Music Composition, M.M.
BOYER COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE
Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Fall: January 15
Spring: October 15
Decisions regarding admission are rendered after all required
credentials have been submitted and the admissions application is
APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.
Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2
From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators who can
provide insight into the applicant's abilities, talents, and aptitude
for graduate study.
Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:
All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the
appropriate Bachelor of Music degree at Temple University, which is
based on a curriculum of 124 to 135 hours.
Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:
A degree in Music is expected.
Statement of Goals:
The Statement of Goals should include your special interests within the discipline and expectations for the program.
Standardized Test Scores:
Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted:
550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or 79 internet-based.
The composition portfolio should demonstrate the student's skills in music composition.
A resume is required.
A student who wishes to transfer credit should speak with her/his
academic advisor and obtain a Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit form, available at: www.temple.edu/grad/forms.
Transfer credits must be approved by the advisor, the department chair,
and the Associate Dean. The maximum number of credits a student may
transfer is 6.
Due to the large number of applications for admission and the
competitive nature of its music programs, the College admits only a
portion of its applicants. In addition to the general admissions
credentials required of all Temple University graduate applicants,
specialized admission criteria (i.e., auditions, portfolios, interviews,
recommendations, departmental term papers, and standardized
examinations) are very heavily weighted in admission decisions of the
Boyer College of Music and Dance. Graduate applicants may be rejected
for admission for failing to obtain the required level of proficiency in
any one area of the specialized admission criteria regardless of the
level of success in meeting the Temple University general admission
criteria. In addition to the level of success demonstrated in the
above-mentioned criteria, a final admission factor is the College's
Optimum Enrollment Policy. This Policy may preclude the admission of any
student who meets the minimum requirements.
General Program Requirements:
Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30
Required Courses (24 s.h.):
MUSIC STUDIES 8740: Seminar in Composition (12)
MUSIC STUDIES 8742-8746: Seminar in Theoretical or Stylistic Analysis (9)
MUSIC STUDIES: Digital Synthesis (3)
Electives (6) selected from Music, Music Education, Music Studies, or other graduate departments. Advisor approval required.
Recommended courses include:
MUSIC STUDIES 8701: Research in Music
MUSIC STUDIES 8713: Canon and Fugue
MUSIC STUDIES 8747: Aesthetics of Music
View all COURSE OFFERINGS in Music, Music Education, and Music Studies.
All degree credits are to be earned at Temple University.
Internship: No internship is required.
Language Examination: A language examination is required. Reading knowledge of a foreign language is expected. If a deficiency exists, students may be required to take up to two semesters of a foreign language.
All entering Master of Music students are required to take Diagnostic
Examinations in Harmony, Counterpoint, Aural Skills, and Music History
prior to the first semester of graduate study. The purpose of these
examinations is to determine weaknesses in undergraduate preparation.
Depending on the examination results, students may be required to take
one or more remedial courses. In these instances, the remedial courses
will be graded on a "Credit / No Credit" basis and the official
university transcript will indicate "CR" (for "Credit," meaning that the
deficiency has been satisfied) or "NC" (for "No Credit," meaning that
the deficiency has not been satisfied). Students must have a "B-" or
better average in any remedial course or section thereof to earn the
grade of "Credit" and to satisfy the requirement. Students who earn a
grade of "NC" (that is, having a class average below "B-") must retake
that course or section until an average of "B-" or higher is achieved
and a grade of "CR" is recorded on the official university transcript.
Remedial courses are offered for undergraduate credit only, and may not
count toward graduate degree requirements.
1. All entering M.M. students must take the Diagnostic Examination in
Harmony, Counterpoint, and Aural Skills prior to the first semester of
graduate study unless conditions for exemption have been met (see
below). Students may take the test only once, and if they do not pass
the test or any portion thereof, they must enroll in the remedial
course(s) during their first semester of study. Depending on which
section(s) of the examination are failed, the examiners will stipulate
which sections of remedial coursework the student must take. The courses
are MUSIC STUDIES 5001: Diatonic Harmony Review, MUSIC STUDIES 5002:
Chromatic Harmony Review, MUSIC STUDIES 5003: Counterpoint Review, and
MUSIC STUDIES 5004: Graduate Aural Theory Review.
2. All entering M.M. students are required to take the Diagnostic
Examination in Music History prior to registering for their first
semester of graduate study unless conditions for exemption have been met
(see below). If the student is unsuccessful in passing any portion of
the Music History examination, the student may select one of two
Option A entails registering to take MUSIC STUDIES 5005: Music
History Review for 1 to 5 undergraduate credits, with 1 credit assigned
to each of the following five periods: Renaissance, Baroque, Classic,
Romantic, and Twentieth Century. Students may register for a maximum of 3
credits of MUSIC STUDIES 5005 in any semester; thus, it is possible to
extend the remediation over two semesters.
Option B entails the student's studying independently and retaking
the failed sections of the examination at the end of the first semester
of study. Students may retake the examination only once, and if any
section is failed a second time, they must take the assigned remedial
sections in their second semester of study.
3. Conditions for Exemption: The requirement to take the Diagnostic
Examination in any area is waived only for graduates of the Boyer
College of Music and Dance who (a) matriculate and enroll in the
semester immediately following completion of all undergraduate degree
requirements; and (b) received grades of "B-" or better in every
undergraduate course taken in each individual examination area to be
Composition majors must pass a functional piano examination encompassing the following points:
1. Score Reading: Prepared in advance of the examination, the scores are to be brought to
the examination. The exposition of the first movement of a symphony by
Haydn or Mozart is recommended. Suggested scores are the 12 "London"
symphonies by Haydn or one of the last six symphonies by Mozart. If the
student wishes, s/he may play a more difficult score by a later
2. Sight-reading a Bach chorale.
3. Realization of a figured bass.
Professional Development Policy:
In addition to taking the required subjects for their degrees, all
students in the Boyer College of Music and Dance are obligated to serve
in a number of capacities in order to enrich their academic and musical
expertise. Boyer College of Music and Dance believes that such
experiences give impetus to successful professional careers. Among the
duties that may be required are conducting laboratory classes; tutoring;
teaching private lessons; coaching; participating in the distribution
and inventory control of Temple University-owned musical instruments and
instructional materials; participating in ensembles; accompanying;
performing at admissions and open house events; supervising performance
classes; and engaging in other academic activities.
Independent Study Courses:
Independent study courses provide a special opportunity for graduate
students to work in a highly individualized setting with one or more
faculty members. All such study must receive the approval of the faculty
member providing the instruction, the students' major advisor, and the
Associate Dean. Approval will be granted only after the student has
presented a detailed description of the intended independent study
project. Approval of independent study projects will be granted only for
students whose academic and musical record provides substantial support
for the benefits of this type of study. In no case may more than 20% of
a graduate student's curriculum be taken as independent study. Private
lessons beyond those required in the curriculum are not an appropriate
form of independent study.
All students, including those for whom English is not the native
language, are expected to present all written work in acceptable
English. No double standard exists to differentiate students on the
basis of proficiency in the use of the English language. Students are
also responsible for becoming familiar with the College's statement on
plagiarism and academic honesty.
Participation in Ensembles:
With special permission, graduate students for whom there is no ensemble requirement, or where previous ensemble credits exceed the graduation requirement, may participate in choral and instrumental ensembles without cost, with prior permission from the ensemble director, the department chair, and the Associate Dean.
All incomplete grades and keyboard
proficiencies must be fulfilled by the first day of the month in which
the student expects to graduate.
Upon completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study and with the approval of the major advisor, the student may request permission from the Associate Dean of the Boyer College of Music and Dance to take the written qualifying examination. This request must be made in writing at least one month before the scheduled date of the examination. If desired, the student may take this examination during the final semester of graduate study. The master's qualifying examination is offered once each semester.
The Music Composition Division requires a five-hour written examination that includes the composition of a fugal exposition on a subject provided; the composition of a figured bass; the reduction, analysis, and identification of a passage from a provided orchestral work; and two essays about the history and practice of composition. In addition, the division administers a one-hour oral examination consisting of discussion and identification of various orchestral scores. Scheduled by Assistant Dean David Brown, the exam is graded by two members of the department’s graduate faculty.
Students are required to submit a portfolio of their work completed during the time they participated in the Master of Music program.
Program Contact Information:
Dept. of Music Composition
Boyer College of Music
2001 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Professor Maurice Wright
Professor Michael Klein
Professor Michael Klein
About the Program
The Master of Music in Composition is a regimen of professional training spanning the gamut of traditional academic studies from counterpoint to experimental studies in subjects such as software synthesis. The master's program encourages the composer of demonstrated accomplishment to develop a personal voice through private study with at least two members of the Composition faculty.
Time Limit for Degree Completion: 6 years
Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m. Students are also able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).
Dept. of Music Composition
Boyer College of Music and Dance
2001 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Boyer College of Music and Dance has been ranked among the
top 30 music schools in the country by U.S. News & World
This degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
Areas of Specialization:
The program prepares students for various careers related to music, and for further academic and musical training at the doctoral level.
Non-Degree Student Policy:
With permission from the Dean's Office, individuals may be granted permission to enter the College as a non-matriculated student, taking up to 9 graduate credits (excluding private lessons) before applying for admission to a program.
Boyer College of Music and Dance offers a number of assistantships and
academic internships to matriculated graduate students. Full awards
carry a cash stipend plus full tuition remission for the Fall and Spring
semesters. Partial awards also are available in values of 1/4 or 1/2 of
a full award. Duties for assistantships and internships vary, but
typically include teaching, tutoring, classroom assistance, research,
artistic performance, and/or direct service related to academic
programs. Applicants must submit an assistantship/internship application
by March 1 to obtain priority consideration for an award. Applications
are available online at the Graduate Financial Aid page of Boyer's website. Typically these awards are made only in the
Fall semester for up to two semesters: Fall and Spring. Awards may be
renewed on an annual basis (typically up to one additional year for
master's students and up to three years for doctoral students) based on
departmental needs as well as satisfactory academic and musical progress
by the recipient.