Master of Music Requirements

Master of Music

Curriculum Requirements (36 cr.)

All courses are 3 credit hours, unless otherwise designated.

Note | The Master of Music curriculum is 36 credit hours total, not counting remedial music nor English courses, nor major ensemble credit hours.

Applied Music Courses (12 cr.)
  • Principal instrument or composition for four semesters: 900-level  (3-3-3-3 cr.)
  • MUS-I 711 Masters Recital (0 cr.)
  • One required outreach activity

Note | With the approval of the graduate music faculty, a student may substitute a formal thesis, including an oral defense, for MUS-I 711 Masters Recital.

Core Music Courses (6 cr.)
  • MUS-M 530 Contemporary Music (by recommendation of the advisor, another course may be substituted if this course was taken in the undergraduate degree.)
  • MUS-M 539 Introduction to Music Bibliography

Cognate Field—Electives (12 cr.)

Four courses at the 500-level, two of which must be in music, the others must relate to an academic plan approved by the graduate music faculty.

For composition students, one of the electives must be MUS-G 571 Master’s Advanced Orchestral Conducting I, and one must be MUS-K 505 Projects in Electronic Music I. In addition, composition students need an additional course in music technology as approved by the graduate advisor.

Note | Students may substitute courses at the 300- or 400-level as a graduate elective if approved by the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.

Pedagogy (3 cr.)

Select one of the following:

  • MUS-E 559 Instrumental Pedagogy
  • MUS-E 593 Piano Methods
  • MUS-E 594 Vocal Pedagogy
  • MUS-T 591 Teaching of Music Theory (composition majors)

Chamber Music (3 cr.)

Three semesters total in courses such as:

  • MUS-F 550 Chamber Music (1 cr.)
  • MUS-X  420 New Music Ensemble (performing and/or conducting, or other ensemble as approved by the faculty)
  • MUS-X 430 Electronic Music Ensemble (composition majors)

Additional Requirements

MUS-X 003 Graduate Music Ensemble  (0 cr.) (four semesters)

Keyboard Proficiency­­

The keyboard examination is given at the end of each semester. Students who fail the examination must register in piano until the requirement is met.

Designed to ensure the student’s ability to use the piano as a tool within the framework of professional activities, the requirements vary according to level and area of music study. Students are to discuss specific requirements with their music advisors.

Other examinations pertaining to specific degrees may be required as appropriate.

Cultural Events Attendance

Students are required to enroll in and pass MUS-I 100 Cultural Events Attendance every semester in residence. Students submit ticket stubs and programs to an instructor who uses OnCourse to maintain student records. A list of the events available will be published by the Production Office. In addition to cultural events attendance, students enrolled in MUS-I 100 are require to meet once a week in a Convocation/Recital Hour where junior, senior, and graduate students will perform.

Final Writing Project

The student must complete a final writing project prior to the graduate recital. This project may take one of three forms: a thesis, extended program notes, or a performance-lecture. Students must present a proposal for their project by October 1 for completion in the spring semester and by March 1 for completion in the fall semester. Proposals should include the student’s name, degree program, a working title for the project, a 1-2 page single-spaced narrative providing background and significance of the project, and the semester in which the project will be completed. An additional MUS-I 711 Masters Recital may be substituted for the final project.

Master’s Thesis

The master’s thesis is an extended research paper on a subject in music history or music theory chosen in consultation with and under the direction of a member of the academic faculty. The thesis must present an original idea and argument that is supported by extensive research in a document generally 50-75 pages in length.

Extended Program Notes

With this option, the student will prepare extended, comprehensive program notes that address the repertoire chosen for the student’s graduate recital. The notes must be based on substantive research in order to provide contextualization and analysis for each piece on the program. This project has two parts: extended program notes for review by the advisor (approximately 15 pages) and condensed program notes for printing in the recital program (approximately 5 pages).


The student will prepare a 45-60 minute performance lecture that will be given immediately before the recital program. During the lecture, the student should provide the audience with historical contextualization and analysis of the pieces to be performed and demonstrate musical examples where appropriate.

Graduate Qualifying Examinations

Students must pass final examinations in music history, theory, and major area before the graduate recital. A student may attempt the examinations at any time during the degree program but must successfully complete each segment within a maximum of two attempts or be dismissed from the program.

  • Each oral examination will be about 50 minutes.
  • There will be a committee of three faculty members —including the studio teacher—and at least one academic faculty member.
  • Two questions will be asked four weeks prior to the oral examination. One question will relate specifically to the area of study, and one question will relate to the final writing project, with a focus on music history and music theory. The student will prepare a 15 minute answer for each question, with additional time allotted for follow-up.

Sample question | Composers often engage with political and social issues through their music. Choose two pieces, one choral and one symphonic, by two different American composers and compare and contrast the ways in which each addresses a specific contemporary problem. Be prepared to discuss and cite relevant scholarly literature.

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