Student Handbook

1. Ear Training Requirement

The entrance exams aim to determine the students’ ear training levels.

According to the results of the this test, students need to take appropriate ear training courses:

  1. Students who rank at level 1 of the Ear Training curriculum must take MSC 121 and MSC 122. These courses are prerequisites for all music theory and history courses in the undergraduate program (
  2. Students who are placed at level 1  and who do not complete MSC 121 and 122 in the English or Music Preparatory period are required to take these courses in the first year of their undergraduate education.
  3. Students who pass Level 1 need to take the following appropriate courses from the Applied Music Restricted Elective pool.
Level 2: MSC 181-182
Level 3: MSC 281-282
Level 4: Advanced Ear Training

2. English preparation

During English preparation studies, students can take a 1-hour individual composition and 1-hour Keyboard Skills lesson on the recommendation of the department. However, this course is not compulsory during this period. Students are not expected to work on a specific project. The main purpose of the composition lessons during this period is to prepare the student for undergraduate education by studying some basic compositional techniques and concepts.

Students studying in the English preparation may also take MSC121/122 course as long as their schedule allows and they maintain a good standing. Students who receive  an F or an Fz in any course in English Prep. cannot attend these courses.

The maximum duration of English preparation is 2 years. During this period, students are expected to complete the preparatory program and start the undergraduate curriculum. At the end of the second year, students who fail to successfully finish the program are dismissed from the school in accordance with the university regulations.

3. Music Preparatory Program

Students who have passed the English requirement upon admittance, or who have completed their English preparation in less than two years, have the opportunity to study music preparation for 1 to 4 semesters in order to reach the level required by the undergraduate curriculum. In any case students’ total time in preparation programs can not exceed two years.

Within the scope of Music Preparation, students take the following courses:

Keyboard Skills (1 hour)

Composition (2 hours)

Ear Training (4 hours) – MSC 121-122

Composition and keyboard skills lessons are outside of the undergraduate curriculum and cannot be counted towards the curriculum requirement. MSC 121-122 are included in the undergraduate curriculum. Students who successfully complete these courses in the music preparation program will be exempted from them in their undergraduate curriculum.

4. Undergraduate Studies

Composition classes are held one-on-one with a composition instructor for 2 hours a week during the undergraduate phase. The syllabus of the courses are generally adhered to. ( However, the composition curriculum is shaped individually by the teacher according to the needs of the student and their area of interest.

The requirements that the student must fulfill during his composition education are as follows:

4.1 Each semester, composing music that is at least 8 minutes or 100 measures long. Written music as part of their homework assignments during their first semester is also accepted within this scope.

4.2 At the end of the first year, students must have composed at least one piece for a standard instrument or ensemble of instruments, examples of which are given below.

Solo instrument options: orchestral instruments or piano. Works can be solo or accompanied by piano.

Examples of ensembles: Strings trio, string quartet, piano string groups, Pierrot or its derivative mixed ensembles.

4.3 Composition students must have produced work for at least one of the following types of work during their education.

Electronic Music (any type of music that includes electronically produced/recorded sounds)

Work for solo voice, ensemble or orchestra containing human voice(s)

Stage work or work with actor / actress, dancer, performance artistWork for theater or film

Other multimedia works

Sound installation

Minimum 7 minutes of orchestral work of length or at least 12 minutes of large ensemble work. (A work written for a group of at least 15 people in length). Normally, the student is expected to write in his/her last year. However, it can be written in an earlier period with the approval of the teacher and the composition committee.

Unless there’s an event of force majeure, Bilkent Faculty of Music and Performing Arts will provide the performance of student works at regular public concerts and audio and / or video recording. Works written for non-standard instrument / sound combinations and / or performance conditions may not be included in this scope. All composition students will contribute to the organization of the concerts.

Students will work with at least two different composition teachers throughout their undergraduate program. After working with the same teacher in the first and second years of undergraduate education (excluding the preparatory years), they continue their education with another teacher in the third and fourth years. Apart from that, if necessary, teacher changes can be made with the decision of the composition committee.

5. Composition Committee

Composition committee includes all instructors who teach composition (MSC 111,112, 211, 212, 311, 312, 411, 412, 511, 531). Student progresses, instructor changes and curriculum are some of the issues that are discussed and resolved at this committee.

6. Composition Midterms

There are two midterms per semester in the composition curriculum. The first midterm is carried out in the 7th and the second one in the 14th week. The teacher evaluates the following criteria on each midterm:

Punctual arrival to lessons and general attendance

Student’s preparation for the lesson and amount of weekly work done.

Student’s work habits and ethic: Does the student work in a disciplined and careful way?

The student’s term grade is calculated as follows:

I-II-III-IV-V-VI. Semesters

First midterm: 15%

Second midterm 25%

Jury Final Exam: 60%

VII. semester

First midterm: 40%

Second midterm: 60%

VIII. semester

Final Jury Exam: 100%

7. Composition Jury Exams

Each student is expected to complete at least one piece per semester. These works are expected to be at least 8 minutes or 100 measures long (with the exception of first semester students), as stated above.

One week before the final exam date, students must submit the work(s) to the exam jury. A copy must be prepared for each jury member.

The scores submitted must be of professional standard. Students are expected to submit completed works. The scores can be handwritten or printed out. In the submission, the following should be included: the score of the work, the recording (if any), performance notes, and the program note.

The jury evaluates the following:

  1. Evaluation of the works presented by the student in terms of duration and scope
  2. Progress compared to the previous semester
  3. Idea and concept of the work
  4. Notation and score quality
  5. Idiomatic writing

8. Graduation Year (7th and 8th semesters)

Students do not take the jury exam at the end of their 7th semester. The student’s final grade during the 7th semester consists of the average of the midterm grades given by the teacher. At the end of the 8th term, the student enters the graduation jury. The entire semester grade is given by the graduation jury only.

The student must submit his / her graduation portfolio to the department administrative assistant before the graduation jury.

This portfolio includes:

  1. Academic C.V.
  2. Portfolio of works: Portfolio consists of at least 7 works and at least one of them must be written for the orchestra or a large ensemble, and one of them must be one of the genres described above at 4.3
  3. A CD or online links to the recordings
  4. One academic paper (term paper) written during the undergraduate studies: This paper should be revised with the feedback given by the teacher.

The graduation jury evaluates the student’s entire portfolio along with the work(s) written in the 7th and 8th semesters.

9. Composition Seminar

Composition seminars take place weekly on Fridays. Attendance at seminars is compulsory and considered as part of the composition curriculum. Seniors must present their music during their last semester as part of the graduation requirement.

10. Concert Requirements MSC 100-200-300-400

Composition students must have at least one piece performed per year as a requirement of concert courses. These non-credit courses are normally loaded in the first semester, if the student has a piece performed, they complete the lesson with an S grade. If the concert is in the second term, the grade of the course is determined as P (Progress) and the student reloads the course in the second term. If the piece is not performed in the second semester, an unsuccessful (U) grade is given.