Master of Music
Unit and Grade Requirements
Thirty units of graduate work are required; a minimum of 15 units (excluding thesis or project) must be at the 500 level or higher. All students must satisfy the specified requirements of their major department (see department chair or academic adviser). 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.
Thesis/Project/Portfolio Requirements and Qualifying Exam Committees
A composition portfolio is required of candidates for the Master of Music degree in composition; a thesis or final project is required of candidates for the Master of Music degree in music education. For music education majors, the thesis will consist of a research document written on a topic approved by the music teaching and learning department; the final project will consist of a creative project that will present the arrangement, production or design of innovative ideas, materials or curricula for specific applications in teaching music. Before registering for 594a Thesis, or a similarly required course for a capstone project or portfolio, a student must establish a qualifying exam 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 qualifying exam committee directly supervises the preparation of the thesis, the final acceptance of which is based upon the unanimous recommendation of all three members of the committee.
One or more public recitals are required of all candidates for the Master of Music degree, as indicated below. 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 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.
Master of Music in Performance (Keyboard Collaborative Arts)
Applicants must hold the Bachelor of Music degree with a major in piano or keyboard collaborative arts or equivalent background as determined by the collaborative arts faculty. It is strongly suggested that students who have not previously taken courses in Italian, French, English and German diction, or in song literature, enroll in the appropriate course(s) (MPVA 440 , MPVA 441 , MPVA 479 ) as part of their electives.