Minor in Music Theory

I. Purpose

  • To cultivate the most talented undergraduate students through specialized study in music theory.
  • To illustrate the benefits of such higher-level study to students and colleagues.

II. Curriculum Overview


The Chair will administer the Music Theory minor and advise students as to course selection. Music Theory minors will subsequently choose a supervisor for the capstone project from among the Music Theory faculty (see below).


The student will take three courses in advanced music theory, choosing from eligible graduate and Theory 6 electives. In addition will be one skills class (either 710.323: Ear Training 3 or 530.633–634 Advanced Keyboard Skills for Pianists).
As of this writing, all Theory 6 electives and all graduate seminars with the exception of Baroque Counterpoint, Orchestration, and Instrumentation and Arranging are considered eligible courses. The list of eligible courses may change in the future, so you must check with the Chair in order to ensure that the courses you wish to take will count towards the minor in Music Theory.

Capstone Project

Building on the work produced in one of the courses taken during the senior year, the student will complete a large research paper, the topic to be chosen by the student in consultation with the Department Chair and the instructor of the course. The course instructor will supervise and grade the Capstone Project, which will count for one credit separate from the course itself.

Course Eligibility

The Theory Department will list courses that are eligible for minor credit, as well as requirements for the Capstone Project. Students must achieve a grade of “B” or better in each course plus the Capstone Project paper for minor credit to be received.

III. Suggested Curriculum Timeline for Students Wishing to Complete the Minor

Spring, Junior Year

  • Graduate or Theory 6 elective course (in addition to the normal core curriculum Theory 6 elective) (3 credits)

Fall, Senior Year

  • Graduate theory course (3 credits)
  • Ear Training 3 or Graduate Keyboard Skills (pianists only) (2 credits)

Spring, Senior Year

  • Graduate or Theory 6 elective course (3 credits)
  • Capstone Project (1 credit) (May be taken in the Fall instead.)

Total number of credits: 12

While this schedule is envisioned as standard, it will be possible, with the permission of the theory faculty, to take two courses at once, enabling the student to complete all requirements in the Senior Year.

IV. Admissions standards

  • 3.0 overall GPA, 3.5 GPA in music theory courses
  • Permission of the student’s major teacher
  • Approval of the Theory Department

Master of Music in Music Theory Pedagogy

The program leading to the degree of Master of Music provides for intensive development of performance skills, extensive knowledge of the literature in the major field of study, and achievement of a broadened knowledge of the art. (More information)

The Master of Music in Music Theory Pedagogy is intended for musicians with an interest in teaching music theory. In addition to courses in music theory pedagogy, students take courses in counterpoint, analysis, and 20th-century music as well as Music Bibliography and two musicology seminars.

More information