Online Music Theory Degree Programs

Online degree programs in music theory are uncommon, but on-campus programs are widely available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Learn more about the available programs, online study options, common course topics and career prospects. Schools offering Ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Music Theory Degrees Can I Earn?

You can earn a Bachelor of Music or a Bachelor of Arts. There are also Master of Arts programs available, as well as Doctor of Philosophy programs. Some schools even offer certificate programs in music theory. Almost all music theory graduate degree programs require that you have a bachelor's degree in something related to music and that you have already completed some music theory courses.

Programs Available Bachelor's, master's, doctoral
Online Options Yes, but rare and chiefly graduate programs
Common Courses Ear training, sight singing, arranging, scoring
Career Opportunities Composer, conductor, musical therapist, music teacher
Median Salary (2018) $49,630 (for all music directors and composers)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6% growth (for all music directors and composers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Common Are Online Music Theory Degree Programs?

You'll find that these programs aren't all that common; however, they do exist. Most online music degree programs are actually for graduate degrees in music education. Some of these degree programs may include a concentration in music theory. If you do find an online music theory program, you will need to have access to a computer, an e-mail account, word processing software and an Internet connection. Some schools may require that you also have special tools or software programs that are specifically designed for online music study.

What Courses Will I Take?

You'll take courses that will help you to understand musical composition and notation. Your studies will help you to identify patterns and will also expose you to how music has evolved and stayed the same throughout history. Your courses will vary based on what type of degree you are working on. Some course topics you might study in a music theory degree program include:

  • Sight singing
  • Ear training
  • Scoring
  • Arranging
  • History of music: ancient times to early Renaissance
  • History of music: Renaissance to early classic
  • History of music: classic to 20th century
  • Composition

What Can I Do With My Degree?

Your career options will depend on the type of music theory degree you have and your prior experience and expertise. You may qualify for a career as a composer or conductor. With the proper training and certification, you could work as a musical therapist or a teacher. You could become a writer and work as a critic for a newspaper or magazine. You could also become a professional musician.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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