Composition and Theory

The Bachelor of Music in Composition and Theory provides students with the opportunity and resources to compose original music and sound while also cultivating a broad understanding of the fundamental structures of music. 

We value innovation and experimentation, and we welcome diverse perspectives on contemporary composition practice, encompassing concert music, electronic music, interdisciplinary collaborations, and genre-specific approaches.

Our program places a strong emphasis on music theory. Students receive training in a wide range of compositional techniques spanning various styles and time periods including contemporary, and electronic music theory and analysis. This approach equips students with a well-rounded understanding of music theory that enables you to engage critically with diverse musical concepts and practices.

As a student composer at UVic, you'll have the opportunity to hear your music performed at:

  • composer concerts each semester
  • reading sessions and workshops with professional ensembles and guest artists
  • the annual West Coast Student Composers Symposium with students from UBC and SFU
  • UVic Orchestra and UVic Wind Symphony reading sessions and concerts

Our Faculty

Our instructors are accomplished professionals who actively contribute to the creation and research of music composition on a national and international level. Areas of expertise include concert music composition, improvisation, interdisciplinary creation including music for theatre and dance, electronic music, computer-assisted composition, and sound design. 

Our Alumni

Upon graduating, our students embark on successful careers as concert music composers, independent sound artists, composer-performers, music educators, and arts administrators. Many of our graduates pursue advanced studies in graduate programs and have received prestigious commissions and awards at national and international levels. 


All BMus students have a common first year. Beginning in second year, composition majors receive three years of weekly composition lessons with experienced professors. The second year of the program offers core requirements in theory and musicology in addition to coaching in ensemble and solo instrument performance. The third and fourth years are more flexible, allowing students to choose electives that support their career outcomes. Upper-level electives include music technology, advanced music theory, improvisation, and collaborative creation. The degree culminates in the public presentation of a capstone composition project.

Admission Requirements

All students must audition on an orchestral instrument or voice to be accepted to the BMus program. Prospective students with a strong interest in composition are encouraged to submit a portfolio of compositions with our application. Composition intake interviews are conducted at the end of first year and declaration of the Composition and Theory major happens in your second year. Successful completion of core theory and full-time status are required for continuation in the Composition and Theory Major.


I have never composed before. Can I study music composition?

We welcome students with all levels of composition experience. We cater to a diverse range of students, providing instruction and support for beginners as well as those with prior composition experience. Our faculty will guide you through the fundamentals of composition, nurturing your creative potential and help you develop your unique artistic voice.

I have a background as a singer songwriter / beat producer / jazz musician – can I pursue these approaches in your program?

We value and support a wide range of musical practices including incorporating elements of song writing, electronic techniques, and improvisation. Our program aims to provide a platform for you to further develop your unique musical style and explore innovative ways to bend genres, experiment with sound, and push the boundaries of traditional composition.

Can I compose film / video game music in your program?

While we are not a specific film or video game music composition program, we recognize the diversity of contemporary music and embrace the intersection of different disciplines. Our program provides you with the tools and knowledge to pursue diverse careers in music creation. Our faculty and curriculum are tailored for creative experimentation, allowing you to push the boundaries and create innovative approaches to composition that enhance visual storytelling and interactive experiences.

Do I have to play an orchestral instrument to study composition?

For the Bachelor of Music, all students must audition with an orchestral instrument or voice. Having some level of proficiency in playing an instrument can greatly enhance your compositional skills. It provides you with a deeper understanding of musical concepts, notation, and performance techniques, which will inform your creative process and facilitate effective communication with performers. However, it is important to note that the emphasis in our program lies in pushing the boundaries of traditional instrumental practice and exploring innovative approaches to composition.