Music Teaching & Learning

Master of Music – Music Teaching and Learning

  • 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 goal of this professional degree is to prepare the student for an advanced level of pre-college teaching and leadership in the music education profession by developing core knowledge and expertise in pedagogical skills and scholarship. It provides a seamless transition into the DMA in Music Teaching and Learning, with most units being transferable to the DMA requirements.

Sample Summary of Program of Study

Applied Music (4 units)

These units are to be earned by choosing from the following: individual instruction (lessons); courses in conducting, composition or arranging; or ensemble. Individual instruction and ensembles must be at the 500 level. Conducting, composition, and arranging courses must be at the 400 or 500 level. (4 units)

Program Intensive Courses (11 units)

MTAL 500 Research Foundations in Music Teaching and Learning (3 units)
MTAL 505 Teaching and Learning Music (2 units)
Two of the following courses:
MTAL 501 Historical Foundations of Music Education (3 units)
MTAL 502 Sociological Foundations of Music Teaching and Learning (3 units)
MTAL 503 Philosophical and Advocacy Issues in Music Teaching and Learning (3 units)
MTAL 504 Psychological Foundations of Music (3 units)

Core Thornton Academic Courses (8 units)

MUCD 441
or MUCD 443
Choral Conducting II
Instrumental Conducting II (2 units)
MUCO 501
or MUCO 502
Introduction to the Analysis of Tonal Music
Introduction to the Analysis of Post-Tonal Music (2 units)
MUHL 5__ 500 level Music History electives (two 2-unit courses)

Electives (3 units)

400 or 500 level music courses (3 units)

Capstone Projects (4 units)

MTAL 594ab
or MTAL 590
Master’s Thesis
Directed Research
MTAL 592 Final Project (two 2-unit courses)
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 the MGEE page for more information.