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M.A. in Music

Areas of Emphasis within the M.A. in Music

Conducting Studies
Music Theory
Music Education
Music History and World Music
Classical / Jazz Performance
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: conducting studies, composition, music theory, jazz studies, music education, music history and world music, and performance.

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. Beyond the classroom, the Department of Music boasts a thriving music program that includes numerous classical, electronic and jazz ensembles. Many of our students are actively engaged in performing, teaching, and other musical pursuits while simultaneously completing their degrees.

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.

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:

  • Conducting Studies
  • Composition
  • Music Theory
  • Music Education
  • Music History and World Music
  • Classical / Jazz Performance

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.

Capstone Project [3 Units] 

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

  • Students in Conducting Studies, and Performance must complete a project consisting of a graduate recital with performance notes (MUS 693).
  • Students in Composition must complete a project consisting of an original composition and analysis of that composition (MUS 693).
  • Students in Music Education, Music History and World Music, or Music Theory may complete a university thesis (MUS 691) or a departmental thesis (MUS 699)
  • With the approval of the graduate coordinator, students in Music Education, Music Theory, Music History and World Music, may complete a comprehensive examination (MUS 692) or a project (MUS 693)

See details:

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