off getting a science or engineering degree and doing a specialization within a Music Technology Minor. As such we have designed the Musical Science and Technology (MST) Minor program oriented toward such science and engineering students. This will be complemented by a Musical Applications of Technology Minor specifically for music students wanting some training in the use of (but not development of) multimedia technologies.

What computer platform do you use?

All computer-based courses in Music Technology use the Machintosh platform. If you are interested in purchasing a computer before arriving, we recommend any current model of Apple Macintosh.

More information on Apple computers (models, prices, conditions) can be found in the McGill Computer Store site.

Do I have to buy my own computer?

The Faculty provides access to required computer hardware and software for Music Technology students in the Music Technology and Keyboard Proficiency Laboratory (MTKPL - Room E215)). Note, however, that this does not include software that is not taught in courses (such as word processing) or unlimited access to incidental hardware such as printers.

All computers in the MTKPL are running the Macintosh OS-X operating system.

Are the Music Technology minors good preparation for the graduate program in Sound Recording?

A number of the Sound Recording prerequisite courses are also part of the MAT minor in Music Technology and thus, students can potentially complete the requirements for the MAT minor while also pursuing the qualifying year courses. The MST minor in Music Technology has a strong focus on programming and technology that may not be directly applicable or useful to sound recording. It prepares students to work in fields such as software development and sound design, as well as for the Master's and PhD Degrees in Music Technology (see below).

Please note that Music Technology and Sound Recording are two independent (and very different) areas inside the Music Research Department of the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. If you are interested in Sound Recording, please check their webpage.

Questions Regarding Graduate Studies

I want to apply to the PhD program. What should I do?

It is critical to identify your intended supervisor and to contact that person in advance of applying to verify the prospective supervisor is interested in your research topic, has open space in his lab and perhaps has funding to support your studies. You should not bother applying to our program until you have found a willing supervisor.

Do PhD applicants need to specify a supervisor?

It is absolutely necessary that PhD applicants specify a fairly detailed research plan and that they have already discussed the plan with a potential supervisor. PhD students are expected to be able to start making progress on their thesis research shortly after beginning the program.

How much will my graduate degree cost?

Tuition at McGill varies according to whether a person is a Quebec resident, a non-resident Canadian, or an international student. See the McGill Schedule of Fees for further information.

What are the research topics in Music Technology?

Detailed descriptions of the current research in Music Technology can be found here.

Can I apply to the PhD program without a Masters degree?

We require PhD applicants to have a Masters degree (preferably with a thesis component). We feel the experience of researching and writing a Masters thesis is invaluable in helping define your PhD research interests and developing research methodologies.

What are the resources available for my research?

First-year graduate students typically make use of the Music Technology and Keyboard Proficiency Laboratory for their seminar-related work. Thesis research is conducted in one of six research laboratories described on the Music Technology resources page.

Which computer platform do you use?

At the Graduate level, most students are using Macintosh computers. However, it is also possible to use Linux and/or Windows systems.

More information on different computer options (models, prices, conditions) can be found on the McGill Computer Store website.

Will I have to buy my own computer?

We strongly recommend that you have a personal computer.

Do I need any prior computer/math training?

Yes. The Music Technology graduate program is based on a solid training in math, computer science, acoustics, and undergraduate music technology concepts.

Applicants will need to demonstrate substantial knowledge in music technology and computer science before entering our programs via placement exams. Students who fail to demonstrate adequate knowledge in these areas will be required to take extra courses, either at the beginning of their programme or through an extra year before entering at the graduate level.

Do I need to have a music degree or prior music training?

No. There are no specific music knowledge or performance competencies required for entrance into either the MA or PhD programs in music technology. However, we generally expect that students have some motivation and an appropriate background for pursuing a music technology degree.

Do MA applicants need to specify a supervisor?

For MA applicants, it is not necessary to know precisely what your thesis research will be, nor the supervisor you will work with. In the first year of the program, MA students take five required graduate seminars and over the course of the year develop a research plan, in conjunction with one or more potential supervisors.

Other useful information on Graduate Studies

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