Master of Music in Composition

The goal of the Master of Music in composition program is to encourage talented Christian composers to create, explore, understand, and serve as advocates for high-quality original music in a variety of genres and settings, inside and outside the broader Christian community.


Each student will be encouraged:

  1. to explore a wide variety of compositional techniques and methods, with an eye toward further developing strong compositional craft
  2. to develop a personally unique compositional style or language
  3. to consider stylistic eclecticism as the dominant compositional ethos of the postmodern world.  At least some compositional assignments will deliberately demand the learning of new musical languages.
  4. to become involved in the activities of professional compositional societies
  5. to articulate a personal plan of action concerning establishment as a composer within Christian worship and fellowship communities, as well as to consider and articulate any unique contributions of music composed from a Christian worldview to wider musical and cultural communities.

Degree Requirements

Major Area
COMP 501-503: Graduate Applied Composition 12
One semester must include either a thesis (substantial composition plus written document) or a full recital of original compositions.
PERF 585: Graduate Recital (see Final Project) 0
MTH 566: Advanced Orchestration 3
Other Studies in Music
MHS 520: Research and Bibliography 2
MUS 501: Graduate Assistants' Forum 0
Required of all graduate assistants; open to, but not required of, all other graduate students  
MUS 54X: Graduate Ensemble
The student must enroll in an appropriate ensemble [or accompanying] each semester of residence, with or without credit, in consultation with the directors of choral and instrumental activities.  
Choose from among the following: 3
MHS 590: Seminar in Music History (topics vary by semester) (3 credits)
MHS 595: Special Topics in Music History (3)
Choose at least one from among the following: 3
MTH 567: Systems of Analysis and Contemporary Art Music (3)
MTH 558: Sixteenth Century Counterpoint (3)
MTH 563: Form and Analysis (3)
MTH 475: Synthesizer/Computer Applications (3)
MTH 595: Special Topics in Music Theory (3)
MHUM 501: Seminar: Music, Worship and Culture in Christian Perspective 3
Music courses* numbered 500** or above 6
*No more than 2 credit hours of ensemble may count as music elective hours toward the degree.  
**A limited number of music courses numbered 400 or above may also be taken as electives, with the approval of the graduate advisor.  

Final Project

The student must submit at least one original composition appropriate as a final project. The student may choose between submitting the score of one work of significant length and genre (such as a symphony, opera, or film score) along with an analytical paper (or written analysis) describing the submitted piece, or presenting a full recital of original compositions in which the composer acts as a performer or conductor in some capacity.