Jul 13, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Music, Composition, M.M.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges

Admission Criteria and Degree Requirements

A student entering a graduate degree program in music is expected to have completed an undergraduate degree with a major in music or its equivalent and have a grade point average of 3.0 or better in music studies.

In addition to The Graduate School requirements, the School of Music administers its own diagnostic examinations in written theory, ear training and music literature prior to the student’s first semester. The school also requires successful completion of any deficiencies by the time 18 credit hours of study have been completed.

In addition to these general requirements, conducting majors must pass examinations in conducting, and those in choral conducting must pass tests in sight singing, keyboard skills and language diction. The faculty/student ratio also allows for a close relationship and provides the opportunity for individualized instruction in many areas.

The School of Music offers a Master of Music degree with concentration options in conducting, music education, performance and composition. The program seeks to provide an opportunity for the highest level of musical development and professional training for each student, appropriate for careers in teaching, performance and composition of music. Conducting majors will undertake a comprehensive study of the literature of their medium, develop advanced insights into the musical ideas and structure of the major works, and refine their conducting and rehearsal skills.

Performance majors will specialize in activities that develop the technical mastery and musical maturity essential to the art of making music involving their chosen instrument or voice. Student composers will immerse themselves in the techniques and aesthetics of musical creation and will become aware, through intensive examination, of the music and musical thought of all style periods, especially that of the present and immediate past. Music education students will examine the foundations and principles underlying the practices of their profession and will develop both scholarly and technical abilities essential to a continuing development as effective teachers and leaders.

All concentrations in the Master of Music degree program must complete a minimum requirement of 32 hours of graduate credit (30 hours in the music education concentration). In addition to opportunities to broaden and improve skills through music electives, music education majors have the option to pursue courses selected from programs in elementary, secondary or higher education. Graduate students who major in non-music programs may elect the graduate music minor, earning a minimum of 12 hours of graduate credit in courses approved by the music school’s coordinator of graduate studies.

As per JMU graduate school requirements, successful completion of the Master of Music degree includes an oral comprehensive examination to be arranged at a date convenient for the master’s candidate, adviser and comprehensive committee.

Students electing to minor in music are expected to have completed an undergraduate minor in music or must demonstrate acceptable competencies or skills appropriate to an undergraduate minor at JMU.

Post-baccalaureate, post-master’s and other qualified students may enroll in certain courses on a limited basis. For details concerning requirements and deadlines, contact the director of graduate studies for the School of Music.


Teaching and non-teaching graduate assistantships in music are awarded each year on a competitive basis. Specific assignments in applied music, ensembles, music education, theory and literature, accompanying and administration are based on students’ qualifications and the School of Music’s needs. In addition to an attractive stipend, all assistantships include tuition scholarship for nine graduate credit hours during each fall and spring semester. For more detailed information, procedures for application and deadlines, contact the director of graduate studies for the School of Music.

Class Fees

There is a once per semester fee for enrollment in MUAP 600  and MUAP 700 , applied lessons . See MyMadison for details.


Students graduating from the M.M. program (with concentrations in Composition, Conducting, Music Education, and Performance) will be able to:


  • formulate a personal creative style of composition.
  • demonstrate the fundamental concepts of form, harmony, counterpoint and orchestration.
  • differentiate and apply the techniques and aesthetics of musical creation.
  • apply the core principles of effective research as scholars and composers.

Master of Music Curriculum

The courses in each Master of Music degree concentration are to be distributed among courses in the major area, cognate courses in music, approved electives and a significant major project.

Concentration projects are:

  • Composition – a composition project

All entering students who apply for admission to the Master of Music degree program are required to complete a core curriculum comprised of 10-11 credits which will serve as a basis for designing their programs of study. The core curriculum is composed of the following: MUS 600. Research Methods  (three credits); specified literature courses (six credits for conducting students, three for all others – choice to be governed in part by placement examination); a theory course designated for the particular concentration (two-three credits); and MUAP, applied study or ensembles (two credits minimum).

All students are expected to complete the core curriculum at the earliest opportunity, in a sequence approved by their adviser.

Prior to the end of the first semester, or after completion of nine hours of credit in the Master of Music program, students will submit a program of study form to the graduate coordinator upon approval by their adviser.

At least one-third of the required credits in a program must be earned in the area of concentration. At least one-half (15-16 credits) of the required total credits must include courses from the 600 level and above. No more than six credits in workshops (501) may be used to meet minimum requirements for the degree.

Concentration Requirements

Total: 32 Credit Hours

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges