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Music Composition School and Degree Programs

Music composition degree programs are available from the associate to doctoral degree levels. You can learn about music theory, orchestration, conducting, music culture and performance through a degree program. Keep reading for more information about schools with music composition programs.

What You Need to Know

There are a variety of options and degree levels available to those who wish to pursue music composition. Choosing the right school is very important as not all schools are equal in their ability to provide quality education in music composition. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are widely available.

Degrees Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs available
Courses Composition, music theory, instrumentation
Schools Music schools, two- and -four-year universities

What Undergraduate Music Composition Degrees Can I Earn?

Undergraduate programs in music composition are available as associate's and bachelor's degrees. An Associate of Arts or an Associate in Science in Music program will cover performance basics along with theoretical concepts about how music is created. These programs will prepare students for a four-year degree. Students might also choose to enroll in a Bachelor of Music in Composition program. These topics may be covered:

  • Piano
  • Ensemble participation
  • Music theory
  • Musicology
  • History of music composition

What Graduate Programs are Available?

There are numerous options for graduate degree programs in music composition. Examples include a Master of Music in Composition and a Master of Arts in Composition. Curricula in these programs cover areas like electronic music and music technology. A seminar in composition and private instruction might also be required in addition to a final project. Doctoral programs might include a Doctor of Philosophy in Composition and Music Theory and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition. These programs could include five years of study and a written dissertation. A residency and an oral examination may also be necessary for degree completion.

What Should I Look for in a School?

You should look for a school that offers an interdisciplinary approach to music composition. Seek generous facilities for composing music, including studios for recording and stages for planning performances. Be aware that many schools that offer music composition degrees usually require an audition as an integral part of the application process. Choose a school that replaces its music equipment often, so you can keep up with new technologies in your field. These schools offer music composition degree programs:

  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
  • Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA)
  • Community College of Philadelphia (PA)
  • Essex County College (Newark, NJ)
  • Musicians Institute (Hollywood, CA)