The School of Music offers a comprehensive course of study in music theory, instructing music students from all areas in all stages of their academic career, undergraduate through doctoral. In theory classes, music students delve beneath a surface appreciation of performance to gain deeper insight into the underlying design of a piece of music. In combination with the knowledge and skill development students receive in their history, composition and performance classes, this theoretical understanding ensures the success of graduating music students.


In addition to the general theory classes required of all undergraduate music majors, the school offers a bachelor’s degree in music theory that allows students to complete a special research project under the tutelage of a faculty mentor.

The master’s degree in music theory lays a foundation for further graduate study for students interested in pursuing a university teaching career. Small class sizes and seminar formats allow students ample opportunities for collaborative discussion that strengthens analytical skills. From studies in form and Schenkerian analysis to post-tonal topics, our courses are geared toward current research that addresses important developments in the music theory field. Students take an intensive seminar in music theory pedagogy in preparation for a faculty-supervised student teaching experience of entry-level theory courses. Graduates leave well-prepared to enter a competitive PhD program.

Theory Area faculty speak about their research and theory-related topics as part of the school's Fridays w/Faculty lecture series and also invite academics from other universities to speak on special topics.

  • Audio Clips
  • YouTube

Of Note

  • Chikinda receives research award

    Theory Area faculty member, Dr. Michael Chikinda received a Research Fellow award from the University Research Committee that will enable him to take a semester off of teaching to work exclusively on his research on the Music of Vincent Persichetti. He is using J. Willard Marriott Archive at the Marriott Library as well archives at the New York Public Library.

  • Kimberly Cannady received a tenure track position

    Alumna Kimberly Cannady (2006) received a tenure track position in Ethnomusicology at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, NZ in 2013.

  • Associate Professor Lecturer Bruce Quaglia Presented Paper At The Society For Music Theory National Meeting

    Associate Professor Lecturer Bruce Quaglia presented the paper "An Introduction to Universal Design for Learning and its Application to the Music Theory Classroom and Curriculum" at the Society for Music Theory National Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina in fall 2013.

See Of Note Archive

Last Updated: 5/29/18