Theory students in lecture


Welcome to music theory at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music!

Music theory forms an integral part of each College of Music student’s education at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate music majors take required courses in music theory (semesters 1-4) and aural skills (semesters 1-4) along with upper-division electives in tonal analysis, post-tonal analysis, counterpoint, jazz theory, composition and music technology. Graduate students may pursue study in advanced topics in music theory and analysis.

Our faculty offer a broad array of research specializations that include performance and analysis; theories of rhythm and meter; music-text relations; post-tonal theory; jazz theory and analysis; analytical approaches to world music; music theory pedagogy; and popular music analysis. Each year, our music theory department also hosts presentations and classes by distinguished scholars. Guests have included René Rusch, Grace Leslie, Robin Attas, Suzannah Clark, Ian Quinn, Kofi Agawu, Poundie Burstein and Richard Cohn.

The College of Music’s master’s in music theory equips students for theory teaching and original research and prepares them for advanced doctoral study. We also offer an Undergraduate Certificate in Music Theory for currently enrolled music majors and a Graduate Certificate in Music Theory for currently enrolled master’s and doctoral students. 

Musicology + music theory colloquium series


We’re proud of our music theory alumni, including those who have gone on to pursue PhDs and to teach at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, Harvard University, James Madison University, Wake Forest University and more. Check out our alumni class notes for more alumni accomplishments and follow our ongoing alumni highlights on Instagram.