Music Composition

The CCS Music Composition Major is geared toward preparing students for graduate school or for careers as professional composers. Students develop their personal composing voice while building a foundation in classical composition techniques. The instructors are working composers, who provide a professional intensity to the undergraduate experience by means of one-on-one tutorials from the very first quarter, small seminar courses unique in approach and creative in design, and special projects. Typical past projects have included courses devoted to the recording of student-authored music, production of a musical cooperatively authored by the students as a group, as well as efforts pairing student composers with student choreographers and resulting in a public show. The College also sponsors short-term residencies by visiting composers of national and international stature, with an accent on student access to these figures.

Students considering the Music Composition Major should have a basic knowledge of musical rudiments, be able to read and write standard musical notation, and must also demonstrate a talent for composing.

Some students receive funding from CCS to support their research or creative activities through the Traveling Undergraduate Research Fund.


The highly malleable CCS curriculum design enables an individual’s course of study to bend in the direction of personal interests and goals, even as it maintains solid integrity in the form of a core curriculum. At the very center of this core is individual instruction with a composition teacher. One of the resident Music Composition faculty members also serve as the student's faculty advisor for the duration of the program. Students also take many courses in the Department of Music in the College of Letters and Science.

Students have their original compositions evaluated at their sophomore and junior juries.  The final year in the program culminates in a senior recital, consisting entirely of the student’s work.

For a full list of requirements, please download the major sheet on the right of the page.