Master of music degree program in music composition
HEGIS code 1004.10
NYS SED program code 88183

View Student Learning Outcome

The 30-credit master of music degree in composition is the degree for a composer who seeks advanced study in composition. A key feature is weekly private composition lessons (for four semesters) with a member of our internationally acclaimed faculty. Residencies are available within the Conservatory's numerous ensembles and the orchestra, and a broad range of compositional styles is encouraged. At least two concerts per semester exclusively feature the work of Conservatory students. Students also complete a minimum of three seminars in style criticism, music history, and music theory.

Program Heads

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Admission Requirements

Department Music, Conservatory of
Fall Application Deadline March 1st - Applications accepted on a rolling basis until all places are filled.
Spring Application Deadline November 1st - Applications accepted on a rolling basis until all places are filled.
Supporting Documents for Matriculation:
Submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

1. Transcripts from all colleges/universities attended (applicants who earned a bachelor's degree outside the United States need to submit a 'Course by Course International Transcript Evaluation.'

2. Two letters of recommendation.


I. F-1 or J-1 international students must submit English Proficiency Exam. TOEFL- 79, IELTS- 6.5, PTE- 58-63, Duolingo 105-160.

Refer to instructions at .

Submit a portfolio via SlideRoom

The portfolio should consist of from three to five pieces showing the range of music created by the composer. A variety of types of works are preferred, from solo, to ensemble, to electronic, to works with media.

Music that can be notated (conventionally or non-conventionally) should be submitted in Adobe PDF format as a publication ready document. A recording of the piece may also be provided in mp3 format for audio only or mp4 format for audio with video. No audio of MIDI playback (such as Sibelius or Finale playback) should be sent unless the MIDI playback represents the final version of the piece.

Works for which notation is not relevant or impossible to provide (such as with some works employing electronics or improvisation) need to include a recording of the piece and a description of the work as well as any instructions that might be provided to a performer (if appropriate).

A document outlining the contents of the portfolio needs to be included (either in MS Word of PDF format). It should include the following information:

Applicant's Name:
Applicant's Email:
Applicant's Phone:
Program of Interest (M. Mus.):
Intended year & semester:
Portfolio Contents (list the filenames associated with each piece):
TOEFL (paper, computer, internet) N/A, N/A, N/A


Separate programs are offered in composition and in performance, each of which leads to the master of music degree.

Matriculation requirements
Applicants for either program must offer at least 36 credits in music courses including courses in analysis, counterpoint, harmony, and history.

Consideration is given to applicants who do not meet course requirements but have unusual talent or experience equivalent to course work. Such applicants should consult the assistant director.

A placement examination is given to all applicants for admission. The test includes writing skills (harmonic and contrapuntal techniques), analysis, history, and literature. Further information about the examination may be obtained from the assistant director.

Applicants for the program in composition must submit a completed composition or compositions, which should be sent to the assistant director at the time of application.

General matriculation and admission requirements of Graduate Studies are in the section "Admission" of the Graduate Bulletin.

Degree requirements
Thirty credits are required for the master of music degree in composition.

Before completing 12 credits, students must pass a test given by the conservatory in French, German, or another language approved by the assistant director. Students who completed their bachelor's degree using a modern language other than English may be exempted from this language examination by the assistant director.

Students must pass a comprehensive examination. Information about requirements for the comprehensive examination is in the section "Academic Regulations and Procedures." Courses in the conservatory offered toward the degree must be 7000-level courses. The program of study must be approved by the conservatory.

Students must also complete requirements for the program in composition or in performance as follows. Any remaining credits required for the degree must be in courses chosen in consultation with the assistant director.

Composition (22 credits): Music U7321X, U7322X, U7323X, U7400G; one course chosen from Music U7601G-U7606G, U7631G, U7650X, 7651X, U7840X, 7850X, 7860X; one course chosen from Music U7632G, U7641X, U7642X, U7643X; one course chosen from Music 7700X through 7781X; and Music U7940G. Students must submit a master's composition project.

Composition majors interested in electronic music who take Music U7321X-U7323X should also consider taking Music U7371G and U7372G.