Music Composition

Degree Type:
Bachelor’s Degree
Mode of Study:
On Campus

The Music Composition program at Methodist focuses on all of the key aspects of composing at a high level within the music industry.

Program Status

Effective Fall 2024, the B.A. program in Music Composition is in teach out and no longer accepting new students.

Common Career Paths

Some of the top jobs for those with a Music Composition bachelor degree include music director, composer, musician, singer, musical instrument repairer and tuner, and music teacher.

Common Salary Ranges for Graduates

As mentioned above, there’s a long list of career opportunities for those with a Music Composition degree. But, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average annual salary for the following positions (which may require additional education) in North Carolina in 2021:

  • Music director and composer: $52,550
  • Music teacher (postsecondary): $71,760
  • Musical instrument repairer and tuner

Average Tuition Cost

The average cost for an incoming residential freshman to attend MU is less than $18,000 – similar to the cost of attending one of the big-box public schools, but with the enhanced value of a highly-regarded private school with a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

While tuition varies, depending on a student’s financial aid package, it’s important to know that the average financial award for an incoming residential freshman at MU is more than $34,000.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

More than 97% of MU students receive some form of financial aid, with the University offering more than $24 million annually to students for scholarships. If a student is active military, family of active military, or a veteran, they may also qualify for MU’s military education benefits.

Major Requirements

The Music Composition major consists of 72-81 credits, distributed as follows:

Foreign Language Requirement

6 credits

One language through the 1020 level (1010 and 1020) or demonstration of competence. German, French, or Italian are recommended.

Required Academic Courses

34-37 credits

MUS 1070 Aural Skills I (1) MUS 2600 Music and Culture (1)
MUS 1080 Aural Skills II (1) MUS 2610 Music Theory III (3)
*MUS 1600 Music Fundamentals (3) MUS 2620 Music Theory IV (3)
MUS 1610 Music Theory I (3) MUS 3110 Music History: Ancient Through Baroque (3)
MUS 1620 Music Theory II (3) MUS 3130 Music History: Classic Through Romantic (3)
MUS 2070 Aural Skills III (1) MUS 3610 Conducting (3)
MUS 2080 Aural Skills IV (1) MUS 4190 Music History: 20th–21st Century (2)

* MUS 1600 is required if a student does not pass the diagnostic exam.

Select two courses (6 credits) from MUS 4640, MUS 4650, MUS 4660.

MUS 4640 Orchestration (3) MUS 4660 Form and Analysis (3)
MUS 4650 Introduction to Composition and Arranging (3)

Note: Student may take one applied composition semester in place of MUS 4650.

Required Technique Courses

4 credits

MUS 3010 String Techniques (1) MUS 3040 Brass Techniques (1)
MUS 3030 Woodwind Techniques (1) MUS 3070 Percussion Techniques (1)

Required Applied Courses

20-26 credits

**MUS 0710 Concert Attendance (0) ***MUS 1750-4750 Piano Proficiency (0-4)
MUS 0800 Half Recital (In major instrument or voice) AND *****MUS 0800 Half Recital (In Composition) (0) **MUS 1140-4810 Applied Piano, Organ, Voice, Strings, Woodwinds, Percussion, or Brass (2)
****MUS 1270 – 4270 Applied Composition (2) MUS 3370 Applications of Piano Literature (Piano Majors ONLY) (2)

**MUS 0710 must be taken and passed for a total of 6 semesters.

**Applied lessons (MUS 1140-4810) must be taken and passed for 8 semesters: a total of 16 credit hours on one instrument or voice. Therefore, continuous enrollment in the major instrument is required until a minimum of 16 continuous credit hours of applied lessons (C or better) is completed. Percussionists must complete no fewer than 12 credit hours of applied lessons, with at least 10 credit hours in applied orchestral percussion.  Instrumental majors (winds, brass, and percussion) are required to participate in Athletic Bands for no fewer than two years.

*** All music majors whose primary instrument is not piano are required to pass the piano proficiency exam to graduate.  Students must enroll in the piano proficiency sequence (MUS 1750-4750) until the exam is successfully passed.  Students who pass MUS 4750 (Piano Proficiency IV), but who have not passed the piano proficiency exam must register for MUS 1770 or 1780 (Piano for Non-Music Majors/ Proficiency) until passing the piano proficiency exam.

****MUS 1270-4270 must be taken for 4 semesters: a total of 8 credit hours.

*****A half recital in composition is required for graduation. Applied composition lessons do not take the place of applied instrument or voice. Applied instrumental or voice recital cannot take place in the same semester as the composition recital. It is recommended that the applied voice or instrumental recital take place in the junior year for composition majors.

Required Ensemble Courses

8 credits

MUS 3260 (1)/MUS 3270 (1) Guitar Ensemble MUS 3860 (1)/MUS 3870 (1) Grace Notes
MUS 3280 (1)/MUS 3290 (1) Noblemen MUS 3900(1)/MUS 3910 (1) Chamber Orchestra
MUS 3480 (1)/MUS 3490 (1) Concert Band

Note: If Guitar Ensemble is not offered, students may take one of the other ensembles for equal credits. Piano majors may accompany a choral ensemble for equal credits, if qualified to do so, or play in one of the other ensembles.


Scott Marosek, D.M.A.

Division Head, Fine & Performing Arts; Union-Zukowski Professor of Music
Scott Marosek