Composition & Electronic Music Studio

How to prepare your composition portfolio and apply
A successful application to the USF composition program includes the following three steps:

1. Application to the University
2. Application to the School of Music
3. Composition Portfolio Submission
applicants are advised to complete the above three steps by December 1 (graduate applicants) or December 15 (undergraduate applicants).

A successful portfolio submission to the USF composition program includes the following items:

1. Sample Notated Scores (with optional recordings)
    Undergraduate Applicants: 1-5 Score(s)
    Masters Applicants: 3-5 Scores
2. List of works and performances
3. Personal Statement describing your experience as a musician/composer
4. Curriculum Vitae or Resume
5. 2-3 Letters of Recommendation (for graduate students, these should be emailed directly to
6. Interview with USF composition faculty (all undergraduate applicants, selected graduate applicants)

In addition to the above items, undergraduate applicants must take an instrumental audition. An undergraduate (BM) application to the composition program will only be fully considered after the applicant IS ACCEPTED into an instrumental studio. Graduate students are admitted based on their portfolios only - MM applicants do not have to take an instrumental audition. Due to the high volume and quality of MM applicants, only a select number of applicants will be invited for an interview with the composition faculty.

1. Current Scores (with optional recordings)

At least 1 notated score is required for undergraduate applicants. Up to 5 may be submitted.
3-5 scores are required for Masters applicants.

This portion of the portfolio should demonstrate the candidates ability to compose for classical instruments. Typical score submissions include works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra, chorus, or wind ensemble. Pop music, video game music, and other popular genres are not appropriate to include as score examples. Whenever possible, scores should be professionally engraved with a digital notation program (e.g. Finale or Sibelius) and submitted as a PDF. If recordings are available, they may be included with the application as mp3 files. For electronic music samples, a PDF describing the work, software used, and any other pertinent information should be submitted in lieu of a score.

2. List of works and performances

This should be a list of the candidates original completed compositions and information about any live performances of these compositions that have taken place. The list should be in reverse chronological order (most recent first) and the information included in this list should be:


For each work, also list the following information for any live performances that have taken place:


3. Personal Statement describing your experience as a musician/composer

This should be a narrative addressing the following:

Background as a musician in general.
Background as a composer.
Career goals.
Why you are interested in studying composition at USF.
How you hope to benefit from our program.
Any other relevant information about your musical experiences.

4. Curriculum Vitae or Resume

General listing of all of musical experiences.

A C.V./Resume typically includes:

Educational Experience/Degrees Earned/Private Lesson Experience
Awards and Honors
List of Performances of your Original Composition
List of Commissions and Works Completed
Teaching Experience
Instrumental Performance Experience
Software Proficiency (list of programs you have experience using)
List of References with Contact Information for each

5. Interview with USF composition faculty

All undergraduate applicants will be scheduled for an interview on their instrumental audition day. A select number of graduate applicants will be invited to interview with the composition faculty. The interview is typically a face-to-face meeting to discuss details relating to your application, tour the USF facilities, meet current students, ask questions, and demonstrate basic musicianship skills. You will be asked about composers you are interested in, to discuss select scores at sight, identify basic melodic intervals and chord types, and to demonstrate excerpts of your own compositions at the piano.


Note: All applicants must first apply to the University and obtain a U-Number. Applicants cannot submit a composition portfolio without a U-Number.

The above items should be stored online, using a file sharing service such as dropbox or googledocs. The links to each item should be submitted through the online composition application found HERE.