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Composition and Theory, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
University rank #47 (BCR) Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Students in composition and theory combine private composition lessons with seminars in composition, analysis, orchestration, and related topics. The IonSound Project, the music department's ensemble-in-residence, gives a concert of works by graduate student composers each spring.


Residencies by other professional new music ensembles, in conjunction with the department's new music series Music on the Edge, provide additional opportunities for the reading and recording of student works. The University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra also frequently performs students' works. Each year the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Composer-of-the-Year chooses one local student work to be read by the Orchestra. Department of Music facilities include a well-equipped electroacoustic music studio, and professional quality live recordings are made during performances in Bellefield Hall Auditorium.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  •  MA Thesis
  •  Music in Africa
  •  Music in Latin America
  •  Music in East Asia
  •  Music in Southeast Asia
  •  Music in South Asia

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

  • This programme accepts GRE® scores. However, it does not provide a recommended score range.

    The GRE® General Test is a widely administered admissions test that measures the skills needed in today's graduate and business school programs worldwide. The GRE® General Test contains three sections - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Three scores are reported: a Verbal Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, a Quantitative Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, and an Analytical Writing score on a 0 - 6 score scale in half-point increments.

General Requirements

  • Application form and $50 application fee.
  • Statement of purpose, an essay of about two pages that describes the applicant's academic background and professional goals.
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all higher education institutions attended. These should be scanned and included with online application. Students will be required to forward official transcripts/translations at the time of matriculation (upon enrollment) to the Graduate School to clear transcript contingencies.
  • CV or Resumé.
  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably by persons who have taught the applicant in subjects related to the four research subdisciplines, rather than in performance lessons.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    24666 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 24666 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • National

    24666 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 24666 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • In-State

    13198 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 13198 USD per year 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 Pittsburgh

  • 1148 - 1950 USD/month
    Living Costs

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


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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