Music - Music Composition
The Master of Music in Composition prepares students to build their portfolio in preparation to pursue a Ph.D.
Entering master's students typically have an undergraduate degree in Composition and have a varied portfolio of several works for different types of ensembles or media.
Opportunities for composition students include:
- RED NOTE New Music Festival, a week of new music events by visiting composers and ensembles from around the country.
- Exclusive reading sessions for ISU composition students during RED NOTE from nationally prominent ensembles.
- Annual large ensemble readings with both the Illinois State University Wind Symphony and the Illinois State University Symphony Orchestra with the opportunity for select pieces to be chosen for performance.
- Chamber concerts of new student works each semester.
- Private lessons with faculty and nationally recognized guest composers.
- Frequent performances by students, faculty, and guest artists. Recent guest performers include the ONIX Ensemble, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Transient Canvas, and the NOW Ensemble.
Point of Pride
Composition students regularly receive readings and performances by world-class guest artists and student ensembles, including Illinois State's choral ensembles, Illinois State's Symphony Orchestra and the award-winning Wind Symphony.
Discover what life as an Illinois State graduate student is like.
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to a master's program must:
- have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, or do so within one academic year
- have a minimum 2.8 GPA (on a scale in which an A is a 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work
- present unofficial transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. The unofficial transcript should be easily readable and clearly indicate degree(s) awarded, courses and course grades for each term. If accepted, official transcripts can be emailed from the university to GraduateAdmissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Illinois State University, Graduate School, 209 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 4040, Normal, IL 61790-4040.
International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
The GRE is not required for the Music Composition program.
To be considered for this program, you must meet the following requirements.
Degree and GPA
You must have a degree in music (or the equivalent for international students).
You also need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.8 for the last 60 hours of undergraduate enrollment.
School of Music Application
You must submit a School of Music application (included within the University application).
Letters of Recommendation
This program requires three current letters of recommendation.
Submit two examples of recent musical compositions in PDF and MP3 formats.
Writing Sample (Optional)
You can submit one example of analytical writing on a musical work.
Performance Audition (Assistantships Only)
For full consideration for all assistantships, a live or recorded performance audition on your primary applied instrument is encouraged.
Find suggested repertoire of your specific instrument/voice.
Additional Admission Requirements (International Students Only)
The following documents need to be sent to the Office of Admissions.
- English translation(s) of official transcript(s), verified with fresh seals and signatures
- Declaration of Finances
- Official English Language Exam Score (TOEFL or IELTS). The minimum iBT TOEFL score is 79. The minimum overall IELTS score is 6.5. Official scores need to be sent to Illinois State directly from ETS (TOEFL) or the testing center which administered the test (IELTS).
- Copy of passport
- Fall Term — February 1 for graduate assistantship consideration; other applications are reviewed as space permits
- Spring Term — Applications reviewed as space permits
- Summer Term — Not available
The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.
To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,
- be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
- be in good-standing
- be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).
Graduate assistants receive
- monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
- a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
- a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment
Graduate Tuition Waivers
The School of Music awards a limited number of Graduate Tuition Waivers on a competitive basis to incoming students who show promise for success and who have not received an assistantship or other awards funding tuition costs. The School of Music may also award Graduate Tuition Waivers to current students who show or continue to show growth and promise for success and have made positive contributions to the School. These tuition waivers are awarded upon recommendation of the faculty and approval by the Graduate Advisory Committee, and are contingent upon funding from the University.
Incoming students who have been admitted into graduate programs in the School of Music must be enrolled full-time and have a minimum entrance GPA of 2.8 to be eligible to apply. In addition, incoming summers-only MMEd students may be eligible to receive tuition waiver funds but must be full-time teachers and not already receiving funding from their employing school district.
Current full-time students in the School of Music must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be eligible to apply. In addition, current summers-only MMEd students may be eligible to receive tuition waiver funds but must be full-time teachers and not already receiving funding from their employing school district.
To apply, complete the tuition waiver application (including the Selective Service Statement) and return the application to Dr. Angelo L. Favis in the School of Music Office (CE 230). Tuition waivers may be applied to the cost of tuition only; the graduate student must make arrangements to pay student fees, insurance, or other educational expenses.
The deadline for priority consideration for a tuition waiver for the fall semester is May 1.
The deadline for priority consideration for the spring semester is November 1.
The deadline for priority consideration for the summer semester is April 1.
Review more information about graduate funding options at Illinois State University.
See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from contiguous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.