Bachelor of Music (BM)
Master of Music (MM)
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

In addition to the required application materials, applicants to programs in Composition must submit three original compositions with recordings. All materials must be received by the December 1st deadline.

Note: Compositions and recordings will not be accepted via mail or email for this program. All 3 Compositions with their Recordings must be submitted online through the “Fall DecisionDesk portal” by the December 1st deadline. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.To access the Fall portal to submit your recording click on the following link:

USC Thornton Fall Portal (Available Sept 1)

Additional information

  • DMA applicants are required to submit 3 letters of recommendation (see the USC online application for instructions on how to submit).
  • Students are required to submit scores and recordings of three contrasting pieces of varying instrumentation. Students should submit works that best represent their creative abilities. Pieces in a popular music or jazz idiom may be submitted as an extra element of the application, but the primary focus of the USC Thornton composition department is concert music (contemporary classical music).
  • Applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by November 1 to allow greater time for faculty evaluation.
  • Graduate applicants are encouraged to submit a piece for large ensemble such as orchestra or wind ensemble. Students should submit works that best represent their creative abilities.
  • In most cases, as determined by the composition faculty, graduate applicants under consideration for a scholarship or teaching assistantship will be called for an interview on the USC campus in Los Angeles. These interviews would be held on the USC campus in Los Angeles in February or early March. The composition faculty will reserve the right to make a final decision whether or not they have interviewed a particular candidate.
  • Please note, there is no audition or pre-screen recording required to apply for this program.

Important note

Applications for spring admission are not accepted for this program.