composition faculty


Master 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 2017-2018 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 MM in composition is a two-year, 30-unit program consisting of individual instruction in composition, special topics in graduate composition, course work in music history, ensemble participation and individual instruction in any performance medium. A graduate recital and composition portfolio are required.

Sample Summary of Program of Study

Lessons and Forums (8 units)

MUCO 537 Advanced Composition I (four 2-unit courses)
Composition Forum

Music Ensembles and Performance Lessons (6 units)

MUEN 5 500 level music ensembles (two 1-unit courses)
MP__ 501 Individual Instruction in Performance (two 2-unit courses)
Note: this can be in any musical medium, but all 4 credits must be in the same medium (e.g., trumpet) or applicable MUCD or MTEC instruction

Program Intensive Courses (4 units)

MUCO 592 Selected Topics in Graduate Composition (2 units)
MUCO 536 Advanced Orchestration I (2 units)

Core Thornton Academic Courses (8 units)

MUHL 570 Research Materials and Techniques (2 units)
or MUCO5
500 level Music History electives
500 level Composition electives (three 2-unit courses)
MUCO 5 500 level Composition electives (three 2-unit courses)

Electives (4 units)

400 or 500 level music or non-music electives (4 units)

Capstone Projects

One Graduate Recital
MM Composition Portfolio
Comprehensive Review

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 graduate credit load is eight units per semester.

Music Graduate Entrance Exams (MGEE) are administered during Orientation Week just prior to the start of your program. See the MGEE page for more information.