composition faculty


Bachelor of Music – Composition

  • The program details described below are subject to change. Actual degree requirements for a given academic year may differ from what is listed here.
  • Refer to the 2015-2016 USC Catalogue for complete course descriptions and degree requirements.
  • See the Thornton Admission page for specific application information.
  • Current students should refer to the specific requirements list for their major, which is available through the Thornton Student Affairs office.


The BM in composition is a four-year, 132-unit program consisting of course work in the major (composition, orchestration, counterpoint), core music studies (theory, aural skills, music history, keyboard instruction, conducting, large ensemble) and USC’s general education and writing program. A senior recital is required.

Sample Summary of Program of Study

Lessons (4 units)

MPKS 301 Individual Instruction in Piano (lessons) (4 units)

Music Ensembles (6 units)

MUEN 3__ Large Ensemble Electives (four 1-unit courses)
MUEN 3__ Ensemble Electives (two 1-unit courses)

Program Intensive Courses (38 units)

MUCO 135 Counterpoint I (2 units)
MUCO 137ab Introduction to Composition (two 2-unit courses)
MUCO 235 Counterpoint II (2 units)
MUCO 236 Orchestration I (2 units)
MUCO 237ab Composition I (two 4-unit courses)
MUCO 336ab Orchestration II (two 2-unit courses)
MUCO 337ab Composition II (two 4-unit courses)
MUCO 434 Analytical Techniques (2 units)
MUCO 435 Counterpoint III (2 units)
MUCO 437ab Composition III (two 2-unit courses)

Core Thornton Academic Courses (46 units)

MUHL 231-332 Music History and Literature (three 4-unit courses)
MUCO 132ab-232ab Aural Skills I and II (four 2-unit courses)
MUCO 133ab-233ab Music Theory I and II (four 3-unit courses)
MUCO 340 Choral Conducting I (2 units)
MUCD 343 Instrumental Conducting I (2 units)
MPKS 250ab Keyboard Instruction I (two 2-unit courses)
MPKS 350ab Keyboard Instruction II (two 2-unit courses)
MTEC 474a
or MTEC 474b
or MTEC 490
Electronic Synthesizer Techniques
Electronic Synthesizer Techniques
Directed Research (2 units)

General Education (32 units)

GE Six 4-unit courses in various fields of study
(see for detailed requirements)
WRIT 150/340 Two 4-unit courses in Writing

Electives (6 units)

Music or non-music courses (6 units)

Capstone Projects

Senior Recital

All curricular requirements are evaluated on an annual basis and are subject to change. Students follow the curricular requirements as published in the USC Catalogue for their year of matriculation. A typical undergraduate credit load is 16-18 units per semester.