Degree Requirements

Master of Music: Music Theory

Diagnostic Evaluation & Coursework Recommendations

Students must successfully pass the incoming music theory diagnostic exam, or pass MUS_THRY 401 Graduate Review of Music Theory. Coursework recommendations are based on exam results, and prior transcripts, and consider individual background and future goals. The program coordinator meets with students each quarter for academic advising prior to registration.

Program of Study – 18 units, 2 Years

Students should select the highest level for courses that are cross listed.


Analysis of Repertoire – 3 units

Select from the courses below.

  • MUS THRY 316 16th Century Counterpoint
  • MUS THRY 318 18th Century Counterpoint
  • MUS THRY 333 Analysis of Popular Music
  • MUS THRY 335/435 Selected Topics in Music Theory to include the below topics, or other topics with a repertoire focus:
    • 19th Century Analysis
    • Mozart’s Operas
    • Romantic Song
    • Late Piano Music of Brahms
    • Brahms and Mahler


Survey of the Field – 9 units

Select from the courses below.

  • MUS THRY 313/413 Analytical Approaches to World Music
  • MUS THRY 321/421 Classical Form
  • MUS THRY 325/425 Style and Phrase
  • MUS THRY 335/435 Theory of Melody
  • MUS THRY 340/440 Analysis of Recorded Performance
  • MUS THRY 345/445 Experimental and Empirical Methods in Music Theory
  • MUS THRY 348/448 Corpus Studies
  • MUS THRY 355 Analysis of Post-Tonal Music
  • MUS THRY 410/510 Music Theory Pedagogy
  • MUS THRY 422 Rhythm and Meter
  • MUS THRY 505 Methods of Music Theory
  • MUS THRY 515 History of Music Theory
  • MUS THRY 530 Music Semiotics
  • MUS THRY 550 Seminar in Music Theory and Cognition (up to 3X)
  • MUS THRY 551 Seminar in Music Cognition
  • MUS THRY 336/436 Selected Topics in Music Cognition to include:
    • Music and Emotion
    • Memory and Attention
    • Music, Thought, and Language


General Electives, 300 level or above – 4 units

General Electives are courses within or outside of the Bienen School of Music of the student’s choosing. Courses must be at the 300 level or above.


Colloquium – 0 units, 6 registrations 

  • MUS THRY 490 Music Theory Colloquium 


Master's Project – 2 units

  • MUS THRY 485 Master’s Project

The terminal requirement is a master’s project—a scholarly paper of moderate length. As with an independent study, the master’s project requires a faculty advisor who is responsible for submitting the grade for the project. All students should select their faculty advisor during the first year of study (February of winter quarter). Students should register for two quarters of MUS THRY 485 in consecutive terms. A public presentation of the student’s thesis work is optional and may be arranged with their advisor to be given as a work-in-progress or summary during the Music Theory and Cognition Colloquium.


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