Degree Requirements - Composition - BM or BA Composition Emphasis

A Composition student with his electronic keyboard smiles into camera

Degree Requirements


BM Composition • BA, Emphasis in Composition

Composition is offered as 4-year undergraduate Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree and as an emphasis area within the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Music degree.  

Composition students receive lessons in a wide range of styles and genres including wind ensemble, orchestral, choral, chamber music, electro-acoustic music and film scoring. Student works are read and performed by ensembles and chamber groups.  

In addition to extensive training in composition, students participate in ensembles and receive comprehensive instruction in music theory and music history. All composition majors also complete the university’s core curriculum. B.A. Composition majors are also required to complete a secondary area of study and additional general education requirements.


Administrative Contacts

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Scholarships & Assistantships

Academic Advisor for Music

Assistant Director for Admissions

Operations & Scheduling

Division Contacts

Division Head, Theory & Composition

Area Head, Composition




Degree Requirements 

Degree plans provide you with a list of all the courses that are required to earn a specific degree. You can use them to decide on a major, compare the differences in degrees, and to make informed decisions in choosing which courses to take each semester. 

Undergraduate degree plans are available on the College of Fine Arts website. 


View Degree Plans



Bachelor of Music students in performance or composition degrees are required to perform a Senior Recital in the final year of study, after successfully passing the Full Division Faculty Jury (FDFJ).  

Jazz students and performance students with a focus in pedagogy are also required to perform a Junior Recital in the third year of study. Junior recitals are typically shorter and should never extend beyond an hour. 

Find recital scheduling procedures on the Butler School Operations website. 


At the end of each semester, all composition majors except those students enrolled in thesis or dissertation courses or who have given a degree recital during the semester must appear before a jury of the composition faculty. The jury session will last approximately 15 minutes during which the student will present their work and answer any questions the jury may ask. The jury will assign the grade for the semester’s work. The instructor will assign the course grade.

Factors the jury considers when determining the final grade include: the quality and quantity of the music written during the semester, the difficulty of the medium composed for, the number of performances of original music during the semester, growth and improvement, the quality and quantity of work relative to other students’ work at the same level, and participation in the life of the division (attendance at composition forums, CLUTCH concerts, student degree recitals, New Music Ensemble concerts, Electronic & Experimental Music Studio concerts, etc).




For information about course registration, academic deadlines, adding and dropping courses, applying to graduate and other policies, visit the College of Fine Arts Student Affairs website

Non-music majors should contact their home college’s advising office. Prospective students may contact the Music Admissions Office for assistance. 

Music majors who wish to take a restricted individual instruction course need to fill out a Consent Form. Once the faculty member has approved your request, the bar to register for the course will be lifted. This form is available at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters and summer session registration periods, through the 12th class day (4th class day for summer sessions). 

Music majors who wish to take an independent study course need to complete a Request Form. The request will be reviewed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. If approved, the Academic Advisor for Music will add the independent study course for the student. This form is available every semester. 




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