Master of Music (MM) in Conducting (Choral or Orchestral)

The Master of Music in Conducting program at Boston University combines rigorous study of choral and orchestral conducting techniques and literature with related work in performance, music theory, and musicology in a vibrant and intimate setting, all within a major research university. MM candidates will join a diverse community of scholar-performers led by a renowned faculty. In addition, the rich intellectual and artistic environment of Boston provides many further opportunities for amateur and professional collaborations.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the program, students are expected to demonstrate:

  • Performance techniques and skills in the area of concentration.
  • Broad knowledge of repertory and literature from all periods.
  • Knowledge and skills in musicianship, music theory and analysis, and music history.
  • Superior proficiency in verbal communication of musical ideas and concepts.
  • Capacity for artistic growth and skills for navigating the professional world.

General Degree Requirements

The MM degree is granted upon successful completion of a program of study and terminal projects appropriate to the student’s field of specialization. Students must complete a minimum of 32 semester credits with grades no lower than B– in graduate-level coursework. All degree requirements must be completed within five years of the date of matriculation. Students may also be required to take prerequisite courses based on the result of the required proficiency examinations.

Proficiency Examinations

All entering Master of Music students are required to take a proficiency examination in the area of music theory. The examination is administered online before the start of classes. Incoming students are notified of the exam dates and contents in advance and are responsible for taking it by the specified deadline. Exam results are used for purposes of advisement and may establish prerequisite or required coursework. Material covered in this examination is commonly presented in most undergraduate degree programs in music. No retakes of the exam will be permitted.

Required Courses

Any deficiencies identified by the proficiency exams must be addressed as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not the student plans to take other courses in these areas. Students may not take advanced graduate courses in a particular area OR graduate until all deficiencies have been addressed. Prerequisite and other required courses may include:

  • CFA MH 401 Graduate Music History Review
  • CFA MT 401 Graduate Music Theory Review
  • CFA MT 601 Analytical Techniques 1
  • CFA MT 602 Analytical Techniques 2

Choral Conducting Program Outline

Program of Study
CFA MP 701 Choral Conducting Seminar (3 semesters) 9 cr
CFA MP 700 Orchestral Conducting Seminar 3 cr
CFA MP 794 Early Choral Literature: 14th–18th c. 3 cr
CFA MP 795 Choral Literature: Late-Classical to 21st c. 3 cr
CFA MP 793 World Choral Perspectives 3 cr
CFA MT 601 or MT 602 Analytical Techniques 1 or 2 3 cr
Courses in Musicology (MH) (600 level or higher) 3 cr
Courses in Musicology or Music Theory (600 level or higher) 3 cr
CFA MP 531 Graduate Vocal Diction Review 1 cr
Graduate Music electives 1 cr
Total 32 cr

Orchestral Conducting Program Outline

Program of Study
CFA MP 700 Orchestral Conducting Seminar (4 semesters) 12 cr
CFA MP 701 Choral Conducting Seminar (1 semester) 3 cr
CFA MT 630–32 Orchestration 3 cr
CFA MT 601 or MT 602 Analytical Techniques 1 or 2 3 cr
Courses in Musicology (MH) (600 level or higher) 3 cr
Courses in Musicology or Music Theory (600 level or higher) 3 cr
Graduate Music electives 5 cr
Total 32 cr

Terminal Projects

Each candidate in orchestral or choral conducting will present one conducting recital, which may be presented as portions of three separate performances with University ensembles in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Master of Music Comprehensive Review for Choral and Orchestral Conducting

A satisfactory comprehensive review or examination is required for graduation. The faculty in each major area determines standards for this review and its format, and conducts the evaluation. In each case, the comprehensive review concentrates on the major area and other related fields. Unsatisfactory performance on this review may require remedial work and/or a repetition of the review after counseling with the student’s advisor.