Composition (major subject)

Come and study in the leading programme in the field of composition to pursue a career as a professional composer with an extensive knowledge of music.

Mies säveltää pianon ääressä

Why study here?

You will be able to study composition at one of the best performing arts universities of the world. You will gain the competence to work in expert roles requiring a profound knowledge of music. The studies prepare you to engage in discussion within the music community and in society at large. Graduates of the programme have diverse career opportunities, and besides working as a composer, common career paths include becoming a teacher, musician and writer, for example. 

Content and objective of the programme

Composition studies, harmony and voice leading, music analysis and instrumentation are at the core of the programme. As a bachelor’s student, you will complete instrument studies and learn about aural skills, music history and electroacoustic music. As a master’s student, you will focus on deepening your professional expertise and completing studies that support your personal identity as a composer. 

You can also choose courses organised by the other two academies of the University and complete so-called joint studies that are available for all students.


Our teachers are some of the best experts in their respective fields. In addition to the permanent teaching staff, the programme welcomes international top experts as guests on a regular basis.

Applying to the programme

Applicants who are applying to study either composition or music theory as a major subject are evaluated in different admission groups. You can apply for both major subjects during the same year. The programme will require you to have higher preparedness in music theory and aural skills in comparison to other programmes at the Sibelius Academy as well as knowledge of western music. Applicants who are pursuing composition as a major are also expected to have creative musical skills.

Our University is one of the most sought-after places to study in Finland. Browse the admissions statistics from previous years.

Doctoral studies

It is possible to complete a doctoral degree at the University as a third-cycle degree. After graduating with a master’s degree, you’ll have the option to apply for doctoral studies in music and specialise in artistic or applied doctoral studies.

Find out more

Online material on composition and music theory

Teachers in the Department of Composition and Music Theory write and collect up-to-date study material in their own blogs.

  • Music history of the 1900s
  • Music analysis of the 1900s
  • Baroque music
  • Introduction to music of the Classical period
  • Introduction to Romantic music
  • Music of the Classical period
  • Massenet’s operas
  • Music history online
  • Music history research
  • French violin sonata
  • Romantic music
  • Basics of Schenkerian analysis
  • Sibelius studio
  • Sibelius
  • A guide to general musicianship skills

Online study materials

  • Acoustics
  • Aleatori
  • Muhi
  • Mupe project
  • Sumu
  • Recognition and validation of prior learning

Lecture series Aikamme musiikkia ja puhetta

The lecture series Aikamme musiikkia ja puhetta has long traditions at the Department of Composition and Music Theory at the Sibelius Academy. Every week, a new contemporary composer, musician or artist comes for a visit to talk about their music and work. The lectures are held in the Auditorium of the Helsinki Music Centre on Thursdays, and they are open to the public. The events are hosted by lecturer Juhani Nuorvala.

You can apply to

Degree Programme in Composition and Music Theory, major subject: composition

  • bachelor’s and master’s (5,5 years)
  • master’s (2,5 years)

Target degree

Master of Music (MMus)


Sibelius Academy


English, Finnish, Swedish Read more about language skill requirements

Tuition fee

Annual tuition fee €5,000 for students from outside the EU and EEA countries.
Read more about tuition fees

Application period

Next possible time to apply is in January 2022. Studies begin in August 2022.

Persons in charge

Minna Holkkola
Department Head

Veli-Matti Puumala
Professor (composition)