Masters Degrees

Master of Music in Music Theory

All materials below must be recieved by Dec 1.  Applicants will be notified by mid-December about whether they are invited to interview at MSU in early February.

Michigan State University Application

Complete the online application to Michigan State University. There is a nonrefundable application fee. Apply early if you want to be considered for financial aid, a graduate assistantship, or a fellowship. 

College of Music Supplemental Application

Submit the online College of Music Supplemental Application. There is a $60 nonrefundable application fee.

Personal Statement

Applicants must submit a statement of about 500 to 700 words that explains why they are interested in earning a graduate degree in music theory, how the degree fits in with and prepares them for their intended professional career, and how their prior experience prepares them to succeed in this degree program.

Writing Sample

Submit one or two scholarly essays that demonstrate clear and persuasive writings as well as analytical engagement with one or more piece(s) of music or topic(s) in music theory.  It is not necessary for the essay(s) to incorporate other published scholarship such as that from music theory journals and books, although that is certainly welcome.  Overall, the writing should demonstrate an applicant's analytical skill and thoughtfulness as well as the ability to express these thoughts clearly.

Curriculum Vitae

To be considered for a fellowship or teaching assistantship, please provide a curriculum vitae that includes all relevant education and professional experience including:

  • Group teaching experience (where, when, how long, what classes, how many, etc.)
  • Private teaching experiences (where, when, how long, ages of students)
  • Previous experience as a graduate assistant

Letters of Recommendation

Request letters of recommendation from three individuals familiar with your work in music theory courses, your research and scholarly abilities, and your experience and capabilities as a teacher.  Internal applicants may request letters from MSU music theory faculty.

IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT ONLINE SUBMISSIONS: The College of Music prefers to receive letters of recommendation online. Although the MSU Graduate Application also accepts letters of recommendation online, please do not use that application for your letters of recommendation. Please use only the College of Music application to submit your letters.

Optional Portfolio

Applicants may, but need not, submit other examples of work in music theory, such as compositions in historic styles, counterpoint excercises, or other items representative of their work in music theory. 


Complete applications will be reviewed in December. Within two weeks of the Dec 1 review, select candidates will be invited to the MSU campus to interview on a Friday in early February.  Please contact Prof. Michael Callahan for details.


Submit one official transcript from every college or university attended. Transcripts are considered official when mailed by the institution directly to the College of Music at the address below.

College of Music - Office of Admissions
Michigan State University
253 Music Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

Electronic transcripts: MSU accepts e-transcripts only from U.S. schools if sent directly to us by the school.  Please send to


Additional requirements for International Graduate Applicants.