Music Composition MM

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts / BOYER COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE

Learn more about the Master of Music in Composition.

About the Program

The Master of Music in Composition is a regimen of professional training spanning the gamut of traditional academic studies from counterpoint to experimental studies in subjects such as software synthesis. The master's program encourages the composer of demonstrated accomplishment to develop a personal voice through private study with at least two members of the Composition faculty.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 6 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Accreditation: This degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

Job Prospects: The program prepares students for various careers related to music, as well as for further academic and musical training at the doctoral level.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: With permission from the Dean's Office, individuals may be granted permission to enter the College as a non-matriculated student, taking up to 9 graduate credits (excluding private lessons) before applying for admission to a program.

Financing Opportunities: Boyer College of Music and Dance offers a number of assistantships and academic internships to matriculated graduate students. Full awards carry a cash stipend plus full tuition remission for the Fall and Spring terms. Partial awards also are available in values of 1/4 or 1/2 of a full award. Duties for assistantships and internships vary, but typically include teaching, tutoring, classroom assistance, research, artistic performance, and/or direct service related to academic programs. Assistantship and internship awards are made only in the Fall term for up to two terms: Fall and Spring. Awards may be renewed on an annual basis (typically up to one additional year for master's students and up to three years for doctoral students) based on departmental needs as well as satisfactory academic and musical progress by the recipient.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15
Spring: October 15

Decisions regarding admission are rendered after all required credentials have been submitted and the admissions application is complete.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators who can provide insight into the applicant's abilities, talents, and aptitude for graduate study.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate Bachelor of Music degree at Temple University, which is based on a curriculum of 124 to 135 hours.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A degree in Music is expected.

Statement of Goals: Include your special interests within the discipline and expectations for the program.

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Portfolio: The composition portfolio should demonstrate the student's skills in music composition.

Resume: Current resume required.

Transfer Credit: A student who wishes to transfer credit should speak with her/his academic advisor and obtain a "Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms.” Transfer credits must be approved by the advisor, the department chair, and the Associate Dean. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Other: Due to the large number of applications for admission and the competitive nature of its music programs, the College admits only a portion of its applicants. In addition to the general admissions credentials required of all Temple University graduate applicants, specialized admission criteria (i.e., auditions, portfolios, interviews, recommendations, departmental term papers, and standardized examinations) are very heavily weighted in admission decisions of the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Graduate applicants may be rejected for admission for failing to obtain the required level of proficiency in any one area of the specialized admission criteria regardless of the level of success in meeting the Temple University general admission criteria. In addition to the level of success demonstrated in the above-mentioned criteria, a final admission factor is the College's Optimum Enrollment Policy. This policy may preclude the admission of any student who meets the minimum requirements.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Core Courses
MUST 8726Computer Synthesis3
MUST 8740Seminar in Composition (4 terms)12
Select two of the following:6
Seminar in Theoretical Analysis
Seminar in Stylistic Analysis
Seminar in Stylistic Analysis
Seminar in Stylistic Analysis
Seminar in Stylistic Analysis
Electives 19
Recommended courses include:
Research in Music
Canon and Fugue
Electronic Music Composition: Practice, History, Theory
Aesthetics of Music
Total Credit Hours30

Language Examination: Reading knowledge of a foreign language is expected. If a deficiency exists, students may be required to take up to two terms of a foreign language.

Additional Requirements:
Diagnostic Examinations:
Diagnostic examinations in Aural Theory, Written Theory, and Music History are required for all entering master's students. The exceptions are students in Jazz Studies and Music Therapy who have their examinations arranged within their respective departments. In addition, Keyboard students take an additional two-hour examination in Keyboard Literature. As stated in the Boyer College Graduate Handbook, master’s "students may not take final qualifying examinations nor perform graduation recitals until all diagnostic examinations have been successfully completed."

The exams may be taken in one day or split over three days, or the exams can be taken online for a fee. Preparations are provided upon registration. Visit the Boyer College of Music and Dance website for the graduate music examination schedule and registration form.

Please note that registration for a student's first term of study is completed in consultation with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Please re-read the admission letter, especially the “Special Notes” section on page 2, regarding any entrance deficiencies. If any remedial coursework is required, it must be completed by the end of the first year of study. It is also best for students to complete MUST 8701 Research in Music, which is required of all students except those in Jazz Studies, Music Education, and Music Therapy in the first year of study.

A. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Aural Theory

The examination lasts approximately 40 minutes and consists of a written portion in which students are asked to:

  1. Dictate a chord progression that modulates and contains chromatic harmony by writing out the bass line and identifying chords by Roman numerals and inversions.
  2. Complete a two-part melodic dictation that modulates and contains chromatic pitches.

B. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Written Theory

The examination lasts one and one-half hours and is in two parts: 

  1. Harmonic analysis of two chorales: one that uses diatonic harmony, and one that uses chromatic harmony.
  2. Analysis of the form, motives, and phrase structures of the first movement of a Classical-era piano sonata.

C. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Music History

The examination lasts one hour and contains objective questions in a multiple choice and/or true/false format. It covers composers, forms, instruments, musical works, styles, and terms from 1450 to the present. Sample questions are:

  1. The basso continuo came into use in about which year?
    (a) 1500  (b) 1600  (c) 1650  (d) 1700
  2. Who composed Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)?
    (a) Mahler  (b) Bruckner  (c) Brahms  (d) Schumann
  3. Which of the following instruments would not be found in the score of a symphony by Haydn?
    (a) horn  (b) oboe  (c) timpani  (d) trombone  (e) trumpet

D. Conditions for Exemption from Diagnostic Examinations

The requirement to take the Diagnostic Examination in any area is waived only for graduates of the Boyer College of Music and Dance who:

  • matriculate and enroll in the term immediately following completion of all undergraduate degree requirements; and
  • received grades of "B-" or better in every undergraduate course taken in each individual examination area to be waived.

Piano Examination:
Composition majors must pass a functional piano examination encompassing the following points:

  1. Score Reading: Prepared in advance of the examination, the scores are to be brought to the examination. The exposition of the first movement of a symphony by Haydn or Mozart is recommended. Suggested scores are the 12 "London" symphonies by Haydn or one of the last six symphonies by Mozart. If the student wishes, s/he may play a more difficult score by a later composer.
  2. Sight-reading a Bach chorale.
  3. Realization of a figured bass.

Professional Development Policy:
In addition to taking the required subjects for their degrees, all students in the Boyer College of Music and Dance are obligated to serve in a number of capacities in order to enrich their academic and musical expertise. Boyer College of Music and Dance believes that such experiences give impetus to successful professional careers. Among the duties that may be required are conducting laboratory classes; tutoring; teaching private lessons; coaching; participating in the distribution and inventory control of Temple University-owned musical instruments and instructional materials; participating in ensembles; accompanying; performing at admissions and open house events; supervising performance classes; and engaging in other academic activities.

Independent Study Courses:
Independent study courses provide a special opportunity for graduate students to work in a highly individualized setting with one or more faculty members. All such study must receive the approval of the faculty member providing the instruction, the students' major advisor, and the Associate Dean. Approval will be granted only after the student has presented a detailed description of the intended independent study project. Approval of independent study projects will be granted only for students whose academic and musical record provides substantial support for the benefits of this type of study. In no case may more than 20% of a graduate student's curriculum be taken as independent study. Private lessons beyond those required in the curriculum are not an appropriate form of independent study.

Acceptable English:
All students, including those for whom English is not the native language, are expected to present all written work in acceptable English. No double standard exists to differentiate students on the basis of proficiency in the use of the English language. Students are also responsible for becoming familiar with the College's statement on plagiarism and academic honesty.

Participation in Ensembles:
With special permission, graduate students for whom there is no ensemble requirement, or where previous ensemble credits exceed the graduation requirement, may participate in choral and instrumental ensembles without cost, with prior permission from the ensemble director, the department chair, and the Associate Dean.

Incompletes:
All incomplete grades and keyboard proficiencies must be fulfilled by the first day of the month in which the student expects to graduate.

Culminating Events:
Comprehensive Examination:
Upon completion of a minimum of 30 credits of graduate study and with the approval of the major advisor, the student may request permission from the Associate Dean of the Boyer College of Music and Dance to take the written qualifying examination. This request must be made in writing at least one month before the scheduled date of the examination. If desired, the student may take this examination during the final term of graduate study. The master's qualifying examination is offered once each term.

The Music Composition Division requires a five-hour written examination that includes the composition of a fugal exposition on a subject provided; the composition of a figured bass; the reduction, analysis, and identification of a passage from a provided orchestral work; and two essays about the history and practice of composition. In addition, the division administers a one-hour oral examination consisting of discussion and identification of various orchestral scores. Scheduled by Assistant Dean David Brown, the exam is graded by two members of the department’s graduate faculty.

Portfolio:
Students are required to submit a portfolio of their work completed during the time they participated in the Master of Music program.

Contacts

Program Web Address:

https://www.temple.edu/academics/degree-programs/composition-music-mm-bc-comp-mmus

Department Information:

Dept. of Music Studies

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts/Boyer College of Music and Dance

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6079

cynthia.folio@temple.edu

215-204-8316

Submission Address for Application Materials:

https://apply.temple.edu/Boyer/

Department Contacts:

Admissions:

James Short

jshort@temple.edu

215-204-8598

Chairperson:

Dr. Cynthia Folio

cynthia.folio@temple.edu

215-204-8316