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MM, Music Theory and Composition: Songwriting

The Songwriting concentration is a degree in music composition. You'll learn how to enter the competitive songwriting field with the necessary compositional tools, historical context, and business acumen. Drawing from the breadth of options within the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, you'll take private lessons in composition, develop specific skills and sensibilities, and acquire a set of tools and techniques necessary to build a career in the constantly evolving music industry. 

A concentration in Screen Scoring is also available, as well as a degree in Music Theory and Composition without an additional concentration. 

Degree Name: Music Theory and Composition: Songwriting

Academic Plan Code: MTAC

Academic Sub-Plan Code: SGW 

Degree: MM

Credits: 39

Academic Load: Full-time or part-time. Students have up to six years to complete the program.

Application Deadlines
Spring: October 1
Summer: January 6
Fall: January 6

Program Information
Program Website | 212-998-5424

Admissions Requirements

Basic competence in music history and theory is a prerequisite for all graduate degree programs in music. Entering graduate students are required to take advisory exams in both areas prior to arrival; placements will be determined by interpreting the exam results in light of your educational background and the degree program for which you are enrolled. Remedial courses cannot be used to meet degree requirements.

US students should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1 (Summer/Fall) or November 1 (Spring) to be considered for financial aid.

How to Apply

These instructions and requirements are for domestic applicants only. If you are an international student, please see special instructions for international applicants.

Your application will require the following items. The following are acceptable document types for uploads: .pdf, .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .tiff, .png, .doc, .docx, and bitmap.

1. Prepare Your Application


You are required to upload a copy of your most recent résumé or curriculum vitae as part of your application.

Statement of Purpose

You are required to upload a typed, double-spaced, two- to three-page statement explaining your purpose in undertaking graduate study in this particular program as part of your application. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and to inform the admissions committee about your goals, interests, and career plans as they relate to your intended academic pursuits.

You are advised to use this opportunity to include a statement of your songwriting goals, as well.

Letters of Recommendation

Submit two letters of recommendation. Be sure to request them well in advance of the deadline. Read detailed instructions.


Upload one official copy of transcripts from every postsecondary school you have attended or are attending. Make sure to request them in advance of the deadline.

If you completed or are completing a degree at an institution outside of the US or Canada, you are required to provide a WES or ECE evaluation. Please review our requirements for translation and a course-by-course evaluation of your transcripts.

See detailed instructions.


Not required.

Proficiency in English

Submit a portfolio of: 

  • Recordings of and lyrics and lead sheets to three (3) songs to which you have significantly contributed (the quality of the recording and/or performance is unimportant). Please provide literal translations of any lyrics written in a language other than English
  • A statement of the nature and degree of your contribution to each song (songs that are the product of collaboration are acceptable)
  • Two (2) written or printed scores of arrangements you have created of your work, or that of others, for varied instrumentation (arrangements of your songs, as long as they are for instrumentation other than traditional pop arrangements, are acceptable. MIDI arrangements are acceptable. Recordings may be included, but they may not replace written or printed scores)
  • A video of you demonstrating your competence on an instrument (for example, keyboard or guitar)

This material must be delivered via GetAcceptd. Note: You may attach the recordings and lead sheets for your three songs and the scores of your arrangements in any of the "Upload Score" slots (the order is unimportant). Attach your lyrics, statement, and video in the "Additional Media" section.

All materials must clearly indicate your name and NYU ID Number (if applicable), the program applied to, and the contents of the file.

Submit Your Digital Portfolio

For additional information, contact Professor Phil Galdston at

2. Apply


Start your application now

After you fill in and upload the required information, you can submit your completed application. Your application must be completed, dated, electronically signed, and submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST of the stated deadline.

Application Fee

You will be prompted to pay a $75 application fee, payable by major credit card only. After submitting your payment, you will see your application status change from “saved” to “submitted.” Please print this screen for your records, as it confirms that your application has been successfully sent to our school. If you have problems submitting your payment, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions. Learn more about our fee waiver policy.

Mailing Additional Items

If any remaining application materials need to be mailed to our office, mail the materials together in a single mailing using this document cover sheet. Items received without the cover sheet take longer to process and match to your application. Please do not mail your materials in binders or folders. Any mailed materials must be received by, not postmarked by, the stated deadline. Only completed applications will be considered and reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Due to high volume, we are unable to confirm receipt of mailed materials.

Application Policies

Application deadlines are "in-office" deadlines, not postmark deadlines. It is your responsibility to ensure that all materials are in the Office of Graduate Admissions by the appropriate deadline, and we reserve the right to return any application that arrives after the deadline. Only completed applications will be considered. Should a deadline fall on a weekend, the in-office deadline will be the next business day. We advise you to apply early.

Please check the online system to confirm that you have successfully submitted your application. Due to the volume of applications and related materials received, the Office of Graduate Admissions will only contact you if your application was successfully submitted and is deemed incomplete because of missing required materials. Otherwise, you will hear from us when the admissions committee has made its decision.

Deferral policy: NYU Steinhardt does not allow deferrals. Applicants who wish to be considered for a future semester must reapply by submitting a new application with all supporting materials, including letters of recommendation, by the application deadline.

3. Receive Your Admission Decision


You will be notified about your decision by email. Typically, decisions will start going out in late November for Spring semester enrollment and in late March or early April for Summer or Fall enrollment. You may learn of your decision before or after this timeline.