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Composition, Master

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
Ithaca, NY, United States
The School of Music enjoys a rich musical life, with students contributing to more than 300 recitals, concerts, musicals, operas, and other productions each year. As a composer in our graduate program, you will create works to be performed each semester in one of our public concerts. 
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You will also take weekly composition lessons and have the opportunity to participate in master classes as part of our Karel Husa Visiting Professor of Composition series. That series has brought to campus such artists as Christopher Rouse, George Crumb, John Corigliano, John Harbison, and Chen Yi. Toward the end of your residency, you will present a full recital of your works. You will also be required to submit a formal thesis, which must be a composition of large proportion for chamber ensemble, orchestra, wind ensemble, or chorus with instrumental ensemble. We also encourage performance of your thesis. Graduates of this program are admitted to prestigious doctoral programs throughout the country or continue their work in other professional arenas.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Recital
  • Bibliography and Research in Music
  • Independent Research in Analysis of Music Since 
  • Thesis
  • Composition

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: 3

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to 3 on a US 4.0 grading scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on a 4.0 scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General Requirements

  • Applicants must submit at least three representative original scores, and recordings if available. Scores should exhibit a variety of instrumentation and/or vocal forces. After an initial screening, selected candidates will be invited for a special interview with the composition faculty.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    868 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 868 USD per credit and a duration of 24 months.
  • National

    868 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 868 USD per credit and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Ithaca

  • 1128 - 2460 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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