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M.A. in Music (Theory and Composition)

Our 36-credit Master of Arts degree in Music with a concentration in Theory and Composition offers an in-depth study of tonal and atonal harmony, form, arranging, orchestration, and development of an individual's compositional technique. The rich array of courses taught by our outstanding faculty of professional musicians and educators ranges from "Polyphonic and Harmonic Analysis" and "Orchestration" to "Jazz Composition and Arranging" and "Music Notation at the Computer."

A thesis is required to complete this degree program. An acceptable large-scale musical composition may be submitted to satisfy this requirement.

As a student in this program, you will work with faculty members who are active musicians with flourishing professional careers and extensive networking connections in the music world. In addition, you will have access to workshops and master classes conducted by high-profile musical artists from New York City and around the world. Music majors also perform on national and international tours organized and led by their professors. You also will have the opportunity to participate in one or more of LIU Post’s performing ensembles, including groups that specialize in contemporary, traditional and early music styles.

Qualities that Set Our Program Apart

  • You will work with some of the most talented and successful musicians and teachers in the New York metro area. Our faculty members are active musicians and teachers, and they represent some of the most cutting-edge and high profile people in the profession.
  • Our proximity to New York City and connection to Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at the LIU Post Campus will give you direct access to a wide variety of outstanding professional music-making in the form of concerts, workshops, master classes and collaborative projects. Recent musical artists who have worked with our students include: the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Chanticleer Choral Ensemble, Shanghai String Quartet, Bobby McFerrin, United States "President's Own" Marine Band, New York Voices, United States Air Force Band, guitarist David Leisner, flutist Sir James Galway, jazz artist Paquito D’Rivera, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
  • You will have an opportunity to make music as a soloist, chamber musician and large ensemble member both on campus, and as part of our domestic and international touring program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to this Master of Arts program must meet the following requirements for admission:

  • Have an undergraduate major in music or must have a minimum of 30 credits in music classes
  • Hold a Bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in undergraduate studies or successful completion of another master's degree. Applicants who do not meet this academic requirement will be reviewed individually by the program director. Based on a review of all credentials, students may be offered limited matriculation status
  • Submit an Application for Admission
  • Submit an Application fee: (non-refundable)
  • Submit a current résumé
  • Submit official copies of undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts from any colleges or universities attended
  • Submit a personal statement that addresses reasons for pursuing graduate work in this area of study
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must submit official score results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The required minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 79, the required minimum IELTS score is 6.5.

Graduate applicants should send their admissions materials to:
LIU Post
Attn: Graduate Admissions
720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, NY 11548-1300

International applicants should send their admissions materials to:
International Admissions
LIU Post
720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, NY 11548-1300 USA

Applicants to the M.A. in Music program with a concentration in Theory and Composition should also submit a portfolio of original compositions or arrangements (consisting of the printed scores and audio files) or a research paper or formal essay on a musical topic to:
Dr. Paul Kim
Director of Graduate Studies
LIU Post Department of Music
720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, NY 11548-1300
Or by e-mail to:

M.A. in Music (Theory and Composition) Degree Requirements
Required Music Course
MUS 608 Seminar in Musicology 3.00
Elective Music Theory & Composition Courses
Four of the following:
MUS 518 The Study of Musical Form 3.00
MUS 520 Jazz Composition and Arranging 3.00
MUS 611 Polyphonic and Harmonic Analysis 3.00
MUS 613 Seminar Harmony and Counterpoint 3.00
MUS 616 Analysis of 20th Century Music 3.00
MUS 619 Seminar in Composition 3.00
MUS 645 Orchestration 3.00
Elective Music History & Literature Course
One of the following:
MUS 540 Criteria for Musical Performance 3.00
MUS 600 Opera History 3.00
MUS 601 Seminar in the History of Music I 3.00
MUS 602 Seminar in the History of Music II 3.00
MUS 603 Seminar in the History of Music III 3.00
MUS 604 Seminar in the History of Music IV 3.00
Required Music Thesis Courses
MUS 707 Research Methods 3.00
MUS 708 Thesis Seminar 3.00
Elective Music Courses
Students are required to complete 12 credits in Music in the 500, 600, or 700 series


College of Arts, Communications & Design
Dr. Jennifer Holmes, Dean
Kahn 100, Kahn Hall