MM in Music Theory
The University of Arizona FFSoM offers the Master of Music degree with emphases in Composition, Conducting, Ethnomusicology, Music Education, Music Theory, Musicology, and Performance (Instrumental, Harpsichord, Organ, Piano, Piano Accompanying, Piano Performance and Dance Accompanying, and Voice). The Handbook is meant to be used in conjunction with the information on graduate study provided by the UA Graduate College at https://grad.arizona.edu. Students must follow the degree requirements as outlined in the current FFSoM Graduate Handbook in the semester of their admission. Degree students whose registration has been inactive for two or more consecutive semesters who return to graduate study must follow the FFSoM Graduate Handbook degree requirements in effect during the semester of their readmission rather than the Handbook in effect at the time of their earlier admission.
For more information see The Graduate Handbook of The Fred Fox School of Music of the UA.
The School of Music offers programs leading to the Master of Music (MM) degree, the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree, and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. MM degrees may be pursued with emphases in composition, ethnomusicology, music education, musicology, music theory, and performance (including accompanying and conducting); The DMA degree has emphases in composition, conducting, and performance. In the performance emphasis concentrations are available in bassoon, cello, clarinet, double bass, euphonium, flute, guitar, horn, harp, harpsichord, oboe, organ, percussion, piano, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, tuba, viola, violin, and voice. In the conducting emphasis concentrations are available in choral or instrumental/orchestral conducting. The PhD degree can be earned with emphases in music education, music theory, or musicology. According to the National Association of Schools of Music, graduate education in music should foster and develop (1) those talents, interests, and philosophies that preserve and extend our cultural heritage; (2) professional competence in the communication and dissemination of knowledge; and (3) individuals with the potential to solve contemporary problems in various aspects of music. The University of Arizona, ranked among the nation’s most distinguished research universities, is a particularly invigorating environment in which to pursue such development. The graduate student body within the School of Music is of sufficient size and diversity to permit formal and informal exchanges of experiences, ideas, and knowledge. The internationally-recognized music faculty includes scholars, composers, and performers. Students work individually with faculty members in small seminars and tutorials, in informal studio and coaching sessions, and in intensive consultations relating to the preparation of theses, dissertations, and performance projects. The School of Music and the College of Fine Arts possess considerable resources to foster intellectual and artistic development, and the intellectual diversity of the university as a whole provides a stimulating environment and invites interdisciplinary inquiry.
College of Fine Arts
University of Arizona - Main - Tucson
General Requirements and Procedures
Academic achievements are one indicator of personal commitment to the chosen discipline and to the highest possible standards of scholarly and creative performance. A minimum grade point average of 3.00 is required by the Graduate College of the UA for regular admission to all graduate programs. Applicants for master's degrees must have a bachelor's degree in music or its equivalent as determined by the FFSoM Director of Graduate Studies and faculty. Applicants for doctoral degrees must have a master's degree in music or its equivalent as determined by the FFSoM Director of Graduate Studies and faculty. Application is made through two online portals, Acceptd (which is reviewed by the FFSoM faculty) and UA GradApp (which is reviewed by the UA Graduate College).
The FFSoM requests submission of all admissions materials for domestic graduate student applications by no later than June 1 for fall admission, October 1 for spring admission, and March 1 for summer sessions. The FFSoM welcomes applications from international students. International student applications should be submitted not later than April 1 for fall admission, September 1 for spring admission, and February 1 for summer sessions (see International Deadlines). The latest date that the UA Graduate College will accept admissions recommendations from the FFSoM for international students is June 1 for fall admission and October 1 for spring admission. The I-20 issuing deadline for international students is June 15 for fall admission and October 15 for spring admission.
All students, domestic and international, who wish to receive the fullest consideration for financial aid or scholarships should have complete applications on Acceptd and UA GradApp by December 1 for admission the following fall.
As noted in Graduate College admission instructions (https://grad.arizona.edu/admissions/requirements/transcriptrequirements), applicants must upload unofficial PDF versions of all transcripts and/or mark sheets when submitting their application in the UA GradApp system, including summer institutes or workshops. If the records are not in English, applicants must provide the official original language document with a certified English translation. Once formally admitted to the university students must submit official transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended no later than 30 days after the beginning of their first semester. Transcripts must list all degrees earned. Failure to comply with these requirements may jeopardize financial awards and future registration. The Graduate College will not issue a certificate of admission or supporting materials for visas until all required documents have been submitted and approved.
English Fluency Requirements for International Students
International students whose native language is not English must meet or exceed minimum university standards for English Proficiency to be admitted to FFSoM graduate programs, unless they have completed a bachelors or graduate degree at an approved institution in the U.S., or in a country where English is the official language. Acceptable English Proficiency credentials include TOEFL iBT (79 minimum), IELTS (minimum composite score of 7, with no subject area below 6), and CEPT Full Academic (minimum 110). Duolingo scores are not accepted by the UA. For UA Graduate College policies on English Proficiency for international students see https://grad.arizona.edu/admissions/requirements/international-applicants#english-proficiency.
Regardless of prior academic work and degrees, international students intending to hold a graduate assistantship involving instruction must submit English Speaking subtest scores. The minimum English Speaking subtest scores necessary to hold an instructional position include the following: TOEFL iBT (24 minimum), IELTS (7.5 minimum), and CEPT Full Academic (44 minimum).
International students needing to demonstrate spoken and/or written proficiency in English are encouraged to take the CEPT Full Academic Test, an online two-part test administered by the UA Center for English as a Second Language that currently costs only $40.00. There are no exceptions for English proficiency requirements. The FFSoM will not request exemptions from standard Graduate College and U.S. Immigration procedures and policies.
Readmission to the University
Students must maintain continuous enrollment until the completion of all degree requirements or they will be placed on inactive status and must reapply to the university. Information regarding re-admission is available at <http://grad.arizona.edu/admissions/application-procedures/readmission-requirements>.
Graduate students in music may apply for different types of financial assistance from the FFSOM, several of which are described below. Students receiving Graduate Assistantships, Graduate College Fellowships, and RC Waivers (Graduate Tuition Waivers) are required to be degree-seeking and to maintain full-time enrollment status. Audited and undergraduate-level courses do not qualify in meeting minimum enrollment requirements. Students also are encouraged to visit the UA Graduate College website at https://grad.arizona.edu/funding to learn about additional funding opportunities. Students should plan to work closely with their major professors on financial aid, since most recommendations for funding from the FFSOM originate from individual faculty members. Applications for financial aid from the FFSOM will receive most favorable consideration if completed by December 1. All students receiving financial aid must submit a FAFSA or its international equivalent.
The FFSOM annually appoints around sixty graduate assistants (GA). Most are .25 (quarter-time) appointments involving teaching that require a commitment of about ten hours per week, though in exceptional circumstances students may hold .33 or .5 FTE positions. Applicants for teaching assistantships (TAs) should be able to demonstrate that they possess an aptitude for teaching. International students from countries where the primary language is not English (see International Graduate Admissions Requirements) must have a TOEFL Speaking Subtest score of 24 or higher or a CEPT Speaking Subtest score of 44 or higher in order to hold a position with teaching responsibilities, even if they previously attended a U.S. institution of higher learning. The music education area additionally requires students seeking a teaching assistantship to provide a video recording of a teaching demonstration, a letter of intent, and a writing sample.
GA stipends and benefits are adjusted annually. Quarter-time GAs currently include the following benefits: 100% waiver of out-of-state tuition; 50% waiver of in-state tuition; coverage of individual health insurance; 10% discount at the ASUA Bookstore; and stipends (currently in the 6-7k range). The Arizona State Board of Regents requires compulsory training for all newly-appointed graduate teaching assistants (Title IX, FERPA, TATO). Any recipient of an assistantship who is unable to complete the required training procedures will forfeit the assistantship.
Graduate students who hold assistantships must register for a minimum of six (6) units of graduate credit. Audited courses and undergraduate-level courses do not qualify for these minimum registration requirements. Typically, master’s students in the FFSOM are encouraged to register for at least 10-14 units per semester and doctoral students for at least 14-20 units per semester (including dissertation units) in order to complete their graduate programs in a timely fashion.
Under normal conditions GAs may be held for up to four semesters, contingent upon favorable evaluations from the faculty supervisor, recommendation of the area coordinator, and continued availability of funding. Master’s degree students who continue into a doctoral program may be eligible to continue as GAs. In such cases, the reckoning of years of service as a graduate assistant begins again during the first semester of the new degree program.
All Graduate Assistants are evaluated each semester by their supervising professors. Continuation of a teaching or administrative assistantship is dependent upon satisfactory evaluations from the supervising professor. Faculty mentors will observe students and evaluate their work each semester to ensure the continuation of their appointments.
Graduate College Fellowships (GCF) and Graduate Tuition Waivers (RC Waivers)
A significant amount of financial assistance is available to full-time students through Graduate College Fellowships (GCF) and Graduate Tuition Waivers (also called Responsibility Center Unit Waivers, RCW). For exceptionally gifted students GCF and RCW awards can exceed $10,000 per academic year. They differ in that RCW aid can only be applied to tuition. These types of financial aid are awarded for one academic year; renewal is not automatic. These awards are determined by faculty members in a given area through their area coordinators.
The FFSoM Scholarship Committee awards many need-based and merit cash scholarships annually. All recommendations for scholarships originate with area faculties. Recipients often have the opportunity to correspond or interact with the donors (or their heirs) of named cash scholarships and awards.
All student loans are handled through the University of Arizona Office of Student Financial Aid, 203 UA Administration Building. An applicant must be admitted to a degree program before submitting an application to the Office of Student Financial Aid. The total processing time at the University, bank, and guaranty agency can take up to four months. Students are urged to apply early.
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program:
The University of Arizona FFSoM offers the Master of Music degree with emphases in Composition, Conducting, Ethnomusicology, Music Education,
Music Theory, Musicology, and Performance (Instrumental, Harpsichord, Organ, Piano, Piano Accompanying, Piano Performance and Dance
Accompanying, and Voice).
This Handbook is meant to be used in conjunction with the information on graduate study provided by the UA Graduate College at
https://grad.arizona.edu. Students must follow the degree requirements as outlined in the current FFSoM Graduate Handbook in the semester of their
admission. Degree students whose registration has been inactive for two or more consecutive semesters who return to graduate study must follow the
FFSoM Graduate Handbook degree requirements in effect during the semester of their readmission rather than the Handbook in effect at the time of their
All MUS 910 Theses and Composition Portfolios are archived in the UA Campus Repository. See https://grad.arizona.edu/gsas/dissertaionstheses/
submitting-and-archiving-your-thesis for instructions about archiving. MUS 909 reports are not archived.
MM in Music Theory
A reading knowledge of French or German is required. Competency will be measured by an examination to be completed before the Master's Oral Examination is scheduled.
Students are expected to enroll in at least one core class per semester until all core courses are completed. A 3.0 semester and cumulative GPA must be maintained. If the GPA falls below 3.0 in any semester, the consequence may be loss of financial aid and/or dismissal. Appeals may be made directly to the Director of Graduate Studies.
GRADUATE MUSIC (MUS) COURSES (not including Ensembles)
All entering graduate students are required to take diagnostic examinations in music history and music theory, and voice students also take a diagnostic exam in diction. These 2-3 hour examinations are administered prior to the beginning of classes in the fall and spring semesters. The music history diagnostic exam also is offered online prior to summer session classes. Students who show deficiencies on the history and theory exams may be recommended to take designated course work, which should be completed prior to enrollment in graduate musicology and theory courses. All graduate-level courses in music history and music theory taken to fulfill diagnostic exam recommendations and completed with a grade of “C” or higher may be used to fulfill master's degree requirements.
Graduate diagnostic examinations in music history and music theory may be taken only once. Students who proceed directly from master’s degrees into doctoral degrees at The University of Arizona are exempt from additional diagnostic examinations.
Master’s Theses, Master’s Projects, and Master’s Compositions
Master’s composition students submit a portfolio of works for their final project (MUS 910). After they have defended the compositions in the Final Oral Examination, the portfolio is archived with the university (https://grad.arizona.edu/gsas/dissertaions-theses/submitting-and-archiving-your-thesis). The university requires these documents to include the following sections: (1) title page; (2) Committee member signed approval page; (3) Abstract explaining the student’s inspiration(s) and/or approach to composition; (4) the portfolio. Master’s students in musicology, music theory, and music education write a thesis in partial fulfillment of degree requirements, or complete a project in lieu of a thesis (music education only). This research must be in compliance with UA policies on Human Subjects research. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies to determine if your research involves work with human subjects, and if so, complete all relevant training and required forms for IRB approval.
The Graduate College rules and regulations governing the writing and submission of theses may be found in online manuals at https://grad.arizona.edu/gsas/dissertations-theses/dissertation-and-thesis-formatting-guides. Note that the Graduate College requires all MUS 910 master’s theses and master’s composition portfolios to be archived in the UA Campus Repository (see https://grad.arizona.edu/gsas/dissertaions-theses/submitting-andarchiving-your-thesis).
Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.