Program type:


On Campus
Est. time to complete:

2-3 years
Credit Hours:

60 (with prior M.S.) 90 (with prior B.S.)
Gain a greater understanding of music theory and analysis.
The graduate programs in music theory offer comprehensive professional training in one of the nation's largest colleges of music. Advanced classroom and online instruction in theory and analysis along with one-on-one advising and a multitude of teaching opportunities prepares students for careers as scholars and professors.

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Why earn a degree 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.

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.
Marketable Skills
  • Pedagogical practices
  • Music editing, copying, transcribing and arranging
  • Public event management
  • Book/journal editing, creating and promoting
  • Advance data collection, analysis and interpretation

Music Theory Ph.D. Highlights

UNT is home to the Center of Schenkerian Studies, which boasts a rich collection of unpublished papers and analyses by Schenkerians ripe for discovery and research.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.
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, while teaching assistants contribute to a class taught by a professor through technical management or lab-teaching and review.
UNT’s music theory faculty and graduate students are frequent presenters at regional, national and international conferences and have published books and articles in leading journals across a spectrum of sub-disciplines within the field.

What Can You Do With A Degree in Music Theory?

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.

Music Theory Ph.D. Courses You Could Take

History of Music Theory I (3 hrs)
Topics include theoretical systems and treatises from antiquity to the late 15th century and analysis of related compositions.
History of Music Theory II (3 hrs)
Topics include theoretical systems and treatises from the 16th to early 18th century and analysis of related compositions.
Analytical Systems I (1700–1900) (3 hrs)
This course is an examination of analytical systems from the middle works of Rameau to the harmonic theories of Riemann, Schenker and Schoenberg.
Analytical Systems II (Post 1900) (3 hrs)
This course is an examination of analytical systems in the 20th century.
World Music Analysis (3 hrs)
Topics include analytical approaches to world music; theoretical and practical issues in transcription; and development of new paradigms for transcription, analysis and graphic representation of music.
Proseminar in Music Theory (3 hrs)
Topics include investigation and research; subject matter variable to meet needs of students.

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