Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.
Requirements as represented in Degree Navigator are not available for this program.
College of Music Graduate Study Music Theory - Master of Music
In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Music students must meet the requirements specified below.
To be considered for admission to the Master of Music degree program in music theory, an applicant must submit to the College of Music:
A one–page, type–written statement, written in English, that addresses the applicant's interest in the field of music theory and in Michigan State University's music theory program.
At least two examples of original compositions, arrangements, orchestrations, or counterpoint exercises, as well as a scholarly writing sample. Applicants are invited to include items representative of their work in music theory.
To be admitted to the program on regular status, an applicant must have a bachelor's degree in music theory from a recognized educational institution, or have completed the courses in music theory that are required for the Bachelor of Music degree in music theory at Michigan State University or their equivalents.
Requirements for the Master of Music Degree in Music Theory
The program is available only under Plan B (without thesis). A total of 31 credits are required for the degree. The student’s program of study must be approved by the student’s academic advisor, who must be a member of the music theory faculty. The student must meet the requirements specified below:
All of the following courses (15 credits):
Research Methods and Materials in Music
Early 20th-Century Techniques
Keyboard Skills and Practical Musicianship
Pedagogy of Theory I
Students who pass the Tonal Forms portion of the Graduate Orientation Examination in Music Theory do not need to take MUS 872, and students who pass the Early 20th-Century Techniques portion of the Graduate Orientation Examination in Music Theory do not need to take MUS 873. If a student elects not to take the course(s) from which the orientation examination has exempted the student, the course(s) will be replaced with the corresponding number of elective credits chosen in consultation with the student’s academic advisor. MUS 869 Graduate Counterpoint is considered remedial for incoming Master of Music Theory students. Those who do not pass the Counterpoint portion of the Graduate Orientation Examination in Music Theory cannot count the credit towards the degree.
One of the following courses (3 credits):
Advanced Modal Counterpoint
Advanced Tonal Counterpoint
Students who take both MUS 870 and 871 may count one of the courses towards requirement 3. below.
Two of the following courses (6 credits):
Analysis of Musical Scores
Tonal Literature and Analysis
Pedagogy of Theory II
Advanced Keyboard Skills
Performance and Analysis
Schenkerian Analysis II
Seminar in 20th and 21st Century Music Theory and Analysis
Complete either two semesters of MUS 973 Readings in Music Theory totaling 4 credits, or one semester of MUS 973 plus MUS 971 Pedagogy of Theory II totaling 5 credits. If MUS 971 is counted toward this requirement, it cannot be counted toward requirement 3. above.
Complete an additional 3 credits in musicology at the 400-level or above. MUS 830 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.
Participate in music activities during two semesters of enrollment in the program. The activities must be approved in advance by the student’s academic advisor and selected from band, chamber ensemble, chorus, jazz band, new-music ensemble, or orchestra.
Pass a Keyboard Skills Examination. Materials are prepared from a booklet given to the student at the outset of their studies in the program, and will involve the playing of various harmonic progressions and sequences, realizing figured basses, composing accompaniments to simple melodies, transposing, and improvising. The examination will be graded by a committee comprised of two members of the Music Theory faculty selected by the area chairperson.
Complete a Teaching Demonstration. The demonstration must take place after the student has completed MUS 970 Pedagogy of Theory I. A 1 to 2 page proposal outlining the instructional objectives, proposed topic(s) and approach(es), and schedule for completion will be submitted to the advisor for approval at the start of the semester in which the demonstration will take place. The demonstration will occupy a class period of an undergraduate course in music theory to be determined by the area chairperson. It will be graded by a three-person committee selected by the area chairperson and comprised of the advisor, another member of the Music Theory faculty, and one faculty member from outside the area. The grade will be pass/fail, based upon a majority vote of the three committee members. Candidates who fail the Teaching Demonstration will be allowed to present a second one no earlier than the following semester. Candidates who fail twice will not be allowed to complete the degree.
Complete and publicly present a capstone essay, to be advised and approved by a member of the music theory faculty. The essay may be on either a research-related or a pedagogical topic, and must be similar in scope to a term paper. Students will choose a paper completed as part of either MUS 975 Readings in Music Theory or MUS 971 Pedagogy of Theory II and revise, expand and polish it in completion of the requirement.
Procedures for the Capstone Requirements of the Master of Music in Music Theory Degree
The capstone essay must be completed no earlier than the student’s enrollment in the course on which the essay is based: either MUS 973 Readings in Music Theory or MUS 971 Pedagogy of Theory II. The student must work under the guidance of a member of the Music Theory faculty, who approves the final version of the paper as well as the student’s public presentation of it. The public presentation will be in the format of a conference presentation, with a lecture of approximately 30 minutes followed by an opportunity for questions from those in attendance.
Keyboard Skills Examination:
The Keyboard Skills Examination may be taken at any point while or after the student takes MUS 876 Keyboard Skills and Practical Musicianship. A committee of two faculty examiners, including the instructor of MUS 876 and one other member of the Music Theory faculty hears the examination. The examination materials are available upon request from the MUS 876 instructor. Upon successful completion, both faculty members sign the Capstone Requirements Form. If the student is not successful, they may retake the examination no earlier than the start of the following semester. Students are urged not to wait until their last semester in residence.
The Teaching Demonstration may be undertaken once the student has completed MUS 970 Pedagogy of Theory I. If the student plans to take MUS 971 Pedagogy of Theory II, they are urged to wait until after completion of that course as well. The student must teach an entire 50-minute lecture of an undergraduate music theory course different from the one the student is currently teaching as a graduate assistant. The Music Theory area chairperson determines which course and assembles a committee of three faculty members, of which at least two must be on the Music Theory faculty. The student works with the course instructor, in consultation with the other committee members, to determine a date, topics, and learning objectives. All three committee members sign the Capstone Requirement Form upon the student’s successful completion of the Teaching Demonstration. If the student is not successful, they may reattempt the Teaching Demonstration no earlier than the start of the following semester. Students are urged not to wait until their last semester in residence.