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EIU Master of Arts in Music

MA in Music:  Composition Concentration

The Master of Arts in Music:  Composition Concentration offers students the opportunity for in-depth study of music composition at EIU.  This program combines private instruction in composition and studio performance with courses in research, music theory, and music history.  The two-year program culminates in a final project that typically involves the public performance of one or more original compositions.  Because the program allows students to continue applied performance study, the public performances may feature the composer also as a performer or conductor. 

If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contract Dr. Bradley Decker. Click here to receive additional information.

Graduates of the program may wish continue on to earn a doctoral degree in composition or music theory.  Graduates may also seek careers as film or free-lance composers or music educators. The program is flexible enough to provide students options to prepare them for their professional careers in the best way possible.

Entering masters students in the Composition Concentration have typically majored in composition as an undergraduate student.  

To Apply:

In addition to applying to the Graduate School through My.EIU, prospective Composition Concentrations students should submit scores and recordings of three (3) original compositions that represent the breadth of your compositional work to Dr. Brad Decker at

General questions about the EIU Music Graduate Program, admissions, and assistantship opportunities should be directed to Prof. Jamie V. Ryan, graduate coordinator:

See the Apply Now website for additional information.

Composition Concentration Curriculum 

  • MUS 5100 - Introduction to Research in Music, 3 credits
  • MUS 5170 - Analytical Techniques, 3 credits
  • MUS 5880 - Seminar in Music History, 3 credits
  • MUS 4760 - Seminar and Practicum in Music Instruction, 2 credits
  • MUS 5940 - Graduate Performance Project, 0 credits
  • MUS 5570 - Graduate Composition, 14 credits total (3 credits per semester during the first year and 4 credits per semester during the second year)
  • MUS 5990A - Independent Study I, 2 credits
  • Applied Instruction (vocal or instrumental), 1 credit
  • Electives - 4 credits

Total Credits - 32 credits

Notes:  Composition Concentration students must demonstrate proficiency in counterpoint and orchestration.  If proficiency is not met, remedial coursework may be required. 

Graduate Exams and Performance Project:

  • Students in the performance, composition, and conducting concentrations must pass oral comprehensive examinations and complete a graduate performance project.  
  • Oral exams will be given during the final semester by members of the Department of Music Graduate Faculty.  
  • In MUS 5941 (Graduate Performance Project Performance) the students demonstrate competency as a performer, composer, or conductor. This performance project may include a lecture component and will includes program notes.


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Contact Information

Music Department

2620 Doudna
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-3010

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