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Music Theory


Master’s and Doctoral Programs


Graduate opportunities

The Division of Music History, Theory and Ethnomusicology at the University of North Texas provides advanced instruction and practice that prepares you for a career in music academia and higher education.

Many of our graduates have successful careers as professors or lecturers at colleges and universities in Texas, the U.S. and abroad. Others work with music publishers or in large research libraries.

Professional training

We offer course work leading to a Master of Arts or Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music with a concentration in Music Theory. You’ll be taught by faculty members who’ve garnered national and international recognition for their research. Our comprehensive curriculum exposes you to:

  • Analytical techniques covering the entire history of Western music practice
  • Applied studies in contrapuntal composition
  • History of music theory with direct study of treatises
  • Music theory pedagogy with on-site involvement in class instruction
  • Special focus seminars on music and psychoanalysis, semiotics, transformational theory, post-tonal theory and others

Student focus

You’ll be mentored to present research at conferences (local, national and international) and publish essays in scholarly journals. The division publishes three refereed scholarly journals:

  • Theoria: Historical Aspects of Music Theory – the only international journal devoted to the history of music theory
  • Journal of Schenkerian Studies – representing an international level of research and analysis
  • Harmonia – a publication run by and featuring the work of our graduate students

UNT is home to the Center of Schenkerian Studies, which boasts a rich collection of unpublished papers and analyses by Schenkerians ripe for discovery and research.

The entire division continues to evolve with growing interest in various fields, most recently in Czech and Central European music, jazz theory and pop-music analysis, to name a few.

International study abroad programs can provide you with an array of learning experiences. We collaborate with institutions and scholars in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America for these opportunities.

The Graduate Association of Musicologists und Theorists (GAMuT) is an active group of graduate students who organize an annual academic conference, publish Harmonia and host regular professional development meetings, faculty and student research presentations and social gatherings.

Teaching fellows and assistants

Positions as teaching fellows and teaching assistants are available and allow you to gain hands-on experience. Teaching fellows usually teach two classes a week. Teaching assistants contribute to a class taught by a professor through technical management or lab-teaching and review.

Teaching assistants and fellows also participate in weekly staff meetings for their course and supervise and grade entrance exams the week before classes start. Positions are available for either 10 or 20 hours per week, subject to availability and passing an audition (teaching fellows).

About the college

The College of Music is one of the nation’s most comprehensive music schools and is recognized internationally for its artistic and academic excellence. It’s accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21; Reston, Va. 20190- 5248). This accreditation means the college meets or exceeds strict academic standards for excellence in education.

The college supports a large variety of ensembles, orchestras, choirs and jazz bands that have released numerous recordings, earned Grammy Award nominations and performed throughout the world. Facilities include 300 practice rooms, seven performance venues (including Winspear Hall at the Murchison Performing Arts Center and Voertman Hall), numerous classrooms, rehearsal rooms, computer labs and an intermedia theater.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

You’ll need to meet the admission requirements for the Toulouse Graduate School® and complete the College of Music’s admissions process. The college’s admissions process is outlined at our website. Required materials include:

  • Academic résumé/curriculum vitae
  • Portfolio consisting of two analytical essays
  • Statement of personal interest
  • Three letters of recommendation

Degree requirements

Degree requirements vary depending on the degree you’re pursuing. For specific degree requirements, access the graduate catalog. An advisory committee and faculty mentor will provide guidance as you progress toward your degree.

Financial assistance

Several types of competitive financial assistance programs are available to help you earn your graduate degree. They are:

  • Teaching fellowships and assistantships
  • Graduate Assistantship Tuition Scholarship (for teaching assistants and fellows)
  • Toulouse Fellowship (includes tuition, health benefits and stipend)
  • McNair Fellowship (includes tuition, health benefits and stipend)
  • Master’s and dissertation year scholarships
  • Various internal (division-level) grants that support your research and travel to conferences

All grants are subject to changes and may not be available to all applicants. Please contact us for more information.

Information about federal financial assistance programs is at the Financial Aid website.