Music Composition, B.M.

Degree Program

The Bachelor of Music degrees are offered upon completion of the University baccalaureate and major requirements. The major requirements include completing a basic core of 30 credits of music and specific degree requirements of an additional 45-47 credits for Composition. Total credits: 75-77.

Students interested in pursuing this degree must demonstrate a high level of potential in terms of performance and/or composition, along with a strong commitment to music as a profession.

Special Programs/Opportunities

Ensembles

The Conservatory provides opportunities for experience in several types of vocal and instrumental ensembles, including the Biola Chorale, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Winds, Jazz Ensemble, Women's Chorus, Men's Chorus, University Chorus, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Chamber Music Ensembles. All are open to non-music majors as well as music majors by audition.

Concert Series

The Conservatory concert series features outstanding guest artists and student ensembles.

Masterclasses and Artist-in-Residence Program

Opportunities for participating in masterclasses with guest artists are available annually. Of special note is the ongoing series of masterclasses and recitals by world-renowned artists, including Menahem Pressler, pianist, Artist-in-Residence.

Local Opportunities

The Southern California area provides exceptional opportunities for hearing the world's leading artists, as well as outstanding college and church music performances.

Service Opportunities

The Los Angeles metropolitan area offers many opportunities for remunerative service in music. There are frequent openings for competent church choir directors, soloists, accompanists, instrumentalists, and organists.

Scholarships

Music awards in varying amounts are available to qualified students. Complete information is available by emailing music@biola.edu or by writing:

Director, Conservatory of Music
Biola University
13800 Biola Avenue
La Mirada, CA 90639-0001

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Music in Composition, students will be able to:

  1.  Demonstrate competency of the foundation of musical knowledge related to musical theory, analysis, and history (ULO 1).
  2.  Demonstrate integration of faith in the musical disciplines and anticipated future professional activities (ULO 2).
  3.  Demonstrate synthesis of all degree-specific coursework and development of musicianship, knowledge, and skill expected in the professional field through expertise displayed in the degree capstone experience (ULO 3).

Each Program Learning Outcome (PLO) listed above references at least one of the University Learning Outcomes (ULO 1, 2, 3), which may be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

Admission Requirements

All students seeking admission must demonstrate musical background and the strengths in performance and/or composition necessary for successful completion of the stated curriculum. Admission into Biola University does not guarantee admission into the Conservatory as a music major. A student will be admitted to the Conservatory of Music after:

  1. Meeting requirements for University admission.
  2. Completing a Conservatory application with the required number of references.
  3. Completing a Conservatory audition, including a basic musicianship examination designed to demonstrate university level music study readiness.

After acceptance and upon entrance, students will be given placement examinations and auditions in music dictation, keyboard skills and performance. These examinations are given for the purpose of validating prior study and determining proper placement in music courses. Specific information concerning the content of these examinations and suggestions for preparation are available by contacting the Conservatory Office.

Transfer of Credits

Most courses taken at other regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States will be accepted on a comparable course basis. The following core courses will transfer directly:

In order to pass out of Theory III (MUSC 354) or Keyboard Skills II (MUSC 119), the student must display proficiency by achieving favorable scores on the Theory and Keyboard placement surveys.

No credit(s) will be given for waived courses. Waiver of courses on the basis of placement surveys without comparable prior course credit will increase elective credits required.

Credit for courses taken at a non-accredited college or university will be granted only through placement or challenge surveys.

Applied Music

In order to graduate, music students must reach primary applied proficiency level standards designated for each degree program. Applied Music lessons are guided by faculty or studio artists who have expertise and professional experience in either the voice or instrument under study, or in composition. Studio artists are affiliated with Biola via "special employee" contracts and thus do not undergo the same process for hire as do faculty. The studio artists are all highly competent individuals who appreciate Biola and endorse the goals of the Conservatory. For more information, see the Conservatory Office.

GPA Requirements

Students in the degree program must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the major and receive a minimum grade of "C" in each required course.

Curriculum Requirements

Integration Seminar Requirement

All students enrolled in the Bachelor of Music degree program are required to take a Biblical Studies Integration Seminar. This requirement must be fulfilled by taking BBST 465 as "Redeeming Culture through Music." 

Program-Specific Core Curriculum Courses
Candidates for the Bachelor of Music degree are exempt from the Core Curriculum requirement in foreign language, literature, and fine arts.
Program Courses
MUSC 118Keyboard Skills I 11
MUSC 119Keyboard Skills II 11
MUSC 145Applied Music (Composition) 26
MUSC 145Applied Music (Primary Instrument) 34
MUSC 153Musicianship I 41
MUSC 154Theory I 53
MUSC 160Essential Technologies for Musicians I1
MUSC 163Musicianship II 41
MUSC 164Theory II 53
MUSC 170Essential Technologies for Musicians II1
MUSC 181Introduction to Composition 62
MUSC 200Performing Arts Forum 72
MUSC 275Music Area Seminar 80
MUSC 315History of Western Art Music I: Medieval through Baroque3
MUSC 316History of Western Art Music II: Classical through Romantic3
MUSC 323Basic Conducting2
MUSC 341Modal and Tonal Counterpoint2
MUSC 342Orchestration2
MUSC 343Form and Analysis2
MUSC 344Analysis of Post-Tonal Music2
MUSC 353Musicianship III 41
MUSC 354Theory III 53
MUSC 363Musicianship IV 41
MUSC 365History and Analysis of 20th Century Music3
MUSC 410Music Cultures of the World2
MUSC 435Career Skills for the Entrepreneurial Musician2
MUSC 445Applied Music (Composition) 98
MUSC 490Senior Recital0
Ensemble Courses
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Biola Chorale
Chamber Music Ensemble
Symphony Orchestra
Jazz Ensemble
Symphonic Winds
Handbell Choir
Vocal Jazz Ensemble
University Chorus
Women's Chorus
Men's Chorus
Opera Theatre
Elective Courses7
Select 3 credits from the following:
Composing for New Media: Film, TV, and Audio Production
Composing for New Media: Sound Design, Recording Techniques
Composing for New Media: Advanced Orchestration, Score Preparation
Composing for New Media: Scoring for Film and Video Games, Audio Production
Select 4 credits from the following:
Introduction to Visual Storytelling
Introduction to Digital Media Production
Entertainment Business
Digital 3D Modeling
Designing Game Narratives
Voice Class
Introduction to Music Technology
Music Production I
Applied Music (Composition)
Applied Music
Applied Music (Voice/Instrumental)
Applied Music
Advanced Studies in Conducting
Music Production II
Music Education: Brass
Music Education: Percussion
Music Education: Strings
Music Education: Woodwinds
Pop Theory for Worship and Commercial Music
Pop Theory II for Worship and Commercial Music
Composing for New Media: Film, TV, and Audio Production
Composing for New Media: Sound Design, Recording Techniques
Composing for New Media: Advanced Orchestration, Score Preparation
Composing for New Media: Scoring for Film and Video Games, Audio Production
Special Studies in Music (Special Studies in Ethnomusicology; Performance Health; Music History; or Preparation for Graduate Studies)
Program Course Requirements: 75 credits
Core Curriculum Requirements 1060
Total Credits135
1

Students may take the Keyboard Placement Survey to potentially pass out of some or all of the Keyboard requirements. Students who do not take the survey will automatically be placed in MUSC 100 Introduction to Piano.

2

Must be taken for a total of 6 credits through proficiency: level 234.

3

Must be taken for a total of 4 credits through proficiency: level 224.

4

Students may take the Musicianship Placement Survey to potentially pass out of some or all of the Musicianship requirements. Students who do not take the survey will automatically be placed in MUSC 153 Musicianship I. Musicianship courses already taken at the college/university level will directly transfer for credit.

5

Students may take the Theory Placement Survey to potentially pass out of some or all of their Theory requirements. Students who do not take the survey will automatically be placed in MUSC 098 Introduction to Theory. The first two semesters of Written Theory courses already taken at the college/university level will directly transfer for credit.

6

MUSC 181 covers proficiency: level 131.

7

7 semesters of Performing Arts Forum required for graduation; at least 2 semesters must be taken for 1 credit.

8

Taken every semester in conjunction with Applied Music (MUSC 145 or MUSC 445).

9

Must be taken for a total of 8 credits through proficiency: level 438.

10

See Core Curriculum Program section for details.

Concentration 

New Media 

Program-Specific Core Curriculum Courses
Candidates for the Bachelor of Music degree are exempt from the Core Curriculum requirement in foreign language, literature, and fine arts.
Program Courses
Select two of the following courses:6
Introduction to Visual Storytelling
Introduction to Digital Media Production
Entertainment Business
Digital 3D Modeling
Designing Game Narratives
MUSC 118Keyboard Skills I 11
MUSC 119Keyboard Skills II 11
MUSC 145Applied Music (Composition) 26
MUSC 153Musicianship I 31
MUSC 154Theory I 43
MUSC 160Essential Technologies for Musicians I1
MUSC 163Musicianship II 31
MUSC 164Theory II 43
MUSC 170Essential Technologies for Musicians II1
MUSC 181Introduction to Composition 52
MUSC 200Performing Arts Forum 62
MUSC 275Music Area Seminar 70
MUSC 314History of Film Music3
MUSC 315History of Western Art Music I: Medieval through Baroque3
MUSC 316History of Western Art Music II: Classical through Romantic3
MUSC 323Basic Conducting2
MUSC 341Modal and Tonal Counterpoint2
MUSC 342Orchestration2
MUSC 343Form and Analysis2
MUSC 344Analysis of Post-Tonal Music2
MUSC 353Musicianship III 31
MUSC 354Theory III 43
MUSC 363Musicianship IV 31
MUSC 365History and Analysis of 20th Century Music3
MUSC 371Composing for New Media: Film, TV, and Audio Production1
MUSC 372Composing for New Media: Sound Design, Recording Techniques1
MUSC 373Composing for New Media: Advanced Orchestration, Score Preparation1
MUSC 374Composing for New Media: Scoring for Film and Video Games, Audio Production1
MUSC 410Music Cultures of the World2
MUSC 435Career Skills for the Entrepreneurial Musician2
MUSC 445Applied Music (Composition) 88
MUSC 490Senior Recital0
Ensemble Courses
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Biola Chorale
Chamber Music Ensemble
Symphony Orchestra
Jazz Ensemble
Symphonic Winds
Handbell Choir
Vocal Jazz Ensemble
University Chorus
Women's Chorus
Men's Chorus
Program Course Requirements: 77 credits
Core Curriculum Requirements 960
Total Credits137
1

Students may take the Keyboard Placement Survey to potentially pass out of some or all of the Keyboard requirements. Students who do not take the survey will automatically be placed in MUSC 100 Introduction to Piano.

2

Must be taken for a total of 6 credits through proficiency: level 234.

3

Students may take the Musicianship Placement Survey to potentially pass out of some or all of the Musicianship requirements. Students who do not take the survey will automatically be placed in MUSC 153 Musicianship I. Musicianship courses already taken at the college/university level will directly transfer for credit.

4

Students may take the Theory Placement Survey to potentially pass out of some or all of their Theory requirements. Students who do not take the survey will automatically be placed in MUSC 098 Introduction to Theory. The first two semesters of Written Theory courses already taken at the college/university level will directly transfer for credit.

5

MUSC 181 covers proficiency: level 131.

6

7 semesters of Performing Arts Forum required for graduation; at least 2 semesters must be taken for 1 credit.

7

Taken every semester in conjunction with Applied Music (MUSC 145 or MUSC 445).

8

Must be taken for a total of 8 credits through proficiency: level 438.

9

See Core Curriculum Program section for details.

NOTE: The course sequence table is designed by the major department and is one way that the classes will work out properly in sequence for your major. However, there are alternative or flexible ways to rotate some of the classes within the same year/level and sometimes between year levels. Please contact your major department advisor to discuss flexible alternatives in scheduling the sequence of your classes.

Taking coursework during the summer session may also be an option to accelerate your degree path.

See Core Curriculum Program section for a list of approved Core Curriculum courses.

Music Composition, B.M. (MUCO)

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 103 or 1653BBST 103 or 1653
ENGL 100 or 1123KNES 1071
GNST 1021Music10
Music10Science (see Core Curriculum)3
 17 17
Total Credits 34
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 209 or 2103BBST 209 or 2103
Communication (see Core Curriculum)3BBST 2513
Philosophy (see Core Curriculum)3Music10
Music7 
 16 16
Total Credits 32
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 3543BBST 3653
HIST 200, 201, or POSC 2253Behavioral Science (see Core Curriculum)3
Music12HIST 100 or 1013
Writing Competency RequirementMusic9
 Graduation Petition due in Registrar's Office
 18 18
Total Credits 36
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 465 (Redeeming Culture through Music - required)3BBST 300/400 Bible Elective3
ENGL 3133BBST 300/400 Bible Elective3
Math (see Core Curriculum)3KNES Activity (see Core Curriculum)1
Music8Music9
 17 16
Total Credits 33

Music Composition, B.M. New Media (MUNM)

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 103 or 1653BBST 103 or 1653
ENGL 100 or 1123Science (see Core Curriculum)3
GNST 1021Music9
Music10 
 17 15
Total Credits 32
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 209 or 2103BBST 209 or 2103
Communication (see Core Curriculum)3BBST 2513
Music9Philosophy (see Core Curriculum)3
 Music9
 15 18
Total Credits 33
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 3543BBST 3653
HIST 200, 201, or POSC 2253Behavioral Science (see Core Curriculum)3
KNES 1071HIST 100 or 1013
Music11Music9
Writing Competency RequirementGraduation Petition due in Registrar's Office
 18 18
Total Credits 36
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 465 (Redeeming Culture through Music - required)3BBST 300/400 Bible Elective3
ENGL 3133BBST 300/400 Bible Elective3
Math (see Core Curriculum)3KNES Activity (see Core Curriculum)1
Music9Music11
 18 18
Total Credits 36

NOTE: The course sequence table is designed by the major department and is one way that the classes will work out properly in sequence for your major. However, there are alternative or flexible ways to rotate some of the classes within the same year/level and sometimes between year levels. Please contact your major department advisor to discuss flexible alternatives in scheduling the sequence of your classes.

Taking coursework during the summer session may also be an option to accelerate your degree path.

See Core Curriculum Program section for a list of approved Core Curriculum courses.

Music Composition, B.M. (MUCO)

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 1014HNRS 1054
HNRS 1024HNRS 1064
GNST 1021KNES 1071
Music9Music9
 18 18
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 2104HNRS 2304
HNRS 2154HNRS 2314
Music7Music10
Science (see Core Curriculum)3 
 18 18
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 3244HNRS 3374
HNRS 3262HNRS 3392
Music11ENGL 3133
KNES Activity (see Core Curriculum)1Music9
 18 18
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 4434HNRS 4584
BBST 465 (Redeeming Culture through Music - required)3Music12
Music8 
Math (see Core Curriculum)3 
 18 16
Total Credits 142

Note: Certain Music courses are not offered every semester. Please check with the Music department for the most up-to-date schedule of required courses.

Music Composition, B.M. New Media (MUNM)

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 1014HNRS 1054
HNRS 1024HNRS 1064
GNST 1021Math (see Core Curriculum)3
Music9Music7
 18 18
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 2104HNRS 2304
HNRS 2154HNRS 2314
KNES 1071Music10
Music9 
 18 18
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 3244HNRS 3374
HNRS 3262HNRS 3392
KNES Activity (see Core Curriculum)1Science (see Core Curriculum)3
Music11Music9
 18 18
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 4434HNRS 4584
BBST 465 (Redeeming Culture through Music - required)3ENGL 3133
Music11Music11
 18 18
Total Credits 144

Note: Certain Music courses are not offered every semester. Please check with the Music department for the most up-to-date schedule of required courses.