Our master's program in music theory offers budding educators, performers and composers a robust catalog of specialties and concentrations. Small class sizes and advanced coursework reflect the Lamont School of Music's reputation as a premier music school in the West.

Courses are offered on a broad range of topics, including counterpoint, Schenkerian analysis, set theory, serialism, contour theory, neo-Riemannian techniques and more. Under the close supervision of a faculty member, students write a thesis that contributes to the field on a topic of their choosing. By serving as Graduate Teaching Assistants for our undergraduate theory courses, our music theory students receive a scholarship and stipend and also immediately gain teaching experience.

Graduate students in the music theory program can also pursue a dual degree with any concentration from the master of music program. Equipped with this deep body of knowledge, music theory graduates go on to careers in music education, performance, composition, arrangement and arts direction or administration.

About Our Program

Application Requirements

For admission, we require completion of an appropriate undergraduate degree or the equivalent. In addition, you'll need to submit:

  1. Completed application, including three letters of recommendation.
  2. An analytic essay or research paper that engages a music-theoretic issue.
  3. GRE Scores. 

For more information, see the Music Theory studio page.

Degree Requirements

The master of arts in music theory consists of 45 credits in addition to these non-coursework requirements:

  • Thesis
  • Final oral comprehensive exam, including defense of thesis
  • Superior scores in the musicology and music theory proficiency exams
  • Convocation attendance

Learn more about the Master of Arts in Music Theory.

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