Master of Sacred Music (M.S.M.)

M.S.M. Course of Study

Planning a Program of Study

The course of study includes some work taken in common by all M.S.M. students, courses that fulfill the requirements of one of the seven concentrations, and some work that is designed to serve the individual student’s particular needs and interests. Each student elects one of seven options for concentration study:

Applied Concentrations:

  • Choral Conducting
  • Composition and Arranging
  • Keyboards
  • Organ

Admission to these concentrations requires that the applicant demonstrate performance capabilities by a personal audition (for organists for and keyboards), by an online web-link (for choral conductors), or by a portfolio (for composition and arranging). Download Audition Requirements.

Academic Concentrations

  • Music Education
  • Worship Arts
  • Liturgical Musicology

All academic concentrations include applied instruction in choral conducting, organ, and a keyboard proficiency exam. In addition, the application should include a description of previous experience or written work that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to pursue graduate level work in the chosen concentration. Download Application Requirements: Academic Concentrations.

All applicants must take Graduate Placement Examinations administered by the Division of Music in order to complete their application. These examinations, administered online by the Division of Music, aid in determining the student’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of music history, literature, theory, and aural perception. While not a factor in admission, an applicant’s application cannot be considered for admission and financial aid until the exams are taken. The Graduate Placement Exams aid the student’s advisor in planning their course of study, and also provide the student with a better understanding of the expectations for graduate-level study. Those who do not successfully complete the exams during the application process may take them again at the beginning of their first semester. Remedial instruction is offered online to assist the student to complete this aspect of their requirements.

For all concentrations except organ and keyboards, materials for the keyboard proficiency exam will be sent to successful applicants after they have been admitted. The sacred music faculty will administer an exam during the first weeks of the fall semester. The results are used by the student and his or her adviser in planning a proposed course of study for the degree.

Course of Study

The requirements for the M.S.M. total 48 term hours and may be completed in two years (usually including summers) depending on the results of the Graduate Placement Examinations. Those pursuing an additional graduate music degree in Meadows School of the Arts or fulfilling the requirements for deacon’s ordination in the United Methodist Church will require up to an extra year of study. The 48 hours for the M.S.M. are distributed as follows:

Requirements for the M.S.M. Degree

1. Twelve term hours in Theological Studies1

    a.  Six term hours of Bible :
         OT-6301 Interpretation of the Old Testament I
             or OT-6302 Interpretation of the Old Testament II
         NT-6301 Interpretation of the New Testament I
             or NT-6302 Interpretation of the New Testament II

    b.  Three term hours of WO-6313 Word & Worship2

    c.  Three term hours of ST-6301 Interpretation of the Christian Message I
             or HX-6305 The Christian Heritage I
             or HX-6306 The Christian Heritage II

    d.  Participation in a Spiritual Formation Group for two terms during the first year: XX 6003 and XX 6004.

2. Eleven term hours of Church Music Study

   a. Three term hours of CM-8330 Congregational Song History and Theology (Hymnology):
       A survey of the history, theology, and practice of congregational song Congregational song includes hymns
       of the classical Western tradition, recent developments in Western congregational practice, and songs of
       the world church. Special attention is given to analyzing current hymnals, understanding the theology of
       song texts, performing the various styles of music employed in Christian hymnody, and selecting
       congregational songs for worship and the seasons of the Christian year.

   b. Three term hours of CM-8331 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Church Music:
       A survey of theological and philosophical assumptions undergirding church music. This course examines
       primary historical hymnal writings, philosophical and theological writings, and theoretical treatises on the
       theology and practice of church music. Selected congregational songs and choral works are analyzed in
       light of their theological and musical assumptions.

   c. Three term hours of CM-8332 Music Genres of Western Christianity
       A study of the history and development of musical genres used throughout church music history. Genres
       include Western chant, early polyphony, mass, Requiem mass, Lutheran church cantata, passion, oratorio,
       Anglican anthem and service, and motet. The course connects the historical narrative if the church—from
       its early days to the present—with the major genres of church music.

    d.  One term hour of CM-8108 Cantoring in Worship

    e.  One term hour of CM-8120 Supervised Practicum3

3. Three term hours of study in professional skills and methods4

    a.  Three term hours of MUTH-6330 Analytical Techniques,
         or MUTH-6300 Music of the 20th Century,
         or MUTH-6360 Analysis of Tonal Music,
         or MUTH-6326 Seminar in Musical Analysis

    b.  Participation for two consecutive terms within the same academic year in a Meadows Choral Ensemble, as determined by placement audition4

    d.  Four terms of enrollment in MUAS-6010 Recital Attendance

4. Nine Elective Hours in Meadows or Perkins:

The nine elective hours will be determined in consultation with the student’s adviser on the basis of the outcome objectives of the M.S.M. program and the student’s competency to meet these objectives.5

5. Thirteen Hours of Church Music Concentration:

Applied Concentrations

Choral Conducting Concentration (13 hours)

    a.  Three term hours of MUCO-6307 Conducting I
    b.  Two term hours of MUCO-6211 Instrumental Techniques for Choral Conductors
    c.  Two term hours of an elective course in choral conducting
    d.  Two term hours of MUCO-6252 Vocal/Choral Techniques
    e.  Three term hours of MUHI-6384 Survey of Choral Literature
    f.   One term hour of PERB-6111 Introduction to the Organ

Composition and Arranging (13 hours)

    a.  PERB 6111 Introduction to the Organ 1 hour
    b.  CM 8201 Instruction in Conducting 2 hours (audition required)
    c.  MUTH 5325 Class Composition 3 hours
    d.  MUTH 5360 Advanced Orchestration
        or MUTH 5330 Instrumentation and Arranging 3 hours
    e.  MUTH 6190 Directed Studies in Composition 2 hours
    f.  MUTH 6281 Thesis in Composition 2 hours

Keyboards (13 hours)

  1. PERB 6111 Introduction to the Organ 1 hour
  2. CM 8201 Instruction in Conducting 2 hours (audition required)
  3. Private instruction in Keyboard 8 hours (four two-hour terms)
  4. CM 8140 Practicum in Keyboards in Worship 1 hour
  5. CM 8240 Keyboards in Ensemble 2 hours

Organ Concentration (13 hours)

   a.  Eight term hours of private organ study (four two-hour terms)
   b.  Two term hours of PERB-6210 Improvisation and Service Playing
   c.  Three term hours of MUHI-6320 Organ History and Literature

Academic Concentrations

Liturgical Musicology (13 hours)

  1. PERB 6111 Introduction to the Organ 1 hour
  2. Nine hours in Meadows School of the Arts or Perkins School of Theology in an appropriate field of study to be determined by the student’s goals in consultation with the student’s advisor, etc., musicology, liturgical studies.
  3. CM 8300 Thesis in Sacred Music 3 hours

Music Education Concentration (13 hours)

  1. PERB 6111 Introduction to the Organ 1 hour
  2. CM 8201 Instruction in Conducting 2 hours (audition required)
  3. MUED 5250-0011 Dalcroze Eurhythmics 2 hours
  4. CM 8124 Music Ministry with Children 1 hour
  5. CM 8107 Youth Choir and the Church 1 hour
  6. Six term hours from the following

MUED 6361-0011 Orff Schulwerk Level I 3 hours

MUED 6362-0011 Orff Schulwerk Level II 3 hours

MUED 6363-0011 Orff Schulwerk Level III 3 hours

MUED 6364-0012 Kodály Level I Choral Track 3 hours

MUED 6365-0012 Kodály Level II Choral Track 3 hours

MUED 6366-0012 Kodály Level III Choral Track 3 hours

Worship Arts (13 hours)

  1. PERB 6111 Introduction to the Organ 1 hour
  2. CM 8201 Instruction in Conducting 2 hours (audition required)
  3. CM 8321 Seminar in Worship Arts I 3 hours (Focus on Ritual Studies and Arts)
  4. CM 8322 Seminar in Worship Arts II 3 hours (Focus on Liturgical Theology and Arts)
  5. CM 8323 Seminar in Worship Arts III 3 hours (Focus on Aesthetics and Arts)
  6. CM 8121 Practicum in Worship Arts 1 hour

For United Methodist students pursuing Deacon’s Orders, these 12 hours may count toward the 24-hour requirement. It may be possible to use elective hours (see no. 4 below) to satisfy more of the 24-hour requirement.

The prerequisite course, XS-6310, The Church in Its Social Context, is not required for the M.S.M. degree.

The Supervised Practicum includes musical/liturgical leadership in a local congregation and work with a church music mentor.

4 As determined by placement evaluation with the director of Choral Activities.

5 Private vocal instruction for M.S.M. students will be offered only for those who have also been accepted into the M.M. in Voice major as a concurrent degree program or by audition with the voice faculty. Private vocal instruction for M.S.M. students is subject to the availability of voice faculty.