The Music, BFA: Music Composition and Technology program fosters development in instrumental, vocal, and electroacoustic composition, with an emphasis on contemporary and experimental techniques.


University Core

General Education Requirements 1
Oral and Written Communication – Part A and Part B 2,3
Quantitative Literacy (QL) – Part A and Part B 2,3
Foreign Language 2
Distribution Requirements 1
Natural Sciences (Must include one lab)6
Social Sciences6
Cultural Diversity 2
Electives Outside Peck School of the Arts12
Electives in Peck School of the Arts 412
Electives Outside Discipline3
Total Credits45

See General Education Requirements for more information.


Credits may be utilized in required curriculum areas.


OWC Part A and QL Part A should be completed within the first two semesters of pursuing a Music program.


9 credits are required in 3 of the 4 other departments in PSOA, outside of the student's discipline: Art and Design, Dance, Music, Theatre, or Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres.

Music BFA Requirements

The minimum number of credits required to complete the Bachelor of Fine Arts is 130. Students who need background preparation courses in math, English, foreign language, and chemistry may need additional credits.

Music Department Competencies
Theory Fundamentals
Fundamentals of Piano:
Music Theory
MUSIC 123Aural Theory I1
MUSIC 124Aural Theory II1
MUSIC 127Materials of Theory I2
MUSIC 128Materials of Theory II3
MUSIC 225Materials of Theory III3
MUSIC 226Aural Theory III1
MUSIC 421Materials of Theory IV3
Music History
MUSIC 106Foundations of Music3
MUSIC 211General History of Western Music I3
MUSIC 212General History of Western Music II3
Total Credits23

Music Composition and Technology Requirements

Required Composition and Theory Background

All potential Composition majors must show evidence of compositional ability before acceptance to the program. Each applicant must submit a Composition Portfolio of previous compositional work to the Composition faculty. The portfolio acts as the equivalent of an audition. Prospective students seeking to enter this program must also be able to begin by enrolling in the MUSIC 123 and MUSIC 127 series, as determined by the Theory Placement Exam. Those students who do not meet this criterion may be advised to enter the program on a Provisional basis, but must take MUSIC 1, receive a final grade of "B" or better, and resubmit their Composition Portfolio before a final admission and placement decision is determined by the Music Composition Area.

Composition Portfolio

The Composition Portfolio should contain the applicant’s best three to five representative works. At least one copy of a written score is required. The score may be of any ensemble configuration, from large ensemble to piano solo. Computer-generated scores, or digital software compositions are accepted but not required. Evidence of audio recordings in an appropriate digital audio format, fixed media, web-based, or comparable format is expected. The compositions on the recordings may or may not be the same compositional scores submitted with the portfolio. Other possible formats for compositions are Standard MIDI File, an image file or movie of a composition’s performance, or soundtrack to a video work. This latter may be a collaborative work with video artist(s). Group compositions are not acceptable. There is no particular style requirement for applicants, nor is there is a duration requirement for their representative works. However, they must be complete works.

Required Piano Proficiency

Depending upon audition results, students may be required to enroll in MUSPERF 1 for up to two semesters or until they can pass a satisfactory piano audition through the Piano faculty. Those who place at the 100 level must take a minimum of 4 semesters of piano. All students entering at the 300 level must take 2 semesters of piano. Piano proficiency at 300 level is satisfied by demonstrated ability to play works of moderate difficulty, such as Bach's Two-part Inventions, Bartok's Mikrokosmos Book IV, Schumann's "Kinderszenen", or Easy to Intermediate Classics. Deficiencies are made up without credit.

A student who is deficient in any of the above may be admitted Provisionally, but only after evaluation and approval by the Composition Area. Contact the Composition Area for further information.

Graduation Requirements

Completion of the BFA in Music Composition and Technology will require each student to compose a minimum of five compositions over the lifetime of their program. While a minimum of three works must be written for solo or small ensemble, and one work for solo electronic or combined electronic and acoustic instrument(s), one work may be for large ensemble (orchestra, chamber, wind symphony, or choir). Of the five works required, three works must be presented publicly, each a minimum of nine minutes in duration.

Lessons in Principal Instrument
MUSPERF 461Lessons in Composition (enroll in 2 credits for 8 semesters)16
Piano Lessons 5
Students must take 4 credits of MUSPERF 101 or MUSPERF 301 depending on placement4
Lessons in Piano (4 semesters)
Lessons in Piano (2 semesters)
Performance Ensemble 68
Alta Voce Singers
Bella Voce
Kameraden Chorus
Concert Chorale
Music Technology
MUSIC 220Introduction to Computers and Music3
MUSIC 327Studio Techniques3
MUSIC 328Interactive Electronic Music3
MUSIC 420Advanced Electronic Music and Sound Art:3
MUSIC 353Conducting2
Additional Music Theory and History Requirements
MUSIC 314Music since 19003
MUSIC 321Counterpoint3
MUSIC 323Instrumental and Choral Orchestration3
Music Electives4
General Electives
General electives (any area including Music)5
Senior Recital or Thesis 7
MUSIC 660Senior Recital:2
Total Credits62

Piano proficiency and subsequent MusPerf series is based on a student's Piano Proficiency placement. See above for additional details.


Students must complete a minimum of 7 credits of any approved music ensemble. Other approved music ensembles are: University Band, Symphony Band, University Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Additional credits may be taken and/or serve as electives in New Music Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Collegium Musicum or Guitar Ensemble.


In the semester the student intends to graduate, they must either register for Senior Recital or Senior Thesis. Registering for Senior Recital stipulates a public recital of the student’s compositions lasting a minimum of one hour in duration. Registering for Senior Thesis requires the student to submit the following to the Composition Faculty: a final composition portfolio, which consists of the five required compositions, along with recordings (as available). Additionally, printed programs representing the public presentation of three works are required.

Undergraduate Admission Requirements

To be considered for the Music BA or BFA program, applicants must first be accepted to UW-Milwaukee, apply to the Peck School of the Arts and complete a successful audition or interview. Please visit the Peck School admissions page for more information. 

Pre-Music Education majors must audition for the certification program with the Music Education Area, while enrolled in MUS ED 350, preferably in their fourth semester.

Students accepted through auditions who lack basic aural, theory, and/or keyboard skills must successfully complete MUSIC 1 and/or MUSPERF 1 in their first year of study. A final grade of B or higher is required to enroll in the subsequent Music Theory and Piano courses.


Students declared Provisional at the time of auditions could achieve Music major status based on the successful Jury performance at the end of the first semester. Students not performing a successful first semester jury will not be allowed to continue as a Music major and will be dropped from the Music department. Provisional students must take all required first-semester Music courses during the provisional semester.


A Music major who has a studio performance grade of C or lower for two consecutive semesters may be placed on Music Department Probation. (2.75 GPA is required for continuation in the Music Education degree program.) Cleared Probation: Either re-audition or a passing grade for the performance lessons and final Jury is attained during the semester of probation and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above.

Not Accepted

Prospective students not accepted at their initial audition are allowed one additional audition opportunity.


Required after an absence of two consecutive semesters from the UWM Music Department as a Music major actively progressing toward degree. The returning student must successfully re-audition in their principal area. The Music Education major must re-audition in their principal area and re-interview with the Music Education faculty.

Music BFA: Music Composition and Technology Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a BFA in Music Composition and Technology will be able to: 

  • recognize and distinguish music from all periods of European art music history, and to recognize and distinguish the music from a variety of other world cultures and traditions, based on musical and stylistic features.  
  • recognize compositional techniques employed in all periods of European art music, and organizing musical principles that shape musics of other cultures. 
  • recognize assumptions, concepts, models, and various methods in musicological and ethnomusicological work and in their own thinking, and will be able to choose the most appropriate analytical tools and concepts to examine specific musics. 
  • to interpret, analyze, critique, and reflect on art music from different critical perspectives and aesthetic viewpoints. 
  • to express ideas about music in written form demonstrating a mastery of factual knowledge, bibliographic resources, analytical method, critical thinking, and the ability to construct a coherent and well-organized argument. 
  • compose music employing one or more compositional approaches to make a convincing statement. 
  • recognize a range of rhetorical strategies employed by composers, and to construct persuasive and well-supported arguments employing a range of these strategies. 
  • compose music for groups of different sizes, from solo and chamber music, to large ensemble, and to reflect critically on that work in ways that accommodate the needs of the performers or the constraints of the medium.
  • present their work in public performance.

Degree Requirements

All Music curricula for the BFA require 125-130 credits, distributed as follows: music courses as specified in each curriculum: 75-80 credits; core curriculum: 45 credits; general electives: 0-9 credits. The BA in Music requires 120 credits, distributed as follows: music courses, 48 credits; core curriculum, 45 credits; general electives, 27 credits.

Performance Ensemble Requirement

All Music majors are required to participate in performing organizations during the course of their study. All Performance and Music Education majors must be registered in an approved major performing organization concurrent with each semester of private study. The director of bands, the director of choral activities, and the director of orchestras make ensemble assignments at the beginning of each semester. Only one approved ensemble credit per semester can apply toward degree requirements. For the purpose of fulfilling the Performance Ensemble requirement, the Department of Music recognizes the following approved major performing Ensembles: University Advanced Women’s Choir, Concert Chorale, Women’s Chorus, University Men’s Chorus, University Band, Symphony Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Symphony Orchestra, and University Community Orchestra. (Other performance ensembles may be approved in certain degree programs; see individual degree programs below for specific requirements in each area.)

Performance Ensemble Requirement for Transfer Students

Credits from an accredited college/university for performing organizations may be granted as follows:

  • All transfer students to UWM, regardless of entry level, must take at least two semesters of an approved major performing organization. The performing organization must conform to the individual degree requirements: instrumentalists take band or orchestra, vocalists take choral ensembles;
  • Entering sophomores with 30 or more earned credits may only transfer up to two completed semesters of an approved performing organization from another university; and
  • Entering juniors with 60 or more earned credits may only transfer up to four completed semesters of an approved performing organization from another university.

Recital Attendance and Music Convocation Requirements

All Music majors must attend weekly Music Convocation meetings for a minimum of five semesters. All students entering the Music Department as freshmen are required to take one semester of MUSIC 106 during their freshman year.

All Music majors, excluding transfer students and second degree candidates, must earn 80 recital attendance credits for graduation. This requirement may be met by attending:

  • Campus recitals (one attendance credit per recital),
  • Weekly departmental Music Convocation (five attendance credits per semester), and
  • Off-campus recitals (one attendance credit per recital to a maximum of three per semester).

Transfer students and second degree candidates must earn 10 recital credits (including weekly Music Convocation) for each semester on the UWM campus, to a total of 80, or until the completion of the degree.

Music Performance Course Enrollment Requirements

The study of music performance in private lessons, master classes, and seminars is governed by four special conditions:

  • Performance courses (lessons) cannot be dropped after the second week of each semester;
  • Eligibility for undergraduate Music major private lessons requires a minimum of 4 credits in Music Department courses. Only one ensemble credit can be applied to the 4-credit minimum;
  • All Music majors are required to enroll in an approved ensemble concurrent with each semester of Performance lessons; and
  • Students enrolled in Music Performance lessons at the 200 level or above must enroll in the appropriate Performance Master Class. Music Education Majors are not required to take Performance Master Class, but may enroll in Performance Master Class as music electives.

Music Theory and History Requirements

The Music Theory core comprises a three-semester sequence of Materials of Theory concurrently with three semesters of Aural Theory. This is followed by a semester of Form Analysis. The Music History core comprises a three-semester sequence of the General History of Western Music. Additional Music Theory and Music History courses are required in all Music degree programs. See individual programs for details.

Laptop Requirement

Preparing for a future defined by digital technology is an important step in developing artists. Our digitally integrated curriculum helps you achieve a professional level with leading art-related software and practices.

Laptop ownership is strongly recommended for all undergraduates. However, it’s required for the programs below. For more information please visit the Peck School of the Arts admission page

  • Art & Design (BA and BFA Programs)
  • Dance (BA and BFA Programs) 
  • Film, Video, Animation & New Genres (BA and BFA Programs)
  • Music (Composition & Technology Program)
  • Theatre (BFA Production and BA Theatre Education Programs)


Location: Theatre 120
Hours: M–Th 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Fri. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closed on university holidays)
Contact: 414-229-4763 | Contact Form 

Academic advising is an important aspect of long-term academic success. At the Peck School of the Arts, we offer professional advising in the undergraduate disciplines of art, dance, film, music and theatre.

Our advisors provide students with individualized appointments to assist them in areas such as: degree requirements, major options, course selection, campus resources, college success strategies, graduation assessment, academic policies and procedures, and more.

For more information please visit the Peck School of the Arts advising and student services page

Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major is granted to students who have earned a GPA of 3.500 or greater in the major and the academic department's recommendation.

High Honors in the Major is granted to students who have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or greater and the academic department's recommendation.

Departmental Honors are granted to students recommended by their academic department for Honors excellence in performance not reflected in the GPA.

Dean's Honors are granted to students with major achievements in one or more of the arts.

College of the Arts and Architecture Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.