Apply to the degree programme in Composition and Music Theory (Bachelor + Master)

Admissions guide to the 5.5-year Composition and Music Theory programme.

There are two main subjects: Composition and Music Theory. Applicants apply to these main subjects in two different groups. You can also apply to both of these main subjects.

Admissions schedule 2022

  • Application period: Send your application in Studyinfo portal between 5 January 2022 8 am EET and 19 January 2022 3 pm EET
  • Submit required attachments and possible advance assignments at latest 26 January 2022 3 pm EET
  • Sibelius Academy confirms your eligibility to apply at latest 25 February

A preliminary schedule of the entrance examinations will be published in January 2022.

  • Applicants demonstrating their language skills with a language skills certificate: Submit your test result certificate at latest 20 May 2022 3 pm EET
  • Sibelius Academy publishes admissions results 3 June 2022
  • Confirm your study place at latest 15 July 2022 3 pm EET:
    • Officially accept your study place
    • Register for the academic year
    • Conditionally admitted applicants: Submit the required degree certificate
    • Students who are required to pay tuition fees: Pay your tuition fee
  • Waiting list procedure ends 2 August 2022 3 pm EET
  • New students’ studies begin in August 2022

Who can apply?

A person with the background education required for the degree programme in question and sufficient language skills may apply for studies.

In addition, a person who completes the required background education after the end of the application period, but no later than 15 July 2022 at 3 pm EEST is eligible to apply. In that case, the admission decision is conditional until the applicant submits a certificate of the completed degree. If the applicant fails to submit the certificate by said deadline, the study place will be cancelled.

The Sibelius Academy may, at its discretion, also accept a temporary certificate issued by the educational institution if it indicates that the applicant has completed all studies required for the degree and will receive the degree certificate later.

Sibelius Academy will check every applicant’s eligibility before the entrance examination.

Students are admitted to the Sibelius Academy based on their performance in the entrance examination. Certificate-based admissions or quotas for first-time applicants are not in place.

Combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees (3 + 2.5 years)

A person who has completed at least one of the following is eligible to apply:

  • The Finnish Matriculation Examination
  • An International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma
  • A European Baccalaureate (EB) diploma at a European School
  • A Reifeprüfung or Deutsches Internationales Abitur (RP / DIA) diploma
  • A Finnish vocational upper secondary qualification, a further vocational qualification, or a specialist vocational qualification defined under the Act on Vocational Education and Training
  • A foreign degree or qualification that makes you eligible for corresponding higher education in the awarding country
  • A Cambridge Advanced International Certificate (AICE)
  • A degree at a Finnish higher education institution or a degree abroad corresponding to at least a bachelor’s degree.

In addition, a person who has been granted the right to study in a university in Finland is eligible to apply.

Other exceptions to eligibility

The applicant cannot apply for both 5.5-year and 2.5-year programmes of a single major subject or main instrument in the same year. However, if the applicant submits an application to both programmes, the Sibelius Academy will

  • take account of the application for the 2.5-year programme if the applicant is eligible for it, or
  • take account of the application for the 5.5-year programme if the applicant is not eligible for the 2.5-year programme.

If the applicant has completed a higher education degree at the Sibelius Academy, they cannot apply for the same main subject again, or the same main instrument in the case of Classical Music Performance.

The student admission for bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes applies to applicants who do not have a valid right to study at Uniarts Helsinki at the beginning of the applied right to study, with the exception of persons who have the vice rector’s permission to complete two degrees simultaneously. A degree student registered at Uniarts Helsinki may apply for a change of right to study within the Sibelius Academy or between academies. There are separate instructions for applying for a change of the right to study and for applying for a permission to complete two degrees simultaneously. More information about the rule of one study right can be found here.

Language requirements

The languages of tuition in the Composition and Music Theory programme are Finnish, Swedish, and English. You must demonstrate your language proficiency in one of the above-mentioned languages by the given deadline. However, the majority of group tuition at the Sibelius Academy is provided in Finnish or English.

How to apply

Submit your application in the spring’s first joint application period from 5 to 19 January 2022 by 3 pm EET in the Studyinfo portal.

Submit the supporting documents and any advance assignments in accordance with the instructions provided.

Supporting documents

Submit the supporting documents via the Studyinfo portal as PDF files by 3 pm EET on 26 January 2022. If the documents are not in Finnish, Swedish, or English, append a translation by an authorised translator into one of these languages.

Documents required from all applicants:

  • Degree certificate of the background education and a transcript of study records
    If you complete your degree after the end of the application period, it is adequate to submit the degree certificate by 3 pm EEST on 15 July 2022.

    In case of a foreign degree, the Sibelius Academy may request clarification on the degree’s status within the awarding country’s education system.
  • Certificate demonstrating language proficiency
    If you demonstrate your language proficiency based on your previous studies, the degree certificate or its appendix must clearly indicate the language in which the degree was completed. The degree demonstrating language proficiency must be completed by 3 pm EEST on 15 July 2022.
  • Official proof of identity
    Append a copy of your passport, EU identity card or Finnish driving licence to your application.

Applicants to programmes organised in English are also required to submit:

  • A document exempting from tuition fees
    If you apply to study in English, you will be liable to pay tuition fees unless you submit a document indicating that you are exempt.

Refugees, persons in a refugee-like situation and asylum seekers:

If you are unable to submit documentary evidence of your degree, you may still be deemed eligible to apply. Submit a reliable report on the completed degree that grants you eligibility to apply and an additional report explaining why the documents are not available. In addition, submit an official decision on your refugee status (asylum decision or residence permit based on protection, or a proof that such an application is pending). Submit the required documents by email to the Admissions Office by (date and time). The Sibelius Academy will make a decision on your eligibility based on the submitted report. Applicants with refugee status must provide proof of their language skills required for the studies in one of the ways specified in the selection criteria (in Language requirements).

Advance assignments

Any advance assignments are mentioned in the target programme’s admissions criteria. The advance assignments must be submitted as attachments to the application.

The advance assignments must clearly state the applicant’s name and the programme to which they relate. Do not submit any other advance assignments than the ones requested. Upload the materials to the Studyinfo portal as early as possible. Large files may take several hours to upload if there is a lot of traffic in the system.

Entrance examinations

You can be invited to the entrance examinations if:

  1. you have submitted an electronic application form and the required attachments at Studyinfo portal, and
  2. the Dean of the Sibelius Academy deems you eligible based on the submitted documents.

The implementation of the entrance examinations for each programme is described in the programme’s admission criteria. Preliminary schedules will be published in the programmes’ admissions guides in January. The entrance examination schedules of separate programmes may overlap. If the applicant has applied for multiple programmes, they must choose which examinations they attend in case of overlaps.

A programme’s entrance examination may consist of several stages and contain multiple sub-tests. If the applicant does not participate in all of the examination’s compulsory sub-tests, they cannot be admitted as a student.

The Sibelius Academy will send applicants instructions and schedules for participation in entrance examinations in the entrance examination invitation. The exact times for individual entrance examinations are confirmed at the latest in the morning of the entrance examination day. Individual examination times cannot be changed except for compelling reasons not attributable to the applicant. Such reasons include the matriculation examination (or a corresponding event) and an accident or sudden illness (a medical certificate is required). In such cases, the examination time can only be rescheduled within the limits of the Entrance Examination Board’s working timetables.

The entrance examination is a closed event attended by the applicant, the Entrance Examination Board and the agreed assistants (for example, an accompanist, a training choir, a board assistant or the applicant’s assistant). Entrance examinations may not be recorded.

If you wish to cancel your participation in the entrance examination, notify the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office by email as soon as possible.

Individual arrangements in the entrance examination

If you require individual arrangements in the entrance examination because of a sensory or physical disability or other corresponding reason, more information on individual arrangements can be found here.

Composition entrance examination

The degree programme in composition requires a higher baseline competence in music theory and analysis than other programmes at the Sibelius Academy, good basic skills in musical practice, extensive knowledge of Western music and creative musicianship. 

The entrance examination consists of two stages and will be carried out remotely.  

NOTE! A link to the instructions will be added in December 2021.

First stage: Advance assignments

Submit the following advance assignments via the Studyinfo portal by 26 January 2022, 3pm EET (Finnish time):

  1. A written account of your previous studies in music (max. 1 standard A4 page), which must include the following details:
    • Your name
    • Previous studies in composition (teacher’s name, duration and form of studies, institution, and official attainments, if any)
    • Previous training and qualifications in the theory and history of music, and aural skills and/or ear training and analysis. Please also state where and when these subjects were studied. If you have completed recognized courses, information about the course in which you attained the highest level or qualification must be provided.
    • Previous instrumental studies and other musical activity
  2. A selection of samples of your own compositions:
    The amount of the samples is limited. The selection must include:
    EITHER
    two complete works (no limitations on the number of pages)
    OR
    one complete work (no limitations on the number of pages) and not more than altogether five pages of excerpts from other works.

    There must, however, in both cases be at least five pages in the selection. The excerpts may be sections from larger works. In this case, your selection of samples must be accompanied by a report explaining the context from which the samples were taken.

    If the selection of samples does not comply precisely with the instructions given above, it will be rejected.

    Should a sound version of the sample already exist, this should also be included.

Based on the scores given for the first stage, the Board will invite some of the applicants to the second stage of the entrance examination.

Second stage

The second stage of the entrance examination includes the following sub-tests: 

  1. Composition assignment and essay  
  2. Instrument auditions 
  3. Aural skills, theory, and analysis tests 
  4. Interview and brief text 

Detailed instructions and schedules will be sent to those invited to the second stage of the entrance examination by e-mail along with the invitation. 

  1. Composition assignment and music history essay 

Applicants invited to the second stage of the entrance examination will be sent a composition assignment and an essay assignment based on reading material on the history of music (max. two standard A4 pages). 

Submit your assignments via the Studyinfo portal by 22 April 2022, 3pm EET (Finnish time). 

In the composition assignment, the creative ability to solve the assignment in relation to the assignment’s instructions is assessed. 

  1. Instrument auditions 

Submit your instrument auditions to the Sibelius Academy as a video recording via the Studyinfo portal by 22 April 2022, 3 pm EET (Finnish time). 

If your main instrument is the piano, perform an Invention by J.S. Bach or a comparable piece of music; a fast movement from a Viennese Classical sonata; a freely selected piece of music; and any other instrument auditions you wish to include (secondary instrument(s)). You may perform excerpts from extensive works. You may also include improvisation or other demonstrations of your practical musicianship skills (maximum 4 minutes). The maximum total duration of the instrument auditions is 15 min.  

If your main instrument is not the piano, perform two works in different styles from your instrument’s core repertoire. In addition, perform one work from the Western classical music repertoire on the piano. You may perform excerpts from extensive works. You may also include improvisation or other demonstrations of your practical musicianship skills (maximum 4 minutes). The maximum total duration of the instrument auditions is 15 min. 

An individual piece must be recorded as a continuous and unedited take. However, not all pieces need to be recorded in the same session. 

You must play facing the camera so that your face and hands are visible at all times. The video must not be shot from too far away. You must be visible in the frame from head to knees. 

  1. Aural skills, theory, and analysis tests 

The tests will be conducted by e-mail, in an online environment and/or via a remote connection. 

The test may include assignments testing your sight-reading skills and listening comprehension, and assignments for instance in any of the following: thorough bass realisation, sonata form and other traditional form (e.g. identifying section boundaries and cadences), basic concepts of post-tonal harmony, texture comprehension by ear. 

Especially the applicant’s aural skills and analysis capabilities, ability to write about music and knowledge of the theory and history of music are assessed in the aural skills, theory and analysis tests. 

  1. Interview and brief text 

The interview will be conducted via a remote connection. 

Before the interview, you must return a brief text written according to the instructions in the invitation to the second stage (maximum 50 words) on what you are expecting from composition studies. Submit the text via the Studyinfo portal by 22 April 2022, 3 pm EET (Finnish time). 

In addition, you must prepare to present the solution to your composition assignment during the interview. 

Music Theory entrance examination


The degree programme in music theory requires a higher baseline competence in music theory, aural skills and practical music practice than other programmes at the Sibelius Academy, as well as knowledge of Western Music. 

The entrance examination consists of three stages and will be carried out remotely. 

NOTE! A link to the instructions will be added in December 2021.

First stage: Advance assignments

Submit the following advance assignments via the Studyinfo portal by 26 January 2022, 3 pm EET (Finnish time):

  1. A written account of your previous studies in music (max. 1 standard A4 page), which must include the following details:
    • Your name
    • Previous training and qualifications in the theory and history of music, and aural skills and/or ear training and analysis. Please also state where and when these subjects were studied. If you have completed recognized courses, information about the course in which you attained the highest level or qualification must be provided.
    • Previous instrumental studies and other musical activity
    • If you apply also to the main subject of Composition, you must submit an account of your previous studies in composition (teacher’s name, duration and form of studies, institution, and official attainments, if any)
  2. A free-form essay (of max. 500 words), in which you describe your interests and activities within music theory

All applicants who have submitted their advance assignments by the deadline and have been found to be eligible will be invited to the second stage of the entrance examination.

Second stage

The second stage of the entrance examination includes the following sub-tests: 

  1. Essay on the history of music 
  2. Aural skills, theory and analysis tests 

Detailed instructions and schedules will be sent to those invited to the second stage of the entrance examination by e-mail along with the invitation. 

  1. Essay on the history of music 

Applicants invited to the second stage of the entrance examination will be sent an essay assignment based on reading material on the history of music (max. two standard A4 pages). 

 Submit your assignment via the Studyinfo portal by 22 April 2022, 3 pm EET (Finnish time). 

  1. Aural skills, theory and analysis tests 

The tests will be conducted by e-mail, in an online environment and/or via a remote connection. 

The test may include assignments testing your sight-reading skills and listening comprehension, and assignments for instance in any of the following: thorough bass realisation, sonata form and other traditional form (e.g. identifying section boundaries and cadences), basic concepts of post-tonal harmony, texture comprehension by ear. 

Especially the applicant’s aural skills and analysis capabilities, ability to write about music and knowledge of the theory and history of music are assessed in the aural skills, theory and analysis tests. 

Based on the scores given for the second stage, the Board will invite some of the applicants to the third stage of the entrance examination. Applicants invited to the third stage will be notified by e-mail along with instructions and the timetable for the third stage. 

Third stage

The third stage of the entrance examination includes the following sub-tests: 

  1. Instrument auditions 
  2. Interview 
  1. Instrument auditions 

Submit your instrument auditions to the Sibelius Academy as a video recording via the Studyinfo portal by 22 April 2022, 3 pm EET (Finnish time). All applicants must submit their instrument audition recording by the given deadline, but only the assignments of the applicants invited to the third stage will be assessed.

If your main instrument is the piano, perform an Invention by J.S. Bach or a comparable piece of music; a fast movement from a Viennese Classical sonata; a freely selected piece of music; and any other instrument auditions you wish to include (secondary instrument(s)). You may perform excerpts from extensive works. You may also include improvisation or other demonstrations of your practical musicianship skills (maximum 4 minutes). The maximum total duration of the instrument auditions is 15 min.  

If your main instrument is not the piano, perform two works in different styles from your instrument’s core repertoire. In addition, perform one work from the Western classical music repertoire on the piano. You may perform excerpts from extensive works. You may also include improvisation or other demonstrations of your practical musicianship skills (maximum 4 minutes). The maximum total duration of the instrument auditions is 15 min. 

An individual piece must be recorded as a continuous and unedited take. However, not all pieces need to be recorded in the same session. 

You must play facing the camera so that your face and hands are visible at all times. The video must not be shot from too far away. You must be visible in the frame from head to knees. 

  1. Interview 

The interview will be conducted via a remote connection. 

During the interview, you will need a piano or keyboard. If it is not possible for you to use a piano or keyboard during the interview, the Board will assess the assignment in question based on your verbal comments. 

You may briefly present compositions, arrangements or research papers written by you or similar merits in the interview if you wish. If you wish to present material like this, you must say so at the beginning of the interview. 

Entrance examination assessment

Applicants’ performance in the entrance examinations is assessed by programme-specifically appointed Entrance Examination Boards. The boards assess the knowledge, skills and capabilities of each applicant and their capacity to complete the degree studies within the normative duration for the completion of a degree. The assessment takes account of how the applicant’s previous education and experience reflects in their competence and assesses their competence in relation to the objectives set in the curriculum.

In addition, the Board for composition will assess the applicant’s performances, especially in terms of composing technique, capacity for their own artistic expression, musical theory competence, instrumental skills on their main instrument (and piano) (practical musicianship), knowledge of Western art music, and educability and motivation for composition studies. Additional admissions criteria for some sub-tests are listed in the description of the sub-test in question. 

In addition, the Board for music theory will assess the applicant’s music theory and analysis skills, research skills, musical knowledge (especially Western art music), instrumental skills on their main instrument (and piano) (practical musicianship), and educability and motivation for studying and operating in the field of music theory. Additional admissions criteria for some sub-tests are listed in the description of the sub-test in question. 

Scoring of the entrance examination (Composition)

The Board will assess the applicant’s performance in all sub-tests by giving points. All sub-tests will be taken into account in the applicant’s final score.  

The components of the entrance examination are weighted as follows: 

  • Advance assignment (composition samples) 20 % 
  • Aural skills, theory and analysis tests and essay on the history of music 35 % 
  • Interview (including the review of the composition assignment and the instrument auditions) 45 %  

Scoring of the entrance examination (Music Theory)

The Board will assess the applicant’s performances in the second and third stages by giving points. The components of the entrance examination are weighted as follows: 

  • Aural skills, theory and analysis tests and essay on the history of music 60 % 
  • Interview (including the instrument auditions) 40 % 

Admissions results

The boards rank the applicants of each programme based on their entrance examination score. The final decision on students admitted to the programmes and those placed on the waiting list is made by the dean of the Sibelius Academy.

A study place is offered to highest scoring applicants who meet the selection criteria. Applicants ranked behind the admitted students may be placed on a waiting list in the order of their score. The waiting lists are either programme-specific or group-specific if there are several groups in a single programme. A study place will become vacant and can be offered to an applicant on a waiting list only if one of the applicants admitted to the same degree programme (or group) chooses not to accept the study place, or if someone who has been conditionally admitted fails to submit the necessary documents by the end of the deadline.

If there are no applicants who meet the admissions criteria, some programmes may choose not to admit new students. If a specific degree programme does not admit any new students, applicants to that programme cannot be placed on a waiting list.

Announcement of results

Admission results, including the names of the applicants who have given the permission to have their names published online, will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website. In addition, each applicant can view their situation in the Studyinfo portal. Admitted applicants and those placed on the waiting list are informed of the results by email.

Feedback

Applicants may request feedback on their entrance examination performance. The feedback provides the applicant with information on how the evaluation criteria stated in the admission criteria were applied in the assessment of their entrance examination. Instructions for requesting feedback will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website in connection with the publication of the admission decision.

Rectification procedure

If you believe that the Sibelius Academy has acted contrary to its admission criteria, you can request for rectification to the student admission decision from the Sibelius Academy in writing within 14 days of the publication of the admission results.

The rectification procedure is not intended as a means for receiving feedback, asking for further information about the admission or requesting unjustified re-evaluation. Instructions for submitting a request for rectification will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website in connection with the publication of the admission decision.

More information about the rectification process can be found here.

Accepting the offered study place and starting your studies

An offer of admission can be accepted either via the Studyinfo system or by filling in the confirmation form attached to the letter of acceptance and by delivering it to the admissions office. You must accept your study place by the given deadline. If the confirmation arrives late, it will not be considered.

Accepting an offer of admission is a binding choice, which cannot be changed or cancelled later on.

You must also register as attending at the Sibelius Academy before the academic year begins – more information will be sent to you along with your acceptance letter.

First-year studies begin in mid-August with an orientation period that is compulsory for all new students.

More information on accepting the offered study place and starting our studies at the Sibelius Academy can be found here

Questions or comments?

You can contact us via e-mail at siba.admissions@uniarts.fi.

The Sibelius Acad­emy Ad­mis­sions Chat 23 November

What is it like to study at the Sibelius Academy and live in Helsinki? Join our admissions chat to find out! There are two sessions available on Youtube at 12 pm (UTC+2) and 8 pm (UTC+2). Links are available on this page.

Ask and apply!

Want to study at Sibelius Academy but don’t know how to get started?

Use this link to listen to the audio recording of our admissions chat from November 2020:

Click here if you wish to read the text version instread of listening to the audio recording.

You can also watch our fall 2019 edition of the admissions chat in Uniarts Helsinki’s YouTube channel. In this video members of our staff and students answer your questions about the Sibelius Academy in English.

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