Admissions FAQ

Admissions: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is there a preferred stylistic tendency in the music composition department that prospective students should adhere to?

A: Our music composition program is dedicated to the exploration and advancement of contemporary classical music. While we foster a rich and vibrant environment for contemporary classical composition, we do not enforce any specific stylistic approach within this practice.

While our music composition department centers around contemporary classical music, we celebrate and embrace the diversity of stylistic tendencies within this genre. We encourage you to explore your unique musical interests and take advantage of the supportive environment we provide to develop your individual voice as a composer.

Q: What do I need to submit as my sample work for application?

A: For undergraduate application, you need to submit at least 2; for graduate applications, you need to submit at least 3 scores. All the pieces that you are submitting should have musical scores. If you have recordings, you may submit them as well. We will accept your applications without recordings but we won’t accept them if you don’t have any scores.

Q: I’m applying to master’s and I have three piano pieces that I’m thinking to submit. Would that work?

A: Ideally we would expect a variety in instrumentation in your sample works. For example, if you are submitting three pieces, then these could be a solo piece, a chamber piece and an ensemble piece for example. However, it is equally important that the pieces you submit represent your recent musical aesthetics.

Q: I composed a quite number of pieces in computer with a digital audio workstation (Logic Pro, Cubase, Pro Tools etc) Can I submit these recordings as my sample work?

A: If these pieces are for instruments, you need to submit musical scores of them. We will not accept applications without musical scores. As an exception to this rule, for undergraduate applications you may submit one electroacoustic work without a score in addition to the two written scores; for Master’s one of the three pieces could be in the electroacoustic genre. However this piece should clearly be in the electroacoustic genre and not just midi realization of an instrumental piece.

Q: I don’t have recordings, can I send my midi recordings instead?

A: We prefer not listen to midi recordings as they are more misleading than helpful. If you have well prepared musical scores and no recordings, this would just do fine.

Q: I don’t play piano well but I’m a guitar player. Can I still apply?

A: Yes, we don’t require piano skills during admission however, in the undergraduate program composers need to take 2 years of keyboard skills.

Q: What is the language of instruction? I don’t speak any Turkish, can I study Composition at Bilkent?

A: The language of education is English. You don’t have to know any Turkish to study.

Q: I want to study composition at Bilkent, but I don’t have the required English proficiency yet. What are my options?

A: You can still apply normally. If you do not get the required grade from Bilkent’s English exam Cope, you will have an option to study at the English preparatory school. For more information:

Q: I compose music but I’m not sure if I have enough musical background to study composition. What are my options?

A: With students who lack musicianship skills, we offer them remedial work during their first year.  For graduate, applicants take a diagnostic exam, if they have any deficiencies in certain areas, they may have to take corresponding undergraduate classes before or during their graduate studies.

Q: My goal is to become a film music composer but I feel I first need to train myself in classical composition. Is Bilkent right for me?

A: Probably not, because our program is designed to train composers strictly in concert music. We don’t limit our students stylistically, however we expect them to write music that is relevant to today’s musical aesthetics, meaning we encourage our students to find their unique voice within the broader contemporary music aesthetics. Therefore, Bilkent is probably not suitable for people who are willing to just learn older styles of composition or produce in that way. We strongly encourage the candidates to listen to the works of our faculty and students to get a better understanding of the musical environment of the composition program.

Q: I don’t have an undergraduate degree in music. Can I still apply to master’s program?

A: While many of our entering master’s students have degrees in music, backgrounds and degrees vary widely. We look at all around preparation of our applicants and their overall excellence. We do accept students with non-music undergraduate degrees but you should be prepared to do one year preparatory work before starting the actual master’s coursework.

Q: What is the most important criteria for the admissions?

A: Everything contributes to an application. We try to evaluate a candidate’s musical personality from the submitted materials and during the interview. Nevertheless, composer’s creativity that is reflected in the scores, could be the most important aspect of the application.