The MM in sacred music consists of course work in sacred music, choral conducting, choral literature, choral development, music history, and vocal arts. The program culminates with a graduate recital or project.
Admission to Thornton programs is granted through the USC admission process. Applicants are screened by appropriate faculty selection committees. Specific entrance requirements are reviewed on an annual basis and published online at music.usc.edu.
Unit and Grade Requirements
Students must complete at least 26 semester units at USC, including the thesis or recital. A grade point average of not less than 3.0 (A = 4.0) is required for all graduate courses in music, and a grade of B or higher is required for all courses in the major department. Students who transfer credits must achieve this average on all combined transferred and residence units.
All credits transferred must be the equivalent of corresponding current work at USC. Course work completed at another institution that has been approved by the Thornton School for transfer credit must have been completed within seven years from the date of admission to a master’s degree program to be applied toward that degree. Transfer credit petitions must be filed with the appropriate Thornton adviser during the first semester in residence.
The time limit for completing the Master of Music degree is five years. Progress is measured from the beginning of the first course at USC applied toward the degree. Extensions will be granted by petition to the Thornton School for only the most compelling reasons.
Music Graduate Entrance Exams
All students entering a graduate-level degree program (MA, MM, DMA, PhD) at USC Thornton, who have not previously completed a degree at USC Thornton, must take a series of entrance exams in core music subjects. These exams are called Music Graduate Entrance Exams (MGEEs). Information regarding which exams are required for specific majors is available from the Thornton Student Affairs office. Also see the Thornton School of Music Admission to Graduate Standing section of this catalogue for specific policies relating to these exams.
Students majoring in Sacred Music must complete a recital or a project, as approved by the department. Candidates completing the recital must perform one public recital. Candidates must apply for recital dates, according to the current guidelines of the Music Operations office. Some departments require that a candidate be prepared to play or conduct the recital program for the approval of a faculty committee in advance. Candidates completing the project must work with the department to determine the details for this requirement.
Candidates for the Master of Music must pass a comprehensive review toward the end of their course of study, usually in the final semester. This review, which is administered by the faculty of the major department, consists of an oral or written examination, covering relevant aspects of musical performance, literature, and/or technique. A final oral examination in sacred music and related areas will be administered by the sacred and choral music faculty.
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