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Bachelor of Music in Music Theory and Composition

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Music Theory and Composition

To graduate, the student must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in music theory and composition courses on both the first- and second-year and the junior/senior levels.

Students majoring in music theory (B.A. or B.M.) or music composition (B.M.) must complete MTHC 105, MTHC 115, and MTHC 205 before preparing a portfolio of their work for application to the professional sequence. The earliest a student may submit a portfolio is the fourth semester. Transfer students must be in residence for at least 1 semester before they can submit a portfolio.

This portfolio must include recent work (scholarly papers for music theory and musical compositions for composers), 2 letters of recommendation (1 from the student’s major instrument instructor and 1 from a MTHC professor who has had the student in a class), and a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in MTHC courses. The student may be asked to provide a demonstration of musicality on his or her major instrument.

Portfolios are accepted once each semester for admission to the professional sequence the following semester. The portfolio is assessed by the MTHC faculty with one of 3 recommendations: admit, revise and resubmit next semester, or denied. Students in music theory are not allowed to enroll in MTHC 499 Senior Research Project. Students in composition are not allowed to enroll in MTHC 583 Composition and MTHC 498 Undergraduate Recital without a favorable recommendation from the faculty.

Applied Music Requirement

Students must enroll in 16 hours of applied music and 8 hours in piano, organ, and/or harpsichord. In addition, they must pass a keyboard proficiency examination by demonstrating an ability to play all major and minor scales, short works in harmonic and contrapuntal styles, a movement of a sonata, and sight reading a keyboard accompaniment of moderate difficulty.

Undergraduate Performance Recitals

Undergraduate theory and composition majors are not required to perform half a senior recital on the major instrument or in voice, but they are encouraged to do so by the MTHC faculty. Musicianship and performance experience are integral to the student’s learning experience.

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B.M. Degree Requirements for the Music Theory Major

A total of 127 hours is required, distributed as follows:

MTHC 105 Theory I 4
MTHC 115 Theory II 4
MTHC 205 Theory III 4
MTHC 410 Form and Analysis 3
MTHC 541 Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint 3
MTHC 542 Sixteenth-Century Counterpoint 3
MTHC 432 Introduction to the Analysis of Contemporary Music 3
MTHC 433 Advanced Analysis of Contemporary Music 3
MTHC 499 Senior Research Project 4
MTHC 674 Orchestration I 3
MTHC 676 Orchestration II 3
MTHC 678 Electro-Acoustic Composition I 3

Music Composition (4 hours)

MTHC 253 Composition (2 hours, 2 semesters) 4

Musicology (10 hours)

MUSC 320 Music History I 2
MUSC 340 Music History II 3
MUSC 440 Music History III 3
MUSC 480 Music History IV 2

Other (73 hours)

Applied music lessons (8 semesters) 16
Piano, organ, and/or harpsichord 8
MEMT 116 Performance Media: Computers, Synthesizers, and Electronics 1
COND 245 Conducting I 2
REC 100 Laboratory in Music Performance (4 semesters) 0
Electives, including at least 15 hours in nonmusic courses 19
Ensembles (8 semesters)
ENGL 101, ENGL 102, and ENGL 203, ENGL 209, ENGL 210, or ENGL 211 9
Foreign language (first 2 semesters of  1 language) 10
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B.M. Degree Requirements for the Composition Major

A total of 127 hours is required for the degree. Courses should be distributed as described for the major in music theory with the following exceptions:

  • Students with a major in composition must offer in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements a recital of approximately 45 minutes duration consisting of original works in various media. This is MTHC 498, listed below.
  • MTHC 499 is not required.

Music Composition

MTHC 583 Composition (2 hours, 3 semesters) 6
MTHC 498 Undergraduate Recital 1
MTHC 680 Electro-Acoustic Composition II 3


At least 12 hours in nonmusic courses 13
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