Earn your MA in Jazz Studies

The Jazz Studies program includes numerous large and small ensembles, and a comprehensive slate of courses in history, improvisation, and establishing a professional presence beyond our program. Graduate coursework and performance opportunities are designed to help develop and refine the skills necessary for life as a working jazz musician or in continuing on to doctoral study.

One of the unique highlights of UI’s jazz master’s program is the creation of a capstone recording project in lieu of a written master’s thesis. Currently, there are four professors and four graduate teaching assistants serving more than 300 students enrolled in jazz coursework each year. Graduate teaching assistantships may be available.

Requirements and program planning

Download course checklist

Requirements and program planning

  • Introduction to Graduate Study in Music (MUS:5300), 2 semester hours

Review of Undergraduate Theory (MUS:5200): Required of all graduate students who do not pass the advisory examination in music theory. It must be taken before completing 6 semester hours from the following list of theory courses. This course does not count toward graduate degree requirements.

Students exempt from MUS:5200 through the advisory examination in music theory must complete 6 semester hours from the following:

  • Counterpoint Before 1600 (MUS:4200), 3 semester hours
  • Counterpoint After 1600 (MUS:4201), 3 semester hours
  • Jazz Theory (MUS:4730), 3 semester hours
  • Tonal Analysis (MUS:5235), 3 semester hours
  • Non-Tonal Analysis (MUS:5236), 3 semester hours
  • Analysis of Popular Music (MUS:5237), 3 semester hours
  • Special Topics in Theory and Analysis (MUS:5240), 3 semester hours
  • History of Ideas in Music (MUS:6210), 3 semester hours
  • Theoretical Approaches to Music (MUS:6211), 3 semester hours
  • Theory Pedagogy (MUS:6215), 3 semester hours
  • Advanced Tonal Theory and Analysis (MUS:6250), 3 semester hours
  • Advanced Non-Tonal Theory and Analysis (MUS:6251), 3 semester hours
  • Advanced Theory and Analysis of Popular Music (MUS:6252), 3 semester hours

Select from the music history courses in the following list. Only one 4000-level course (taken at the University of Iowa or equivalent transferred in from another institution) may count toward the 6 semester hours required:

  • Music and Gender (MUS:4320), 3 semester hours
  • Medieval and Renaissance Music (MUS:4325), 3 semester hours
  • Baroque Music (MUS:4330), 3 semester hours
  • 18th-Century Music (MUS:4335), 3 semester hours
  • 19th-Century Music (MUS:4340), 3 semester hours
  • 20th-Century Music (MUS:4345), 3 semester hours
  • Advanced Jazz History (MUS:4350), 3 semester hours
  • American Music (MUS:4355), 3 semester hours
  • Jazz Matters (MUS:4360), 3 semester hours
  • Studies in Film and Music (MUS:4610), 3 semester hours
  • Teaching Music, History, and Culture (MUS:6305), 3 semester hours
  • Topics in Musicology (MUS:6310), 3 semester hours
  • Historical Approaches to Music (MUS:6312), 3 semester hours
  • Topics in Ethnomusicology (MUS:6314), 3 semester hours
  • Foundations of Ethnomusicology (MUS:6315), 3 semester hours
  • Renaissance Music Notations (MUS:6326), 3 semester hours
  • Music Editing (MUS:6375), 3 semester hours

  • Jazz Band (MUS:3730), 1 semester hour
    • Four semesters are required.
  • Small Jazz Ensemble (MUS:3740), 1 semester hour
    • Two semesters are required.
  • Transcription (MUS:4750), 2 semester hours
  • Jazz Composition and Arranging (MUS:4760), 2 semester hours per semester
    • Prerequisite is Jazz Theory (MUS:4730) or by permission
  • Choose from one of the following for 2 semester hours
    • Advanced Jazz Composition (MUS:4761)
    • Audition Repertoire (Repertoire Project) (MUS:3140)
    • IND Special Studies (Adv, History/Culture research project) (MUS:3999)
  • Major Jazz (MUS:6038), 2 semester hours per semester
    • Four semesters are required 
  • MA Performance Project: CD Portfolio (MUS:6920), 1 semester hour
  • MA Recital (MUS:6900), 1 semester hour

Audition information and performing opportunities

The jazz program at the University of Iowa is devoted to providing performance opportunities from the full spectrum of jazz styles and history. Learn more about the ensembles and how to audition.

Create your academic path

You'll find degree overviews, requirements, course lists, academic plans, and more to help you plan your education and explore your possibilities.

Current course list

The MyUI Schedule displays registered courses for a particular session and is available to enrolled students. The list view includes course instructors, time and location, and features to drop courses or change sections.

Add a minor

Any student admitted to a graduate degree program in the School of Music may add a theory pedagogy minor by completing the required courses.

Jazz faculty

Michael D'Angelo

Michael D'Angelo

Jazz Studies, Percussion
Visiting Assistant Professor
Portrait of William Menefield

William Menefield

Jazz Studies, Piano
Assistant Professor
Portrait of Damani Phillips

Damani Phillips

Jazz Studies, Saxophone
Associate Professor
Jazz Studies Area Head
Portrait of Curtis Taylor

Curtis Taylor

Jazz Studies, Trumpet
Assistant Professor of Instruction

Practice and perform

Need to book a music room, request an accompanist, check out audition information, rent a locker, or use a recording studio? Visit the Music Callboard for all scheduling and policy information.