Music Theory


Degree Requirements for the PhD

Doctor of Philosophy in Music Theory

Music theory at Indiana University emphasizes musicianship and scholarly study with particular emphasis on the history of musical thought, analysis of musical structure, and pedagogy.

More detailed information is available here.


Applicants for the PhD in music theory must ordinarily have received a master's degree in music theory or musicology or the demonstrated equivalent. Students with outstanding credentials may apply directly from a bachelor's degree. Students are required to demonstrate competency in all areas required of the MM in music theory at Indiana University, and may be exempted from certain courses on the recommendation of the department. Applicants must apply both to the Graduate Division of the Jacobs School of Music and to the University Graduate School.

In addition to three letters of recommendation, applicants should also submit two extensive, formal research papers or a master's thesis in music theory or musicology. An individual interview and audition for an Associate Instructorship are also required; applicants are expected to be proficient in sight singing, aural skills, and keyboard harmony. The applicant's scores on the GRE General Test must be received by the application deadline.


36-66 credit hours.

Foundation Courses: T550 Readings in Music Theory (3 cr.), T551 Analytical Techniques for Tonal Music (3 cr.), T555 Schenkerian Analysis (3 cr.), T556 Analysis of Music Since 1900 (3 cr.), T565 Stylistic Counterpoint: Variable Topics (3 cr.), T591 Teaching of Music Theory (3 cr.).

Advanced courses: T623–T624 History of Music Theory I-II (3-3 cr.), T658 Seminar in Music Theory: Variable Topics (3-3-3-3-3-3 cr.; students may substitute up to 6 credits of T561 Music Theory: Variable Topics, T619 Projects and Problems in Music Theory, or courses outside music theory with the approval of the advisory committee), T700 Dissertation in Music Theory (9-24 cr.). The dissertation topic must be approved by the music theory faculty before the oral qualifying exams are taken.

Public Lecture

T659 Public Lecture (0 cr.). The public lecture must be completed before taking the oral qualifying examinations.

Minor Field

12 credit hours. PhD students in music theory must complete a 12-credit minor either in music history and literature or in musicology. See more information here.

Other required credits

12 credit hours. Effective in 2014, 12 credits of general electives replace the second minor formerly required of PhD students. A second minor can, however, still be completed if desired. See more information here.

Tool Subjects

M539 Introduction to Music Bibliography (2 cr.) with a grade of B or higher.

Reading knowledge of two non-English languages as demonstrated by examination or by grades of B or higher in two semesters of reading courses at the graduate level in each; or reading knowledge of one language and demonstration of proficiency in one research skill, approved by the department and the director of graduate studies of the School of Music. More information about the language requirement is available here.