Music Theory

Music Theory interview requirements

Master of Music (M.M.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The following audition information is for the 2020-2021 school year. In response to the ongoing global health crisis, we are currently reviewing our audition procedures for the 2021-2022 school year to meet state and university guidelines related to COVID-19. Please check back for updates!


  • Prerequisite for M.M. in Music Theory: Bachelor's degree (B.M. or B.A.) in music
  • Prerequisite for Ph.D. in Music Theory: Master’s degree or substantial coursework in music theory.
    • Students with outstanding credentials may apply directly from a bachelor's degree.

Prescreen portfolio

  • A writing sample:
    • M.M. applicants: a major music analysis paper (eight pages or more) from an upper-level undergraduate class, or a similar project
    • Ph.D. applicants: an extensive music analysis paper (20 pages or more), a master's thesis or similar large project, or two or more contrasting shorter papers
    • The writing sample may be on any topic, but if it does not include analysis of tonal music, applicants are encouraged to also submit one or more items that provide evidence of their understanding of tonal music. Examples might include a harmonic analysis of an extended passage of music or a model composition in a contrapuntal or other style.
  • GRE General Test scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Academic records must also be sent to

Live interview

Applicants invited for an on-campus interview will meet with the department chair and other members of the theory faculty.

You will also complete an audition for an Associate Instructorship. Associate Instructors in music theory gain valuable teaching experience in our undergraduate courses in music theory and literature and in aural skills. The audition includes evaluations of:

  • Your skills in harmony, analysis, musical style, and music literature.
  • Your skills in sight-singing, dictation, and keyboard facility.
  • Your prior teaching experience.
  • Your ability to explain musical materials clearly and correctly.

Please review the qualifying information on the Music Theory page before signing up for an audition.

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