Jun 20, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Community Music (MM)

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The Master of Music in Community Music is for musicians with a commitment to developing the necessary skills and best understandings of music teaching and learning in community settings. The program will build upon music preparation from the undergraduate level with course work designed to nurture skills in community music teaching, program development, professional practice, scholarship and research. With the wide range of courses available, the program can be tailored for a variety of student goals. This degree provides an academic link to the rich music learning opportunities available through community programs in urban Los Angeles and, in particular, to the Thornton Community Engagement Programs. 


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 a capstone and comprehensive review. 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.

Transferred Credits

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.

Time Limit

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 this graduate-level degree program 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 USC Thornton School of Music  Admission to Graduate Standing section of this catalogue for specific policies relating to these exams.

Capstone and Comprehensive Review

A final project is required for candidates as a capstone for the Master of Music in Community Music. The project will consist of a scholarly document written on a topic approved by the Music Teaching and Learning department. Candidates must also submit a comprehensive portfolio of representative work product consistent with their work in classes and in the field.

Guidance Committee

Before registering for MTAL 592 , a student must establish a guidance committee composed of three members of the faculty, approved by the department chair, of which at least two are from the home department. The chair of the guidance committee directly supervises the preparation of the project. The final acceptance of the project and portfolio is based upon the unanimous recommendation of all three members of the committee.

Curriculum Requirements

Program Intensive Courses (minimum of 22 units)*

Applied Music (4 units)

Select four units from the following areas of musical study:

Courses in songwriting, arranging, composition, improvisation, conducting; individual instruction (lessons); or ensemble. Courses must be at the 500-level.

Capstone and Comprehensive Review (4 units)

Total Units: Minimum of 30**

*Students must select courses accordingly to complete a minimum of 22 units from the Program Intensive Courses.

**A minimum of 30 units are needed to complete the degree

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