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Faculty Guide to Graduate Advising
Master of Music in Theory/Musicology/Music Education

After Student Accepted

  1. Summer: students should study for music history and music theory diagnostic exams. Materials available on Canvas.
  2. Remind incoming students of these events, which occur the week before classes begin:           
    1. Friday morning: GTA training sessions
    2. Friday afternoon: review sessions for musicology and music theory exams
    3. Sunday evening: new graduate student orientation
    4. Monday: musicology and music theory diagnostic exams

First Semester

  1. Review results of diagnostic exams (immediately upon receiving).
  2. Verbally explain the steps to graduationhere.
  3. Create a 4-semester curriculum with student. Links: online coursecatalog androtation schedule for academic courses
    1. First semester: ensure students take review courses (MUCO 400, MUTH 400, MUTH 410) if needed. Students will not be able to submit an Admission to Candidacy Form without completing these courses. These courses are only offered in the fall. (see Third Semester below)
    2. Highly recommended that students take MUSC 510 in the first semester. If impossible they need to take in second semester.
    3. Students who are not required to take review courses should take 500-level MUCO and MUTH courses as soon as possible.

Second Semester

  1. Student selects topic for thesis project.
  2. Advise student to select the other two members of his/her graduate committee.
  3. Graduate students in the Musicology concentration are limited to a total of two failed attempts at graduate-level musicology courses, including those attempts that end in withdrawal from a course.

Third Semester

  1. Instruct student to submit completed Admission to Candidacy Form by the published graduate school deadlines (see #4 below).
    1. Students must pass any necessary review courses before candidacy form will be approved.
    2. Should be done at the beginning of the third semester.
  2. Advise student to finalize the other two members of his/her graduate committee
  3. Instruct student to schedule a pre-comprehensive exam meeting1, the comprehensive written exam, and the oral defense
    1. All committee members must agree to the dates.
    2. Student must turn in Recommended Arrangements for Final Exam form two weeks prior to date of written exam.
    3. Deadlines for completing the oral defense and question revisions are Nov. 15 (fall comp) and April 15 (spring comp)
  4. Plan thesis & dates
    1. Jointly select a date inside the 4th semester, with knowledge and approval by the student’s full committee. Set the defense as far in advance as possible.
      1. Thesis topic approval form
      2. Date for submission of thesis online to Thesis Consultant (
      3. Date for submission to committee
      4. Date for defense
  5. Go over all deadlines for graduation for the current academic year and expected graduation date (admission to candidacy, graduation application, exam, etc.).

Fourth Semester

  1. Oversee the completion of the Written Comprehensive Exams.
  2. Oversee the completion of the Oral Defense of Comprehensive Exams (see deadlines re: Step 2, Third Semester).
    1. The major professor will turn in this form when completed.
    2. The major professor download the Pass/Fail form.  After the exam, take the completed form to the Graduate Administrative Assistant in the main Music Office. Do not send the form directly to the Graduate School.
  3. Review thesis approval process, formatting requirements, and submission process here.
  4. Instruct student to submit diploma application to Graduate School (see deadlines re: Step 2, Third Semester).
  5.  Instruct student to pay Graduation Fee.

Approximate Dates for Comprehensive Exams by Area

Music Theory and Musicology: late 3rd semester or early 4th semester
Music Education: mid 4th semester


Diagnostic exams
Exams in Theory, Musicology, and Ear-Training that students take prior to the start of class in their first semester. If exam is failed, students must take and pass a review course in that discipline. This review course will need to completed and passed before progressing to the other courses in the area of the respective review course.

Written Comprehensive Exams
An extensive take-home exam consisting of one (broad) question from each of the three members of the student’s Master’s Committee. The student has one week to complete the exam, and is excused from classes and ensembles during this time (from 9am on a Monday until 9am on the following Monday). The exam is turned in to the administrative secretary.

Oral Comprehensive Exams
An examination, generally reflective, of the student’s written comprehensive exams, between the student and his/her Master’s Committee. At this exam, committee members ask the student to explain, elaborate, and/or defend the positions proffered in their written exams.

The capstone project of their graduate career and signifies the completion of the requirements for graduation.

1The committee’s goals for this meeting can also be shared by other means (e.g. email)

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