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General Information for Current Graduate Students

The Faculty Advisor

Each entering student will be assigned a temporary faculty advisor. The student is expected to discuss programs of study with his/her advisor. As early as is appropriate the student must request a professor in the area of concentration to chair his/her Master's Committee. The major professor, student and Master's Committee chair together select other Master's Committee members. 

The Master's Committee

The Master's Committee consists of three members of the School of Music faculty: the major professor (who normally serves as chair of the committee) and two other faculty members chosen by the student, one of whom must be a Musicology, Music Education or Music Theory faculty member. All committee members must be at the rank of assistant professor or above. The Master's Committee must be chosen before the student plays a Pre-Recital Hearing, submits a Thesis Proposal, or applies for Admission to Candidacy. For the Pre-Recital Hearing and Graduate Recital the Master's Committee will be expanded to include other faculty from the student's performance area. The student should keep all committee members informed IN WRITING of all dates pertinent to their program of study, particularly dates for pre-recital hearings, graduate recitals and comprehensive exams.
The student's Master's Committee serves several functions during the course of the student's program of study. For Musicology, Music Education, and Music Theory students the Master's Committee:

  • formulates the examination questions and administers, grades, and evaluates the Comprehensive Written and Oral Examinations;
  • approves the Master's thesis proposal (where applicable) prior to the initiation of research and writing;
  • reads and approves the thesis and examines the student on its contents in an oral thesis defense.

For Performance and Pedagogy majors the Master's Committee:

  • attends and approves the Pre-Recital Hearing;
  • attends and approves the Master's Degree Recital;
  • formulates the examination questions and administers, grades, and evaluates the Comprehensive Written and Oral Examinations.

Course Load

The normal full load for a graduate student is 9 to 12 hours, and the maximum load is 15 hours. Students receiving financial aid should consult with the School/program head concerning appropriate course loads. Courses audited do not count toward minimum graduate hours required for financial assistance. Registration for more than 15 hours during any semester is not permissible without prior approval of the Graduate School, which may allow registration of up to 18 hours if the student has achieved an average of 3.6 or better in at least 9 hours of graduate work. Students may enroll in only one course in a mini-term.

Students are expected to arrive in Knoxville in time to attend the first class of each semester.  Any deviation from this requires prior approval by the Director for Graduate Studies.

The course load of a student holding an assistantship should be reduced in proportion to the assistantship responsibilities. For example, the course load of a student holding a 25% assistantship should be 9-13 credits, and those working 50%, 6-11 credits. Students working more than 50% are expected to register for no more than 6 credits.

PLEASE NOTE:  To utilize University health services, graduate students who register for fewer than 9 credit hours per semester must pay the health portion of the University Program and Services fee in addition to the pro-rated fee assessed. This applies to all graduate students, including 50% GTA's, who are otherwise considered full-time students with a course load of at least 6 credit hours per semester.  Consult the Graduate Catalog for further information.

Credit Requirements

Master's degree candidates in music must earn 33-34 semester hours of credit acceptable for graduate study and must complete all courses, including deficiencies, specified in their course of study as required by the School of Music and the Graduate School.  A listing of classes acceptable for graduate study may be found in the university's Graduate Catalog under "Courses of Instruction".  At least two-thirds of the total hours in a Master's degree program must be taken at UT in courses numbered at or above the 500 level. Only 6 thesis hours can be counted toward this requirement. Hours accrued in Music General 502 cannot be used on the Admission to Candidacy form to meet degree requirements.
As per the Graduate Catalog, a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required on all graduate course work taken at UT to remain in good standing and to receive any graduate degree from the University. The grade "D" in any class indicates clearly unsatisfactory performance and cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.

SPECIAL NOTE:  The course requirements listed in the School of Music Graduate Guide AT THE TIME OF A STUDENT'S GRADUATION are the minimum requirements for the degree, NOT the course requirements in effect at the student's entrance into the degree program.  ANY DEVIATIONS from the course requirements require approval from the Graduate Committee.

Language Requirements (Musicology concentration only)

Students pursuing the Master of Music degree in Musicology must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language by passing a language proficiency examination. The examinations are given by the language departments each semester. Application to take the examination must be made through the School of Music Graduate Administrative Assistant in the main School of Music Office suite. Language requirements should be satisfied early in the student's course of study, and must be completed before a student can be admitted to candidacy.

Students who pass either the sequence of French 301 and French 302, or German 331 and German 332 fulfill the language requirement in lieu of the language exam, as per Graduate School policy.  Graduate students do not receive graduate credit for these courses.  The courses are open to all graduate students regardless of previous foreign language experience. Further information, including deadlines to register for the exam, can be found at, under "Doctoral Language Exam."

Ensemble Participation

The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) recommends that candidates for Master's degrees participate in conducted or coached ensembles. All graduate music students are expected to participate in such ensembles whether required in their respective curricula or not.

Students majoring in conducting, vocal performance, wind, string, and percussion instruments must be enrolled in a major ensemble, as assigned by School of Music faculty, during each semester in which they are registered for applied music. This requirement must be met even if the ensemble credit is not needed for degree requirements. 

Independent Study and Special Topics Courses

The purpose of an Independent Study or Special Topics course is to allow concentration on a particular topic in music. Topics that significantly overlap courses offered by the School of Music or that seem to be an effort to circumvent curricular requirements will not be approved. A document which presents the results of the study will be required. A copy of this document must be placed in the student's permanent file upon completion of the study. A Proposal for Independent Study form must be completed by the student and submitted to the major professor with whom the independent study will be taken, the student's advisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies for approval prior to the end of the semester preceding the one in which independent study is to be undertaken.

As a general policy, Independent Study and Special Topics courses will be approved only after the student has undertaken a significant amount of course work in the University of Tennessee School of Music. Students who register for an Independent Study or Special Topics course without prior approval will not be allowed to continue in the course.

Changing Degree Programs and Concentrations

A student who wishes to change from one concentration to another within a degree program must have the written approval of the coordinator of the new concentration, the Associate Director for Graduate Studies in Music, and the Director of the School of Music. The student's original application for admission will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee.

Academic Termination

Graduate education requires continuous evaluation of the student. This evaluation includes not only periodic objective evaluations such as the cumulative grade-point average; performance on comprehensive examinations; and acceptance of the thesis, recital, or performance project; but also subjective appraisal by the faculty of the student's progress and potential. Continuation in a program is determined by the consideration of all these points by the faculty and the Graduate Committee.

Areas and programs may have requirements for continuation or graduation in addition to the minimum requirements set forth in the Graduate Catalog. It is the student's responsibility to be familiar with the special requirements of his/her area or program.

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