Music Composition (BM)


Departmental Admission Requirements

Students in this unit are admitted directly into their degree program.

General Education Requirements

General Education Requirements 1,231
The following courses are required by this program and should be used to fulfill the respective General Education Requirement:
African-American Music - AH, D1
Music in World Cultures - SB, D2

All degrees require the completion of the University-wide General Education Program (link provided above). Some General Education requirements may be met in the requirements for the major or supporting coursework, in which case additional electives may be required to complete the minimum hours for the degree.

College/School Requirements

School of Music Requirements
MUS 141Theory I 34
MUS 142Theory II 34
MUS 241Musicianship III2
MUS 242Musicianship IV2
MUS 248Theory Modules I 112
MUS 249Theory Modules II 122
MUS 361Music Literature I (1000-1750)3
MUS 362Music Literature II (Classical & Early Romantic Music)3
MUS 363Music Literature III (1860-present)3
MUS 109Major Ensembles (eight 1-hour courses) 48
MUS 97Recital Attendance (four semesters of "S")0
MUS 131Piano Class 51
MUS 132Piano Class 51
MUS 231Piano Class III 5,61
MUS 347Analysis I2
MUS 111Principal Applied Study 72
or MUS 105 Jazz Applied
MUS 112Principal Applied Study 72
or MUS 106 Jazz Applied
MUS 211Principal Applied Study 72
or MUS 205 Jazz Applied
MUS 212Principal Applied Study 72
or MUS 206 Jazz Applied
MUS 100Introduction to Music Study1
MUS 297Piano Proficiency0
Minimum Total Hours47

Program/Major Requirements

Music Composition Requirements
MUS 143Composition and Orchestration2
MUS 144Composition and Orchestration2
MUS 243Composition and Orchestration 82
MUS 244Composition and Orchestration 82
MUS 343Composition and Orchestration 82
MUS 344Composition and Orchestration 82
MUS 443Composition and Orchestration 82
MUS 444Composition and Orchestration - CUE 82
MUS 441Composition Seminar (eight semesters)0
MUS 353Contemporary Composition Techniques I2
MUS 354Contemporary Composition Techniques II2
MUS 348Analysis II2
MUS 270Creative Audio Recording and Production Techniques2
MUS 547Chromatic Harmony and Analysis2
MUS 548Post-Tonal Theory and Analysis2
MUS 549Renaissance Counterpoint2
MUS 550Baroque Counterpoint2
MUS 567Introduction to Electronic and Computer Music3
MUS 497Senior Recital - CUE 90
Minimum Total Hours35
Supporting Courses
MUS 359Conducting I2
MUS 325Arts Instrument1
MUS 326Arts Instrument1
MUS 425Arts Instrument1
MUS 426Arts Instrument1
MUS 551Studies in Improvisation2
Electives 101
Minimum Total Hours9

Upper Division Assessment

All students enrolled in a music degree program will be reviewed at the approximate midpoint of the selected program in order for students to achieve Upper Division status. Students must meet the standards of this review to register for 400-level courses in music. Both the elements and standards of the review are established by the faculty and include credit for MUS 242 Musicianship IV  or Analysis (MUS 347 for BA General; MUS 349 for BA Jazz Studies; MUS 350 for BA Music & New Media); MUS 361 Music Literature I; 4 semesters of Applied Instrument at the course numbers required for the degree; Piano Proficiency Examination; MUS 97 Recital Attendance, with a grade S for 4 semesters; Ensemble participation; cumulative 2.5 GPA (good standing); minimum of 48 credit hours completed; pass ENGL 101 or ENGL 105; and 3 additional General Education/Cardinal Core courses.

Additional specific elements and standards appropriate to specific degree programs in jazz studies (including jazz performance, music education and music therapy with tracks in jazz studies, and the BA in jazz studies), music composition, music education, music history, instrumental and vocal performance, pedagogy, music theory, and music therapy are required of students in order to achieve Upper Division status and to continue in the degree program.  Specific degree requirements are determined by the concentration and area faculties and are outlined in the Undergraduate Student Handbook.

Culminating Undergraduate Experience (Graduation requirement)
Requirement fulfilled by completing:
Senior Recital - CUE

Students are required to take MUH 214 African-American Music - AH, D1  and MUH 205 Music in World Cultures - SB, D2.


MUH courses will not be accepted as music electives or cardinal core courses with the exception of ANTH 205/MUH 205 and PAS 214/MUH 214.


Students who do not pass the computer-based Fundamentals Test prior to the beginning of the fall semester are required to enroll in MUS 91 Fundamentals of Music I for 0 credit concurrently with MUS 141 Theory I .  Students who do not pass MUS 141, and students who enter the School of Music in January and do not place into MUS 142 Theory II , must enroll in MUS 92 for the spring semester.  Credits for MUS 92 do not count toward the degree.


Strings take section 01, others solely dependent on the ensemble audition.


If applied principal is piano, Piano Class is replaced with 3 hours of electives. For students with a piano background, three semesters of MUS 121-MUS 221 (Secondary Piano) may be substituted.


Students will take the Piano Proficiency Examination at the end of MUS 231.  Any student not completing the Piano Proficiency Examination will be required to take MUS 232 until the proficiency exam requirement is complete.

Students must be enrolled continuously in Piano Class until their requirement has been completed.  Those who pass the Piano Proficiency Examination before the end of the third semester of Piano Class may replace the requirement with electives or with secondary piano if faculty load permits.  Entering students who have a background in piano may register for Piano Proficiency MUS 297 for one semester with approval of the Keyboard Area.


Students may choose either the applied principal (non-jazz) lesson sequence (MUS 111, MUS 112, MUS 211, MUS 212, MUS 325, MUS 326, MUS 425, MUS 426) or applied jazz lesson sequence (MUS 105, MUS 106, MUS 205, MUS 206, MUS 325, MUS 326, MUS 425, MUS 426). Except upon petition and approval, students will be locked in to the entire sequence of either applied principal (non-jazz) or applied jazz lessons. Only instrumentalists with corresponding jazz instructors at UofL may opt for the applied jazz lesson sequence.


Undergraduate composition majors enrolled in MUS 243MUS 444 are required to present public performances of their original works to average at least eight minutes of music per semester. The senior recital does not count toward these averages, but does fulfill the requirement for the semester in which it is given.


Students must present a recital of original works.


Music electives in any Bachelor of Music degree should be chosen from courses in Music History, Music Theory/Composition, Music Education, Music Literature, Music Pedagogy, Music Therapy, Jazz, a secondary applied area, or a non-required ensemble. Courses beyond the degree requirement in the student’s major applied area or in the required major ensemble(s) are not appropriate. MUH courses will not be accepted as music electives. School of Music students may count up to two one-hour Physical Education courses toward the general elective requirement.


Students must complete a 1-credit hour module in Term 1 and a 1-credit hour module in Term 2 the same semester that they are registered for MUS 241 Musicianship 3.


Students must complete a 1-credit hour module in Term 1 and a 1-credit hour module in Term 2 the same semester that they are registered for MUS 242 Musicianship 4.

Flight Plan

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
MUS 100 Introduction to Music Study 1
MUS 109 Major Ensembles 1
MUS 111
Principal Applied Study
or Jazz Applied
MUS 141 Theory I 4
MUS 97 Recital Attendance 0
MUS 131 Piano Class (or Music Elective) 1
MUS 143 Composition and Orchestration 2
MUS 441 Composition Seminar 0
ENGL 101 Introduction to College Writing - WC 3
MUS 112
Principal Applied Study
or Jazz Applied
MUS 109 Major Ensembles 1
MUS 142 Theory II 4
MUS 97 Recital Attendance 0
MUS 132 Piano Class (or Music Elective) 1
MUS 144 Composition and Orchestration 2
MUS 441 Composition Seminar 0
ENGL 102 Intermediate College Writing - WC 3
General Education: Cardinal Core Quantitative Reasoning - QR 3
Year 2
MUS 211
Principal Applied Study
or Jazz Applied
MUS 109 Major Ensembles 1
MUS 241 Musicianship III 2
MUS 248 Theory Modules I 2
MUS 97 Recital Attendance 0
MUS 231 Piano Class III 1
MUS 297 Piano Proficiency 0
MUS 243 Composition and Orchestration 2
MUS 353 Contemporary Composition Techniques I 2
MUS 441 Composition Seminar 0
General Education: Cardinal Core Oral Communication - OC 3
MUS 212
Principal Applied Study
or Jazz Applied
MUS 109 Major Ensembles 1
MUS 242 Musicianship IV 2
MUS 249 Theory Modules II 2
MUS 361 Music Literature I (1000-1750) 3
MUS 97 Recital Attendance 0
MUS 244 Composition and Orchestration 2
MUS 441 Composition Seminar 0
MUS 354 Contemporary Composition Techniques II 2
MUS 270 Creative Audio Recording and Production Techniques 2
Year 3
MUS 325 Arts Instrument 1
MUS 109 Major Ensembles 1
MUS 362 Music Literature II (Classical & Early Romantic Music) 3
MUS 343 Composition and Orchestration 2
MUS 441 Composition Seminar 0
MUS 347 Analysis I 2
MUS 567 Introduction to Electronic and Computer Music 3
General Education: Cardinal Core Natural Sciences with Lab - B 4
MUS 326 Arts Instrument 1
MUS 109 Major Ensembles 1
MUS 363 Music Literature III (1860-present) 3
MUS 344 Composition and Orchestration 2
MUS 441 Composition Seminar 0
MUS 359 Conducting I 2
MUS 348 Analysis II 2
MUH 214 African-American Music - AH, D1 3
MUH 205 Music in World Cultures - SB, D2 3
Year 4
MUS 425 Arts Instrument 1
MUS 109 Major Ensembles 1
MUS 443 Composition and Orchestration 2
MUS 441 Composition Seminar 0
MUS 549 Renaissance Counterpoint 2
MUS 548 Post-Tonal Theory and Analysis 2
Music Electives 2
General Education: Cardinal Core Arts & Humanities - AH 3
General Education: Cardinal Core Social & Behavioral Sciences Historical Perspective - SBH 3
MUS 426 Arts Instrument 1
MUS 109 Major Ensembles 1
MUS 550 Baroque Counterpoint 2
MUS 551 Studies in Improvisation 2
MUS 444 Composition and Orchestration - CUE 2
MUS 441 Composition Seminar 0
MUS 547 Chromatic Harmony and Analysis 2
MUS 497 Senior Recital - CUE 0
General Education: Cardinal Core Natural Sciences - S 3
 Minimum Total Hours123

The Flight Plan outlined above is intended to demonstrate one possible path to completing the degree within four years.  Course selection and placement within the program may vary depending on course offerings and schedule, elective preferences, and other factors (study abroad, internship availability, etc.). Please consult your advisor for additional information about building a flight plan that works for you.

Degree Audit Report
Degree Audit reports illustrate how your completed courses fulfill the requirements of your academic plan, and which requirements are still outstanding. Degree audits also take transfer credits and test credits into account. "What-if" reports allow you to compare the courses you have completed in your current academic plan to the courses required in another academic plan.  Should you have questions about either report, please consult with your academic advisor.

Flight Planner
The Flight Planner tool is available for you to create a personalized Flight Plan to graduation.  Advisors have access to review your Flight Planner and can help you adjust it to ensure you remain on track to graduate in a timely manner.

To create these reports:

  1. Log into your ULink account.
  2. Click on the Academic Progress tile.
  3. Select the appropriate report.
    1. To run a Degree Audit report, click on "View my Degree Audit."
    2. To create a What-if report, click on "Create a What-if Advisement Report."
    3. To run a Flight Planner report, click on "Use My Flight Planner."

Click here to run a Degree Audit report, create a What-if report, or run a Flight Planner report.