Undergraduate Program

Composing is the act of creating original music. It draws upon both intuitive and intellectual talents, challenging the student to write music of value to composers, performers and audience.

The purpose of the undergraduate degree program in composition is to provide a structured course of studies which will lay a foundation for possible graduate work in this field. Career opportunities as a professional composer often require studies beyond the bachelor's degree.The bachelor of music in composition takes four years to complete and courses include private lessons and instruction in the following areas:

  • Composition
  • Counterpoint
  • Harmony
  • Orchestration
  • Composition Labs and Symposia
  • Electronic Music
  • Music Business

From the outset, students at CCM study with major teachers of their choice and may move from one to another according to mutually agreed-upon decisions. Extensive work is done in CCM’s computer music studios. Interaction with student performers under professors’ guidance is offered in workshop courses. Courses in visual media are team taught by composition and media professors.

Composers of national and international repute visit CCM regularly to teach, lecture and meet informally with students to discuss their own work and that of other composers. Most of these visits coincide with performances of the composer's work by CCM ensembles or the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. These visits add a valuable element to CCM's commitment to the creation, performance and recognition of new music. Guests have included such distinguished composers as John Adams, Samuel Adler, William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Philip Glass, Jennifer Higdon, Karel Husa, Aaron Jay Kernis, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bernard Rands, Frederick Rzewski, Joseph Schwantner, Sir Michael Tippett and many others. Each season promises to be equally stimulating with an exciting list of guests.

The successful composer brings talent, creative imagination, competency, theoretical and historical knowledge, desire and determination to achieve goals. Ability to work both alone and collaboratively is important. The university setting offers a myriad of educational opportunities in acoustic and electronic realms, as well as opportunities to interact with similarly talented students.

CCM's admissions process begins on August 1 (undergraduate) and September 1 (graduate) for entrance in the following year's fall semester. All application materials must be submitted on or before December 1 to be considered for specific scholarship awards. Visit the CCM Admissions website for additional application instructions.


Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 1 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements

  • Portfolio of three original works:
    • Undergraduate applicants: a recording of at least one of the submitted works (live recordings are preferred where possible)
    • Graduate applicants: recordings of at least two of the submitted works (live recordings are preferred where possible)
    • All applicants: documentation of the submitted works should include scores (in the case of works with instruments or voice) or alternate format (in the case of purely electronic music)
  • All applicants should submit a list of works composed


More information about interviews coming soon.