Bachelor of Arts | Composition Option

Our most flexible degree program concentrates on composition but also enables students to gain a wide variety of experiences, including music technology, performance, and history, as well as other areas outside the School of Music. In order to be considered for acceptance into the BA in Composition, students interview with the Composition faculty and submit a composition portfolio.


In consultation with an advisor, students will select coursework that represents their broad interests. Students interested in the composition option must pass a portfolio review before acceptance into composition classes. Students interested in pursuing the composition option for the Bachelor of Arts do NOT need to audition to take lessons on a primary instrument. However, students do have the option to audition to take lessons if they want to as part of any BA degree.

Student at WorkstationStudents pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Composition take 34-46 hours of general education courses in addition to the BA Music Core and a prescribed plan of study.

Learn more about Composition at Illinois.

For more information about the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements please visit the Academic Catalog.



1. Submit a Portfolio: Applicants must submit a portfolio of 3 to 5 original compositions for any instrumentation, including electronic music. Be sure to proof-read scores and make them as professional looking as possible. Please include recordings if you have them. All portfolio materials should be submitted on our dropbox (click link for deadlines).
2. Participate in an Interview: Applicants must participate in a 20 minute interview with members of the Composition/Theory faculty. This interview is normally scheduled as part of the on-campus audition process and will only be scheduled once the applicant’s portfolio has been received; if the applicant is not visiting the campus in person then the interview must take place via Skype or conference call on the same date as the on-campus interviews. During the interview, our faculty will engage the applicant in a discussion of their musical background, educational interests, and long-term professional goals.  Applicants will also have the opportunity to ask the faculty questions about the degree program to which they are applying, the various courses of study at the School of Music, and the university experience in general.