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The Wind Ensemble playing music
School of Music

Master of Music in Composition

composition lesson

Contemporary art music of every style and genre are the heart of our composition program.  The MM in Composition is a writing intensive degree, with numerous opportunities to write, perform, teach, and collaborate, resulting in a professional body of work that reflects our students’ newly expanded musical vocabulary and high level of craftsmanship.  Butler University offers numerous performance opportunities for our student composers, including readings by all of the large ensembles and performances by the JCA Composers Orchestra, along with high quality performances by the students of the entire Jordan College of the Arts.

How to Apply

Application Deadline for fall entry: January 1 (this includes the JCA Graduate Music Supplement and Pre-Screening)
Interview Deadline for fall entry: March 1

  1. Complete Application for Graduate Admission, including*:
    • A Professional Statement
    • Official transcripts
    • Resume
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • *NOTE: To submit a graduate application, you need to have previously completed a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college/university and be seeking an advanced degree.
  2. Complete the JCA Graduate Music Supplement. The supplement will appear on your application status page after submitting your Application for Graduate Admission. The supplement is required in order for your application to be considered complete.
  3. Submit Pre-Screening materials (must be received before invitation to interview/audition) which include:
    • Three original scores and recordings of representative compositions. Submit scores as PDF files and recordings as links to online sources (i.e. YouTube, DropBox, SoundCloud, etc.) on the JCA Graduate Music Supplement -OR- emailed to with subject line "[FULL NAME]-Comp Pre-Screen".
  4. Interview with appropriate composition faculty scheduled through School of Music office at Interview deadline for fall entry is March 1. Pre-screening required BEFORE interview/audition.

**International applicants must take the TOEFL as well as submit additional financial documentation. See International Student Application process.

Degree Overview
Total Credit Hours: 30 credit hours
Anticipated Duration: 2 years

Requires a composition recital, thesis, and final oral comprehensive exam

Required Courses (# credits):

  • Advanced Composition lessons (8 credits)
  • Ensemble (1)
  • Research in Music (3)
  • Music History Elective (3)
  • Professional Topics in Music Composition (1)
  • Composition Seminar (4)
  • Music Theory Electives including Intro and/or Advanced Electronic Music if not taken as undergrad (4)
  • General Music Electives (6)
  • Composition Recital
  • Thesis
  • Final Oral Examination

Download full degree guide

Related Graduate Assistantships/Tuition Waivers

Contact the School of Music office at 317-940-9065.