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Study composition abroad

Find programs that match your eligibility and aspirations then apply with reduced application fees, a free assessment and access to a dedicated advisor.

Find your perfect composition programs abroad

Find composition programs you love that match your needs & aspirations, where you stand a high chance of acceptance.

Find other programs in composition

Composition degrees abroad

If you are an aspiring composer, a degree in composition will help you develop the musicianship skills and professionalism you’ll need to succeed. Your program will focus on both the creative and commercial aspects of being a composer, and prepare you for the future challenges that face the music industry.

Most composition programs will have an emphasis on practice-based learning, and you may get the opportunity to take part in public concerts with professional soloists, ensembles, and orchestras. You’ll also get the chance to develop your own compositions and ideas, and perform them as part of your course.

Music is a truly international language, and by studying and living abroad you’ll be able to experience different musical influences first-hand. Music composition is available to study in universities and conservatoires all over the world, including cities and countries with long and fascinating musical histories.

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Composition program structure

You can study composition at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The most common option for undergraduate students is a BMus (Bachelor of Music), which can be studied over three or four years.

For many programs, you’ll be asked to select an instrument specialism that you will study during your course. Some programs allow you to choose a primary and secondary instrument, but others may only allow you to study one.

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in a related subject like music, you can choose to study an MMus (Master of Music) in composition over one or two years. These programs are often more focussed, for example, composition for screen, so could be an ideal option if you want to specialize in a specific area.

Although rare, doctorate level degrees are available at some music schools or conservatoires. These can take between four and seven years and will consist of your own unique research and the creation of a doctoral dissertation.

Learning will be through a combination of one-to-one tutoring sessions, performance classes, workshops, masterclasses with experienced composers, seminars, and lectures. The content of your program will depend largely on where you study and what you choose to specialize in, but common areas of study include:

  • Orchestration
  • Music and narrative
  • Composition and harmony
  • Language of music
  • Score reading
  • Music for media
  • Interactive composition

Composition study abroad programs

Composition undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in composition

  • false

    Commercial Music: Composition - BM Florida Atlantic University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    20,584 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 20,584 USD

    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about Commercial Music Composition
  • false

    Composition - BM Indiana Wesleyan University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    31,168 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 31,168 USD

    Start date
    September, January, May
    Show program overview about Composition
  • false

    Composition - BMus (Hons) Western University, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    30,490 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 41,658 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Composition
  • false

    Music: Composition - BM MacEwan University, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    19,322 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 26,400 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Composition
  • false

    English: Rhetoric and Composition - BA California State University, Long Beach, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    16,392 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,392 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about English: Rhetoric and Composition

Associate in composition

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    Composition - AA College of the Canyons, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    11,260 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 11,260 USD

    Start date
    August, February, June
    Show program overview about Composition

Diploma in composition

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    Contemporary Music & Technology: Composition - Dip Selkirk College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    9,529 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,020 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Composition Major

Composition graduate programs

Master's in composition

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    Jazz Studies: Composition - MM DePaul University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    22,800 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 22,800 USD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Jazz Studies: Composition
  • false

    Composition: Interdisciplinary Digital Media (Tempe Campus) - MM Arizona State University (in partnership with Kaplan International), USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    35,280 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 35,280 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Composition (Interdisciplinary Digital Media), MM
  • false

    Composition and Creative Music Practice - MA University of Limerick, Ireland

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    18,332 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,900 EUR

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Composition and Creative Music Practice
  • false

    Music: Composition - MM California State University, Sacramento, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    15,800 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,800 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Music: Composition
  • false

    English: Rhetoric and Composition - MA Florida Atlantic University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    19,792 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 19,792 USD

    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about English: Rhetoric and Composition

Future composition careers

Composition degrees are vocational programs that aim to prepare you for a successful career in the music industry, and there are a number of exciting roles you could pursue. Here are some of the roles composition graduates have taken up:

  • Composer
  • Orchestrator
  • Orchestra musician
  • Music director
  • Music editor
  • Music teacher
  • Arts critic

Roles in the music industry are notoriously competitive, so putting in extra work outside of the classroom could help give you the edge. Joining your university music societies or playing in local orchestras can give you valuable experience that employers value.