Mar 29, 2023
Return to: Departments and Programs
The Master of Arts in Music degree is a graduate research degree which culminates with a written thesis and a public presentation (lecture or lecture/recital). Possible areas of focus for the thesis include (but are not limited to) music history, music theory, ethnomusicology, historical performance practice, music technology, and interdisciplinary subjects relating music with other fields. The program is intended for students with a strong interest in scholarly research and should not be considered a substitute for a Master of Music in Performance degree. The benefits include a stronger preparation for graduate studies after Western and a more diverse portfolio for future teaching positions. The M.A. in Music degree is primarily intended as part of a 5 year accelerated degree program combined with a Bachelor of Music degree, but it may be completed as a stand-alone 2 year graduate degree.
Admission requirements for the M.A. in Music program:
- Successful completion of Bachelor of Music degree (or Bachelor of Arts in Music).
- A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00.
- A minimum GPA of 3.25 for all music theory, history, and aural skills courses, with no grade less than a “C” at the 1000-level and no grade less than a “B” at the 2000-level or above.
- A portfolio of three scholarly papers which demonstrate the ability to conduct research and write at a level appropriate for a Master’s Thesis.
General degree requirements for M.A. in Music:
MUS 6100 - Research Methods Credits: 3 hours
Music History - 2 courses, at least 1 at 6000-level Credits: 4 - 6 hours
Music Theory - 2 courses, at least 1 at 6000-level Credits: 4 - 6 hours
Music Ensemble - 5000-level Credits: 2 hours
Professional Electives - must be approved for admission to candidacy Credits: 7 - 9 hours
MUS 7000 - Master’s Thesis, see options below Credits: 6 hours
Total = 30 hours
The Professional Electives are expected to support the thesis topic and should generally include at least two additional 6000-level courses in music history and/or theory beyond the general requirement above. Other types of graduate-level music courses and even courses from other departments are possible if they can be justified as relevant to the thesis topic. Reading ability in at least one foreign language may also be required depending on the nature of the subject. All electives must be approved by the School of Music faculty before they can be applied toward the degree.
All thesis options involve a written document and some kind of public presentation. The thesis committee will consist of an advisor, who serves as chair of the committee, and two other committee members. The thesis defense will include an oral comprehensive exam.
A) Written Thesis + Lecture
This thesis option has two parts. Part I is a substantial written thesis dealing with some historical, theoretical, or other scholarly aspect of music, written under the guidance of a faculty member. Part II is a public lecture presenting some portion of the written thesis.
B) Composition + Thesis Essay
This thesis option has two parts. Part I is an extended composition for instrumental, vocal, and/or computer-implemented media, approved by the department, and written under the guidance of a faculty member. Part II is a significant essay dealing with some historical, theoretical, or analytical aspect of music related to the composition. Part I or II (or both) must be presented in a public recital or lecture.
Candidates selecting this thesis option must be accepted by the composition faculty into the MUS 6620 - Seminar in Music Composition and are subject to additional composition area requirements. This option is not regarded as equivalent to a Master of Music in Composition degree; it is a research degree with a composition component as part of the scholarship.
C) Lecture/Recital + Thesis Essay
This thesis option has two parts. Part I is a full-length lecture/recital with accompanying program notes. Part II is a significant essay dealing with some historical, theoretical, or analytical aspect of music, related to the recital.
Candidates selecting this option must be accepted by the studio area faculty into MUS 6000 - Applied Music and are subject to additional studio area requirements. This option is not regarded as equivalent to a Master of Music in Performance degree; it is a research degree with a performance component as part of the scholarship.
D) Creative Project + Thesis Essay
This thesis option has two parts. Part I is a substantial creative project (e.g., multi-media project, computer program, CD recording, or website) approved by the department, and written under the guidance of a faculty member. Part II is a significant essay dealing with some historical, theoretical, or analytical aspect of music related to the project. Part I or Part II (or both) must be presented in a public lecture.
Return to: Departments and Programs