Back to Handbook


Progress through the MA program is marked by five stages, some of which are determined by the University and others which are determined by the Department.

Throughout these stages students are evaluated to ensure that they are making satisfactory progress towards the degree. While there may be rare exceptions satisfactory progress will normally be determined by the following criteria:

Prompt removal of all conditions for classification. The student should be eligible for classification at the end of the first semester following admission. Maintaining a course load of five or six units per semester. Students who work more than twenty hours per week are advised to take one academic course and one performance course each semester. Occasionally, students may take only one course per semester. This may still be considered satisfactory progress under hardship circumstances. Questions should be directed to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Balancing the course load and taking classes in a logical sequence. Students should complete both performance classes and academic classes in a timely fashion to be considered making satisfactory progress. Satisfying language requirements early in the program. For Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting students, the study of foreign languages is crucial to the student's success. Therefore, the language requirements should be satisfied at the earliest possible time, so as not to impede progress in music courses. Maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA in EACH semester.

Students who do not meet the standards of satisfactory progress will not be considered for financial aid, and may be subject to academic probation or dismissal from the MA program in Music.

Back to Handbook

Conditional Classification

Some new students are admitted to conditionally classified status. Students may remain conditionally classified until they have accumulated 10 units of credit. During this time, which should not extend beyond the first semester, they must remove all conditions for classification. These conditions most frequently include:

Completion of the department's diagnostic entrance examinations in music history and music theory.

Diagnostic exams in no way affect admission to the MA program, but are required of all entering students. They are administered during the first class meetings of Music 220 and Music 204. See Graduate Program Coordinator for details.

Completing any remedial work the diagnostic exams may indicate.

Students must be classified by the time they accumulate 10 units. Otherwise, and in accordance with university policy, they may be denied permission to count towards the degree any units in excess of the allowable 10.

Back to Handbook


When all conditions have been met, the student should request full classification, which is full admission to the MA program. You must see the Graduate Program Coordinator to make this request.

Back to Handbook

Advancement to Candidacy

After a student is classified and after satisfactory completion of at least 9 units, the student may be advanced to candidacy. Normally this process would take place during the student's second year of graduate study, though in some cases it may take place earlier. Advancement requires submitting a specific list of courses to be completed for the MA degree and passing of the Graduate Writing Skills Requirement. The student's faculty mentor, the Graduate Program Coordinator, and the Department Chair, must approve this program.

Back to Handbook

Graduate Writing Skills Requirement (GWSR)

Before advancing to candidacy, students must pass the Graduate Writing Skills Requirement. Upon entry to the MA program in Music, a degree of writing competency should be equivalent to a passing grade in English 160W or on the university's Upper Division Writing Examination. Students for whom English is a second language should be aware that while a TOEFL score of 550 is adequate for admission to the MA program in Music, it will probably not be adequate for passing the department's Graduate Writing Skills Requirement. Normally, the Graduate Writing Skills Requirement should be fulfilled during the student's first fall semester of enrollment. The Graduate Writing Skills Requirement is a component of Music 220, Seminar in Bibliography and Methods of Research. Students who pass all components of Music 220 except the Graduate Writing Skills Requirement will undertake a developmental writing program until the department standards are met. The department standards for the Graduate Writing Skills Requirement are included in the course materials for Music 220.

Back to Handbook

Departmental Qualifying Examination (DQE)

The DQE is normally taken in the semester prior to registration for project or thesis. Students must pass the DQE prior to registering for Music 298 (recital or research project) or Music 299 (research thesis).

The DQE may be based on a series of music scores, chosen by the student's faculty mentors. This exam tests the student's knowledge of music literature, music history, analysis, and performance practice or educational theory, as directly related to the student's main interests and areas of study. The various components are weighted differently, depending on the student's concentration. The choice of music also reflects the student's special interests and area of study. An MA candidate in piano performance, for example, will have a different set of scores than a student in vocal performance. Students in music education also have a special section reflecting theory and practice in their discipline. A few samples of questions are given in the Appendix.

Students should consult with their faculty mentor to determine the best time for taking the exam. Student should also feel free to discuss the DQE with the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Back to Handbook

Project or Thesis

Music 298 (recital or research project) and Music 299 (research thesis) are normally completed the semester in which the student expects to graduate.

Back to Handbook

Performance Option (Music 298)

Students in the performance option are required to present a Master's Recital (normally 60 - 75 minutes of music, in at least three contrasting styles) as their culminating project. Each performance area in the department has its own special requirements. See your faculty mentor for information about these special requirements.

With the approval of the studio teacher, the student is responsible for creating his or her recital committee. The committee must have a minimum of three faculty members, one of whom is the studio teacher.

When you have selected your recital committee, fill out the Recital Committee Form (see Appendix) and submit it to the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Students will be responsible for securing accompanists for their recitals.

Students are responsible for scheduling the spaces for their recitals. Those who use Music Building facilities should make arrangements in the Music Department office. These arrangements should include scheduling of rehearsals, dress rehearsal, and any receptions.

The MA candidate must also prepare program notes for the recital. These notes must show evidence of appropriate research, analysis of the music, and graduate-level writing competence. The program notes must be submitted for approval at the time of the pre-recital hearing.

Back to Handbook

Graduate Recital Booking Procedures

The Music Department will help you arrange the following for your Graduate Recital:

  • Facility use (for one dress rehearsal and the performance)
  • Dress rehearsals will be scheduled during the school day only
  • Technical Assistance and Recording: (House Manager, Recording Technician, Recording $85 fee assessed at time of booking)
  • Programs (using standard department format only)

You will be responsible for the following:

  • Scheduling your dress rehearsal, and recital date.
  • Accompanist - Staff Accompanists charge a recital fee of $50 for a full recital. You must contact them to arrange rehearsals. Please Note: If you use an accompanist other than our staff accompanists you are responsible for any and all fees they may charge.
  • Foreign language text and translations (must be typed or on disk and submitted with your Program/Publicity/Recording Form)
  • Flyers/Posters and their distribution
  • Invitations
  • Stage work (If you need this, you are responsible for hiring someone, or ask a friend)
  • Reception (we will provide tables)
  • Reception CLEANUP - All garbage must be put into dumpsters behind the music building.
  • Floors must be left clean.

The following is a schedule and checklist of things YOU must do prior to your graduate recital. Please adhere to these deadlines!

6 weeks before

Complete the Facility Requisition Form to schedule your recital and dress rehearsal (see Appendix). Bring the form into the Music Office along with your $85 technical assistance and recording fee. NOTE: Rescheduling is discouraged except for serious and compelling reasons.

4 weeks before:

Complete the Program/Publicity/Recording Form and submit it to the department office. If possible, submit the program on a disc using Microsoft Word. Your studio instructor must proof and approve the program first. No changes will be made after copy has been submitted. Singers also need to turn in their texts and translations. The department will notify you when to proofread your program. The department will only print your program according to its official format. Should you wish to develop your own program, and in consultation with your studio instructor, you may do so at your own expense.

Back to Handbook

Music Education Option Project (Music 298)

Students in the music education option may elect either a research project or a formal thesis. If the project is chosen, the student must develop an well-organized and detailed proposal for the project, to be submitted for approval in the semester prior to registering for Music 298. The proposal must demonstrate feasibility and availability of necessary research sources, as well as relevance of the project.

Once the student's faculty mentor has approved the project, a review committee should be formed. The review committee should consist of 3 faculty members, one of whom is the student's faculty mentor. As soon as you have assembled a committee, fill out the Project Review Committee Form (see Appendix) and turn it in to the Graduate Program Coordinator.

The student should submit for review at least one polished draft to all members of the committee. This draft should be submitted no later than six weeks prior to the final due date. Committee members may require additional drafts before passing the project.

Back to Handbook

Research Thesis (Music 299)

Students in the Music Education option may elect to do a research thesis.

The thesis topic should be determined during the semester prior to registering for Music 299. An well-organized and detailed proposal must be submitted to the student's faculty mentor. The proposal must demonstrate availability of research materials and relevance of the topic. It should include a provisional title and outline, a detail abstract (about 1000 words) and bibliography.

For practical reasons, much of the thesis work will have been undertaken prior to registering for Music 299, in (for example) an independent study or seminar class the semester (or two) before.

Once the student's faculty mentor has approved the proposal, a thesis committee should be formed comprising of at least 3 faculty members, one of which must be the faculty mentor. As soon as the committee has been chosen, the student should fill out the Thesis Committee form (see Appendix) and submit the form to the Graduate Program Coordinator.

The student should submit for review at least one polished draft to all members of the committee. This draft must be submitted no later than two months prior to the due date. This draft, with perhaps some corrections, must also be submitted to the thesis office for review. See your faculty mentor for the due date of the near-final draft (which is usually about mid-way in the semester)

Back to Handbook