Master of Music in Music Theory or Composition Degree Programs

The Master of Music (M.M.) degrees in theory or composition require a minimum of 30 credits and are designed to further the student’s knowledge and in-depth exploration of music theory or composition at the post-baccalaureate level.

M.M. in Music Theory or Composition Admission

Applicants are expected to have educational backgrounds equivalent to the B.A., the B.M. in music theory, or the B.M. in composition from KU. Composition applicants should submit scores and recordings (if available) of original compositions; theory applicants should submit research papers in music theory. Applicants are expected to have a reading knowledge of German, French, Italian, or Spanish. A language deficiency may be satisfied after entrance into the program. In addition to the required course work, students are encouraged to continue study of performance and participate in ensembles on their major instruments.

Graduate Admission to the School of Music

Application procedures and program requirements can change. Please visit the School of Music Admissions webpage for current information.

Graduate programs in the School of Music are open to students with acceptable baccalaureate degrees, as specified by the admitting areas, whose academic records indicate that they can do successful work at the graduate level. Regular admission requires a bachelor's degree and a grade-point average of at least a B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale), from KU or from another regionally accredited institution or foreign university with substantially equivalent bachelor's degree requirements.

Programs of study leading to the Master of Music (M.M.), Master of Music Education (M.M.E.), Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are offered through the School of Music. Specific admission procedures and degree requirements for the M.M. and M.M.E. programs are described under division headings. Specific admission procedures and degree requirements for the D.M.A., Ph.D. (musicology/music theory), and Ph.D. (music education/music therapy) are listed in the appropriate sections.

Program Areas

Graduate study in the School of Music is organized into program areas within 2 units:

  • Music includes programs in composition, conducting, musicology, music theory, and areas of performance.
  • Music Education and Music Therapy (MEMT) includes programs in music education or music therapy.

At least a 3.0 grade-point average, overall and in the major area, is required for all course work counted toward any graduate degree in the School of Music. If the overall grade-point average falls below 3.0, the student is placed on probation for one semester; if the cumulative average is not 3.0 or higher after the next semester, the student is dismissed from the program. Students must also achieve at least a grade of B in thesis, lecture-recital, document or dissertation, and on each recital for satisfactory completion of degree requirements.

Diagnostic Examinations

All entering graduate students (except music education, music therapy, and opera performance majors) must take written diagnostic examinations in musicology and music theory. These are given the week before the start of classes in the Fall and Spring semesters to determine whether a need exists for remedial work in those areas prior to enrolling in graduate coursework. Students who show the need for remediation must complete the prescribed review courses or show mastery of the material by re-examination. Graduate students entering programs in piano must take additional tests in piano literature given before the start of classes. A student is exempt from all diagnostic exams if he or she received a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music from the University of Kansas within the previous 4 years.

M.M. in Music Theory or Composition Degree Requirements

Final Oral Exam

Master's degree students must schedule and pass a final oral exam. The student's 3-member Graduate Advisory Committee consists of the student's major professor, one member from the student's major division and one musicology or music theory professor. This committee administers the final oral exam.

Programs of study are as follows:

Music Theory (minimum of 30 credits)

Advanced music theory9
Advanced musicology and/or advanced composition9
MUSC 801Music Bibliography and Research3
MTHC 778History of Music Theory3
Thesis 16

Composition (minimum of 30 credits)

Advanced composition9
Advanced musicology and music theory12
MUSC 801Music Bibliography and Research3
Thesis 15

Composition/Jazz Emphasis (minimum of 30 credits)

Advanced composition9
JAZZ 659Jazz Arranging2
MTHC 563Survey in Jazz Composition and Arranging3
American Studies Course3
MUSC 801Music Bibliography and Research3
Thesis 15