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Bachelor of Music - Composition

Admission to the Bachelor of Music is intended for especially qualified students who wish to emphasize professional training in composition within a four ‐ year program. Music majors are required to earn a minimum grade of 2.0 in each music course (core and elective) that is to count toward Music degree requirements. A GPA of 2.5 in Music is required for graduation. A minimum of 180 credits is required, of which at least 60 must be taken in departments other than the School of Music.  These 60 credits may include courses required to satisfy general education requirements.  


Application to the Composition Program occurs during the student's second year of study following successful completion of MUSIC 202/205, 120, 216, 217, and 218. Any student interested in becoming a Composition major is encouraged to meet individually with a Composition Faculty Member.

The Composition Major Program at the School of Music starts at the second year level exclusively. Students interested in the Program should follow these procedures:

  1. Complete: a) MUSIC 202/205, b) MUSIC 216-217-218, and c) MUSIC 120. Completion of these requirements does not guarantee admission. Transfer students must consult with the Undergraduate Advisor for an evaluation of applicable music transfer courses. During their first and second year students interested in becoming Composition majors are strongly encouraged to attend Composers Lab, the weekly meeting of all Composition majors and composition faculty. This class is a 0‐credit class that meets every Friday in the academic year, 12:30‐2:20 pm. Email Prof. Hodge ( for the current meeting location.
  2. Submit the following materials to the Advising Office two weeks prior to the Audition date: a portfolio of recent compositions, scores and recordings as available, transcripts of all undergraduate course work (at the UW or elsewhere), and a statement of purpose. The statement of purpose should indicate why the student has decided on this major and describe the academic coursework and personal experiences and interests that have influenced this decision.
  3. The Composition faculty committee will make its decision based on the complete application. Additionally, the student may be asked to come for an audition. Once the review process is completed the student will be informed through the Advising Office.


A typical course of study:

Years 1-2:

  • Pre-Core
    • MUSIC 113: Beginning Ear Training (Autumn) (1 credit)
    • MUSIC 119: Theory (Autumn) (3 credits)
    • MUSIC 120: Survey of Music History (Aut/Win/Spr) (5 credits) or proficiency exam
  • Music Theory & History Core
    • MUSIC 201, 202: First-Year Theory I, II (Winter, Spring) (3,3) (6 credits)
    • MUSIC 204, 205: First-Year Ear Training I, II (Winter, Spring) (1,1) (2 credits)
    • MUSIC 203, 301, 302: First-Year Theory III & Second-Year Theory I, II (Aut,Win,Spr) (3,3,3) (9 credits)
    • MUSIC 206, 304, 305: First-Year Ear Training III & Second Year-Ear Training I, II (Aut,Win,Spr) (1,1,1) (3 credits)
    • MUSIC 210, 211, 212: Music History I, II, III (Aut,Win,Spr) (3,3,3) (9 credits)
    • At least 3 credits from among: MUSIC 250, MUSIC 251, MUSIC 252, or any 400-level Ethnomusicology course (3 credits)
  • Additional Music Requirements Starting 1st and 2nd Year of Study
    • MUSIC 216, 217, 218: Introductory Composition (2, 2, 2) (6 credits)
    • MUSICP 320-339/420-439 or MUSAP 136-139/233-239, 389 or MUSEN 389: Two years of Private Instruction: Vocal or Instrumental (Note: Admission to MUSICP lessons is done through audition - except MUSAP 389) (12-18 credits)
  • Ensemble Requirements
    • Participation in at least one School of Music ensemble is required during every quarter of applied music instruction.  The ensemble required varies according to your principal instrument. (6 credits)

Years 3-4:

  • Music Theory & History Core
    • MUSIC 303: Second-Year Theory III (Autumn) (3 credits)
    • MUSIC 306: Second-Year Ear Training III (Autumn) (1 credit)
  • Additional Major Requirements
    • PHYS 207: The Physics of Music (3 credits)
    • Approved upper-level Music Theory or History electives (see list of course options) (18 credits)
    • One 400-level course in Ethnomusicology (3 credits)
    • MUSIC 391/491: Private Instruction: Composition (18 credits)
    • MUSIC 400/DXARTS 460: Digital Sound (5 credits)
    • MUSIC 471 or 472: Introduction to Atonal Theory and Analysis or Analysis of Twentieth Century Music, 1900-1950 (3 credits)
    • MUSIC 380, 381, 382: Conducting (1, 1, 1) (3 credits)
    • MUSIC 496: Instrumentation
  • Piano Proficiency
    • Students must satisfy a piano proficiency requirement equivalent to passing MUSAP 235.

TOTAL MAJOR CREDITS: 116-122 (Does not include Piano and Pre-Core)


See the Degree Program Sheet below for a checklist of course requirements.

Bachelor of Music - Composition Degree Program Sheet (PDF)

See the Sample Course Sequence Sheet below for one possible degree course plan.

Bachelor of Music - Composition Course Sequence (PDF)