Composition & Electronic Music Studio

FAQ for Graduate Composition Applicants
For questions about how to prepare your composition portfolio materials, please visit THIS PAGE.

In addition to the questions below, please consult the FAQ for Undergraduate Composition Applicants page.

Is funding available for graduate composition students at USF?
YES. The most exceptional students who have pursued the MM in Composition or MM in Electro-Acoustic Music, in recent years, have received full tuition waivers and stipends for the two years of their studies. We cannot guarantee the availability of Teaching Assistantships in any given year, but we are generally able to offer generous support for our graduate composers.

What courses will I be taking during the MM Composition Program at USF?
Please review the program degree requirements HERE and read about our composition curriculum HERE. Essentially, graduate student composers study composition each semester, in addition to graduate research courses, advanced theory, and music history electives. We encourage all MM Composition students to take advantage of the wide range of advanced computer-music courses offered at USF. The final stages of the degree include a recital of original compositions and a graduate comprehensive exam.

What sorts of instruments/ensembles will I be learning to write for?

Students in the MM program will compose for instrumental configurations that complement their current portfolio. In addition to personalized projects, there are opportunities available for graduate student collaborations. Among these is the Graduate Composers' Sinfonietta - a chamber orchestra dedicated to rehearsing, performing, and recording graduate student works. Our goal is for our students to receive performances and recordings of each work they complete in our program. Students of this program have the opportunity to compose for orchestra, wind ensemble, percussion ensemble, choirs, soloists, chamber ensembles, and electronics.

What opportunities will there be for performances of my music?

Our goal is for you to hear each work you perform in a live concert or reading session, and for you to have a recording of each work you compose. In addition to a variety of unique opportunities (e.g. festival performances, off-campus performances, etc.), our regular schedule of student composer concerts includes four acoustic concerts per year, five electronic music concerts per year,  orchestra readings, wind ensemble reading, choral readings, percussion ensemble readings, and several student composer recitals. In addition, USF performance majors frequently program student works on their degree recitals.

I want to compose music for film and video games - Is this the right program for me?
Our program focuses on balancing compositional skills, creative risk taking, electronic music techniques, and music business. The majority of the works you will complete in our program will be intended for live performance. We do not have a program or class dedicated to composing for film and multimedia; however, many of our students are involved in these activities and we do encourage it. Our program will prepare you with the essential skills you need to compose successfully for electronic media and acoustic instruments, and these skills are necessary in the film composing industry.

I write and record a lot of pop music - should I submit my songs in my application portfolio?
No. While we value the study and creation of popular music, and include some of this in our curriculum, your application portfolio should consist of scores of your original compositions for concert music genres (solo acoustic instruments, chamber music, orchestra, wind ensemble, choir, etc.). If you create electronic sequences of any kind, then it would be useful to include one of these in your portfolio. However, we will not review recordings or lead sheets for pop music you have written. If you have a heavy interest in pop music then please explain that in your personal statement.