M.A. in Music

Master of Arts in Music

Students will declare an Area of Emphasis from the following:

  • Choral Studies
  • Composition
  • History
  • Jazz Studies
  • Performance

You can pursue the Certificate of Music Education while pursuing a Master of Art in Music degree at CSUEB. Students must be admitted into the M.A. in Music degree in order to start this certificate.

The goals of the Master’s program are to prepare students for professional careers in performance, conducting, composition, teaching, and scholarship, while also preparing them for further music study in doctoral programs.

  1. Demonstrate core knowledge and skills in foundational areas of music theory and history beyond the undergraduate level. 
  2. Identify and use standard digital and paper research tools in music and produce a comprehensive bibliography that shows their ability to utilize standard scholarly tools relevant to their concentration area according to standards set in a research and bibliographic rubric.
  3. Demonstrate mastery in an area of emphasis, culminating in an original creative and/or scholarly capstone project.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively and respectfully with other musicians in a performance and/or scholarly context.

Program Mission

The Master of Arts degree in Music is an intensive program that provides advanced study for students with highly developed interests and accomplishments in music. Students are given the opportunity to improve their musicianship skills, critical skills, and professional insights in preparation for furthering their careers in performing, teaching, composing and arranging, administration, and research. It also offers opportunities for current school and college music teachers to increase their professional effectiveness and provides prospective doctoral aspirants with a sound foundation for advanced graduate study.

Students take core courses in graduate-level music theory and music history, and construct an individual course of study in an area of emphasis that supports their artistic, creative and professional goals. Areas of emphasis include: performance (classical and jazz), conducting (choral and instrumental), composition and musicology.

Students in our program have opportunities to study with leading performers, composers, and scholars, and to partake in the musical and cultural richness of the San Francisco Bay Area. Emphasis is placed upon maintaining small class sizes and close student-to-teacher interactions. The program also provides flexibility for students to explore further study in areas relevant to their career goals and aspirations. Many of our students are actively engaged in performing, teaching, and other musical pursuits while simultaneously completing their degrees.

Degree Requirements Unit-Outline [30 units]

For course descriptions and more detailed information please visit the Music Department M.A. University Catalog page.


Core Requirements [9 Units]

Area Of Emphasis [6 Units]

A minimum of 6 units of coursework in one (1) of the following areas of emphasis is required:

  • Performance (Classical / Jazz)
  • Conducting (Choral / Instrumental)
  • Composition
  • Musicology

Electives [12 Units]

Select 12 units in Music courses not taken in areas above. Up to 6 units outside of Music may be taken with approval. Please meet with your graduate advisor to select the appropriate electives for your area of emphasis and capstone experience.

Advancement to Candidacy Requirement

“Advancement to Candidacy” is a status which recognizes completion of substantial progress towards a student’s graduate degree. A student becomes eligible for “Advancement to Candidacy” within the M.A. in Music when they:

  • Have completed 15 units of 600-level coursework with a minimum 3.0 GPA;
  • Have successfully completed the Music Mid-Comprehensive Examination
  • Have designed a Formal Program of Study for the completion of the degree which has been approved by the departmental Graduate Studies Committee

Capstone Project [Minimum 3 Units] 

All M.A. Music students must complete a capstone project for a minimum of 3 units:

  • Students with an emphasis in Conducting or Performance must complete a project consisting of a graduate recital with performance notes (MUS 693).
  • Students wth an emphasis in Composition must complete a project consisting of an original composition and an analysis-based research paper (MUS 693).
  • Students with an emphasis in Musicology may complete a university thesis (MUS 691) or a departmental thesis (MUS 699)
    • With the approval of the graduate coordinator, students in Music Education and Musicology may complete a comprehensive examination (MUS 692) or a project (MUS 693) instead.

See details: