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Graduate Degrees in Music

Our graduate music programs guide students to academic fulfillment through professional training and musicianship, while offering rigorous academics in a range of subjects.

Each of our music masters degrees nurtures students who wish to prepare for careers as professional performers, teachers, or church musicians. A music masters program provides graduates with greater career opportunities, higher earning prospects, and a breadth of knowledge that goes far deeper than any undergraduate program.

Each 32-hour program follows the traditional semester format with classes meeting face-to-face or online. Summer courses are also available.

Each degree features a common core curriculum, equaling about 1/3 of the total hours, which encompasses the breadth of scope expected of any graduate degree in music: music theory, music history, and methods of research.

We are thrilled to offer a fully-online Master of Music in Music Education beginning Fall 2016!


The School of Music offers two graduate degrees, each with a variety of tracks:

Master of Arts (MA)

  • Music – Designed to provide students with a broad range of musical coursework, without a specialization.
  • Musicology – A research-based degree that culminates with a thesis.
  • Worship – Designed to further equip students to face of the needs of today’s Christian Church

Master of Music (MM)

  • Conducting – Designed for students who seek a professional, performance-based career as a conductor
  • Instrumental Performance – Created for students with exceptional skill in wind, string, or percussion who seek a career in professional performance
  • Piano Pedagogy & Performance – Designed to prepare students for careers in piano instruction while also honing performance skills
  • Vocal Pedagogy & Performance – Designed to prepare students for careers as both professional vocalists and music educators
  • Music Education (Online) – this 100% fully-online degree was designed with the busy music educator in mind. Learn more at Campbellsville University’s online Master of Music in Music Education.

Graduate Admission Criteria

  1. Possession of a bachelor’s degree in music, or permission from the Graduate Music Admissions Committee.
  2. Submission of two letters of recommendation including one from an individual who can speak to the applicant’s academic and/or professional capabilities or potential.
  3. Submission of official transcripts of all college work from accredited institutions (both undergraduate and graduate) confirming a minimum GPA 2.75 on a 4.0 scale overall, including professional education courses, if applicable, and in the applicant’s undergraduate major or academic emphasis.
  4. Submission of an essay which discusses the applicant’s interest in and commitment to graduate study.
  5. Presentation of an audition. Live auditions are preferred; recordings of recent live performances are accepted with prior arrangement.
  6. All applicants must pass an entrance examination in music theory and music history and literature, and take appropriate steps to remediate any deficiencies.
  7. International students must show proficiency in English as a Second Language either through the TOEFL Exam (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or by completing the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Campbellsville University. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based exam or 213 on the computer-based exam.
  8. MAM Musicology: Applicants must demonstrate a reading ability in either French or German. This may be satisfied by taking first-year French or German at the undergraduate level with a grade of B or higher.
  9. MM Music Education: Applicants must submit passing PRAXIS scores, a copy of teaching certificate, and a disposition form (provided by School of Education).

International Admission Criteria

International Students: In addition to the above admissions criteria, international students must also:

  1. Submit transcripts to World Education Services for evaluation and translation.
  2. Take and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum score of 550 on the paper-based exam; 79-80 on the internet-based exam.

All application forms required for international students are available through the Center for International Education.


All students desiring admission to a music graduate program must audition for the music faculty. Audition performances should show evidence of competence and will be rated by the faculty as to the ability and potential of the individual.

Apply to audition online.

MM Performance Auditions: Applicants seeking admission to the Master of Music in Performance will submit a list of performed repertoire and present a live audition before a panel of music faculty.  Recordings of a live performance will be accepted for conditional admission pending presentation of a live audition before the completion of the first semester of study.

  • Keyboard & Instrumental: Minimum of 20 minutes of music and a minimum of two works in contrasting style. Percussionists should follow these recommendations.
  • Vocal: By memory, a minimum of 20 minutes of upper-level repertoire representing each of the following areas: Baroque literature, German lieder, French melody, opera aria, and American or British art song.

Conducting: Applicants will come to campus the semester prior to enrollment and conduct an ensemble rehearsal as their live audition.  If an applicant cannot come to campus, he or she may submit a recorded audition for admission into the MAM program until such time as they can give a live audition on campus.

Composition: Students who wish to pursue composition as their primary applied area at the master’s level will submit two recent compositions that represent different performance media and different post-1900 musical styles. Students will submit an essay with each composition providing specific details about the composers and works that have provided inspiration or models. The essay will also include specific details about the techniques and procedures that went into the composition of the piece, using terms and concepts learned in the student’s undergraduate theory coursework such as Theory I through IV, Form and Analysis, Orchestration, Counterpoint, and Choral Arranging.

Each composition and essay will be submitted in a three-ring binder, and will include a printed copy of the score along with a sound recording. Recordings of live performances will be preferable, but recordings from the computer will be acceptable. The materials will be evaluated by a panel of three or more members of the music faculty.

Cost & Financial Assistance

Cost (Grad programs-per credit hour, Tech Center pricing structure)

  • Coursework & Ensembles – $399 per credit hour
  • Applied Music – $399 per credit hour + fees ($150 for 1 hr; $255 for 2 hrs; $375 for 3 hrs)
  • Subject to change. Please see the Tigernet Tuition page for current prices.

All of our full-time graduate students are considered for music scholarships of varying amounts based on their application and their ability to contribute to the School of Music in ensembles or as accompanists. We do not offer music scholarships to students in ESL, but we do encourage ESL students to participate in ensembles as they are able.

We also offer several Graduate Assistantships each year. To be considered, please submit the application by May 1.

General Degree Requirements

  1. The program consists of successfully completing 32 semester hours of credit as specified in the applicant’s degree plan.
  2. No D grades and no more than 3 hours of C grades will count toward degree completion; no grade below B- will be allowed for applied study; the candidate must also have an overall 3.0 grade-point average for graduation.
  3. A maximum of 6 semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred from other accredited graduate institutions if those credits match the course requirements of the graduate program. Approval of transfer credits will result from an examination of the transcript (accompanied by appropriate documentation) by the Graduate Music Admissions Committee.
  4. A maximum of 6 hours may be taken by appointment.
  5. The graduate student will be required to present a recital of 40-60 minutes or compile a research paper of a minimum 35 pages.
  6. A final comprehensive examination is required.

Admission to Degree Candidacy

Admission to candidacy for the Masters degrees requires the student to complete the following:

  1. Fifteen semester hours of graduate-level course work.
  2. Achievement of a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in all graduate-level courses taken at the University and those approved for transfer to be applied to fulfillment of degree requirements.
  3. Successful completion of all applicable entrance examinations.

Entrance Examinations

All entering graduate students are required to pass an entrance examination. The examination covers written music theory, music literature, and music history. The exam is designed to determine a student’s current knowledge. The exam is not intentionally difficult or tricky. Students with low scores on either section are required to complete remedial coursework.

Written Theory Study Guide

Music History and Literature

  • Identification of historical periods
  • Listening examples – labeling period, performance medium & composer
  • General multiple-choice questions spanning all historical periods
  • Matching composer with compositions & styles

Culminating Projects

Master of Arts
  • Music – graduate recital or thesis
  • Musicology – thesis
  • Worship – graduate recital, thesis, or action-based research project
Master of Music
  • Conducting – graduate recital
  • Instrumental Performance – graduate recital
  • Piano Performance & Pedagogy – graduate recital, recital and pedagogy workshop, or lecture recital
  • Vocal Performance & Pedagogy – graduate recital
  • Music Education – thesis or action-based research project

Comprehensive Examinations

During their final semester, all graduate students must complete the Comprehensive Examination, which consists of Part I, a written General Knowledge Exam, and Part II, an oral Recital/Thesis Exam.

Part I: General Knowledge Exam Students are tested in Music Theory and Music History/Literature, with additional questions from their individual areas of specialty. Each of the three segments (theory, history, and specialty) is graded on a pass/fail basis, and students must pass all three. If a student fails any of the segments, he or she is given the opportunity to retake those segments in an equivalent exam with different questions. In case of a second failure, the student must wait until the next semester to re-take failed portions.

Study Guide – Theory Exit Exam

Part II: Recital or Thesis Exam MAM and MAM Worship students choose either the Recital Track or the Thesis Track. MM Conducting, MM Piano Performance & Pedagogy, and MM Instrumental Performance, and MM Vocal Performance & Pedagogy students choose the Recital Track. MM Music Education students submit a thesis or a research-based action project.

Recital Track The student’s applied professor appoints a committee of three faculty members: the applied professor (who serves as chair), the student’s academic advisor, and a third faculty member familiar with the student’s work. Should the applied professor also be the student’s academic advisor, another faculty member familiar with the student’s work is added.

  • The student and applied professor select the graduate recital program.
  • The student writes a program-note analysis of the graduate recital, including footnotes and bibliography. Scope and length are determined by the applied professor.
  • A copy of the program-note analysis is distributed to the committee two weeks prior to the recital hearing.
  • The recital hearing takes place four weeks prior to the recital, with the committee members in attendance. Additional faculty may be requested for the hearing if deemed appropriate. The student makes a brief oral presentation based on the program notes prior to each selection. The committee may ask questions. Committee members each grade the recital hearing on a pass/fail basis.

Thesis Track Full details are provided in Guidelines for Writing Master’s Theses, which can be found at the School of Music website under “Current Students.”

Action-Based Research Project The student and advisor will work together to devise and implement the project. Breadth and scope will be determined case-by-case.

Evaluation The chairman determines an overall letter grade for the recital or thesis experience.