The Western Michigan University School of Music offers both a Bachelor of Music in music composition and a Master of Music in music composition. The basic information regarding applying for each degree appear below; however, you are strongly encouraged to be in contact with the composition faculty at WMU regarding your interest in pursuing a composition degree prior to submitting your application.

Internal undergraduate applicants

If you are already admitted to and attending WMU, please follow the process below to apply for the undergraduate program in composition.

The criteria to determine eligibility for admission to the composition program appear below. Materials are due by Feb. 15.

  1. Admission to the composition major requires at least a 2.5 GPA in the music core (no grade less than C), as well as a 3.25 GPA in the sophomore-level courses in composition. Make certain you understand all that will be expected to fulfill the degree requirements as listed in the catalog.
  2. Students must submit two or three scores and recordings, if available. If you are an internal applicant (i.e. already enrolled at WMU), the work that you completed in MUS 2620 Composition I and MUS 2630 Composition II should be sufficient. The faculty will review submitted works to determine admission. Student work will be evaluated based on notation, clarity of compositional ideas, cohesion of musical ideas and structure. Acceptance is based on the quality of work and space availability.
  3. Optional: You can also submit a brief statement regarding your interest in and your reasons for applying to be a composition major. Even if you submit a letter, make sure that you have already indicated to members of the composition faculty that you intend to apply and what your interest is in pursuing composition.

There are three possible outcomes:

  1. Student is accepted as a composition major.
  2. Student is accepted provisionally and must demonstrate marked improvement in first year of applied composition in order to continue.
  3. Student is not admitted to the composition major at this time, but can reapply next year.

Undergraduate study-related questions should be directed to

Undergraduate applicants to the School of Music

There are two types of undergraduate applicants to the School of Music: those who have not taken college-level music courses at a different institution and those that have taken music courses for college credit. In either case, the process for application is the same.

  1. Contact the composition faculty regarding your interest in pursuing a degree in music composition at WMU.
  2. When you audition at WMU, attend the session offered by the composition faculty. At this session you can submit and possibly show members of the composition faculty music you created in the past, both scores and/or recordings if available. Alternatively, you can submit these materials electronically to Dr. Christopher Biggs at a later time.
  3. The composition faculty will review your work and determine if you will be approved to take MUS 2620: Composition I your first semester at WMU. Note that this just indicates that you are allowed to take this class, you will still need to apply as an internal applicant as outlined above. Conversely, be aware that if you are not allowed to take MUS 2620: Composition I your first semester, you are still encouraged to take it the fall semester of your sophomore year and than apply to the program in the manner outlined above.

Undergraduate study related questions should be directed to

Graduate applicants

Graduate applicants should begin by reviewing the relevant information available on the School of Music site.

Applicants to the graduate program in music composition must also submit three to four completed works that best exemplify their past composition experience and interests. Scores should be submitted in PDF format and recordings, if available, should be in MP3 format for audio works and MP4 format for audiovisual works (recordings of MIDI instruments are acceptable). All of these materials should be compressed into a single ZIP file and then sent to via email or via a free online file-transfer website, such as Dropbox or Wetransfer. Note that in order to be considered for the graduate assistantship you must submit these materials by Feb. 15 for the following fall semester; however, we do accept applications for the composition program after that date.

Graduate study questions should be directed to