Feb 25, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sacred Music, M.S.M., (Composition and Arranging Concentration)

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Program Director: Marcell Steuernagel


Acceptance by both the Perkins School of Theology and the Division of Music is necessary for admission to the Master of Sacred Music program. The M.S.M. degree requires a concentration in one of the following seven areas: Choral Conducting, Organ, Keyboards, Composition and Arranging, Music Education, Worship Arts, or Liturgical Musicology. The first four of these are Applied, the last three Academic Concentrations. The Division of Music requires a cumulative grade point average of 3.000 on all undergraduate work and, in the case of the above Applied Concentrations, an audition or recent recording demonstrating proficiency in choral conducting, organ, or keyboard performance or submission of a composition portfolio respectively. Applicants to the Academic Concentrations must include a description of previous experience or written work that demonstrates the ability to pursue graduate work in the chosen concentration. Application details are found at www.smu.edu/Perkins/FacultyAcademics/degree/msm/MSMCourseofStudy.

Degree Requirements

A piano proficiency exam must be passed by the end of the student’s third term. These skills and competencies may be developed through individual preparation or review courses (PERB 5107 , PERB 5108  - Keyboard Skills for Conductors I and II). The review courses are remedial and do not count toward the degree nor are they funded by scholarship.

Incoming M.S.M. students are required to take the Graduate Music Diagnostic Examinations upon matriculation. The results of these examinations are used to identify any deficiencies in the areas of music history/literature, music theory and aural skills. Students found to be deficient in these areas will be required to take appropriate review courses. Failure to pass required review courses in the first term of study will result in academic probation and a second-term continuation of review. (Financial aid does not cover any review courses.) Failure to pass the review courses during the second term will result in academic suspension from the degree program.

Required Courses

Total: 12 Credit Hours

Total: 11 Credit Hours

Professional Skills and Methods

Total: 3 Credit Hours

Meadows Choral Ensemble

Participation required two consecutive terms within the same academic year, as determined by placement audition

Total: 2 Credit Hours


Chosen with adviser’s approval

Total: 6 Credit Hours

Total: 13 Credit Hours

Total: 48 Credit Hours


  • For United Methodist students pursuing deacon’s orders, the 12 hours in theological studies may count toward the 24-hour requirement. It may be possible to use elective hours (bullet for organ concentration, below) to satisfy more of the 24-hour requirement.
  • The prerequisite for course WO 6313 , XS 6310 - The Church in Its Social Context , is not required for the M.S.M. degree.
  • The supervised practicum includes musical/liturgical leadership in a local congregation and work with a church music mentor.
  • Placement exams in music history and theory will be administered during the week before classes begin in Meadows School of the Arts.
  • For the organ concentration, students are encouraged to take CM 8201 - Instruction in Conducting  during a fall term as a part of their nine elective hours.
  • All M.S.M. students not enrolled in the organ or keyboard concentrations must pass a keyboard proficiency examination before completing the degree. Information on the exam will be sent to all incoming students in the appropriate concentrations.
  • Private vocal instruction for M.S.M. students will be offered only for those who have also been accepted into the Master of Music in voice major as a concurrent degree program or by audition with the voice faculty. Private vocal instruction for M.S.M. students is subject to the availability of voice faculty.
  • Choral conducting students with prior organ degree study may substitute one credit of private organ study for PERB 6111 , with the permission of the instructor.

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