School of Music

MM in Composition

Advanced study of composition at the master's level.

Composition requires a minimum of 30 credit hours

     MUS 506 Chamber Music (Composer's Ensemble)1
     MUS 510 Bibliography and Research in Music3
     MUH 520 Seminar in Music History3
     MUT 530 Seminar in Music Theory3
     MUP 603 Applied Music (composition)12
     MUP 690 Recital0
     Electives–Any MUH, MUS, MUP, MUT or MUE 500- or 600-level courses.8
     A two-year residency is required. 

Information for Matriculated Students

Graduate Competency Exams

All incoming School of Music graduate students must pass competency exams in music theory/ear training, and music history and literature prior to enrollment in MUS 520 Seminar in Music History and MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory. These exams will be graded pass/fail. Each exam may be taken no more than three times. Students unable to pass after three attempts must withdraw from the program.

Special Requirements and Standards

All music graduate programs must be completed within six years from the date of matriculation.

Students must maintain a B average in all coursework and must have no grade lower than B-. Students who receive grades lower than B- will be reviewed for retention in the graduate program.

Each program requires that students demonstrate mastery in their primary area of study. Composition students meet this requirement through the presentation of a recital.

The following conditions will apply to all graduate recitals:

  • Required recitals must be performed after successful completion of the comprehensive exams.
  • Grading of the recital will be by a committee of at least two jurors. The jurors will be drawn from the graduate faculty and the degree candidate's private instructor.
  • The candidate must receive a grade of B or higher on the recital. If the grade of B is not achieved, the candidate must perform another recital that contains at least 50 percent new material. If the grade of B or higher is not achieved at this recital retake, the candidate must petition the faculty to remain in the degree program.
Transfer credit

Six graduate credits may be transferred to USM from another NASM-accredited college or university.

Admissions credit

Additionally no more than six graduate credits for work earned at USM in the five years prior to matriculation may be credited to the master's degree.

Residency

Composition requires a two-year residency.

Exit Requirements

Composition majors must present one forty-five minute recital for which either program notes are provided or the student presents verbal introductions to each work. The recital should comprise forty-five minutes of original music for a variety of instrumentation composed while in residency for the degree. The composer will participate as performer on at least one work on the recital. In addition to the recital, the composer is encouraged to seek performances for his/her work elsewhere; only in exceptional cases might any part of this recital be substituted for outside work.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: $25.00 paid through the online application.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • An essay of 300-500 words on your professional goals
  • A professional résumé
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores

In addition, applicants to the School of Music graduate program in composition must fulfill the following requirements prior to enrollment:

  • A baccalaureate degree or its equivalent in music or music education
  • An interview and portfolio review (by invitation only; see details below)
  • Applicants in composition must also submit:
  • Scores of three representative works from three different performance media showing originality and technical competence
  • Recordings (CD, mp3, or url link) of three representative works (to correspond with scores above, if possible)
  • Complete list of works with first performances arranged chronologically.


Music Interview and Portfolio Review

Once the application in the Office of Admissions is complete, the School of Music Graduate Studies Committee will review the materials and make a recommendation to the School's coordinator of graduate studies. The program advisor for composition will contact applicants selected for interview.

Each degree program has specific audition requirements. Acceptance into an area of study is exclusive to that area, and a separate application and audition is required for each area. Due to the intensive and individualized nature of a graduate program in music, admission in specific areas will be limited.


International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.


Applicants whose first language is not English

Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.


Where to send transcripts and application materials

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation