Music Composition, M.Mus.

School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts

Program Overview

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.

Music Composition, M.Mus.

Where You'll Go

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.

Program Details

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.

Program Description

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.

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.

Program Requirements (30 Credits)

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.

Electronic Music

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

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Gain experience in music composition and develop skills in artistic creation.
  • Expand the functional knowledge of the terminology and language of music.
  • Experience an extensive and varied music repertory through performance, analysis, and concert production.
  • Write and speak about music with precision and clarity.
  • Communicate and interact with colleagues in a professional manner and articulate and defend critical judgments.

Admissions Requirements

  • Fall Application Deadline: March 1, rolling admission
  • Spring Application Deadline: November 1, rolling admission

Supporting Documents for Matriculation

Submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Applicants who earned a bachelor’s degree outside the United States need to submit a course-by-course international transcript evaluation. See Graduate Admissions for more information.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 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 or PDF format). It should include the following information:

  • Applicant’s Name
  • Applicant’s E-mail
  • Applicant’s Phone
  • Program of Interest (M. Mus.)
  • Intended Year and Semester
  • Portfolio Contents (list the filenames associated with each piece)

Required Tests

  • 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 the instructions at Graduate Admissions.


Jason K. Eckardt, Program Coordinator
718.951.5000 x2598
350 Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts

Or contact:

Office of Graduate Admissions

222 West Quad Center
2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210
P: 718.951.4536

Office Hours

Mondays–Fridays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

To make an appointment with a graduate admissions counselor, visit:

BC Admissions Appointment Tool

Internships and Employers

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:

  • Atlantic Records
  • Comedy Central
  • Hot 97
  • NBCUniversal
  • Sony Entertainment

Learn More

Brooklyn. All in.

Brooklyn. All in.