Dec 06, 2023  
2016-2017 Course Catalog 
2016-2017 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Composition, BMus


In addition to study of the fundamentals of musicianship and music literacy addressed in the core curriculum, Bachelor of Music students complete coursework structured to develop their understanding of music making and a body of work consistent with the repertoire and performance practice of the particular degree and concentration. Students may pursue a Bachelor of Music degree in the following majors: Composition, Contemporary Urban and Popular Music, and Performance. All Bachelor of Music candidates must apply to and be accepted into this degree program in the Music Department.


The BMus in Composition includes a series of sequential courses designed to address skills specific to composers as well as to achieve fluency in the use of tools needed by a professional musician. The program focuses extensively on 20th- and 21st-century compositional techniques, with a special focus on methods utilized by concert music composers since 1970.

Upon successful completion of the B.Mus. in Composition, students should be able to:

  • Create original or arranged/transcribed music works and performance material for acoustic and/or electronic forces that meet or surpass the professional standards within the field in regard to theoretical and technical fluency.
  • Identify, analyze, emulate, and artistically elaborate on compositional systems from different historical periods, with an emphasis on 20th- and 21st-century compositional techniques.
  • Conduct rehearsals and/or performances of their own works or works by others, as well as play at least one acoustic instrument (minimum requirement: piano) at a moderate proficiency level in solo and/ or ensemble settings.
  • Produce a professional portfolio of performance material and high-quality recordings of original works that clearly demonstrates technical and theoretical knowledge within the field of music composition.
  • Competitively apply for graduate academic programs and/or entering-level professional positions within the field of music composition and related areas.


With four levels of composition courses followed by private lessons in composition, the composition major sequence provides students with intensive training in the use of techniques and procedures to develop original compositions from concept to finished product. Students work with a variety of media, styles, and forms and apply the concepts learned in class to particular compositions. As part of their class work, students compose music in all main genres and styles of vocal, instrumental, and electronic music for public performance. Student composers are encouraged and facilitated in collaborating with students in film, dance, theatre, and other departments of Columbia College Chicago in creating film scores, music for dance and theatre performances, and other mixed media projects. Two levels of orchestration and two of counterpoint supplement the requirements for the Bachelor of Music in Composition.

Other studies in music, such as jazz arranging, computer music, songwriting, film scoring, and piano complement our comprehensive curriculum in the form of required or elective courses. Students electing the Bachelor of Music in Composition degree program can select any of the upper-level courses as elective courses if they meet the prerequisites.


A grade of “C” or better is required in all major coursework, and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is required in the major for all BMus candidates.


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