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Best Music Composition Colleges: List of Top Schools

Learn about where to find the best music composition degree programs in the US. Read on for information about school locations and rankings, degree concentrations, and program requirements.

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Schools Overview

Two of the best schools to offer music composition degree programs are located on the East Coast and have been ranked by the U.S. News & World Report. Both are fine arts schools, dedicated to performance studies, including music composition. Music programs lead to diplomas, bachelor's, master's, and even doctoral programs, all of which include the development of complete musical compositions as part of the curriculum. Read on for more information about the best music composition programs available.


Top Music Composition Colleges

1. The Juilliard School in New York, New York

The Juilliard School is a private, performing arts college that offers bachelor's, master's, and diploma programs in drama, dance, and music. The Juilliard School was named in the 2011 U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges list. The Music Division of the Juilliard School offers a number of majors, including composition. Music composition majors can pursue a Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, or a Doctor of Musical Arts.

2. The New England Conservatory (NEC) of Music in Boston, Massachusetts

The New England Conservatory of Music was ranked by the U.S. News and World Report in its 2011 Best Colleges list. Located one block from the hall of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the NEC is devoted entirely to music and offers diplomas, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Composition majors receive weekly one-on-one instruction. As with all majors, composition students have opportunities to perform completed musical compositions.

List of Schools for Music Composition

College/University Total Student Enrollment Address Telephone
Michigan State University 47,071 East Lansing, Michigan 48824 (517) 355-1855
University of Washington-Seattle Campus 45,943 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, Washington 98195 (206) 543-2100
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus 45,185 201 Old Main, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802 (814) 865-4700
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 43,881 6001 East John Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820 (217) 333-1000
New York University 43,404 70 Washington Square South, New York, New York 10012 (212) 998-1212
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 41,674 Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 (734) 764-1817
University of Southern California 34,824 University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089 (213) 740-2311
Boston University 31,960 One Silber Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02215 (617) 353-2000
Columbia University in the City of New York 24,230 116 Street and Broadway, New York, New York 10027 (212) 854-1754
University of Oregon 22,335 110 Johnson Hall, Eugene, Oregon 97403 (541) 346-1000
Cornell University 20,633 Ithaca, New York 14853 (607) 255-2000
Bowling Green State University-Main Campus 17,309 220 McFall Center, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403 (419) 372-2531
University of Rochester 9,506 203 Wallis Hall, Rochester, New York 14627 (585) 275-8063
Berklee College of Music 4,145 1140 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02215 (6167) 747-2222
The University of Arts 2,403 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102 (215) 717-6000
Manhattan School of Music 930 120 Claremont Avenue, New York, New York 10027 (212) 749-2802
Cleveland Institute of Music 437 11021 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106 (216) 791-5000
San Francisco Conservatory of Music 415 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, California 94102 (415) 864-7326
Longy School of Music 243 One Follen Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 (617) 876-0956
The Curtis Institute of Music 159 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103 (215) 893-5252
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Music Composition and Theory
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Music Composition and Theory
        • Music Performing
        • Piano and Organ
        • Stringed Instruments
        • Voice and Opera
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Music Composition and Theory
        • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Music Composition and Theory
        • Music History and Literature
        • Music Performing
        • Musical Conducting
        • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
        • Piano and Organ
        • Stringed Instruments
        • Voice and Opera
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Georgia include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Music Composition and Theory
        • Music Performing
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Jazz
        • Music Composition and Theory
        • Music Pedagogy
        • Music Performing
        • Musical Conducting
        • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
        • Piano and Organ
        • Voice and Opera
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Music Composition and Theory
        • Music History and Literature
        • Music Performing
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Jazz
        • Music Composition and Theory
        • Music Pedagogy
        • Music Performing
        • Musical Conducting
  • School locations:
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northwestern University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Jazz
        • Music Composition and Theory
        • Music Performing
        • Musical Conducting
        • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
        • Piano and Organ
        • Stringed Instruments
        • Voice and Opera
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
        • Jazz
        • Music Composition and Theory
        • Music History and Literature
        • Music Performing
        • Musical Conducting
        • Piano and Organ
        • Voice and Opera
      • Photography, Film, and Video

Popular Schools

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