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B.A. in Music Composition

The composition department provides a diverse and highly individualized foundation for students aspiring to build careers in composition with opportunities to create music for the stage, as well as collaborate with their fellow students in film, video and gaming. All new works composed by student composers receive workshops and performances by either students or professionals, and all are professionally recorded. Coursework involves a year of composition classes, including an introduction to electronic music. This is followed by private lessons in which students compose the program for their senior recital.

Most of the full-time faculty specialize in contemporary music performance, and collectively they have premiered thousands of works in their careers. They often mentor or coach performances of student composers’ pieces. The annual Livewire Festival of Contemporary Music is always a highlight of the year and features professional and student compositions.

Composition students work collaboratively to produce concerts of their works at UMBC and learn practical entrepreneurial skills to promote their careers. Master classes with guest composers augment the curricula and give students a broad perspective on the rich and varied musical culture of the twenty-first century.


Linda Dusman, D.M.A
Anna Rubin, Ph.D.

Core Music BA Requirements

Music Theory
Catalog Number Course Name
MUSC 125 Theory I: Basics of Music [3]
MUSC 126 Theory II: Harmony and Voice Leading [3]
MUSC 225 Theory III: Counterpoint [3]
MUSC 226 Theory IV: Expanded Harmony [3]
MUSC 227 Theory V: 20th Century Analysis [3]
Musicianship Lab
MUSC 110 Musicianship Lab [1]
MUSC 111 Musicianship Lab II [1]
MUSC 210 Musicianship Lab III [1]
MUSC 211 Musicianship Lab IV [1]
A grade of “B” or better is required for MUSC 211
Keyboard Skills
MUSC 178-A Beginning Keyboard Skills Class [1]
MUSC 178-B Beginning Keyboard Skills Class [1]
MUSC 179-A Intermediate Keyboard Skills Class [1]
MUSC 179-B Intermediate Keyboard Skills Class [1]
Or demonstrated piano proficiency.
A grade of “B” or better is required for MUSC 179-B.
MUSC 191
Eight semesters of MUSC 191 – Recital Preparation [8]
Music History
MUSC 230 Musics of the World [3]
MUSC 321 Music History I [3]
MUSC 322 Music History II [3]
MUSC 380 Introduction to Conducting [3]
MUSC 300-310 Ensembles – Six semesters of ensemble participation [12]
Upper Division Classes
MUSC 480 Music, Art and Society [3]
MUSC 485 Selected Topics in Music History [3]
One elective – upper level, in Music or VPA [3]Note: Performance majors are required to take as their upper-level elective core requirement either MUSC 362: Arts in Education or MUSC 400 Special Projects in Pedagogy.

Core Composition Requirements

In addition to the core courses listed above, students must complete the following core requirements.

Composition Major
Catalog Number Course Name
MUSC 193 Performance Studies for Music Majors – Four semesters of individual performance studies at 3 credits each [12]
MUSC 224 Instrumentation [3]
MUSC 311 Free Composition [3]
MUSC 312 Advanced Composition [3] (Note: students must submit a portfolio of compositions to the faculty at the conclusion of this course to be approved for continuation in composition major.)
MUSC 427 Composing at the Computer [3]
MUSC 401 Special Projects in Composition – Three semesters. (Note: Portfolio of compositions for the senior recital must be presented to the faculty at the completion of this course) [9]
MUSC 492 Senior Project – students will produce a recital of their compositions as a capstone project. Students are encouraged to record their compositions in the recording studio on campus [2]