Students note-taking in Music Theory class
Variety of Programs
You can choose from a number of Music Theory, History, and Composition programs.
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As a composition major, you will gain a foundation in traditional Western art music, while having the opportunity to explore jazz, electronic music, film scoring, and other media. In addition to having individual lessons with our award-winning faculty, you will have the opportunity to work with renowned composers through our Karel Husa Visiting Professor of Composition series. While taking courses such as orchestration, counterpoint, and arranging, you will hear your music performed by highly skilled musicians on a regular basis. Each year, composers such as John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, George Crumb, Chen Yi, and William Bolcom present master classes, critique student works, and give lectures on their own work.

If you would like to obtain a broader education with music at its center, we have two programs that will appeal to you.  The Bachelor of Music in Combination with an Outside Field degree provides an opportunity to maximize your educational experience in music while also obtaining significant additional studies in another field.  The Bachelor of Arts in Music degree provides an opportunity for even more studies outside of music, though this degree has fewer music requirements than other music degrees.  Students often are drawn to this program by their desire to expand the range of their studies, or even to pursue double majors or dual degrees.


The Department of Music Theory, History, and Composition congratulates the winners of the 2022-23 School of Music composition competitions.

Jack Downey '55, '61 Composers Competition Award

The winner for 2022-23 is Lauren Whritner ('24) with their work, Cardinal Points.

Louis Smadbeck Composition Award

The winner for 2022-23 is Quinlan Barrie ('23) with their work, Breathes and Vespers.

Richard K. Joseph '48 MUSB, M.S. '53 Composition Prize

The winner for 2022-23 is Seessa Kauffman ('24) with their work, Rage.