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PhD in Theory

Application Requirements


In the five-year Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Theory, students study the principles of music, develop skills in music analysis and scholarly research, and prepare themselves to become college teachers in music theory.

Meet the Faculty

Two-Part Application Process

Applying to The University of Texas at Austin as a graduate music major is a two-part process that requires separate applications to the university (ApplyTexas) and the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music (Acceptd). The Butler School of Music accepts applications for fall semesters only.

Continuing students 

Currently enrolled Butler School of Music students applying to continue into a new degree program in the same major without a break in enrollment should submit both applications in full.

Graduate readmission and graduate change of major

Former Butler School graduate students who wish to apply for readmission and former or current graduate students who wish to change majors may require different application procedures or be subject to different deadlines. Consult with the graduate admissions coordinator at the earliest opportunity for instructions specific to your circumstances.



Application Timeline

Make note of these important dates and deadlines:
Application EventDate
University of Texas application due (ApplyTexas) — To meet the regular deadline students should submit the online application by December 1 and all required transcripts and test scores by December 8.December 1
Butler School of Music application due (Acceptd)December 1
Letters of recommendation dueJanuary 1
FAFSA priority deadlineJanuary 15
Admissions decisionsOn or before March 1
Butler School merit-based scholarship award notifications (no additional application required)On or before April 1
Response deadlineApril 15
New student orientationMid-August



Application Materials

University Application

You must submit the university application and receive a UT EID prior to beginning the Butler School of Music application. UT EIDs are sent by the Office of Graduate Admissions (OGA) through email 2-3 business days after your university application is submitted and processed.

You do not need to wait until your university application is complete to begin the music application. You may begin the music application at any time after submitting the university application and receiving your UT EID.

University of Texas application

  • Follow the OGA instructions to submit:
    • your graduate application
    • application fee
    • official transcripts
      • You must submit an official transcript from every senior college you have attended. Even if courses taken at one institution are recorded on a transcript from another college, a transcript must be submitted from the institution at which the courses were taken.
      • International transcripts must include both the original language document and an official or certified English translation.
      • Submitted transcripts must be official and complete, must have been generated within the last calendar year, and must show completed coursework at least through the spring 2022 semester. Unofficial, old or incomplete transcripts will be rejected.
      • Transcripts can be uploaded through your MyStatus page. You do not need to mail paper transcripts to the University of Texas or the Butler School of Music for admissions purposes. Transcripts can also be submitted directly to OGA using Parchment or SPEEDE.
    • Optional: GRE score
    • International applicants should review the OGA instructions to determine whether they are required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.


Butler School of Music Application


Introductory Video

Submit a one to three minute video recording on which you verbally introduce yourself and discuss your musical and non-musical interests, goals, creative or volunteer work and reasons for applying to the Butler School of Music.

Statement of Purpose

A 500-word essay outlining your objectives for graduate study, career plans and reasons for applying to our program.

Letters of Recommendation

Three recommendation letters, written within the last twelve months, pertaining to your potential for graduate study in music. Provide contact information for your three chosen references in your Butler School application. Notification emails are sent to your references after you submit your application.

Résumé or Curriculum Vitae

A résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) providing complete information concerning musical training, experience, awards, honors, publications and performance.

Writing Sample 

One to two substantive written documents that will give the evaluating faculty an indication of your writing and rhetorical abilities.



Decisions & Enrolling

You can ensure that your UT application is complete by checking your MyStatus page on a regular basis and submitting any missing materials as soon as possible.

Decisions will be communicated to you by email from mga@mail.music.utexas.edu and in the messaging system in Acceptd, as noted on the timeline above. Please notify us if you change your contact information.

The deadline to respond to an offer of admission is April 15, unless otherwise noted.

We are unable to provide individualized feedback on application materials for applicants who are denied admission.

New student orientation and diagnostic exams take place the week before classes begin in August.



Tuition, Scholarships & Financial Aid

Tuition at the University of Texas is charged at a flat rate based on the number of registered credit hours. Graduate students typically register for nine credit hours per semester. You can estimate the annual cost of living for a graduate student using the university’s online tuition calculator.

All applicants who are recommended for admission to the Butler School are automatically considered for merit-based financial aid, including scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships and out-of-state tuition waivers. There are no additional applications or materials to submit. Residency, citizenship and financial need are not factors in our funding decisions.

We strongly encourage all eligible applicants to submit a FAFSA for federal need-based aid consideration.