Graduate Program Music: Conducting

PSU music student conducting an orchestra

Music Conducting Master's Degree Overview

For musicians who thrive on taking ownership of the creative process and working closely with people, a graduate degree in music conducting from PSU School of Music will set you on the path to a career as a trained specialist. Our program will offer you a strong foundation in music literature, research methods, and orchestration, music theory, music history, and arranging.

Our curriculum will give you hands-on experience participating in and leading our ensembles, choirs, and orchestra and rigorous instruction in advanced conducting, including repertoire and rehearsal techniques. Our students are encouraged to become leaders on and off-campus and are connected to dedicated faculty with close mentorships.

Degree Details

Music Conducting Master's Degree: Why PSU?

You’ll graduate from one of the nation’s top 10 “most innovative” universities with a music conducting masters from one of the strongest conducting programs in Oregon.

Our diverse campus is located in the center of downtown Portland, right in the heart of the city’s vibrant performing arts district. Our deep community connections give you unmatched opportunities for hands-on learning.

As a graduate student in conducting, you can gain real-world experience leading our wide variety of ensembles. In our choral area, you’ll have numerous occasions for podium time with our university choir and men’s and women’s choirs. We also support our students working with community institutions while attending our program.

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 Master's degree in Music Conducting?

Most of our alumni go on to pursue a doctorate or a career as a professional conductor or educator. Related careers include: arranger, and artistic or musical director.

Recent graduates have earned positions as music directors of ensembles throughout the region and in the U.S. and Canada including Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Youth Choirs, and Chor Leoni. Others have earned positions in education or sacred music throughout the region including St. Mary’s Catholic School, Lincoln High School, Portland’s First Congregational Church, Rose City Park Presbyterian Church, and many others.

Required Courses

  • MUS 056 Graduate Music History Entrance Exam
  • MUS 057 Graduate Music Theory Entrance Exam
  • MUS 506 Graduate Project or Recital
  • MUS 511 Music Research Methods
  • MUS 513 Score Reading
  • MUS 520 Analytical Techniques

Other Courses

Electives selected with advisor

  • MUS 522 Advanced Orchestral Arranging
  • MUS 522 Advanced Orchestral Arranging
  • MUS 523 Advanced Choral Arranging
  • MUS 532 Band Wind Literature
  • MUS 533 Orchestral Literature
  • MUS 534 Choral Literature
  • MUS 541 Advanced Conducting Methods
  • MUS 542 Advanced Choral Conducting
  • MUS 543 Advanced Instrumental Conducting
  • MUS 560 Music History: The Medieval Period
  • MUS 561 Music History: The Renaissance Period
  • MUS 562 Music History: The Baroque Period
  • MUS 563 Music History: The Classical Period
  • MUS 564 Music History: The Romantic Period
  • MUS 565 Music History: Early 20th Century
  • MUS 566 Music History: Music Since 1950


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.