MFA in Music Composition


Applicants for the Program in Music Composition must have demonstrated compositional skills and a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in music, from an accredited college or university.

Admission Requirements

An applicant whose undergraduate degree is in a discipline other than music must have demonstrated knowledge of music theory appropriate to his or her musical goals, technical ability appropriate to musical goals, ability to read music, and ability to perform on a musical instrument. 

Each student must have access to computer hardware, software, and user skills adequate to the needs of the chosen musical genre. 

Application & Portfolio Requirements

Admission to the MFA in Music Composition is based primarily on the quality of original work submitted.

In order to be considered for admission to the Music Composition program, all applicants must submit the following:

Part 1

Official college transcripts sent from each previously attended institution directly to: MFA in Music Composition, Office of Admissions, Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 05602.

Part 2


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You submit the following materials online by signing up on Slideroom. It is important to sign up for the service early in the process to identify and email people providing letters of reference.

The applicant must submit the following:

  1. Application form
  2. A statement of purpose up to 1000 words in length. The statement of purpose should address the following questions: What are your current musical goals and reasons for seeking a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Music Composition? Which area of composition (Contemporary Composition, Electronic Music, Jazz, Scoring for Media, or Songwriting) are you most interested in pursuing through VCFA studies? 
  3. A resume of education, professional experience, and a listing of compositions (including date of composition, instrumentation, and duration), significant performances, scholarships, and professional recognition.
  4. Two recent letters of recommendation describing your qualifications for master’s level study in music composition and your aptitude for independent learning.
  5. Three sound files of your original compositions—live recordings, video, or MIDIs—with accompanying scores in pdf. Samples should be in the area in which you wish to focus at VCFA. If you wish to study in a genre different from your samples, please address your rationale and qualifications for doing so in your statement of purpose.
  6. Application fee ($75)

A list in PDF form briefly describing your music samples, putting each into context or addressing its significance to your development as a composer or to your compositional process. Provide dates of completion, performance information if any, and instrumentation, or in the case of electronic music, what programs were used.

Scoring for Media applicants, at least 1 sample should be composed to video format. Credit studios or collaborators involved in the creation of your recordings.

Electronic Music/Sound Art applicants should submit at least one composition with accompanying score in pdf. Compositions combining acoustic instruments with electronics should be accompanied by a score.

Jazz Composition and Songwriting applicants, while scores are preferred, may submit charts in pdf.

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Carol Beatty

Program Director
866-934-8232, ext. 8610
[email protected]

Sarah Madru

Associate Director
866-934-8232, ext. 8534
[email protected]

Admissions Deadlines

  • Summer 2019 Priority Scholarship Deadline: April 1, 2019
  • Summer 2019 Final Application Deadline: June 1, 2019

To receive financial aid and scholarship support, it is recommended that applicants meet the priority deadline.

Residency Dates

  • Winter 2019: February 10-16
  • Summer 2019: August 4-10