Bachelor of Music (Music Composition)

Degree Type Bachelor
Duration 3 years full-time
or part-time equiv.
SATAC Code 324062
CRICOS 002801F

Make music that lasts  

Composition is a craft. From the music of Bach or Mozart to the films scores of Hans Zimmer, musical creations are some of humanity’s greatest achievements.

Composers move, enchant and entertain. They conceive works of timeless beauty and reach audiences in ways words cannot.  

What will you do?

Our Bachelor of Music (Music Composition) has both a strong focus on classical traditions and an acute ear of the demands of the 21st century composer. You will:

  • learn a broad range of stylistic approaches for composing music
  • develop your compositional ‘voice’ through one-on-one tuition, lectures and tutorials
  • study the principles of musical structure, notation and text setting, melodic writing, harmonic and rhythmic invention, counterpoint, and instrumental colour and texture
  • consider the practical and work-related sides of creative music making
  • explore music aesthetics, media and technology.

We also provide opportunities for ensemble performance and collaboration in film, dance and theatre.

Where could it take you?

You might fill concert halls and opera houses with live audiences or release albums recorded from home. You could compose award-winning film scores or TV series. Perhaps you’ll write for top-tier soloists or large-scale ballets.

  • Entry Requirements

    Choose your applicant type to view the relevant admissions information for this program.
    I am a:

    Domestic applicants

    Not a domestic applicant?

    Admissions information

    SATAC Code 324062
    2019 CSP ATAR 65
    2019 CSP IB 24
    Deferment Yes - 2 year
    Intake February and July
    Enquiries Future Students team

    2019 Admissions Data for school leavers
    ATAR
    (raw ATAR, excluding any applicable adjustment factors)
    Lowest ATAR to receive an offer *
    Median ATAR to receive an offer *
    Highest ATAR to receive an offer *
    Selection Rank
    (ATAR plus any adjustment factors)
    Lowest Selection Rank to receive an offer *
    Median Selection Rank to receive an offer *
    Highest Selection Rank to receive an offer *
    Minimum eligibility score 65
    Additional criteria considered Audition required
    Selection Criteria
    Recent Secondary Education Applicants with recent secondary education are those whose admission is primarily based on the completion of Year 12 within the last two years, however if you completed your secondary education more than two years ago, you may still be able to be considered on the basis of your secondary schooling. You must not have completed more than 2 years full time equivalent university study (48 units). You must also undertake an audition/interview including an aural/theory test. You compete for a place based on your audition score. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Scheme. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
    Assumed Knowledge Year 12 Musicianship or AMEB Grade 5 Theory.
    Additional Entry Requirements
    All Bachelor of Music (Music Composition) students applying to the Elder Conservatorium of Music are required to attend an audition/interview.

    The audition/interview will assess each applicant's current skill level and potential for future studies and offers will be made on the basis of the audition/interview score, academic achievement and the musicianship test. The Musicianship test aims to assess the applicant's general level of musicianship, which involves the ability to identify and recognise musical concepts within aural, written and theoretical contexts.

    To apply for an audition/interview and for details regarding audition rounds, Musicianship test and the application process, please visit the Elder Conservatorium of Music https://music.adelaide.edu.au/future/auditions/requirements/

    Higher Education Study You must have completed at least six months full time equivalent higher education study (the number of courses and units will vary depending on your prior institution however at the University of Adelaide, this equates to 4 courses / 12 units). A Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated for each separate program you have undertaken (apart from some double degree programs where the GPA is combined). You must also undertake an audition/interview including an aural/theory test. You compete for a place based on your audition score. Your best GPA is used in the case of a tie-breaker. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Scheme. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
    Vocational Education and Training (VET) study You must have completed an AQF Certificate IV or above from a Registered Training Organisation. You must also undertake an audition/interview including an aural/theory test. You compete for a place based on your audition score. Further ranking according to the level of TAFE award is undertaken in the case of a tie-breaker. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Scheme. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
    Work and life experience To be eligible to sit the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) as as pathway for entry, you must be 18 years or over before 1 February 2020. If you have studied at higher education level in the last two years (for 2020 entry this means you were enrolled in either 2019 or 2018), you must not have accumulated more than a TOTAL of 2 years full-time (or part-time equivalent) higher education study (ie. including any study prior to 2018). You must also undertake an audition/interview including an aural/theory test. You compete for a place based on your audition score. Your STAT rank is used in the case of a tie-breaker. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Scheme. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
    Other Entry Pathways
    How to Apply
    SATAC Code: 324062

    Student Profile
    Applicant background Semester one/Full year intake 2019
    Number of students Percentage of all students
    (A) Higher Education study
    (includes a bridging or enabling course)
    N/A N/A
    (B) Vocational education and training (VET) study N/A N/A
    (C) Work and life experience
    (admitted on the basis of previous achievement not in the other three categories)
    N/A N/A
    (D) Recent secondary education:
    • Admitted solely on the basis of ATAR
      (regardless of whether this includes the consideration of adjustment factors)
    N/A N/A
    • Admitted where both ATAR and additional criteria were considered
      (e.g. portfolio, audition, extra test, early offer conditional on minimum ATAR)
    N/A N/A
    • Admitted on the basis of other criteria only and ATAR was not a factor
      (e.g. special consideration, audition alone, schools recommendation scheme with no minimum ATAR requirement)
    115 92.0%
    International students 10 8.0%
    All students 125 100.0%

    International applicants

    Not an international applicant?

    CRICOS 002801F
    Intake February and July
    Selection Criteria
    English Language Requirements
    Australian Year 12 Successful completion of an Australian year 12 qualification with a minimum pass in an accepted English language subject
    English Tests accepted by the University of Adelaide
    IELTS Overall 6.5 Reading 6 Listening 6 Speaking 6 Writing 6
    TOEFL Overall 79 Reading 13 Listening 13 Speaking 18 Writing 21
    Pearsons Overall 58 Reading 50 Listening 50 Speaking 50 Writing 50
    Cambridge Overall 176 Reading 169 Listening 169 Speaking 169 Writing 169
    Qualifications that meet minimum English requirements A range of alternative qualifications may meet the University’s minimum English requirements
    Academic Entry Requirements
    Secondary School Qualifications Selection Rank (International) 70
    International Baccalaureate (IB) 25
    Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) 17
    United Entrance Certificate (UEC) [Malaysia] 25
    General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level 6
    Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) 65
    British Columbia Certificate of Graduation (Canada) 4.6
    Alberta High School Diploma (Canada) 74
    ISC & CBSE [India] 60%
    ISBE [India] 70%
    SAT [US] 1120
    Abitur 3.7
    Thailand Certificate of Secondary Education 2.2
    Bang Tot Nghiep Trung Hoc Pho Thong 7.5
    STPM or Matrikulasi 2.67
    Kuwait General School Secondary Certificate 70
    The University of Adelaide College Foundation Program 70
    Eynesbury Foundation Program 339
    ANU Foundation Studies 64
    Monash Foundation Year 67.5
    Trinity College Foundation Studies Program 70
    UNSW Foundation Year 6.5
    University of Sydney Foundation Studies Program 6.5
    Western Australia University Foundation Studies Program 56
    University of Queensland Foundation Studies Program 4.0
    Non-Go8 Foundation Score 70
    Other Qualifications Students who don't meet the academic requirements or who have other qualifications from the South Pacific Islands, Japan, Korea, Philippines or Taiwan may be eligible to apply for a Pre-University Pathway to prepare for or gain entry into the University's undergraduate academic programs. For additional information see Pathway Programs
    Prerequisites
    International Qualifications Music Theory/Practice
    Assumed Knowledge Advanced practical skills relevant to chosen specialisation
    Additional Entry Requirements
    International students applying to the Elder Conservatorium of Music are required to submit a folio of works, depending on the area of study for which they are applying. The folio will be assessed for musical achievement and potential for study at degree level. Folios must address the criteria specific to the applicant's instrument/area of study. For information regarding audition requirements, please visit the Elder Conservatorium of Music https://music.adelaide.edu.au/future/auditions/requirements/ Applicants who are living in Adelaide may be asked to attend an in-person audition, off-shore auditions may be available in selected locations.

    How to Apply
  • Fees and Scholarships

    Choose your applicant type to view the relevant fees and scholarships information for this program.
    I am a:

    Domestic applicants

    Not a domestic applicant?

    Annual tuition fees
    Commonwealth-supported place

    More information on Student Contribution Amounts.

    International applicants

    Not an international applicant?

    Annual tuition fees International student place: $33,500

    Scholarships

    These scholarships, as well as many others funded by industry and non-profit organisations, are available to potential and currently enrolled students.

    Find a Scholarship.

  • Careers

    Potential careers

    Music Coordinator, Music Educator, Music Festival Director, Music Producer, Music Researcher, Entertainer, Vocalist, Music Tutor, Music Journalist / Music Critic, Musician, Composer, Entertainment Industry, Recording Artist / Musician

  • Study Overseas

    A Study Overseas Experience is an integral component to your academic journey at The University of Adelaide. The university is committed to offering its students the opportunity to study overseas through a range of degrees offered via Study Overseas, including student exchange, study tours, short study degrees, internships and placements. There are many exciting opportunities in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Oceania ranging from a few weeks to a full academic year.

    To find Study Overseas opportunities available visit Global Experiences.

    Study Abroad and Exchange

    It is recommended that you take any global study in year 2 of your degree. If you are studying a language (at beginners’ level) as a major or minor, it is recommended you take your global study in year 3 of your degree. Contact arts@adelaide.edu.au to receive further information and advice.

    There are many universities to choose from, however specific exchanges are available for Bachelor of Music students:    

    > Simpson College (US)
    > University of Canterbury (NZ)
    > McGill University (Canada)
    > University of Southampton (UK)
  • Degree Structure

    A comprehensive study of the artistic, theoretical and practical dimensions of music composition is delivered in a variety of modes including individual tuition, lecture and tutorial. Students will study within a traditional framework of music composition including form, harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, notation and text setting, along with studies in aesthetics, contemporary media and music technology. Opportunities are provided for ensemble performance and interdisciplinary experience in the areas of film, dance and theatre.

    Attention is given to the practical, vocational aspects of creative music making and the course seeks to develop composers who are technically well equipped in both traditional and modern compositional practice.

    The composition program seeks to develop:

    • a broad knowledge and appreciation of musical repertoire and an understanding of the essential stylistic features of a diverse range of musical genres focussing on the contemporary “classical” tradition;
    • insight into contemporary aesthetic issues and an appreciation of the relationship of music to other art form;
    • skills in creating original musical works demonstrating command of both traditional compositional craft and contemporary musical techniques and approaches;
    • a high level of competence in the practical aspects of composition: notation; score presentation; use of instrumental and vocal resources; orchestration and music technology;
    • an ability to communicate musical intentions clearly and effectively to performer;
    • a capacity to imaginatively develop musical materials through a comprehensive study of the principles of musical structure, melodic writing, harmonic and rhythmic invention, counterpoint, instrumental colour and texture;
    • the composer’s personal voice and the ability to project an aesthetic idea clearly to an audience;
    • understanding of the professional realities and expectations of a career in creative music-making.

    Academic Program Rules

    The Calendar is a comprehensive handbook of the University's academic program rules.

    Example Study Plan

    Indicative study plan
    Year 1 ARTS 1007
    The Enquiring Mind
    MUSCOMP 1001
    Composition 1A     
    MUSCOMP 1100
    Orchestration 1
    MUSSUPST 1001
    Musicianship 1A
    Elective Level I MUSCOMP 1002
    Composition 1B
    MUSONIC 1000
    Music Technology Foundations
    MUSSUPST 1002
    Musicianship 1B
    Year 2 Elective Level II MUSCOMP 2001
    Composition 2A
    MUSCOMP 2101
    Music Analysis 2
    MUSSUPST 2001
    Musicianship 2A
    Elective Level II MUSCOMP 2002
    Composition 2B
    MUSCOMP 2100
    Orchestration 2
    MUSSUPST 2002
    Musicianship 2B
    Year 3 Elective Level III MUSCOMP 3001
    Composition 3A
    MUSCOMP 3100
    Orchestration 3
    MUSSUPST 3001
    Musicianship 3
    Elective Level III MUSCOMP 3002
    Composition 3B
    MUSCOMP 3101
    Music Analysis 3
    MUSICOL 3002
    Music Research 3
    Current students, please see the Study Plan Templates
  • Related Degrees

  • Further Study

  • Further Information

    Further enquiries
    Phone: +61 8 8313 7335 (toll free 1800 061 459)

    The annual Open Day provides an excellent opportunity to see our campus, meet with academics, and discuss your study options.

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Last updated: Saturday, 24 Aug 2019