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Washington State University Global Campus

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Fall: July 1
Spring: November 15

Class begins

Fall: August 23, 2021
Spring: January 10, 2022

Degree Awarded

Master of Arts
in Music

WSU College

College of Arts and Sciences

Enhance Your Skills, Energize Your Career

WSU’s Master of Arts in Music program, offered completely online, is designed to provide music professionals and educators a convenient way to expand their musical knowledge and boost their careers. This flexible, fully-online degree is ideal for music educators seeking to enhance their skills and credentials while continuing in their teaching positions. It is also an excellent choice for aspiring music teachers and those who work, or wish to work, in the music industry as composers, arrangers, or producers.

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WSU Global Campus Music.

What You’ll Learn

Whether you have yet to begin working in the music field, or are a seasoned professional, this degree will advance and invigorate your career. The program starts with a core curriculum designed to teach critical and musical thinking, symbolic reasoning, communication skills, practical musical abilities, and cultural diversity. Students choose elective courses based on their unique interests and career goals.

Students may choose to focus their learning experience into one of three emphases:

  • Music Education: Provides advanced studies for prospective or current music educators.
  • Composition: Prepares students to pursue careers as composers and arrangers of concert, film, and game media, to teach composition in private or classroom settings, or to pursue doctoral work in music composition.
  • Jazz: Focuses on one or more aspects of jazz, including composition, arranging, pedagogy, or history, in preparation for careers in jazz.

Choosing an emphasis is not required to complete the degree.

WSU Music Program Strengths

  • The highly acclaimed music faculty at WSU includes Fulbright Scholars and national award winners, including the American Prize in Composition and a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. Faculty members have extensive and varied professional experience as teachers, composers, recording artists and engineers, arts administrators, and have won multiple WSU awards for excellence in teaching and creative activity.
  • Graduate students from WSU’s School of Music teach at major universities, community colleges, and public schools. Students have continued their postgraduate work at other prestigious schools of music and achieved success working in the music industry as performers, studio teachers, conductors, composers, arrangers, music promoters, and sound engineers.

Get Started: Application Process

If you have questions about the degree, please contact Graduate Coordinator Keri McCarthy at kmccarthy@wsu.edu.

Degree and GPA Requirements

  • A prospective online Music MA student must have earned (or is in the process of earning) a baccalaureate degree in music from an accredited college or university.
  • The applicant must have a current or final overall GPA of at least 3.0, a current or final GPA of 3.0 in all music coursework, and a current or final GPA of at least 3.0 in both Music History and Music Theory combined, including aural skills.

Grad School Application

Prospective students must fill out an online application that will be submitted directly to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will share this information on to the School of Music. As part of the online application, graduate student applicants supply:

  • Official or unofficial transcripts
  • Names and email contact information for three references, who are contacted electronically for letters by the Graduate School
  • Written Statement of Purpose, at least three paragraphs long, explaining their professional goals and how graduate study will assist them. They may also discuss any aspects of their life that may not be apparent on their application or transcripts but of which they would like the faculty to be made aware.

School of Music Required Materials

In addition to the online application, applicants submit these items directly to Graduate Coordinator Keri McCarthy (kmccarthy@wsu.edu):

  • Link to an audition recording, which must be an unedited recording of a performance or recording session that took place in the past 12 months
  • Music Education emphasis applicants submit a Teaching Philosophy Statement. In this statement, you outline why you want to teach, what you want to teach, and how you want to teach. For the section on how you want to teach, you must reference specific examples of educational methods.
  • Composition emphasis applicants submit scores and recordings of recent compositions.
  • Jazz composition emphasis applicants submit scores of original compositions and/or arrangements

Diagnostic Placement Exams

Entering graduate students take diagnostic placement examinations in theory (including aural skills), music history and literature, and piano proficiency prior to enrolling in classes. These examinations help plan the student’s course of study, including remedying deficiencies.

If a student is deficient in music theory or music history, that student may not enroll in 500-level music theory or music history courses until that deficiency is remedied. If a student is deficient in piano proficiency, the student must retake and pass the piano proficiency exam before graduation.

Program of Study—30 semester credits

All courses are available online.

Required Core of General Studies in Music

18 credits

  • MUS 560 – Introduction to Graduate Studies in Music (2 credits)
  • MUS 553 – Seminar in Music Theory (2 credits)
  • MUS 550 – Seminar in Analysis (2 credits)
  • MUS 561 – Seminar in Literature of 20th Century Music (2 credits)
  • MUS 566 – Seminar in Music History: Baroque (2 credits)
  • 500-level Performance Studies (4 credits)
  • MUS 700/702 – Thesis or Special Project (4 credits; the final 2 credits must be taken in the semester in which the student takes the final oral exam)

Additional Electives: Non-Thesis Option

12 credits minimum

  • MUS 500-level – Composition, Jazz Composition, Jazz Arranging
  • MUS 500-level – Conducting Studies
  • MUS 596 – Topics in Music (6 credits allowed, must be arranged with specific instructors)
  • MUS 362 – History of Jazz (3 credits)
  • MUS 363 – Women in Music (3 credits)
  • Online courses for 500-level credits not within the School of Music pertinent to the student’s musical goals.

Teaching and learning (T & L) courses are not available to graduate students in this program without separate application to the WSU College of Education.

Additional Electives: Thesis Option

12 credits minimum

The Thesis option allows an additional 5 credits of MUS 700, which is included in the 30 required credits. The final 2 credits must be taken in the semester in which the student takes the final oral exam.

  • MUS 500-level – Composition, Jazz Composition, Jazz Arranging
  • MUS 500-level – Conducting Studies
  • MUS 596 – Topics in Music (6 credits allowed, must be arranged with specific instructors)
  • MUS 362 – History of Jazz (3 credits)
  • MUS 363 – Women in Music (3 credits)
  • Online courses for 500-level credits not within the School of Music pertinent to the student’s musical goals.

Teaching and learning (T & L) courses are not available to graduate students in this program without separate application to the WSU College of Education.