Choral & Sacred Music

Master of Music – Sacred Music

  • The program details described below are subject to change. Actual degree requirements for a given academic year may differ from what is listed here.
  • Refer to the 2017-2018 USC Catalogue for complete course descriptions and degree requirements.
  • See the Thornton Admission page for specific application information.
  • Current students should refer to the specific requirements list for their major, which is available through the Thornton Student Affairs office.


The MM in sacred music is a two-year, 30-unit program that includes course work in sacred music, choral conducting, choral literature, choral development, music history, and vocal arts. The program culminates with a graduate recital.

Sample Summary of Program of Study

Lessons (2 units)

MPKS 501 Individual Instruction Piano or Organ (lessons) or
MPVA 501 Individual Instruction Voice (lessons) (2 units)

Music Ensembles (2 units)

MUEN 5__ 500-level music ensembles (two 1-unit courses)
Sacred music majors must participate in a choral ensemble chosen from MUEN 508, 510, 511, or 512 each semester if enrolled for 4 or more units.

Program Intensive Courses (18 units)

MSCR 473 Hymnology or
MSCR 475 Introduction to Jewish Music (2 units)
MSCR 571 Music of the Great Liturgies (2 units)
MSCR 572 Sacred Music Administration (2 units)
MSCR 474 The Organ in Worship and Congregational Life or
MPVA 439 Vocal Pedagogy Practicum (2 units)
MUCD 541 Choral Conducting III (two 2-unit courses)
MUCM 440 Choral Development (2 units)
MUCM 541 Choral Literature I (2 units)
MUCM 542 Choral Literature II (2 units)

Core Thornton Academic Courses (4 units)

MUHL 570 Research Materials and Techniques (2 units)
MUHL 5__ 500-level Music History elective (2 units)

Electives (2 units)

400 or 500 level music or non-music courses (2 units)

Capstone Projects (2 units)

MSCR 590 Directed Research (2 units)
One graduate recital or project
Comprehensive Review

All curricular requirements are evaluated on an annual basis and are subject to change. Students follow the curricular requirements as published in the USC Catalogue for their year of matriculation. A typical graduate credit load is eight units per semester.

Music Graduate Entrance Exams (MGEE) are administered during Orientation Week just prior to the start of your program. See this MGEE page for more information.