Tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, personal expenses. At first, these combined costs may seem overwhelming. They don’t have to be. With some planning and the willingness to investigate different schools, scholarships, grants, and bursaries, the cost of attending college or university can be more manageable than you might think. As a starting point for your research, here are the typical tuition costs for a music theory and composition degree.

average yearly tuition as per the most recent US census data
$ 9,643 per year
Average in-state tuition in 2017

15% above average compared to other degrees

$ 23,328 per year
Average out-of-state tuition in 2017

16% above average compared to other degrees

$ 30,454 per year
Average private tuition in 2017

6% below average compared to other degrees

What do music theory and composition graduates earn?

Music theory and composition students make an average of $54,316 per year after graduation. This is 19% below average compared to other undergraduate degrees.

36% of music theory and composition graduates are underpaid (those who make less than $40,000 per year.) This rate is high compared to other degrees across the country.

$ 54,316 per year
Average graduate salary in 2017

Bottom 31% of degrees

36%
% of people underpaid in 2019

75% above average compared to other degrees

Tuition costs for popular music theory and composition schools in the US

There are 342 schools in the US that offer a music theory and composition degree. The music theory and composition schools in the nation with the highest enrollment are University of California-Santa Barbara, New York University and Boston University. Here's a breakdown of tuition costs for the schools that award the most degrees in music theory and composition per year:

School NameIn-State Tuition
University of California-Santa Barbara$14,451
New York University$50,464
Boston University$52,082
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor$14,826
University of Southern California$54,259
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus$18,436
University of California-Santa Cruz$14,020
The University of Texas at Austin$10,398
Ohio State University-Main Campus$10,592
Cornell University$52,853

Top US schools for a music theory and composition degree

The following chart lists the most prestigious schools offering music theory and composition degrees, along with their average acceptance rate and tuition costs:

School NameAcceptance RateIn-State Tuition
Curtis Institute of Music3%$2,675
Stanford University5%$49,617
The Juilliard School6%$43,170
Columbia University in the City of New York7%$57,208
Northwestern University9%$52,678
Vanderbilt University11%$47,664
Johns Hopkins University13%$52,170
Cornell University13%$52,853
College of the Ozarks13%$19,130
Rice University16%$45,608

Cheapest US schools for a music theory and composition degree

Of the schools in the US that offer a music theory and composition degree, the following have the lowest tuition costs:

School NameTuition
Glendale Community College - Arizona$2,094
Mesa Community College$2,094
Phoenix College$2,094
Scottsdale Community College$2,094
Curtis Institute of Music$2,675
Amarillo College$3,168
Cedar Valley College$3,330
Houston Community College$3,360
Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico$3,370
Sinclair Community College$3,674

Salary

Find out what graduates typically earn.

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