The Bachelor of Arts in Composition is specifically interested in welcoming composers who demonstrate extraordinary intellectual curiosity and whose primary goal is to communicate with others on a profoundly human level. The program emphasizes the collaborative relationship between composers and performers in such a way that a simulated professional experience is achieved. The school’s renowned composition faculty expect students to acquire and master basic skills, which involves an intensive study of: music theory (written and oral), counterpoint, orchestration, analysis, technology, performance, the traditional Western canon and its history, in tandem with the study of popular, jazz, rock, folk, and non-Western traditions. Students who successfully complete the BA at UCLA are prepared to enter the professional world as practicing artists, film composers, or to continue with graduate studies at the highest level.
STEP 1: UC Application
Undergraduate first year and junior transfer applicants begin the admissions process by completing the UC Application, which opens on August 1 and can be submitted from October 1 to November 30.
Only applicants who have indicated Music Composition as their first choice major for UCLA on the UC Application will be considered for admission to the major. UCLA does not consider alternate majors, nor are you allowed to enter as a double major student.
In order to be eligible for admission, applicants must meet all minimum academic eligibility requirements for admission to the University of California. You can find resources on the left hand side of this page for students of first year, transfer, or international status.
In addition to the UC application, applicants the School of Music are also required to submit the school’s supplemental application, which is housed on the Acceptd platform.
The supplemental application includes the following components:
- Personal statement responses
- Unofficial transcript(s)
- Reference contact information for 2 teachers (preferably from an ensemble instructor or private teacher); please note that this is not a reference letter requirement, and we are just asking for contact information in case we do need to request additional information
- Composition Portfolio: Applicants to the Music Composition BA program are required to submit a composition portfolio for prescreening. Portfolios must consist of 3-5 scores utilizing different instrumentations and/or media that demonstrate breadth of experience, technical mastery, and awareness of 20th/21st century styles. Accompanying recordings must be submitted alongside the composition scores, not in lieu of them. At least 3 of the scores submitted must be accompanied by live recordings (e.g. not MIDI/computerized recordings). For the live recordings, both video and audio formats are acceptable. For electronic music that does not have a notated score, applicants may upload a detailed explanation in place of the PDF score to correspond to the audio file. Esoteric scores are also acceptable.
- Performance resume (optional)
The submission deadline for the Supplemental Application is Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 11:59pm PST. Detailed supplemental application information can be found on the Acceptd website.
STEP 3: Interviews
If applicants successfully pass prescreening, they are invited to interview with our faculty. You will be notified of whether or not you will proceed in our admissions process in late December. If you are not chosen to proceed in our final round audition/interview process, you will have three options: 1) request that UCLA change your first choice major; 2) withdraw your application completely; or 3) take no action and receive no offer of admission from UCLA. Auditions/interviews occur in late January and early February.
Change of Major Application for Current UCLA Students
The Department of Music only accepts applications from current UCLA students hoping to change into a School of Music major once per year, during Fall quarter. UCLA students cannot change majors to or add a double major in Music Composition at any other time or by any other process other than the annual admissions cycle. Admission is contingent not only on completing the same application and audition/interview process outlined for all first year or transfer applicants to the School of Music, but also by demonstrating that the degree can be completed within normative time (4 years for first year students or 2 years for Junior transfer students).
All change of major students are required to submit the supplemental application via Acceptd and pay the $85.00 submission fee. As part of the application, you will be asked to upload a proposed degree plan. Current students need not reapply via the UC application, as they are already UCLA students. The deadline for the supplemental application is Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 11:59pm PST. As Music Composition does prescreen, you will be notified in late December if you are chosen to move forward in the admissions process. If you do not pass prescreening, unfortunately your application has been unsuccessful and you will be unable to change majors/add Music Composition as a double major.