Masters in Music Theory

As a unit of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Music Theory program offers M.M. degrees in Music Theory. The graduate program has traditionally prepared its students for careers as scholars and teachers in colleges and universities. Most of these positions require a Ph.D., so many of our graduates go on to earn a Ph.D. at another university, although some of our graduates have used their Masters to find teaching positions at junior colleges or to qualify for jobs that combine music studio teaching with music theory instruction.

Students interested in graduate study in music theory will need to apply to both the Graduate School and the School of Music. Click here for more information.

Contact Dr. Rust if you have further questions.


A minimum of two years is needed to complete the requirements for the Masters degree. Currently, the main requirements are

  • Eleven seminars or courses, spread over the two years of residency.
  • Qualifying Examination at the end of the second year.
  • Thesis.

Two to four students are normally admitted to the graduate program each year, and classes and seminars are of limited size, usually having fewer than twelve students enrolled. Recent seminars have studied Unaccompanied Works of J.S. Bach, 19th- and 20th -Century Music Analysis, Music Theory Pedagogy, Schenkerian Analysis, Post-Tonal Music Analysis, Music of Elliott Carter, Classic Broadway Repertoire, Music History survey courses and seminar topics on Schubert, Wagner and Bach. Also, our music history faculty offer study-abroad summer courses entitled “Middle-Period Beethoven” and “Vienna: City of Music (1781-1827).”