Undergraduate Program Music: Theory

PSU music student performing on a xylophone

Music Theory Bachelor's Degree Overview

For students curious about the inner workings of harmony, melody, rhythm, and form, the PSU School of Music & Theater’s music theory program offers students a chance to follow a scholarly creative path in a vibrant musical environment.

The Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Music Theory provides a strong music foundation with an emphasis on theory. You’ll take advanced coursework in music theory and receive direct mentorship from faculty as you complete a final analytical or creative project. You’ll receive individualized applied lessons in performance, participate in ensembles, and have multiple opportunities to study alongside our composition majors.

Completing this degree will give you the necessary skills in music theory and a supportive curriculum to prepare you for graduate study in the discipline, along with the breadth of knowledge, critical thinking, and expressive skills that can be translated to a wide variety of music-related fields and occupations.

Prospective music majors must apply to PSU, submit a secondary application to the School of Music & Theater, and pass the entrance audition. Learn more about our application process.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
Online:
100% online
Flexible:
Combination of online and on campus
  • BA
    Bachelor of Arts
    Locations
    On campus
    Total Credits
    180
    Start Term
    Fall, Winter, Spring
  • BS
    Bachelor of Science
    Locations
    On campus
    Total Credits
    180
    Start Term
    Fall, Winter, Spring

Music: Theory Bachelor's Degree: Why PSU?

As a music theory major, you can gain real-world experience in analysis, scholarly writing, arranging, and creative work. We offer plenty of freedom to explore your own interests in a supportive environment that values creativity and individuality.

We are proud to be a national College of Distinction for our commitment to helping students to succeed. At PSU, you will gain the experience and knowledge you need to make a difference in your career and community.

What can I do with a Bachelor's degree in Music Theory?

Most of our alumni go on to graduate school or pursue work in music arranging, music criticism, publishing, or related music careers. Depending on your interests, your options in the music field are wide open with this broad and flexible music degree.

Recent graduates have forged their own paths in pursuit of graduate degrees, creative work in the music industry, arts administration, and related work.

Featured Courses

  • MUS 113 Music Theory III
  • MUS 116 Sight-Singing/Ear Training III
  • MUS 213 Music Theory VI
  • MUS 216 Sight-Singing/Ear Training VI
  • MUS 304 Music History: Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque
  • MUS 311 Form & Analysis
  • MUS 312 Orchestration
  • MUS 313 Counterpoint

Electives

  • MUS 240 Composition I
  • MUS 374 Music of Asia
  • MUS 422 Analytical Techniques

 

Accreditation

Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

PSU's Music programs are fully accredited National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and holds the All-Steinway School designation.