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Music Theory

Master of Arts (MA)

It is expected that students applying to this program will have completed basic professional preparation, defined as the equivalent of three years of theory and analysis (tonal and post-tonal) and one semester of counterpoint.

Students admitted into the theory MA should show proficiency equivalent to, or beyond that required to pass the equivalency examinations in tonal and post-tonal theory and analysis, ear training, counterpoint and music history for the University of Minnesota BA in music. Coursework in theory required to make up for deficiencies will not count toward the degree.

Program Requirements: Minimum of 30 credits

1. Emphasis: 24 credits

  • MUS 8xxx,  courses in music theory and/or analysis: 18 credits
  • MUS 8xxx, course(s) in musicology/ethnomusicology: 3 credits
  • MUS 5xxx/8xxx, course(s) in music composition, musicology, ethnomusicology, or performance: 3 credits

2. Supporting Non-Music Program: 6 credits

  • Courses outside of music at the 5xxx or 8xxx levels; may include music education/therapy: 6 credits

3. Language: Reading knowledge in French, German, or Italian (certification form required)

4. Plan B Project(s)

  • For two Plan B papers (more common): two article-length (ca. 7,000–9,000 words of text not including footnotes, musical examples, etc. would be considered typical) from two different areas of music theory and/or analytic study. The Plan B papers may be—and normally are—revisions of papers initially prepared for 8xxx-level theory courses. The papers should exhibit professional (publishable) quality and format.
  • For one Plan B paper (less common): one longer paper (ca. 15,000–17,000 words) representing an extended foray into a single topic. 

5. Final oral examination