Sep 28, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Music, Composition, M.M.

Advanced study of composition at the master’s level.

Program Requirements

Composition requires a minimum of 30 credit hours. A two-year residency is required.

Information for Matriculated Students

Graduate Competency Exams

All incoming School of Music graduate students must pass a competency exam in music theory/ear training prior to enrollment in MUS 530, Seminar in Music Theory. This exam will be graded pass/fail and may be taken no more than three times. Students unable to pass after three attempts must withdraw from the program.

Special Requirements and Standards

All music graduate programs must be completed within six years from the date of matriculation.

Students must maintain a B average in all coursework and must have no grade lower than B-. Students who receive grades lower than B- will be reviewed for retention in the graduate program.

Each program requires that students demonstrate mastery in their primary area of study. Composition students meet this requirement through the presentation of a recital.

The following conditions will apply to all graduate recitals:

  • Required recitals must be performed after successful completion of the comprehensive exams.
  • Grading of the recital will be by a committee of at least two jurors. The jurors will be drawn from the graduate faculty and the degree candidate’s private instructor.
  • The candidate must receive a grade of B or higher on the recital. If the grade of B is not achieved, the candidate must perform another recital that contains at least 50 percent new material. If the grade of B or higher is not achieved at this recital retake, the candidate must petition the faculty to remain in the degree program.

Transfer credit

Six graduate credits may be transferred to USM from another NASM-accredited college or university.

Admissions credit

Additionally no more than six graduate credits for work earned at USM in the five years prior to matriculation may be credited to the master’s degree.


Composition requires a two-year residency.

Exit Requirements

Composition majors must present one forty-five minute recital for which either program notes are provided or the student presents verbal introductions to each work. The recital should comprise forty-five minutes of original music for a variety of instrumentation composed while in residency for the degree. The composer will participate as performer on at least one work on the recital. In addition to the recital, the composer is encouraged to seek performances for his/her work elsewhere; only in exceptional cases might any part of this recital be substituted for outside work.