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On the left, hands on a piano keyboard, and on the right, two students handle film equipment

Begin the next step of your journey at St. Thomas!

Department of Music, Film & Creative Enterprise

About the Department

The Department of Music, Film & Creative Enterprise brings together students and world-class faculty to elevate individual creativity, skills, and talent in music, visual storytelling, pedagogy, and creative entrepreneurship. Our goal is to foster a seamless connection between the artist, the art form, and the creative economy.

Our broad range of programs and opportunities prepare students for careers in an ever-evolving world. Creative enterprises — be they traditional or novel — now represent over 7% of the world's GDP. These ventures derive their value from the human creativity, artistry, and talent incorporated in the education of artists — and in the creation, production, and distribution of art, music, films, games and other creative services.

Academic Excellence

The pursuit of a creative life can take many paths. Regardless of the career you seek, our department is dedicated to providing outstanding instruction through our rigorous curriculum, thus helping you achieve your full potential.

Graduate Programs

Our Graduate Programs in Music Education are made for teachers by teachers to serve professional music educators by combining theoretical and applied study at a graduate level.

Graduate Certificates for Music Educators

Designed for professionals who would like to pursue studies but do not wish to attain a graduate degree.


Undergraduate Course Offerings

Undergraduate music and film studies course offerings include lecture and lab courses, ensembles, and music lessons.
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Graduate Course Offerings

Our graduate programs feature a broad range of theoretical courses balanced by requirements that apply to music teachers’ work with students of all ages. By design, they serve professional music educators who wish to strengthen their classroom teaching effectiveness at a graduate level.
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Music for Everyone

For students who love making music but have opted for another major or minor, we have the Music Performer’s Certificate! Certificate requirements include four semesters in a large ensemble, four semesters of lessons on the same instrument and one music-approved MUSC course.
Two people sit at a piano together

Music Lessons

Musicians of every skill level can enhance their abilities and style through music lessons at St. Thomas. No matter what your schedule looks like, it is easy to arrange a music lesson. Plus, you can receive academic credit! We offer 30- or 50-minute weekly lessons for most classical and popular instruments including: Brass, Composition, Digital Music, Keyboard (piano, organ and harpsichord), Percussion, Strings, Voice, and Woodwinds.
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Students playing saxophone at an ensemble practice


Join an ensemble! St. Thomas is home to over 20 large and small performing ensembles. Many of our award-winning groups have appeared at state, regional, national and international music conferences. Our ensembles perform in a variety of venues including the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul and Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

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Students work together in the classroom

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum is the bedrock of a St. Thomas education that focuses on educating the whole person and complementing their major and minor studies. Core-area fine arts courses aim to enhance students' understanding of an appreciation for arts in society. Students gain an understanding of the role of the fine arts in expressing, maintaining, discovering and questioning a culture's dominant beliefs and struggles.

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Music Major Auditions and Scholarship Opportunities

Undergraduate students planning a major in music, music education, music performance or music business are welcome to apply to the Department of Music, Film & Creative Enterprise any time before or during their studies at St. Thomas. By completing the application before the February 1 deadline, new students can also be considered for a music major scholarship. An audition is required for acceptance into the music major.

Students selected to advance in the scholarship process will be invited to on-campus auditions. Scholarships range from $1,500-$10,000 annually and are renewable for four years of study.


Our accomplished faculty are recognized both nationally and internationally as experts and leaders in their fields. They have a deep passion for mentoring students in a creative environment through their innovative teaching approaches.

Dr. Shersten Johnson

Dr. Shersten Johnson

Dr. Johnson is Chair of the Music, Film & Creative Enterprise Department and Director of the Film Studies Program. She teaches the full spectrum of undergraduate and graduate music theory courses, as well as individual composition lessons and courses in film and music. Her interests include contemporary opera, music and the moving image, disability studies, and theories of music pedagogy.

Dr. Shersten Johnson
Music faculty member and graduate program director Dr. Doug Orzolek leads a class in lecture.

Dr. Douglas Orzolek

Dr. Orzolek is Director of Graduate Programs in Music Education. He teaches music education methods and techniques, and also conducts the Symphonic Band. He teaches musical acoustics, music literature and conducting, as well as core classes and instrumental music education. He advises papers in both the master’s and doctoral level music education programs.

Dr. Douglas Orzolek
Dr. Steve Cole smiles during a music business class in the create[space] on the St. Paul campus.

Dr. Steve Cole

Steve Cole is head of music industry studies and recording arts at the university. He has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, Benaroya Symphony Hall, Bass Performance Hall and Chicago Symphony Center. He has been a featured performer at the JVC, Playboy and Blue Note Jazz festivals, plus performing arts centers and jazz clubs around the world.

Dr. Steve Cole

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Music, Film & Creative Enterprise at the University of St. Thomas affirms that Black Lives Matter.

Our department is committed to providing a safe and welcoming space, fostering a vibrant diverse community, and nurturing an inclusive learning environment through the arts at St. Thomas. Since diversity is an indispensable component of human experience, we respect all differences in race, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, socioeconomic background, faith tradition, and ability. We are all responsible for maintaining a welcoming and safe space in our classes, lessons, and ensembles. The expectation is that students will study and/or perform all repertoire and engage in all materials selected by their instructors as we all listen attentively to one another, respond respectfully, and engage in music that educates us and celebrates our differences.


The University of St. Thomas Department of Music, Film & Creative Enterprise is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and the National Association of Schools of Music.

The University of St. Thomas is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education pursuant to sections 136A.61 to 136A.71. Registration is not an endorsement of the institution. Credits earned at the institution may not transfer to all other institutions.

Connect with Us!

Department of Music, Film & Creative Enterprise: Call 651-962-5850 (Fax 651-962-5876) or Email musicandfilm@stthomas.edu

Graduate Programs in Music Education: Call 651-962-5870 (Fax 651-962-5886) or Email music@stthomas.edu

Mailing Address

Department of Music, Film & Creative Enterprise
2115 Summit Ave., BEC 112
St. Paul, MN 55105

Graduate Programs in Music Education
2115 Summit Ave., BEC 112
St. Paul, MN 55105

Campus Location

Our department offices, the graduate music offices, and the office of the Director of Film Studies, are located on the first floor of Brady Educational Center.