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Music, Musicology Specialization, M.M.

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The Master of Music degree program with a musicology specialization is an advanced course of study for musicians holding the Bachelor’s degree. It permits the interdisciplinary study of music by examining when, where, how, and why people create, experience, understand and write about music. Coursework in the program is designed to provide access to in-depth studies of music history and culture while the free electives allow for the student to conduct specialized and cross-disciplinary investigations into their chosen topic of study. The program typically provides students the skills needed to continue their studies towards the Ph.D. in Musicology.

What We're Doing

Chris Pfeifer

Graduate says professors' support helped him accomplish dreams

Growing up in Maryland, Chris Pfeifer has been drawn to music for as long as he can remember, buying first guitar from a pawn shop after saving his allowance. It was while in college that he realized he was more attracted to music research and teaching than composition. Soon his education journey led him to MTSU where he earned his Master’s degree. “The curriculum was exciting and challenging,” he said, adding the support of his professors and School of Music Staff was … “When I struggled with the myriad pressures of grad school, my professors and T.A. supervisor were always there to help rather than let me flounder. MTSU separates itself by having outstanding educators who can teach students not only how to become better musicians and scholars, but also how to become skillful teachers themselves.” Pfeifer is now preparing for the dissertation phase of his Ph.D. “I could not have accomplished (this) without the help of the amazing faculty and staff of MTSU,” he said.

Dr. Gregory Reish

Musicology program prepares students for future careers

Dr. Gregory Reish, a musicologist and music historian, was hired as the director of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music in 2014. “The Center for Popular Music is one of the world’s largest research archives of rare materials related to the study of American popular music in all of its breadth. Other universities don’t have this, and it really is one of our greatest treasures and resources,” he said. Dr. Reish says that MTSU’s musicology program prepares students for admission to a doctoral program or careers like publishing or music criticism. “Getting an advanced degree in a discipline like musicology is about much more than just taking your classes, writing your papers, and passing your exams (all of which are important!). It’s also about learning how to work with original resources, how the academic study of music history fits into the larger worlds of the university and the community, and how to engage with audiences of all sorts. It’s about being a steward of an immensely rich cultural tradition, preserving it, teaching it, and passing it down to subsequent generations.”

Related Media

  • MTSU College of Graduate Studies

    MTSU College of Graduate Studies


Alumni from the School of Music teach thousands of students every day in private studios and schools from kindergarten through university levels. MTSU graduates perform in orchestras, military ensembles, and opera companies; appear in clubs and recording studios with the famous and yet-to-be-known; compose music for Hollywood films and commercial jingles; lead professional music organizations; work in the music industry; serve as church musicians; and continually enrich the lives of others. Some continue on to enter prestigious doctoral programs. A sample of potential professional pathways for music master's students:

  • College professor/instructor
  • Composer/arranger/orchestrator
  • Conductor
  • Concert promoter
  • Copyright specialist
  • Music critic/journalist
  • Music librarian
  • Music publisher/editor
  • Musicologist
  • Orchestra librarian
  • Publicist
  • Record company manager
  • Salesperson/marketer

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Bellevue Middle School
  • Belmont University
  • Cane Ridge High School
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Chattanooga Symphony
  • Cumberland University
  • The Downtown Band
  • Earl Klugh (Grammy winner)
  • EMBRA Artists, LTD.
  • Fairview Middle School
  • Jeff Coffin (Grammy winner)
  • Jonathan Fletcher Music
  • Lipscomb University
  • MEINL Percussion
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Murfreesboro City Schools
  • Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Nashville State Community College
  • Northeast Mississippi Community College
  • Old Center Elementary School, Nashville
  • Onks Woodwind Specialist
  • Siegel Middle School
  • Trevecca Nazarene University
  • University of Louisiana-Lafayette
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • Vine Street Christian Church, Nashville


The School of Music’s Masters of Music Degree is offered with seven graduate specializations:

A minor in Music is offered at the graduate level.

Applicants must

  • hold (or be about to receive) an undergraduate degree in music;
  • have an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken (at least 3.0);
  • depending on specialization, either do an audition or submit an audition audio or video-recording; submit scores and recordings of compositions; submit written samples of scholarship; or submit a 30-minute video-recording demonstrating teaching ability;
  • complete entrance examinations in music history and music theory to plan initial course of study;

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.


MTSU's School of Music offers an undergraduate major in Music leading to Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree in the following concentrations:

Undergraduate minors in Music, American Music Studies, and Music Industry are also available. 

Teacher licensure

Students seeking a license to teach music in the public schools must complete

  • a major in Music following the concentration in either Instrumental Music Education or Vocal/General Music Education K–12,
  • a minor in Secondary Education,
  • the General Education Program, and
  • additional teacher licensure requirements.

Music, Musicology Specialization, M.M.

Joseph Morgan, Program Director
(615) 904-8043

The School of Music offers a Master of Music degree in Music with specializations in collaborative piano, conducting, jazz studies, music composition, music composition for contemporary media, music education, musicology, and performance.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Music degree program requires

  1. an earned bachelor's degree in music from an accredited university or college;
  2. an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken (at least 3.00).

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
  2. submit official transcripts of all previous college work.
  3. submit three letters of recommendation.

Additionally, those seeking a specialization in musicology must submit two (2) research papers of at least five (5) pages in length, one of which is on a music topic.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Music degree in Music with a specialization in musicology requires completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours.

Candidates must

  1. complete the curriculum with 70 percent of the total degree hours at the 6000 level (see Curriculum section below for specifics);
  2. successfully complete both written and oral comprehensive examinations no earlier than the student's last semester of study. Comprehensive examinations may be repeated once;
  3. Additionally, those with a specialization in musicology must establish proficiencies in music history, music theory*, and foreign language. Musicologists must establish proficiency in one of the following languages: French, German, or Italian.

*NOTE: Diagnostic examinations in music theory and music history will be scheduled during the first week of the semester of study. Students who do not pass the diagnostic examinations should consult with the graduate coordinator to plan how to meet the requirements. Additional courses may be required to satisfy these proficiency requirements.

Curriculum: Music, Musicology

The following illustrates the minimum coursework requirements.

Core Courses (9 hours)


  • MUS 6620 - Bibliography and Research

    3credit hours

    Survey of bibliography and problems and methods of research. Analysis and evaluation of research in the arts.

  • MUTH 6050 - Analytical Techniques

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MUTH 5010 or permission of instructor. Skills and procedures of musical analysis as they apply to all periods through analysis of representative compositions. Evaluation of work from all standpoints: craftsmanship, expression, and stylistic correctness.

  • MUS 6630 - Music Seminar  3 credit hours  

    MUS 6630 - Music Seminar

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MUS 6620. Study and research of a topic in music determined by the instructor.

Specialization Courses (12 hours)


  • Two additional semesters of MUS 6630 Music Seminar (6 credit hours)
  • Course at the 6000 level in a related field (must be approved by the graduate coordinator) (3 credit hours)
  • MUS 6640 - Thesis Research  1 to 6 credit hours  
    3 credit hours(3 credit hours)  dotslash:(3 credit hours) title:3 credit hours 
    (3 credit hours) 

    MUS 6640 - Thesis Research

    1 to 6credit hours

    Types of research in music surveyed. A problem is selected and developed into a thesis report in acceptable form and style. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's research each semester until completion. S/U grading.

Elective Courses (9 hours)


Proficiency Courses Determined by Placement Examination (0-12 hours)

Either or both of these courses may be required based on the results of the student's diagnostic examinations in music history and music theory:

  • MUTH 5010 - Theory Survey  3 credit hours  

    MUTH 5010 - Theory Survey

    3credit hours

    A review of musicianship skills and knowledge of musical theory to the degree necessary for the candidate to pursue work at the graduate level. Does not count toward the M.M. in Music. S/U grading.

  • MUHL 5070 - Music History Survey  1 to 3 credit hours  

    MUHL 5070 - Music History Survey

    1 to 3credit hours

    Review of music in history and culture to degree necessary for candidate to pursue work on graduate level. Does not count toward the M.M. in Music. May count toward satisfying proficiencies for the Master of Music. S/U grading.

Additional Study

In addition, the equivalent of one year of foreign language study in one of Italian, German, and French must be demonstrated. To satisfy this proficiency, up to two of the following courses may be required:

  • ITAL 1010 - Elementary Italian I 3 credit hours
  • ITAL 1020 - Elementary Italian II 3 credit hours
  • GERM 1010 - Elementary German I 3 credit hours
  • GERM 1020 -  Elementary German II 3 credit hours
  • GERM 5990 - German for Reading Knowledge 3 credit hours
  • FREN 1010 - Elementary French I 3 credit hours
  • FREN 1020 - Elementary French II 3 credit hours
  • FREN 5990 - French for Reading Knowledge 3 credit hours

General Application Procedures

  1. Submit through the University’s Application tool (button below):
    1. Submit application with the appropriate fee
    2. Submit official transcripts of all previous college work
    3. Submit three letters of recommendation.
  2. Email directly to the program coordinator of interested area
    1. Additional Requirements (video links, papers, compositions, etc)
  3. By the March 1 deadline
    1. Complete a Student Application (if interested) for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship

Additional application requirements

Additionally, those seeking a specialization in musicology must submit two (2) research papers of at least five (5) pages in length, one of which is on a music topic.

Please send writing samples and any questions you might have to

Proficiency Courses Determined by Placement Examination (0-12 hours)

Either or both of these courses may be required based on the results of the student's diagnostic examinations in music history and music theory:

  • MUTH 5010 - Theory Survey 3 credit hours  
  • MUHL 5070 - Music History Survey 1 to 3 credit hours  

Additional Study

In addition, students in the musicology specialization must demonstrate reading knowledge or the equivalent of one year of collegiate study of a foreign language (French, Italian, German, or another language approved by the musicology faculty).

Contact Information

Coordinator of Musicology and the School of Music Graduate Program
Professor Joseph E. Morgan

Who is My Advisor?

Coordinator of Musicology and the School of Music Graduate Program
Professor Joseph E. Morgan

Mailing Address

School of Music
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 47
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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