Theory teacher giving a 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 analysis of the music of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries; post-tonal theory; jazz theory; theories of rhythm and meter; pedagogy of music theory and musicianship; and popular music analysis. Each year, our music theory department also hosts presentations and classes by distinguished scholars. Guests have included Kofi Agawu, Charles Burkhart, Poundie Burstein, Richard Cohn, Robert Hatten, Steve Laitz, Joel Lester, Elizabeth West Marvin and Eugene Narmour.

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 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.