Sacred Music

Developing your individual gifts

ScholaMusic gives glory to God. It also expresses the glory of man. At its best, music gives voice to the beauty, power, and wonder of the human experience. That is why helping it to blossom anew in each age while passing on the musical treasures of ages past is both a sacred task and a serious calling. It requires rigorous work and a close partnership between artists and their students.

As a sacred music major at Franciscan University, you will enter into that partnership with your professors to receive the training you need to prepare for a career as a classically trained professional musician, either in voice or organ. Along with the traditional courses of private study, theory, and history, your studies will also focus intensively on the Church’s rich musical tradition, including Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony, and the great works of all ages.

You may also choose to learn the skills you need to write beautiful, true music that will inspire in listeners the awe and wonder that can transform culture.

Designed specifically for those wishing to pursue careers as church musicians and performers, and for those wishing to continue on to graduate study, Franciscan’s Sacred Music Program offers the opportunity to study a wide range of traditional sacred and secular music and numerous opportunities to perform. The Schola Cantorum Franciscana and Franciscan University Chorale regularly collaborate to present large-scale works, while students and faculty offer recitals on and off campus. The Franciscan Chamber Group offers instrumentalists, singers, and composers opportunities to find new ways of transforming culture through innovative performances. During your time in the program, you will also take part in Choral Vespers and Compline and lead music at University liturgies.

Sacred Music Minor

MUS 109, 110, 174, 175, 176, 182, 183, 209, 221, 224, 261

The Sacred Music Minor gives students training in music theory, music history, sacred music and performance and prepares them to become involved in the musical life of the Church and society after graduation. Sacred music minors are required to take a core curriculum of courses, to participate in campus ensembles and to gain proficiency, and to demonstrate their ability on an instrument (including voice). Sacred music minors are required to complete MUS 109, 110 Theory and Analysis I-II (6 credits), MUS 261 Survey of Sacred and Religious Music (3 credits), one elective (MUS 209 Theory and Analysis III, MUS 221 Introduction to Gregorian Chant or MUS 224 Music History Survey) (3 credits), three terms of a University ensemble (MUS 175 Schola Cantorum, MUS 182 University Chorale, or MUS 185 Franciscan Chamber Orchestra) (3 credits), and three consecutive terms of study in voice, organ or piano (MUS 174, 176 or 183) (3 credits).

Many opportunities to perform

Importantly, thanks to an excellent student-to-teacher ratio, you will have frequent opportunities for performance and collaboration with faculty and professional guest artists. Recent guests include the Grammy Award-winning men’s choir, Chanticleer; the George London award-winner, tenor Corey Bix; internationally acclaimed vocal group, Seraphic Fire; and national organ improvisation competition winner, Jason Roberts.

To enroll at Franciscan as a sacred music major, you must complete an audition and submit the supplementary music form and the music teacher’s report (available on the program’s Web page) in addition to the normal admissions materials. Admission to the University will be offered separately from admission to the program in sacred music due to the limited number of spots available.

Once you have applied to the program, you will be evaluated on the basis of both musical and academic qualifications, as well as potential for development, before being offered a place in the incoming class. All applicants for the Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Music should follow the regular University application and financial aid procedures and pursue the audition process simultaneously. Notification of admission to Franciscan University will be given prior to notification concerning admission to the Sacred Music Program.

To graduate with your Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Music, you will need to complete 21 course hours in either voice or organ, two semesters of a secondary instrument, four semesters of music theory and analysis, two semesters of music history, two semesters of Gregorian chant, two semesters of sacred music colloquium (which includes conducting), and two semesters of a foreign language at the intermediate level. You also are required to participate in the Schola Cantorum Franciscana for three of your four years in the program.

By the time you complete your studies, you will have a thorough understanding of the history and tradition of sacred music, as well as the performance background to pursue a career as a performer or church musician, or continue on to graduate studies. If you choose, you will also have experience in composing and premiering musical works that, through beauty, communicate truth and goodness. Recent graduates have gone on to full-time parish work as well as graduate study at prestigious schools such as the Cleveland Institute of Music, Westminster Choir College, the Catholic University of America, and Indiana University. Graduates of the organ program have won numerous organ competitions in nearby Pittsburgh.


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