MA in Music Theory

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MA in Music Theory students will encounter a wide variety of course options offered by a diverse, energetic faculty. All of our graduate students engage with the important major areas of Western music theory, including Schenkerian analysis, set theory and serialism, and the history of music theory. Additionally, areas of special interest include: critical studies, neo-Riemannian transformation theory, neo-Classicism and chromaticism. A strong contemporary music presence and cross-disciplinary approach to music study ensure a lively, close-knit community of composers, performers and scholars.

One of UB’s greatest resources, and fundamental to all of our degree tracks, is the Music Library, conveniently located on-site in Baird Hall. The Music Library possesses unusually strong collections in the areas of jazz, rare editions and contemporary music, including related graphic arts. 

Students who join the MA in Music Theory track encounter a stimulating environment for exploring and pursuing the many avenues open within music scholarship today.

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Course Requirements

The following is the approved normal course of study for students pursuing the MA in Music Theory. In all cases, a student's particular program should be determined in consultation with his/her academic advisor.  Customized tracks, involving substitutions for required and elective courses, are encouraged. These must be planned in advance with the advisor and will require the approval of the Music Department Graduate Committee.

Courses Credits
MUS 554, 613 or 614 Studies or Seminar in Music Theory 4
MUS 621 Schenker Studies I 4
MUS 629 Pitch Structures I 4
MUS 605 or 606 History of Music Theory 4
MUS 515, 517, 525, 526, 527, 528, or 529 Music History 4
MUS 618 Bibliography 4
Foreign Language (See below)  
Thesis  8
Total 32

foreign language requirement

One foreign language, normally German or French, although a different language can be substituted upon petition. The department advises students to complete the language requirement as early as possible, as many graduate courses require research in a foreign language.


The student must submit a final project that demonstrates advanced competence in research and writing. This project may be a thesis, a series of special papers, or a written work of equivalent scope and depth.

Retention standards

All degree coursework must be completed with grades of "A," B," or "S."


Contact professor Brian Moseley, Music Theory Area Coordinator

Brian Moseley

Associate Professor (Music Theory); Area Coordinator; Music Theory

Department of Music

418 Baird Hall

Phone: (716) 645-0646