Modular music theory curriculum

Mason has implemented an innovative approach to the core music theory curriculum. Unlike traditional curricula, after taking Intro to Music Theory (MUSI 115), students can choose from three courses, rather than proceeding in a strict sequence. This program begins in catalog year 2019–2020.

Flowchart diagramming the modular curriculum


Students admitted 2019–2020 and later

Your degree requirements will be different than those who started in earlier years. You will be able to treat our theory curriculum as modular. This means that, after passing Intro to Music Theory, you may take the 200-level courses (215: Theory for Pop & Jazz Music, 216: Theory for 20th-/21st-c. Music, 217: Theory for 18th-c. Music) in any order you choose. Students who pass 217 can also elect to take 317 as one of their courses. This is illustrated above.

Students are encouraged to discuss their options with an advisor.

Students admitted 2018–2019 and earlier

If your degree plan requires you to take MUSI 115, 116, 215, and 216, you still need to take those course numbers, even though the titles have changed. Think of Theory for Pop & Jazz Music as your Theory III course, and Theory for 20th/21st-c. Music as your Theory IV course. 

If you need Theory II (MUSI 116) after Fall 2019, you should take Theory for 18th-c. Music (MUSI 217) instead, as MUSI 116 will no longer be offered. You will need to talk to the Academic Programs Manager about processing a course substitution to apply 217 to your degree.

About the courses

Look up these courses in the course catalog to find out more.