Composition Student Handbook

General Information

Scholarships, teaching fellowships and assistantships (TFs/TAs), graduate assistantships (GAs), and travel assistance awards are available in the area of composition; eligibility is specified below. Because such awards and appointments are highly competitive, applicants are strongly encouraged to audition for scholarships in their performance medium as well, or to apply for assistantships and/or fellowships in other areas (e.g., theory, jazz studies), as appropriate. Students are encouraged to pursue all avenues of financial support and to complete any required forms from Student Financial Aid and Scholarships; college work-study, grants, student loans, and university scholarships may also be available. The Toulouse Graduate School offers several opportunities for graduate financial support, including the Masters and Doctoral (MDF) Fellowship.  Please consult the UNT website for the latest information regarding anticipated expenses including tuition and fees, as well as a tuition calculator.  


To be considered for a teaching fellowship, teaching assistantship, graduate assistantship, or an academic scholarship in composition, applicants must submit the appropriate application form along with a composition portfolio.

  1. Application forms for TFs, TAs, GAs, and scholarships in the composition division must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies in Music (MU 216-A) by the first Monday in February each year. Late or incomplete applications may not be considered. Final decisions will be announced in April prior to the year of the appointment/award.
  2. For new graduate applicants in composition, the evaluation will be based upon the portfolio included with the graduate school application; undergraduates and continuing graduate students must submit a portfolio that includes:
    1. Scores of three representative works.
    2. Recordings (CD and/or DVD) of three representative works, at least two of which should correspond with the enclosed scores. MIDI realizations may be submitted only in exceptional cases.
    3. Complete record of works and performances.
    4. Recommendations or reference information from at least two persons qualified to evaluate the applicant's accomplishments and merits; include name, position, telephone number(s), and e-mail address for each reference.

    Portfolios may be submitted electronically on the student information page of the composition website, or as printed/recorded media. Physical copies of the composition portfolio may be submitted to the Administrative Assistant in Composition by the first Monday in February; graduate students will present their portfolios to the composition faculty at the annual Graduate Review.

  3. Current TFs, TAs, GAs, and scholarship holders must reapply by the posted deadline each year to be considered for continued support. Students who do not submit an application by the posted deadline may not be renewed.


  1. Recipients of financial assistance are expected to uphold the highest academic standards and participate regularly in composition division activities. Failure to meet these expectations may result in a reduction or suspension of future financial support.
  2. Students who have been provisionally accepted to the program are not eligible for support through the composition division until all requirements for acceptance have been met.
  3. Scholarship recipients and TFs/TAs/GAs must maintain full-time enrollment status during the period of support/appointment. Full-time enrollment is defined as a minimum of 12 hours per semester for undergraduates and 9 hours per semester for graduate students. Petitions for exceptions to this policy must be filed with the composition division chair at the beginning of the semester and are typically granted only to students who have fewer than 9 hours of required coursework re before being admitted to candidacy and doctoral students enrolled in dissertation. Approval is granted at the discretion of the composition faculty and is based upon availability of funds, the student's past contribution to the program, and (in the case of TFs/TAs) the instructional needs of the division.


Scholarships are available for graduate composition majors and undergraduate students who have passed the undergraduate composition jury. Composition scholarship awards are based on proven academic achievement, demonstrated (or potential) success, contribution to the program, and quality of compositional work. The following scholarships are available in composition, recipients to be determined each year by the composition faculty:

  1. Merrill Ellis Memorial Composition Scholarship: named for composer Merrill Ellis (1916-1981) who served on the North Texas composition faculty from 1962 until his death in 1981, during which time he founded the Electronic Music Center (later the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia) and was a pioneer in electronic music and intermedia.
  2. David M. Schimmel Memorial Composition Scholarship: named for composer/conductor David M. Schimmel (1948-1984), a doctoral composition student and teaching fellow at North Texas at the time of his death. In addition to serving on the faculty of Mountain View College, Mr. Schimmel also taught at Southern Methodist University and Florida State University.
  3. Martin Mailman Memorial Composition Scholarship: named for composer/conductor Martin Mailman (1932-2000), Regents Professor of composition at North Texas who served from 1966 until his death in 2000. Dr. Mailman was particularly distinguished as a composer of music for wind ensembles and dedicated much of his teaching to undergraduate students.
  4. Richard and Candace Faulk Composition Scholarship: donor Richard Faulk received a BM degree in composition from North Texas in 1974, and a JD in Law from Southern Methodist University 1977. He currently lives in Houston with his wife, Candace, and practices law as an environmental attorney for the firm of Gardere, Wynne, and Sewell, LLP.
  5. Richard Dufallo Memorial Composition Scholarship: named in honor of distinguished conductor and contemporary music advocate Richard Dufallo (1933-2000). In addition to his various conducting positions over the years with Juilliard, the Aspen Festival, the Buffalo Philharmonic (as associate conductor under Lukas Foss), and the New York Philharmonic (as assistant conductor under Leonard Bernstein), Mr. Dufallo was the author of a collection of interviews with 20th-century composers titled Trackings.
  6. Paul Loomis Composition Scholarship: donor Paul Loomis received his BM degree in composition from North Texas in 1979 and is the President/CEO of The Loomis Corporation and Luminous Sound Studios, a Dallas-based music production company and post-production facility. Loomis is active as a composer, conductor, songwriter, music producer, arranger, orchestrator, and keyboard artist.

Additional College of Music scholarships may also be available through the composition division.

Teaching Fellowships, Teaching Assistantships, and Graduate Assistantships

Full and partial teaching assistantships, teaching fellowships, and graduate assistantships are available for graduate students in composition.

  1. While enrolled in the masters degree program in composition, a student may receive an appointment for a maximum of two years. While enrolled in the doctoral degree program in composition, a student may receive an appointment for two or three years, determined as follows:
    1. Two years maximum for students who held an appointment for more than one year while enrolled in the masters degree program in composition at UNT;
    2. Three years maximum for students who did not hold an appointment while enrolled in the masters degree program in composition at UNT, or who held such an appointment for one year or less.
  2. An "appointment" is considered to be a full fellowship, assistantship, or a combination thereof in any area of the UNT College of Music (20 hours per week). An exception to this policy may be made if the instructional needs of the composition division require the extension of a given appointment. Partial TF/TA/GA appointments are prorated; e.g., a half appointment for one year is equivalent to a full appointment for one semester.
  3. All appointments begin the week prior to classes, during which time all new and returning TFs/TAs/GAs are required to attend a College of Music orientation as well as a meeting with the composition faculty mentor(s).
  4. TF/TA/GA responsibilities may include teaching and/or assisting in the instruction of composition courses and lessons and assisting with administrative, production, and technical duties associated with CEMI. Further information concerning policies for teaching fellows, teaching assistants, and graduate assistants is available in the Office of Graduate Studies in Music.

Travel Assistance Awards

Composition students whose works are selected for performance at national or international venues (e.g., conferences, festivals, workshops) may be eligible for a travel assistance award through the composition division. Support is contingent upon availability of funds, the significance of the event to the student's professional development, and the student's standing in the composition program.

  1. Students may apply for an award by submitting a written request to the composition division chair (usually submitted electronically). Supporting materials are to accompany this request and must include information on the selected work(s) and an official invitation from the sponsoring organization.
  2. Upon approval, the student must complete a Travel and Performance Scholarship form (available from the Music Advising Office, CH 211) and obtain the requisite signatures. Completed forms are to be submitted to the Administrative Assistant in Composition in MU 216-A. It is the sole responsibility of the student to initiate and follow this process through to completion.
  3. Students are expected to use these awards as seed money toward additional support through the College of Music, the Toulouse Graduate School, UNT Student Government Association, or external funding agencies.
  4. Students will be considered for one $100 travel assistance award per academic year. Additional support may be considered in exceptional cases, as available funds permit.