Master of Music

Western offers graduate degrees in composition, conducting, history & literature, music education, and performance. The master's program at WWU emphasizes creativity and scholarship, preparing the advanced student for a career in music and/or providing a solid foundation for doctoral studies. Please note: Admission to the Master of Music program requires acceptance both of the general academic requirements of the Graduate School and by the faculty of the concentration within which the degree is to be undertaken.


Graduate Coordinator and Advisor

Dr. Bertil van Boer


Explore the University Catalog for information regarding degree requirements, programs, and audition information.

Application Requirements

Applicants must have an undergraduate music degree.

Additional requirements are as follows:


Students in the Composition concentration must submit a portfolio of at least three original recent compositions for evaluation by the composition-theory faculty. Please contact the Composition Faculty listed for more details.


Those applying for the MM in Conducting must provide a video of a recent conducting performance, by way of online submission or DVD. Students in the Conducting concentration must pass an audition with the appropriate faculty members. If a live audition cannot be done, a live link may suffice at the discretion of the faculty. Choral conductors should demonstrate competence in vocal pedagogy and in German, French, Italian, and Latin diction.

History & Literature

Students in the History and Literature concentration must provide substantial scholarly work or term papers. Materials should be submitted to the Music History and Literature faculty coordinator after completing the graduate application.

Music Education

Students applying for the Music Education concentration are accepted following an interview, either in person or through an e-conference, as well as an audition indicating at least a 300 level of performance ability. This may be arranged with the appropriate studio faculty. Evidence for admission is based upon evaluation of written research in the field of music education on the undergraduate level and evidence of an appropriate level of musicianship. Contact Music Education Coordinator listed above for more information.


Students in the Performance concentration must pass an audition before members of the performance faculty. If a live audition cannot be done, a live link may suffice at the discretion of the faculty. Vocal performers must demonstrate competence in German, French and Italian diction. Auditions are arranged directly with the appropriate faculty following completion of the application for graduate study. Students in the Piano Performance, pedagogy emphasis, will audition with a half recital (a balanced program, presenting at least two contrasting styles, 30 minutes) plus a short paper (up to 5 pages) outlining the student’s philosophy of pedagogy, what they want to accomplish in a M.M. degree, etc. 


Placement examinations in music theory and music history must be taken prior to beginning the program. Courses necessary to remove deficiencies are not credited toward the degree. Candidates for the Master of Music degree must successfully complete a comprehensive oral examination covering all course work taken for the degree, as well as material related to the thesis.

History & Literature

Students in History and Literature concentration must pass a reading examination in French or German.

Looking for more information?

If you have any questions, we're happy to find you an answer. Call the Music Department Office 360-650-3130, or view the directory of faculty and staff.