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Graduate Course Catalog 2015-2016

Graduate School


Music (MUSI)


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This program is offered in Durham.

Please view as well, the course listings for music education (MUED).

Degree Offered: M.A.

The Department of Music offers programs leading to the degree of master of arts with options in composition, conducting, and musicology. Each program emphasizes a specific core curriculum that is complemented by a range of supportive courses that foster a broad knowledge of music. There is also enough room for electives (nearly a third of the degree) so that each student may tailor coursework to fit his or her personal interests and needs. Graduates have established successful careers in performance, conducting, public school teaching, college teaching, and research. The program also serves as excellent preparation for doctoral study.

Admission Requirements

For each option, a bachelor's degree in music or its equivalent from an accredited institution is required for admission. Graduate Record Exams are not required. Additional requirements for all applicants include:

Other admission requirements specific to the three degree areas include:





Degree Requirements

Music: Composition. Master of Arts**

The master of arts in composition option offers the opportunity for in-depth study of music composition. Some graduates of the program will go on to earn a doctoral degree in composition or music theory, while others will seek careers as film and theater composers, sound designers, teachers, and freelance writers. The program is responsive to the individual ambitions of its students to prepare them for their professional careers in the best way possible.

Completion of the program requires a final project in an area of interest. Projects can take several forms (for example, a composition, a composition recital, a lecture recital, a research paper, etc.) and are usually proposed and developed in concert with the graduate studies coordinator and a faculty member who serves as the project adviser. A final oral examination assesses the candidate's ability to apply compositional skills, and/or to describe advanced independent work of particular interest.

**Plan approval and accreditation for degree program pending from the National Association of Schools of Music.

Music: Conducting, Master of Arts

The master of arts in conducting option offers the opportunity for in-depth study of either instrumental or choral conducting. The program is intended for those who wish to improve their skills and knowledge for use in the school classroom or to prepare for doctoral programs in conducting.

Completion of the program requires a conducting recital and/or significant performances with one of the major university ensembles. A comprehensive oral examination will include discussion of the recital music, appropriate score identification, and questions focused on music history, theory, or education, to be determined in consultation with the members of the candidate's oral examination committee.

Music: Musicology, Master of Arts

The master of arts in musicology offers the opportunity for in-depth study of music history, theory, and criticism. The option is valuable to students who wish to augment undergraduate degrees in performance and/or music education with more intensive academic studies. The Department of Music has maintained a long history of excellence in music historical study and performance. Many graduates have gone on to pursue Ph.D.s and D.M.A.s in music. The M.A. in musicology offers enough electives so that students may also pursue advanced study in performance of an instrument or voice if qualified and accepted by an instructor upon a successful audition.

Completion of the program requires a written research project of substantive nature on a topic of the candidate's special interest. An alternative for some students will be a lecture-recital and written essay. Students emphasizing performance are encouraged to present public recitals in addition to the above. A final oral examination assesses the ability to apply critical thinking to music literature and to describe personal advanced independent work of particular interest.


For a complete listing of courses, check both music and music education.

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