Music Composition

Letter of Intent

This is not to be taken lightly!  Please type a one to three-page letter, addressed to the CCS Music Composition faculty, that answers the following questions:

  • What is your background in music?
  • When did you begin writing music and why?
  • Why are you interested in studying at the College of Creative Studies?
  • What are your career goals at this point in your life?  Do you intend to enter the professional music world?  Graduate school?  What would you like to be doing five years from now? Ten years?
  • Talk a little bit about your music.  Why are you interested in writing music?  Who are your major influences?  What instrument(s) do you play?  How do you go about your compositional process?  Where do you feel you are in your creative development?

Please save and upload this letter as a PDF in order to avoid formatting distortions.

Submitting Supplemental Application Materials

This is the most important aspect of your application to the CCS Music Composition program.  Materials to be submitted fall into four broad categories: 

Scores (required):  It is very important that you know how to notate music.  If you do not have a lot of experience in that, it is important that you make the attempt.  We cannot fully evaluate applications with only a single score.  Ideally, you should submit a minimum of two fully notated works.  Works may be handwritten or produced using a notation program such as Finale or Sibelius.  Handwritten compositions may be scanned or uploaded as images. 

Supporting materials: It is helpful, though not required, to include a paragraph about each work submitted.  For electronic works, the accompanying information should include technical notes, i.e. what program(s) you used in composing the work; your sound sources, etc., .pdf format is recommended.

Recordings (optional, but recommended):  You can upload a recording of your work(s) using the CCS Online Application, acceptable formats include mp3, mp4, m4a, webm, ogg and wav.  You may also submit recordings of electronic works or sequenced works that have not yet been notated.

How Much to Submit:  In general, err on the side of quantity.  A good rule of thumb is that if you’ve written fewer than 6 works, send them all.  If you’ve written more than 6 works, submit 3-6 works that you believe best show your talent and versatility as a composer. 

Special note to transfer students:  When we evaluate applications from students who would enter as juniors, we use the music submitted to determine if the student is admitted at the sophomore level or at the junior level, based on the requirements for the Sophomore and Junior Juries outlined in the Curriculum guidelines.  It is to your advantage to submit, as a minimum, works roughly equal in quantity to the requirements for the Sophomore Jury:  5 shorter works, for a variety of instruments and instrumental combinations, a single line work (if you have it), and at least two works with a minimum duration of 3-5 minutes each.  One of the longer works should be scored for three or more instruments. 

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are required for applications to CCS Music Composition. Please list at least two persons well-acquainted with your academic background and your ability in Music Composition. The CCS Online Application form will ask for your recommenders’ email addresses and will send them a prompt with a link. This link will direct recommenders to instructions for uploading letters.  We suggest notifying recommenders ahead of time that they should be expecting an email with instructions to upload their letter.  Please request that letters are saved and uploaded as a PDF in order to avoid formatting distortions. 


In addition to the copies you send to the UCSB Office of Admissions, there is a section on the CCS Online Application where you must upload copies of your transcripts from every high school and college you have attended. Transcripts do not need to be official, so a scan or picture of your transcripts may be uploaded (jpeg or PDF). If you are currently enrolled at UCSB, please upload a copy of your course history, which you can obtain using a screenshot from GOLD. It is your responsibility to ensure that attachments uploaded to your application are clear and legible.