Master of Music in Music Theory

Major: MUST
Degree Awarded: MM
Unit: GU
Program Webpage:

Program Information

The School of Music offers training toward two specific graduate degrees in music: master of music requiring a minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate credit, and master of music education requiring 30 credit hours. All programs require a minimum of 24 credit hours of residence at the University of Louisville. Major subjects in the master of music curriculum are music performance with concentrations in choral, wind or orchestral conducting, instrumental or vocal performance, jazz performance or jazz composition and arranging, piano pedagogy, music history, music theory, and music composition. The master of music education program allows an applied music minor in an instrument, voice, or conducting. Each degree program has specific prerequisites, entrance requirements, and programmatic expectations that are described in the relevant section of the catalog.

Admission Requirements

1. Applications for admission to a graduate program require the following:

(a) a completed application;

(b) an application fee;

(c) official transcripts for all previous post-secondary course work (all transcripts not in English must be certified as authentic and translated verbatim into English);

(d) at least two letters of recommendation; and

(e) scores from the General Test Section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) that must be submitted prior to the beginning of study.

2. Applications to specific degree programs require evidence of preparation for advanced study as follows:

(a) in performance, an acceptable audition;

(b) in academic specializations (music composition, music history, music theory), a portfolio of work appropriate to the field of study; and

(c) in music education, evidence of classroom teaching experience.

3. Applicants whose primary language is not English must show English language proficiency in one of the following ways:

(a) a minimum TOEFL examination score of 550 on the paper-based test, 213 on the computer-based test, or 79-80 on the Internet-based test;

(b) successful completion of the exit examination for the advanced level of the Intensive English as a Second Language Program at the University of Louisville; and

(c) documentation of the award of a degree from a recognized English language institution.

4. Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution in the area to be pursued in advanced studies, or they must present evidence of equivalent preparation.

5. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 on a 4-point scale.

6. Applicants who meet the requirements listed in items 1-5 will be considered for conditional admission for graduate study at the School of Music. For additional entrance requirements specific to the degree of interest, consult the section relevant to the degree program below.

7. Entrance examinations in music history, theory and, if appropriate, jazz, will be administered before the first term of study. The School of Music provides guidelines to assist in preparing for the entrance examinations.

8. Any exception to the above expectations will be evaluated individually and will require a statement indicating criteria to be met in a specified time frame with provisions for monitoring progress and performance. Justification must be provided in writing and must be accepted by the faculty of the student’s proposed program, the director of graduate studies, and the dean of the School of Music.

9. Students who fail to meet performance standards or who do not meet other requirements as outlined in the letter of admission, program of study, or the catalog of the University of Louisville are subject to dismissal from their programs.

General Information Regarding Academic Policies

1. Detailed curricular and program offerings, including specific requirements and provisions for degree programs, are published in the university catalog. Students will be provided with copies of the Handbook for Graduate Studies in Music, the “Guidelines for Preparation for the Graduate Music History Entrance Examination,” and “Guidelines for Preparation for the Graduate Music Theory Entrance Examination.” These documents are also available on the School of Music website at

2. Students will be required to address any deficiencies revealed by entrance examinations in courses taken within the first two semesters of study. Credit toward the degree is not granted for review course work.

3. All students are required to complete Bibliography and Research Methods (MUS 607) by the end of the second semester of study (part-time students by the completion of 15 credit hours of graduate study). Upon satisfactory completion of requirements stated in B.2 and B.3, students will be considered in good standing.

4. Students will complete a project appropriate to the field of study as defined by the faculty of their program. The completion of this project (public recital, thesis, professional paper) normally takes place in the last semester of graduate study. Preparation and presentation of a recital must follow the guidelines in the Handbook for Graduate Studies in Music and the preparation of a thesis must follow the “Guidelines for the Preparation and Processing of Theses” issued by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS). The preparation of a thesis in music composition must also follow the "School of Music Thesis Formatting Guidelines for M.M. in Composition" available at

5. In order to graduate, a student must be in good standing with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. No more than six (6) credit hours with any "C" or "C+" grade will be accepted toward a degree, and no grade below a "B-" will be accepted for a course in the student’s major subject area. Hours earned beyond the minimum in any curricular areas apply only to that area and cannot be assigned to another area in order to satisfy required credit. At least one-half of the total credit hours in graduate courses must be at the 600 level. Any exceptions to the program of study must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, or who fails to satisfy the published performance criteria, will be placed on probation. Students are ordinarily not permitted to continue on probation for more than one semester.

6. When all course work and projects have been satisfactorily completed, the student becomes a candidate for the degree and is approved to take the graduate oral examination. A candidate who fails the oral examination at the end of one semester may not be given a second one before the end of the following semester. A candidate who fails the second oral examination will not be granted the degree of M.M. or M.M.E. from the University of Louisville.

7. Upon request, a maximum of six (6) credit hours of earned graduate credit with a minimum grade of “B” may be transferred from accredited institutions that offer advanced degrees. Credit for applied music will not be transferred, but advanced standing may be awarded by a jury. Ensemble credits appropriate to the student’s degree program may be considered for transfer, but not to exceed one (1) credit hour per semester. Music history and music theory credits will be evaluated for transfer by the director of graduate studies and the respective faculty. Transfer of more than six (6) credit hours may be requested provided that they are not earned by extension, or as thesis or practicum hours, and that the residency requirement of 24 credit hours is maintained by the addition of University of Louisville credits to the total program. Transfer of graduate hours within the University of Louisville toward a graduate degree in music may be requested provided that the minimum residence requirement of 24 credit hours is maintained.

8. Students receiving a graduate assistantship (teaching, research, or service) will be provided adequate training and will be required to adhere to university policies. Performance of duties in research and service by graduate assistants will be periodically evaluated. Students with teaching assistantships will be evaluated each semester.

9. Part-time students (with the exception of those in the M.M.E. degree program) must participate in one ensemble for each 18 credit hours of completed course work. If part-time study precludes completing ensemble degree requirements, other course work may be substituted.


Course # Description
Credit Hours
MUS 500 Music History Review*0
MUS 400 Music Theory Review*0
MUS 600 Graduate Oral Exam Preparation0
MUS 607 Bibliography and Research Methods3
Music History Seminar (600 level)**3
Music Theory4
Additional Music Theory or Music History Seminar (500 or 600 level)3
MUS 647, 648, or 653 - Analysis3
MUS 509 Ensemble (3 semesters of major ensemble)3
Core Curriculum Credit Hour Total:23

Other Requirements

All students must pass an oral examination after all coursework is completed.

Music Theory Concentration

Course # DescriptionCredit Hours
MUS 641 Pedagogy of Theory2
MUS 651 Schenkerian Analysis3
MUS 694 Research (2 semesters)4
MUS 665 Music Theory Seminar (4 semesters)0
Music Electives**4
Track Credit Hour Total:13
Minimum Credit Hour Total:36


* These courses may be satisfied by passing the entrance examinations in these areas.
** One course of HUM 661-663 may be substituted for three music elective credits.


Amy Acklin
Associate Professor

Director of Marching Band

Robert Amchin

Distinguished Teaching Professor

Jack Ashworth

Professor Emeritus

Ansyn Banks

Associate Professor

Randi Bolding

Assistant Professor

Devin Burke

Assistant Professor

Greg Byrne


Darcy DeLoach

Associate Professor

Christopher Doane


Katherine Calcamuggio Donner
Assistant Professor

Caroline Ehman

Assistant Professor

Gabe Evens
Assistant Professor
R. Christopher Fitzgerald

Assistant Professor

Kent Hatteberg
Director of Choral Activities

University Scholar

D. Bruce Heim

University Scholar

Mike Hyman


Rebecca Jemian

Assistant Professor

Kathleen Karr


Matthew Karr


Emily Albrink Katz

Assistant Professor

Sidney King

Assistant Professor

W. Reese Land

Assistant Professor

Kimcherie Lloyd
Director of Orchestral Studies and Opera

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Brittany MacWilliams

Assistant Professor (Term)

Stephen Mattingly

Assistant Professor

Clinton McCanless


Carol McClure

Adam McCord

Matthew Nelson

Assistant Professor

Allison Ogden


Naomi Oliphant
Associate Dean

Distinguished Teaching Professor

Seow-Chin Ong


Acton Ostling

Professor Emeritus

Jennifer Potochnic


Michael Ramach


John Ritz

Steve Rouse


Marc Satterwhite


Brett Shuster


Chad Sloan

Assistant Professor

Frederick Speck
Department Chair of Performance Studies

Director of Bands

Gerald Tolson

Department Chair of Academic and Professional Studies

Michael Tracy


Craig Wagner


Krista Wallace-Boaz
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies

Assistant Dean of Student Services

Krzysztof Wolek

Associate Professor

Mark Yeary

Assistant Professor

Paul York