Bachelor of Music (Music Composition)

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.


  • Develop your compositional 'voice' through 1-1 tuition
  • Compose film scores, ads, TV series or video game soundtracks
  • Learn from world-leading academics

Entry Requirements

For our students who are studying offshore in 2021 and 2022, the University will continue to offer high-quality access to the learning resources remotely for most programs. This includes all lectures, tutorials and other support material. Students will be advised in advance if there are course components that cannot be provided in remote mode and, wherever possible, offered alternative courses. Please refer to the COVID-19 FAQ page for a list of programs where in-person attendance is required.

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

Domestic applicants

Admissions information

SATAC Code 324062
Deferment No
Intake February and July
Enquiries Future Students team

2021 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 N/A
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 Pathway. 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://arts.adelaide.edu.au/music/study/auditions

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 Pathway. 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 Pathway. 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 2022. If you have studied at higher education level in the last two years (for 2022 entry this means you were enrolled in either 2021 or 2020), 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 2020). 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 Pathway. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
Other Entry Pathways
How to Apply
SATAC Code: 324062

Student Profile
Applicant background Semester one/Full year intake 2021
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)
82 88.2%
International students 11 11.8%
All students 93 100.0%

Fees and Scholarships

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

Domestic applicants

Indicative annual tuition fees
Commonwealth-supported place

More information on Student Contribution Amounts.

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

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

Study plans are available on the Faculty of Arts website.

Testimonial

As an intern I got to work on preproduction promotion material, social and digital media as well as running the sound at the weekly Agitate talks.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.

Last updated: Wednesday, 20 Oct 2021