Cookie policy

By clicking on or navigating the site, you agree to allow us to collect information on and off Studee as outlined in our cookie policy.

Study composition abroad

An in-depth guide to studying composition as an international student.

Explore composition programs abroad

See 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.

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 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

Alternative music degrees

How to study composition abroad

  1. University & program search

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations
  2. Application guidance

    We'll get you to the right place to start your application
  3. Visa & travel advice

    Get help after application, all the way to your first day at university

Our team of advisors is ready to support you at every step of your study abroad journey.
Our services are 100% free for students like you because we're funded by universities.

Composition study abroad programs

Composition undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in composition

  • false

    Composition - BM Indiana Wesleyan University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    28,184 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 28,184 USD

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

    Composition - BMus Lynn University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    37,600 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 37,600 USD

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

    Composition - BM DePaul University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    40,551 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 40,551 USD

    Start date
    -
    Show program overview about Composition
  • false

    Composition - BMus Oklahoma City University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    27,276 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 27,276 USD

    Start date
    August, January
    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
    16,338 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,338 USD

    Start date
    August, January
    Show program overview about English: Rhetoric and Composition
See all bachelor's degrees in composition

Certificate in composition

  • false

    Teaching Composition - Cert California State University, Sacramento, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    16,800 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,800 USD

    Start date
    January
    Show program overview about Teaching Composition
See all undergraduate certificates in composition

Composition graduate programs

Master's in composition

  • false

    Composition - MM DePaul University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    27,680 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 27,680 USD

    Start date
    September, March
    Show program overview about Composition
  • false

    Composition - MA Bath Spa University, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    20,857 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,070 GBP

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

    Composition - MMus Lynn University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    13,320 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,320 USD

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

    Music Composition - MM Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    25,118 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 25,118 USD

    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Music Composition
  • false

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

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    14,989 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 12,510 EUR

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Composition and Creative Music Practice
See all master's degrees in 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.