The Society for Music Theory SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship


This yearly award, made possible by the SMT-40 campaign, is intended to recognize and foster excellent research in music theory by helping highly qualified Ph.D. students to complete their dissertations.


Applicants must be current members of The Society for Music Theory who have achieved ABD or equivalent doctoral candidate status, including approval of the dissertation proposal, by the application deadline.


$3,500, and recognition at the Annual Meeting and in the SMT Newsletter.


The SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowships Committee consists of a Chair and three additional members appointed by the SMT President. It evaluates completed applications and selects a single awardee per year. The Fellowship is awarded to a research project that promises to make a significant contribution to the field of music theory. The winner will be notified in early January, and will have two weeks to accept or decline the Fellowship. An awardee may receive the Fellowship only once; it is not deferrable or renewable. The award may be accepted without the cash prize (should this be a condition for accepting an award from a different source). The Committee reserves the right not to make any award.

Application Process

A completed application consists of the following, submitted by October 15, 2016 to the Chair of the SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowships Committee, John Roeder:

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A curriculum vitae (maximum of 3 pages).
  3. A current dissertation prospectus (3000–4000 words, plus references and working bibliography, musical examples, and figures). In clearly written prose, the prospectus should describe the motivation for the dissertation (supported by, but not limited to, an assessment of relevant secondary literature), present its research question, outline the research methods, explain the significance of the project to the field of music theory, and describe its progress to date.
  4. A sample chapter of original research (that is, not a literature review).
  5. A confidential letter from the chair of the applicant's dissertation committee certifying that the student is ABD and that the dissertation proposal has been approved, evaluating the student’s academic work, explaining the project’s significance to the field, and describing progress to date.

A PDF of the guidelines can be found here.