Audition | Portfolio Submissions | Declaring a Composition Major
Degree Plans | Scholarships | Transfer Students | Graduate Assistantships


Incoming student composers must apply and be admitted to the university prior to auditioning for the School of Music.  For more information, visit:


A student that desires to become a composition major must perform a vocal or instrumental audition for acceptance into the School of Music.  For a list of Spring audition dates and other audition information, visit:  Students wanting to be considered for a School of Music scholarship must audition during one of the Spring audition days.  In addition, please request an informal meeting with Dr. Kyle Kindred, Director of Composition Studies via email at

Portfolio Submissions

Materials may be sent electronically to  Scores (whether computer-generated or hand-written) should be in pdf format.  Recordings should be in MP3 format.  MIDI realizations in MP3 format are acceptable.

  • For entrance at the freshmen level, no portfolio submission is required.  However, you are welcome to send up to 3 samples of any work you may have completed.
  • For entrance at the junior level as a result of transfer from another institution, you will need to submit materials that meet the criteria for the sophomore barrier.  Click here for barrier criteria.
  • For entrance at the graduate level, please submit materials for 3 works in contrasting genres or styles that you feel represent your best work to date.

Declaring a Composition Major

Composition studies at the collegiate level differ from other applied instrumental and vocal studies in that most budding young composers have not yet had the same level of experience at composing by the time they reach college age that most prospective music majors will have at singing or playing an instrument.  We accept freshmen composition students as music majors for their first two years of study, during which time they will get a feel for the academic pursuit of music composition.  After the sophomore year, the composition faculty can recommend officially pursuing the composition major or perhaps finding another branch such as music education or performance that might better suit an individual’s strengths and interests.

Degree Plans

To view degree plans for the Bachelor of Music in Composition visit:

To view degree plans for the Master of Music in Composition visit:


Scholarships are not offered through our composition area.  However, composers may obtain scholarships through their primary performance areas (instrumental or vocal).  If you are a prospective composition major and would like to be considered for a music scholarship, you must complete an instrumental or vocal audition on one of the official Spring audition dates.  Contact Dr. Kyle Kindred well in advance of your instrumental or vocal audition to ensure you will be considered for a scholarship by the applied performance faculty.

Transfer Students

Students transferring as a composition major from another institution should be aware that the SHSU composition degree requires a total 16 hours of composition credits.  You may be awarded credit for lessons at your previous institution by the university.  Should you be accepted, the composition faculty will evaluate your work and place you within the SHSU Bachelor of Music in Composition program.  For entrance at the junior level, you must show proficiency according to the following sophomore barrier criteria:


The candidate wishing to be promoted:

  • must maintain an average of B or higher in applied composition at SHSU.*
  • must have demonstrated a commitment to learning and growing as a composer.
  • must present clean, professional-looking scores.
  • must show potential for success in a graduate composition program.
  • must successfully complete the applied composition barrier with a grade of A or B.*

* does not apply to transfers at the junior level

Graduate Assistantships

Incoming masters composition majors may request to be considered for a graduate assistantship.  Assistants in composition will have opportunities to play a variety of important roles in SHSU composition and theory programs which may include: assisting faculty and students with producing new music performances, leading and teaching in composers’ forum weekly meetings, providing teaching and tutoring for undergraduate theory courses, and assistance in production of the annual SHSU Contemporary Music Festival.  Graduate assistantships consist of an out-of-state tuition waiver and stipend (usually around $9800.00), plus benefits.  Additional scholarship funding may be available for qualified students.