Music, M.A. Program
The Master of Arts degree in Music is a two-year program that provides advanced study for students with highly developed interests and accomplishments in music. Students are given the opportunity to increase their musicianship, critical skills, and professional insights in preparation for careers in performing, teaching, composing and arranging, administration, and research. It also offers opportunities for current school and college music teachers to increase their professional effectiveness and provides prospective doctoral aspirants with a sound foundation for advanced graduate study.
Students take core courses in graduate-level music theory, history, education, and research, and choose elective courses in an area of emphasis that support their artistic, creative and professional goals. Areas of emphasis include: choral studies, composition, jazz studies, music education, music history, music theory, and performance. All emphases require a culminating recital, creative project, or master’s thesis.
Students in our program have opportunities to study with leading performers, composers, and scholars, and to partake in the musical and cultural richness of the San Francisco Bay Area. Emphasis is placed upon maintaining small class sizes and close student-to-teacher interactions. The program also provides flexibility for students to explore further study in areas relevant to their career goals and aspirations.
Beyond the classroom, the Department of Music boasts a thriving music program that includes three choirs, an opera workshop, orchestra, wind orchestra, jazz ensemble, new music ensemble, West African drumming ensemble, and numerous classical and jazz chamber ensembles.
Upon making application to the program, a candidate may be admitted for graduate study in the Department of Music as a “Conditionally Classified Graduate” student if: (1) the general requirements for graduate standing have been met, and (2) the candidate holds a baccalaureate degree with a major in music and an upper division grade point average of at least 3.0 (“B”) in music.
Candidates wishing to enroll in the graduate program who do not have a major in music must first complete an equivalency of the Cal State East Bay B.A. degree major in Music. When the equivalency has been completed, the candidate will then be eligible for entrance into the graduate program, subject to the entrance requirements stated below.
Admissions Requirements: All Areas
To apply for admission to the Master of Arts program in Music, students must complete the online university application at CALSTATE Apply. In addition, all graduate candidates must submit the following directly to the Music Department:
- a Statement of Purpose of three to four pages in length (typed, double-spaced) that should describe the candidate’s background and musical training, goals for his or her time in the program, and his or her professional goals and aspirations,
- two letters of recommendation, on letterhead, from individuals familiar with his or her work or performance abilities.
Those wishing to pursue an emphasis in Choral Music must submit a video recording (online link) of at least 15 minutes of a rehearsal with a choral ensemble. Candidates may optionally include a video of a concert performance in addition to the rehearsal video. Finalists will be invited to campus to audition with one of the Cal State East Bay choral ensembles. Preference will be given to candidates who apply to the Music Department by March 1.
Those wishing to pursue an emphasis in composition must submit a portfolio that includes at least two samples of their work written for different media, preferably with an accompanying audio or video recording (online link).
Those wishing to pursue an emphasis in jazz studies must complete an in-person audition or submit an audition video recording (online link), preferably of a recent performance or recital.
Those wishing to pursue an emphasis in music education must submit a copy of their California Teaching Credential and evidence of a minimum of two years full-time teaching at the K-12th grade levels. In addition to the statement of purpose, they must also submit a video recording (online link) of at least 20 minutes of a class or rehearsal in a K-12 school.
Those wishing to pursue an emphasis in music history must submit a sample of their academic writing, preferably a thesis, term paper, or published article on a subject in music history or world music that demonstrate their research and writing skills and their abilities to think critically;
Those wishing to pursue an emphasis in music theory must submit a sample of their academic writing, preferably a thesis, term paper, or published article on a subject in music theory that demonstrate their analytical, research and writing skills and their abilities to think critically;
Those wishing to pursue an emphasis in performance must complete an in-person audition or submit an audition video recording (online link), preferably of a recent performance or recital.
Graduate Music Advisory Examinations
The Graduate Music Advisory Examinations, given by the Department of Music, must be taken prior to the beginning of the student’s first semester in residence. Areas of examination include dictation, music history, piano proficiency, and music theory. Contact the department for the date of these examinations.
Classification in the Program
A student may be a “Classified Graduate” student if (s)he:
- Has completed all undergraduate deficiencies;
- Has completed at least 21 semester units in residence, with a minimum of 15 at the 600-level applicable toward the master’s degree, including Music 600, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0;
- Has passed the Graduate Advisory Examinations in dictation, music history, piano proficiency, and music theory. The Graduate Advisory Examinations must be passed by the time the student has completed 20 units applicable to the degree or the student will be dropped from the program;
- As a graduate student pursuing the music history and music theory areas of emphasis, has demonstrated reading ability in French, German, or Italian; other languages may be substituted by approval of the department;
- Has fulfilled the University Writing Skills Requirement. For information on meeting the University Writing Skills Requirement, see the Testing Office website at www.csueastbay.edu/testing.
Advancement to Candidacy
A student who holds “Classified Graduate” standing may be considered for Advancement to Candidacy when (s)he:
- Has filed a study program for the completion of the degree which has been approved by the departmental Graduate Studies Committee;
- If electing the performance emphasis, has successfully demonstrated a graduate standard of excellence before an auditions committee.
To be eligible for the Master of Arts degree a student must:
- Be Advanced to Candidacy;
- Complete 30 units of approved courses of which:
- 21 must be completed in residence;
- A minimum of 15 must be at the 600 level;
- A minimum of 6 units must be in one (1) of the seven possible areas of emphasis:
- choral music,
- jazz studies,
- music education,
- music history, or
- Not more than 8 units of applied music will be counted in the performance area of emphasis and electives;
- Up to, but no more than 2 units of applied music, when approved by the graduate coordinator and department chair, may be applied toward degree requirements by candidates outside the performance area of emphasis;
- Up to, but no more than 6 units of study outside of music may be counted toward the degree (these units must be approved by a graduate coordinator and must be at the 300-level or above);
- Performance emphasis candidates must complete 3 units of performance activities (large and/or chamber ensembles)
- Present a capstone project in one (1) of the following forms:
- In music history, music theory, and music education, a standard research thesis (University Thesis, MUS 691);
- In composition, a project consisting of an original composition and analysis of that composition (Project, MUS 693);
- In choral music, jazz studies and performance, a final graduate recital plus program notes on the repertoired performed (Project, MUS 693);
- Pass the departmental exit examination (both written and oral) upon completion of all coursework.
The candidate must observe the specific departmental requirements stated here and in the Handbook for Music Majors.
Program Learning Outcomes
Students graduating with an M.A. in Music from Cal State East Bay will be able to:
- Demonstrate mastery of core skills within their primary area of emphasis, i.e. performance, composition, research, analysis, conducting, or teaching;
- Apply critical and creative thinking and analytical reasoning to address complex challenges in music creation, performance, and research;
- Work collaboratively and respectfully with other musicians in a performance context; and
- Integrate musical ideas, methods, theory, and practice, and communicate them to others clearly and persuasively, in classroom and performance settings.