After you Apply: Next Steps

Once you have submitted your application to the Music Technology Ph.D. program, an acknowledgement will be sent to the email address you have included in your application.

Track your application status

  • You can track the status of your application online using uApply.
  • If you have questions about your application, contact the admissions office through the uApply communication tool. We will also contact you through uApply if we need more information from you.
  • If you are unable to get in touch with us through uApply, contact us by email or telephone.

Waiting for news?

After we have reviewed of everyone's applications, we send out decision notifications. You will likely hear from us between mid-February and April 15th.

  • We make every effort to notify all applicants as soon as we can.  In return, we ask for the courtesy of a response, usually within three weeks of receiving an official acceptance. A prompt response from you allows us to make decisions about candidates on our waiting list.
  • First round scholarship offers are typically made within three weeks of receiving an official acceptance; subsequent rounds are offered as they become available.  Deadline to accept the offers are final.

Already accepted? Start preparing for placement exams

These exams will determine whether your academic preparation for the Music Technology Ph.D. program is sufficient. Depending on the exam results, you may be required to take certain remedial courses in Music Technology or other undergraduate preparatory courses.  All of these courses form an additional part of your program of study.

About one month after you accept our offer of admission, placement exam descriptions will be sent to you. You will have three weeks to complete and return them. You are not required to have an invigilator, but you are expected to write these examinations without assistance (internet, text books) and within the allocated time for each question.

You can start preparing now by following these general descriptions:

Sample questions

  • Part 1 (2 hours): Technological aspects (Non exhaustive list: MIDI, AES/EBU, File formats, Musical data delivery over the Internet, Software Environments for Music and Audio Production, Basics of Digital Audio, Number Systems). Example questions:
    1. What is the Nyquist frequency and why is it important for digital music?
    2. What were the significances of the MIDI standard?
  • Part 2 (2 hours): Acoustics and Musical Acoustics. Example questions:
    1. What is the difference between standing and traveling waves?
    2. How does sound radiate from a clarinet?
  • Part 3 (2 hours): Psychoacoustics. Example questions:
    1. What acoustic parameters determine the pitch, timbre and loudness of a sound?
    2. What is auditory masking?
    3. What are the main principles of auditory scene analysis that affect the fusion of acoustic components into auditory events and the integration of successive events into auditory streams?
  • Part 4 (2 hours): Computer Science (Algorithms, Data Structures, Real-Time Systems), Computer Science applied to Music (for instance software packages such as Max/MSP and MATLAB), Human-Computer Interaction. Example questions:
    1. Given any 12-tone row, write a program to generate its matrix.
    2. Describe digital musical instruments.
    3. What is a Hidden Markov Model and what is it commonly used for?
  • Part 5 (2 hours): Sound Synthesis, Audio Processing, and Basics of Digital Signal Processing. Example questions: 
    1. Approximately how many bytes are required to store two channels of 10 minutes of 16-bit 44.1kHz CD- quality audio?
    2. Approximately how many operations are needed to FFT one channel of one second of 44.1kHz audio?
    3. Slow moving amplitude modulation is also known as?
    4. What is the main difference in the frequency-domain output of the ring modulation and the amplitude modulation?
    5. What is the name of the commercially successfully synthesizer that made FM synthesis popular?
    6. Approximately how much can we compress audio signals without losing any information?
    7. Write Matlab code that defines a feedback comb filter with a delay length M=6, feedforward coefficient b0 = 1, and feedback coefficient aM = 0.9 and plots its frequency response (3 lines should be sufficient).

Supplemental reading list

Technological aspects:

  • Williams, D. B., & Webster, P. R. (2007). Experiencing Music Technology: Software, Data, and Hardware (3rd ed.). New York, Schirmer Books. 
  • Pohlmann, K. C. (2011). Principles of Digital Audio (6th ed.) McGraw-Hill.

Acoustics, psychoacoustics and musical acoustics: 

  • Roederer, J. G. (2008). The Physics and Psychophysics of Music (4th ed.). New York, Heidelberg: Springer Verlag.
  • Moore, B.C.J. (2012). Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing (6th ed.). San Diego, Academic Press. Hall, D. E. (2001). Musical Acoustics, An introduction (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
  • Benade, A. H. (1990). Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics. Dover Publications.

Computer science and related topics: 

  • Brassard G. & Bratley P. (1996). Fundamentals of Algorithmics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Winkler, T. (1998) Composing Interactive Music. Techniques and Ideas Using Max. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 368 pages.
  • Rowe, R. (2001). Machine Musicianship. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Hardcover, 416 pages.

Sound synthesis, audio processing, and basics of digital signal processing:

  • Roads, C. (1996). Computer Music Tutorial. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  • Dodge, C., & Jerse, T. A. (1997). Computer Music: Synthesis, Composition, and Performance (2nd ed.). New York, Schirmer Books.

Orientation

As a new student at McGill University, you may have a lot of questions on the resources available on campus to support your academic and personal success. You can contact our Graduate Studies staff anytime. Orientation and advising takes place at the beginning of the Fall semester.