The Master of Music degree program with a musicology specialization is an advanced course of study for musicians holding the Bachelor’s degree. It permits
the interdisciplinary study of music by examining when, where, how, and why people
create, experience, understand and write about music. Coursework in the program is
designed to provide access to in-depth studies of music history and culture while
the free electives allow for the student to conduct specialized and cross-disciplinary
investigations into their chosen topic of study. The program typically provides students
the skills needed to continue their studies towards the Ph.D. in Musicology.
Graduate says professors' support helped him accomplish dreams
Growing up in Maryland, Chris Pfeifer has been drawn to music for as long as he can
remember, buying first guitar from a pawn shop after saving his allowance. It was
while in college that he realized he was more attracted to music research and teaching
than composition. Soon his education journey led him to MTSU where he earned his Master’s
degree. “The curriculum was exciting and challenging,” he said, adding the support
of his professors and School of Music Staff was … “When I struggled with the myriad
pressures of grad school, my professors and T.A. supervisor were always there to help
rather than let me flounder. MTSU separates itself by having outstanding educators
who can teach students not only how to become better musicians and scholars, but also
how to become skillful teachers themselves.” Pfeifer is now preparing for the dissertation
phase of his Ph.D. “I could not have accomplished (this) without the help of the amazing
faculty and staff of MTSU,” he said.
Musicology program prepares students for future careers
Dr. Gregory Reish, a musicologist and music historian, was hired as the director of
MTSU’s Center for Popular Music in 2014. “The Center for Popular Music is one of the
world’s largest research archives of rare materials related to the study of American
popular music in all of its breadth. Other universities don’t have this, and it really
is one of our greatest treasures and resources,” he said. Dr. Reish says that MTSU’s
musicology program prepares students for admission to a doctoral program or careers
like publishing or music criticism. “Getting an advanced degree in a discipline like
musicology is about much more than just taking your classes, writing your papers,
and passing your exams (all of which are important!). It’s also about learning how
to work with original resources, how the academic study of music history fits into
the larger worlds of the university and the community, and how to engage with audiences
of all sorts. It’s about being a steward of an immensely rich cultural tradition,
preserving it, teaching it, and passing it down to subsequent generations.”
MTSU College of Graduate Studies
MTSU | The University of Opportunities
Alumni from the School of Music teach thousands of students every day in private studios
and schools from kindergarten through university levels. MTSU graduates perform in
orchestras, military ensembles, and opera companies; appear in clubs and recording
studios with the famous and yet-to-be-known; compose music for Hollywood films and
commercial jingles; lead professional music organizations; work in the music industry;
serve as church musicians; and continually enrich the lives of others. Some continue
on to enter prestigious doctoral programs. A sample of potential professional pathways
for music master's students:
- College professor/instructor
- Concert promoter
- Copyright specialist
- Music critic/journalist
- Music librarian
- Music publisher/editor
- Orchestra librarian
- Record company manager
Employers of MTSU alumni include
- Bellevue Middle School
- Belmont University
- Cane Ridge High School
- Case Western Reserve University
- Chattanooga Symphony
- Cumberland University
- The Downtown Band
- Earl Klugh (Grammy winner)
- EMBRA Artists, LTD.
- Fairview Middle School
- Jeff Coffin (Grammy winner)
- Jonathan Fletcher Music
- Lipscomb University
- MEINL Percussion
- Middle Tennessee State University
- Murfreesboro City Schools
- Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra
- Nashville State Community College
- Northeast Mississippi Community College
- Old Center Elementary School, Nashville
- Onks Woodwind Specialist
- Siegel Middle School
- Trevecca Nazarene University
- University of Louisiana-Lafayette
- University of Northern Colorado
- Vine Street Christian Church, Nashville
The School of Music’s Masters of Music Degree is offered with seven graduate specializations:
A minor in Music is offered at the graduate level.
- hold (or be about to receive) an undergraduate degree in music;
- have an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken (at least 3.0);
- depending on specialization, either do an audition or submit an audition audio or
video-recording; submit scores and recordings of compositions; submit written samples
of scholarship; or submit a 30-minute video-recording demonstrating teaching ability;
- complete entrance examinations in music history and music theory to plan initial course
For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.
MTSU's School of Music offers an undergraduate major in Music leading to Bachelor
of Music (B.M.) degree in the following concentrations:
Undergraduate minors in Music, American Music Studies, and Music Industry are also
Students seeking a license to teach music in the public schools must complete
- a major in Music following the concentration in either Instrumental Music Education
or Vocal/General Music Education K–12,
- a minor in Secondary Education,
- the General Education Program, and
- additional teacher licensure requirements.
Music, Musicology Specialization, M.M.
Chris Combest, Program Director
The School of Music offers a Master of Music degree in Music with specializations in collaborative piano, conducting, jazz studies, music composition, music education, musicology, and performance.
Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.
Admission to the Master of Music degree program requires
- an earned bachelor's degree in music from an accredited university or college;
- an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken (at least 3.00).
All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.
- submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php). Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
- submit official transcripts of all previous college work.
- submit three letters of recommendation.
Additionally, those seeking a specialization in musicology must submit two (2) research papers of at least five (5) pages in length, one of which is on a music topic.
The Master of Music degree in Music with a specialization in musicology requires completion of 30 semester hours.
- complete the curriculum with 70 percent of the total degree hours at the 6000 level (see Curriculum section below for specifics);
- successfully complete both written and oral comprehensive examinations no earlier than the student's last semester of study. Comprehensive examinations may be repeated once;
- Additionally, those with a specialization in musicology must establish proficiencies in music history, music theory*, and foreign language. Musicologists must establish proficiency in one of the following languages: French, German, or Italian.
*NOTE: Diagnostic examinations in music theory and music history will be scheduled during the first week of the semester of study. Students who do not pass the diagnostic examinations should consult with the graduate coordinator to plan how to meet the requirements. Additional courses may be required to satisfy these proficiency requirements.
Curriculum: Music, Musicology
The following illustrates the coursework requirements.
Core Courses (9 hours)
MUS 6620 - Bibliography and Research
Survey of bibliography and problems and methods of research. Analysis and evaluation of research in the arts.
MUTH 6050 - Analytical Techniques
Prerequisite: MUTH 5010 or permission of instructor. Skills and procedures of musical analysis as they apply to all periods through analysis of representative compositions. Evaluation of work from all standpoints: craftsmanship, expression, and stylistic correctness.
MUS 6630 - Music Seminar
Prerequisite: MUS 6620. Study and research of a topic in music determined by the instructor.
Specialization Courses (12 hours)
- Two additional semesters of MUS 6630 Music Seminar (6 credit hours)
- Course at the 6000 level in a related field (must be approved by the graduate coordinator) (3 credit hours)
MUS 6640 - Thesis Research
1 to 6credit hours
Types of research in music surveyed. A problem is selected and developed into a thesis report in acceptable form and style. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's research each semester until completion. S/U grading.
Elective Courses (9 hours)
Proficiency Courses Determined by Placement Examination (0-12 hours)
Either or both of these courses may be required based on the results of the student's diagnostic examinations in music history and music theory:
MUTH 5010 - Theory Survey
A review of musicianship skills and knowledge of musical theory to the degree necessary for the candidate to pursue work at the graduate level. Does not count toward the M.M. in Music. S/U grading.
MUHL 5070 - Music History Survey
1 to 3credit hours
Review of music in history and culture to degree necessary for candidate to pursue work on graduate level. Does not count toward the M.M. in Music. May count toward satisfying proficiencies for the Master of Music. S/U grading.
Students in the musicology specialization must demonstrate reading knowledge or the equivalent of one year of collegiate study of a foreign language (French, Italian, German, or another language approved by the musicology faculty). To satisfy this proficiency, up to two of the following courses may be required:
- ITAL 1010 - Elementary Italian I 3 credit hours
- ITAL 1020 - Elementary Italian II 3 credit hours
- GERM 1010 - Elementary German I 3 credit hours
- GERM 1020 - Elementary German II 3 credit hours
- GERM 5990 - German for Reading Knowledge 3 credit hours
- FREN 1010 - Elementary French I 3 credit hours
- FREN 1020 - Elementary French II 3 credit hours
- FREN 5990 - French for Reading Knowledge 3 credit hours
Our adjunct faculty bring outstanding professional experience to our programs. Many are industry leaders with decorated careers and honors. Importantly, they are innovative educators who offer hands-on learning to our students to prepare them to enter and thrive in a dynamic, and oftentimes emerging, industry and professional world. They inspire, instruct, and challenge our students toward academic and professional success.
General Application Procedures
- Submit through the University’s Application tool (button below):
- Submit application with the appropriate fee
- Submit official transcripts of all previous college work
- Submit three letters of recommendation.
- Email directly to the program coordinator of interested area
- Additional Requirements (video links, papers, compositions, etc)
- By the February 1 deadline
- Complete a Student Application (if interested) for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship
Additional application requirements
Additionally, those seeking a specialization in musicology must submit two (2) research
papers of at least five (5) pages in length, one of which is on a music topic.
Please send writing samples and any questions you might have to Joseph.Morgan@mtsu.edu.
Proficiency Courses Determined by Placement Examination (0-12 hours)
Either or both of these courses may be required based on the results of the student's
diagnostic examinations in music history and music theory:
- MUTH 5010 - Theory Survey 3 credit hours
- MUHL 5070 - Music History Survey 1 to 3 credit hours
In addition, students in the musicology specialization must demonstrate reading knowledge
or the equivalent of one year of collegiate study of a foreign language (French, Italian,
German, or another language approved by the musicology faculty).
Online or Hybrid Programs at a Glance
This program is available .
For More Information or Explore Your Options
Contact your department / program coordinator or advisor for more details about the program OR work one-on-one with your advisor to explore your options.
The Online Advantage
With over 25 years of experience in online teaching and learning, MTSU Online offers students access to innovative, high-quality programs. Designed with students in mind, our courses allow maximum flexibility for those unable to participate in person.
Resources and services for online students are available from MTSU Online or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.