Graduate Programs in Sacred Music
  • Hello,

    I am looking into sacred music graduate programs and I am trying to find something that combines solid liturgical and musical training (with a concentration in voice.)
    Does anyone have any recommendations?

    I have been looking at the Masters of Sacred Music program at Notre Dame. I realize there has been some discussion about this in the past from browsing through the archives, but I was wondering if I could get some current input about the program.
    Many thanks!

  • I've also looked at going there but for organ, especially since our pastor is a graduate.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,744
    With Paul Walker now on the faculty, organ and early music at Notre Dame is even better than it used to be. Oh, and Paul is an excellent counter tenor, too.
    Thanked by 1R J Stove
  • This is not sacred/liturgical, but the University of Louisville has a too-notch choral conducting graduate program. The choirs are superb and the straight-toned vocal style is perfect for transferring to Catholic liturgy. Just a suggestion. Good luck!!
  • Three letters: CUA.
  • jpal
    Posts: 365
    I second CUA, but Dr. Nestor will not let you do voice emphasis with the Sacred Music masters, so plan on doing choral.
  • I'm a doctoral student in organ at Notre Dame. Given the facilities, faculty, and FUNDING in the sacred music program, it is THE place to go for graduate school. Contact Dr Stephen Lancaster ( for specific information on an MSM in vocal performance. Every student admitted is guaranteed full tuition funding and a generous stipend. The musical and liturgical training is second to none.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Jes
  • I just wish I was good enough to get into the program at Notre Dame.
  • I did a Master's at CUA (Sacred Music, organ) and am in my last (4th) year of the Doctor of Sacred Music (Musicology) programme at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music.

    The weakness of the CUA programme is the lack of instruction in Gregorian chant (including chironomy and accompaniment). But, even if you do choral conducting, you can still enrol in private lessons with a member of the voice faculty. I did 3 credits of voice every semester. You would do well to study conducting with Dr. Nestor. CUA is expensive. I had a half tutition scholarship every semester, but it still cost me $60,000 by the time it was all said and done. I was a foreign student, and therefore had to live on campus, but I think it would have been just as expensive either way. You could probably get a job singing in the Basilica choir, or canting there, although there is no connection between the Basilica music department and the university.

    The Master's programme at PIMS will be challenging without a background in composition and fluency in Italian, but it's very comprehensive. There was some talk of accepting singers.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • JesJes
    Posts: 570
    I'm in the process of looking at options for Melbourne Australia.
    I believe CTC are willing to take on cross institutional studies to accomodate me as I learn about chant semiology. Whilst Melbourne uni offers musicology they don't really offer it with lecturers who are respectful of those who are actually religious. So, I'm looking at theology with a focus on sacred music.
  • This may not be of help to jesearle in Australia, but just to let everyone know -
    The University of St Thomas in Houston is now offering a masters in sacred music.
    This is a new program established just this year.
    Thanked by 3BruceL Jes Adam Wood
  • I went to grad school at Notre Dame. You'll certainly get a lot of work done. There's nothing else to do. This goes double if you work better on cold rainy or snowy days. (Don't get me wrong -- despite its many flaws, I have a soft spot for the place. I was also glad to get out.)
  • JesJes
    Posts: 570
    Sure, I really only put this forward because if anybody else wants to do studies in Australia that is one of the options. Over here it's mostly under the broad title of musicology with a major in... It made sense for someone like me to look into theology with a major in... I hope that is helpful to someone because the theological universities have access to better lecturers more suited to the study I reckon.

    Is it true that Notre Dame occasionally accepts composers?
  • It's not Australia, but the St. Cecilia Academy in New York is a 4-course (12-credit) certificate sequence in sacred music and liturgy.

    The certificate classes are taught at St. Joseph's Seminary (Dunwoodie) and can be applied towards a masters in theology at Dunwoodie. The courses are also available via video link to our campuses on Long Island.
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,336
    I would also vote for the University of Michigan, very strong in all these areas.

    I believe that the AGO had a document or something on their site which list college programs in Sacred Music.
    Thanked by 1Jes