Undergraduate Catalog 2021-2022

Music B.M. – Composition Emphasis

College of Performing and Visual Arts

Contact: Paul Elwood, Ph.D. and Ludek Drizhal, MA., Co-Directors, Composition 

Location: Frasier Hall 108

Telephone: 970.351.2993

Fax: 970.351.1923

Website: https://arts.unco.edu/music/music-composition/ 

Advising Information:

Students must consult with their assigned major advisor each semester prior to registering.

To find your advisor, log into ursa.unco.edu; go to 'Student' tab and click 'View Student Information' link. If no advisor is listed, contact the major program for advisor information.

The program consists of three parts:

  1. Liberal Arts Curriculum (LAC) Credits
  2. Required Major Credits
  3. University-Wide Credits

Program Description:

The Bachelor of Music degree is the initial professional degree in music. Its primary emphasis is on development of the skills, concepts and sensitivity essential to the professional life of a musician. It also prepares students for advanced study in graduate school.

Program Admission Requirements:

  • Students planning to major in music are required to submit an application for admission to the School of Music. An audition is required for all applicants to music degree programs; for some graduate programs, an interview may be conducted in lieu of an audition. Current School of Music admission guidelines and audition requirements are available at: http://arts.unco.edu/music/apply/.
  • Students meeting the general admission requirements of the University may be accepted as undeclared majors. However, students may only be designated as music majors upon successful completion of the School of Music application and audition process.
  • Composition applicants should upload a portfolio of their work to the application which includes PDFs of three representative scores and accompanying recordings (MIDI recordings are acceptable but live recordings are preferred. Composition students must also gain admittance to a instrumental or vocal study with a separate audition.

Program Requirements:

  • In all MUS courses, a student must receive C- or better to fulfill degree requirements. 
  • Any student receiving lower than a C- in a MUS prefix class for the second time in the same class will be placed on probation. If the student receives lower than a C- a third time in the same class, the student will be removed from the major.
  • Students are required to take MUS 100 8 times, based on degree. This is not tied to lessons.
  • All students in applied lessons must enroll in a major ensemble. Students that do not have a major ensemble required for the duration of the degree program should follow their degree requirements.
  • Any student receiving a grade below a C- in applied lessons will be placed on probation. A second semester of a grade below a C- in applied lessons will result, upon consent from the area, in removal from the major.
  • A half Junior Recital and full Senior Recital are required for all emphases.
  • 8 credits of 400-level of instruction (individual instruction) are required.
  • A minimum of 30 non-MUS prefix credits must be taken for the degree.

Degree Requirements — 120 Credits

1. Liberal Arts Curriculum — 31 credits

To complete the degree in 120 credits as outlined, the program recommends the below LAC courses that also count toward the 74 required major credits. 

Any additional coursework completed outside of the recommended list below may extend the length of the program of study.

Written Communication — 6 credits

Select any courses to fulfill this requirement from the currently approved LAC course list.

See Written Communication courses

Mathematics — 3 credits

Select any courses to fulfill this requirement from the currently approved LAC course list. 

See Mathematics courses

Arts & Humanities, History, Social & Behavioral Sciences, U.S. Multicultural Studies, and International Studies — 15 credits

To complete the LAC in the minimum number of credits, be sure to choose at least one course with an IS designation and one course with an MS designation. 

MUS 143: Musical Styles and Context, and MUS 243: History of Music 1 are recommended to fulfill Arts & Humanities requirements and will fulfill both LAC and major requirements.

See Arts & Humanities, History, and Social & Behavioral Sciences courses

Natural & Physical Sciences — 7 credits

Select any courses to fulfill this requirement from the currently approved LAC course list. 

See Natural & Physical Sciences courses

See Liberal Arts Curriculum

2. Required Major — 82 credits

Take all of the following (74 credits — Includes the MMO):

MUS 100Recitals, Concerts and Productions


MUS 113Music Theory I


MUS 114Aural Skills and Sight Singing I


MUS 115Music Theory II


MUS 116Aural Skills and Sight Singing II


MUS 143Musical Styles and ContextLAA1


MUS 160Class Piano I


MUS 161Class Piano II


MUS 209Introduction to Music Technology


MUS 213Music Theory III


MUS 214Aural Skills and Sight Singing III


MUS 215Music Theory IV


MUS 216Aural Skills and Sight Singing IV


MUS 231Music Lessons


MUS 243History of Music ILAA1


MUS 244History of Music II


MUS 260Class Piano III


MUS 261Class Piano IV


MUS 277Individual Instruction in Composition


MUS 30118th Century Counterpoint


MUS 302Form and Analysis


MUS 303Instrumentation


MUS 313Digital Composition


MUS 319Instrumental Techniques and Conducting


MUS 323Choral Techniques and Conducting


MUS 403Acoustics of Music


MUS 477Individual Instruction in Composition


MUS 277: Take 4 credits

MUS 477: Take 12 credits

MUS 231: Take 6 credits on your designated instrument.

MUS 143: Satisfies LAC Arts & Humanities

MUS 243: Satisfies LAC Arts & Humanities

Ensembles — MMO (6 credits)

MUS 225/425 and MUS 224/424 count as MMOs for students whose secondary instrument is jazz.

Choose one of the following music technology or music business courses:

MUS 343Recording Techniques


MUS 460Survey of the Music Business


Music Electives — 6 credits

Take 6 credits from MUS-prefix coursework.

3. University-Wide Credits — 7 credits*

Complete additional credits to achieve the minimum credits needed for any degree at UNC; for this program, that will typically be 7 credits.

*Students who apply the recommended courses to both the liberal arts curriculum and the major requirements will have an increased number of university wide electives to apply to this degree. See your advisor for details.