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Mas­ter of Music in Music The­ory

Admission requirements

Bachelor’s degree with at least 120 ECTS credits in music subjects or 90 ECTS credits in musicology. Applicants are expected to demonstrate good knowledge of music theory, especially within the topics they will be focusing on in their master's project.

Entrance tests in aural skills, harmony, counterpoint and arranging will be held. Two arrangements or compositions should be enclosed with the application in the form of scores.

Programme description

The master’s programme explores music theory in light of artistic, scientific and pedagogical traditions. The role of music theory in music performance and practice is central to the programme. The programme focuses on music theory from two perspectives: practical skills and musical reflection. The programme covers music theory in the classical, Western tradition from the Middle Ages until the present day as well as aspects of jazz and folk music. Analysis is a central subject in the programme. As well as the subject of analysis itself, there are also analytical aspects to the other elements in the programme.

The master's programme prepares the students for PhD studies in musicology, which in turn enable them to go on to teach at higher music education institutions and universities. When combined with a qualification in educational theory and practice (PPU), the programme qualifies the students for teaching in primary and secondary schools, folk high schools and municipal arts schools.

Students who have completed a PPU course before enrolling on the programme may opt to take a music theory didactics module provided the academy offers such a module at the time of enrolment.

Learning objectives

Upon completing the master’s programme, the candidate is expected to:

  • Possess advanced knowledge of music theory and specialist knowledge of defined topics based on practical, artistic, and historical perspectives
  • Possess in-depth knowledge of scientific theory and methodology in music theory and be able to apply this knowledge in an independent manner
  • Be able to apply their knowledge and contribute to renewal and innovation in music theory
  • Be able to critically analyse material from research and development and use the material independently in their work
  • Be able to conduct an independent, clearly defined research or development project under supervision and in line with prevailing research and professional ethical standards
  • Be able to discuss and disseminate issues and problems relating to music theory both with specialists and with the public at large


The programme is structured as a seminar-based full-time or part-time course. The programme will comprise teacher-led tuition/lectures, supervision and independent work linked to the tuition/supervision.

An exchange may be undertaken in the third semester.

Attendance is generally speaking not obligatory except in certain subjects. The course description for each component specifies whether attendance is obligatory.

Read about absenteeism and leave of absence (

ECTS credits are used to measure the weighting of each course on the programme. The complete master’s programme generates 120 ECTS credits. One year of full-time study is equivalent to 60 ECTS credits. One ECTS credit is equivalent to 27–30 hours of work, including tuition and independent work.


The study programme includes subjects using the pass/fail scale and subjects using the graded A–F scale on which an E is the lowest pass grade. The respective course descriptions state which grading system is used.

Further provisions on assessments and exams are stipulated in Chapter VI of the Regulations concerning studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music (

The diploma will be issued once the student has passed the courses which together meet the criteria for the degree. All subjects studied on the programme are listed on the diploma with the associated grade and number of ECTS credits. The title of the master’s project is also included on the diploma.

Education quality assurance

The Academy has a system for educational quality assurance and development that applies to all aspects of the education provided. Students play a vital role in these efforts by, among other things, participating in student evaluations of courses and programmes.

Read more about educational quality at the Academy.

Published: Apr 3, 2020 — Last updated: Jan 29, 2021