Admissions & Aid
The Master of Music in Composition Program develops the unique musical voice of each composition student through exposure to a broad range of compositional styles. A key feature is weekly private composition lessons with a member of our internationally acclaimed faculty. Composers produce at least seven concerts each year, with additional performance opportunities on the programs of the Biannual International Electroacoustic Music Festival, conTEMPO New Music Ensemble, Brooklyn Electroacoustic Ensemble, and Computer Music Showcase.
Composers can follow variety of career paths, often combining composition with another aspect of music-making. With a master of music in music composition you can become a composer-conductor, composer-performer, music copyist, music director, professor or instructor of composition, or video game composer. You can work in the recording industry or in a symphony orchestra, or compose for software.
The program information listed here reflects the approved curriculum for the 2023-2024 academic year per the Brooklyn College Bulletin. Bulletins from past academic years can be found here.
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 of Music’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.
Separate programs are offered in composition and in performance, each of which leads to the Master of Music degree.
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.
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.
Submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:
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 or PDF format). It should include the following information:
Refer to the instructions at Graduate Admissions.
350 Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts
222 West Quad Center
2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210
Mondays–Fridays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
To make an appointment with a graduate admissions counselor, visit:
BC Admissions Appointment Tool
Brooklyn College is an integral part of the cultural and artistic energy of New York City. Our faculty members in the Conservatory of Music offer incomparable expertise and tremendous talent, and each brings a unique perspective to their teaching and mentoring in and out of the classroom.
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Through job fairs, the internship database, and internship panels, the Magner Career Center gives students in the music composition program access to career opportunities at a wide variety of employers, including:
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