Music Composition

Eric Hanson Teaching

Are you a musician who wants to study music composition? SPU’s Music degree with an emphasis in Composition offers a rich and rigorous education in music.  View the major courses and degree requirements.


Students in the Composition Emphasis, through a series of skill-building exercises and experience with larger and larger forms, whether in class or in private instruction, are prepared for a rich future in music. Students can enter careers such as professional composition, film scoring, and arranging, as well as any careers involving decoding complex symbol systems, creativity, craftsmanship, or discipline.

Major Courses and Degree Requirements

As a Music major with a Composition emphasis, you will follow an integrative approach to advanced musicianship. You will study music theory, aural skills, and music styles and history from early Middle Ages to the 21st century. In addition, you will study music composition, technology, instrumentation, and orchestration. You will have the opportunity to reflect on the integration of music and faith, as well as your sense of vocation, as you study in depth such great works as Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion," Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” Brahms’ “German Requiem,” and Mahler’s “Resurrection Symphony.”

The minimum total credits required for a major emphasis is 124 quarter credits. The minimum total credits required for degree is 180 quarter credits.

View the major courses and degree requirements.

Entering the Major

You may enter the Music major during your first quarter at SPU. Entrance after your first quarter requires only good academic standing (2.0 or higher SPU cumulative GPA). Consult the Undergraduate Catalog for complete information on how and when to enter and what you must do to complete the program.   

Career Opportunities

  • Arranger/Composer
  • Choral Director
  • Church Musician
  • Composer
  • Conductor
  • Film Scorer
  • Music Director
  • Music Librarian
  • Music Professor
  • Music Teacher
  • Musicologist
  • Sound Engineer

Faculty Contact

Sarah Bassingthwaighte

Head of Composition; Adjunct Instructor of Flute
DMA, University of Washington

Office: Crawford 208

Daniel Caldwell

An Up-and-coming Composer

“Music is emotion, whether subconscious or explicit, dynamic or textural, inspirational or sobering, music has amazing rhetorical power.”
Daniel Caldwell ’12
B.A. in Music: Composition Emphasis

Explore Daniel's career since his graduation from SPU.