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Music Theory & Music Composition



To study with the KU School of Music’s Division of Theory and Composition (MTHC) is to engage the passions, both musical and intellectual, of six composers and scholars who have each earned national and international recognition for their contributions to the discipline.

Working with faculty in the division, you will be able to pursue a wide range of scholarly interests and musical styles. Our specialists in music theory research and teach a wide breadth of approaches on diverse subjects. In addition to critical assessment of the standard common-practice and contemporary repertoires, students have the opportunity to learn about specific fields of faculty expertise, including film music, philosophy and critical theory, rhythm and meter, and modern rock music.

Our composers in the division are also skilled teachers who can help you refine your craft and develop your unique compositional voice. Among their vast and varied portfolios, they have each made significant contributions in producing new music for a wide range of genres, including works for wind band and orchestra, opera and choral music, instrumental and vocal chamber music, music for film, and electronic music (particularly involving live performance).

Offering B.A., B.M., M.M., and Ph.D. degrees in music theory, as well as B.M., M.M., and DMA degrees in composition, the division is poised to further your musical career at any stage. The University of Kansas also has a culture which supports significant interdisciplinary opportunities for theorists and composers to collaborate with scholars in the humanities, sciences, visual arts, and other performing arts.


Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually