Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) Handbook


This handbook is your guide throughout your Doctor of Musical Arts graduate program in Church Music, Composition, Conducting, and Performance. Use this document with the School of Music online catalog, and the School of Music Academic Services Resources.

Student Responsibilities

You are expected to know the requirements of your program as found in this handbook and the online Academic Catalog for the year you begin your studies. You are responsible for knowing the policies and procedures that govern your advancement through the program. Not knowing about a requirement does not excuse you from meeting that requirement.

COVID-19 Information

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges for graduate students, faculty, and programs. While this handbook lays out the standard policies that govern your doctoral program, you can expect that some of these policies will be adapted to meet the realities of pursuing a graduate degree during a pandemic. You are also responsible for knowing the adapted policies and procedures. As policies change, you will be notified by email. In addition, adapted policies will be posted to the following pages, though you are encouraged to reach out to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator if you are ever in doubt:

Official Communication

Your KU email address is the official means of communication for all KU students. Check your “spam” or “junk” folder regularly to ensure you are receiving all important communications. For more email information see KU Information Technology: Email.

Table of Contents

Enrollment

Course enrollment is accomplished online. Enrollment instructions are found at KU Registrar: Enrollment. Check your Enroll and Pay Student Information Center for exact dates and times. They are posted in March for Summer and Fall continuing student enrollment and in October for Spring continuing student enrollment. Also use this link if you are a new student enrolling for the first time.

Courses at the 500 level or above are graduate level courses and will count toward your graduate GPA but may not count towards your degree. At least 50% of your credit hours must be earned in courses at the 700 level or above.

TopicDetails
Your advisorYour major professor is the primary advisor for your degree program. The advising schedule, academic calendar, enrollment deadlines, fees, and additional information to assist you and your advisor can be found at KU Registrar and Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff. Music Theory, Composition, and Musicology majors will be assigned an advisor by the area.
Full-time statusFull-time enrollment for Fall and Spring semesters is:
  • Enrollment in 9 credit hours,
  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours plus a GTA regardless of percentage of appointment.

Full-time enrollment for Summer semester is:

  • Enrollment in 6 credits hours,
  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours plus a GTA regardless of percentage of appointment.

Full-time status might be required by the rules and regulations governing student loan deferments, scholarships and fellowships, and foreign student visas (F-1 and J-1).

Maximum/Minimum number of creditsYou may enroll in a maximum of 16 credits in the fall and spring semesters and 8 credits during the summer session. If you must enroll in more than the maximum number of credits, a KU Registrar: Schedule Change Form is required. If you are NOT required to have full-time status there is no required minimum number of credits.
Late enrollment

To avoid late enrollment fees, you must enroll BEFORE the first day of classes. Enrollment information, including the enrollment schedule, can be found at: KU Registrar: Enrollment. Late enrollment begins at 12:00 a.m. on the first instructional day of the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.

If you enroll AFTER the first week of classes, you must obtain a Petition to Late Enroll form from the Graduate Student Services office, 446 Murphy, complete it with appropriate signatures, and submit it to the Registrar’s office. Enrollment after the 20th day of classes is only permitted in rare cases, by completing a FacEx Appeal.

International student enrollmentInternational students must be particularly aware of the rules and regulations regarding their visa status. International students should contact the International Support Services (ISS) office when enrolling, dropping or adding classes, reducing full-time enrollment, changing their degree program, taking a leave of absence, or withdrawing from the university. U.S. (Federal) laws govern your student visa status, and you must be fully aware of them as you proceed through your degree program.
Leave of absenceYou may request a leave of absence in cases of illness, emergency, to pursue family responsibilities, or to pursue activities related to long-range professional goals. The time taken for a leave of absence does not count against your degree program time constraints (see Graduate Studies Policy). Taking a leave of absence is highly encouraged over not enrolling and being discontinued by the University. Students are allowed a maximum of three 1-year Leaves of Absence.
Updated Fall 2021

A leave of absence is granted for no more than 1 year at a time. To begin a leave of absence, you must submit a Leave of Absence (LOA) Request to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator in 446 Murphy requesting a leave of absence, stating the reason for the leave, and for which semester(s). Your advisor must approve your request. The first request for a leave of absence is automatically granted. Subsequent requests must be submitted to the Committee on Graduate Studies in Music (COGSIM) for approval. Progress toward completing your degree will be considered in granting further Leaves of Absence.

International students must work with an ISS counselor if they are planning to request a leave of absence. Depending on your situation, there may be additional documents you must submit.

Retroactive withdrawal from coursesThe School of Music does not allow, under any circumstances, retroactive withdrawal by graduate students, either for a whole semester or for individual courses.
Degree checklist / Program of Study

Degree Progress Check Sheets/Programs of Study are available online at Doctor of Musical Arts for the DMA. The check sheet has the minimum required coursework and credits for your degree. Using this sheet with your advisor allows you to plan your entire program from beginning (Diagnostic Exams) to end (Doctoral Final Oral Exam). You may request an updated copy of the degree check sheet kept in your folder from the Graduate Student Services office, in 446 Murphy. Student check sheets are updated in your file annually using the advising report found in the myKU portal.

Re-admission for returning graduate students

A student who has been actively enrolled in a degree-seeking graduate program but has not been enrolled for one academic year (three consecutive semesters, including summer) or less, may be eligible to use the Permit to Re-enroll form.

A student who has been actively enrolled in a degree-seeking program and has not enrolled for four or more consecutive semesters (including summer) without an approved Leave of Absence is not eligible to use the Permit to Re-enroll form and must re-apply for Graduate admission, including a possible audition. In this case, you would be admitted as a new student and additional requirements may be in effect.

If you were not enrolled during the Spring or Fall semester preceding your return, you must contact the Graduate Student Services Coordinator to determine the correct procedure for returning to your degree program.

Enrollment during your final semester

University policy states that you must be enrolled in at least 1 credit during the semester you are graduating or the semester prior if meeting the early deadline. This does not include the summer term.

Enrollment grace periodThere is an enrollment “grace period.” If you meet all degree requirements, which includes passing your Final Exam and submitting written documents, by the end of the first two weeks of the Fall or Spring semester (or the end of the first week of the Summer semester), you do not have to enroll, but will graduate that semester. You must have been enrolled in at least one credit the previous semester.

Grades

Graduate Studies uses the “ABCDF” system of grading. The School of Music also uses a “+/-” system. For coursework in thesis, dissertation, lecture-recital with document, or document alone, the letter grade “P” (Progress) is used instead of “I” (Incomplete) to indicate acceptable progress until the document has been completed and a final grade of A-F is submitted. “P” grades are not included in the computation of your grade point average, and they cannot be changed to a letter grade after the semester they are taken.

A grade of B- or below in a course in your major area is not acceptable and will not meet degree requirements. For all other courses, a grade of C- or below is not considered a passing grade and will not carry graduate credit or fulfill a degree requirement but will be counted towards your graduate GPA unless students elect to enroll Credit/No Credit for the course.

TopicDetails
Incomplete grade policy

The grades “W” and “I” may be given. The letter “I” indicates incomplete work that may be completed without re-enrollment in the course (generally within one year). The letter “W” indicates withdrawal for which no credit or grade point is assigned. “WG” is used when no grade has been given by the class instructor and means “waiting for grade.”

A student who has an “I” posted for a course must make up the work by the date determined by the instructor, in consultation with the student, which may not exceed 1 calendar year, or the last day of the term of graduation, whichever comes first. An “I” not removed within a year is automatically converted to a grade of “F” or to the lapse grade assigned by the course instructor. The grade of F or the lapse grade will be included in the transcripts and GPA.

Extensions to the time limit may be granted by the dean’s representative upon submission of a petition from the student containing the endorsement of the course instructor who assigned the “I” grade, or the area coordinator if the instructor is unavailable. After the “I” grade is converted to a grade of “F,” the grade may only be changed in accordance with USRR Article II, Section 3.

It is your responsibility to make certain that all Incompletes have been replaced with a letter grade by your final semester. You may not take your oral comprehensive exam with Incompletes on your academic record.

Credit/No creditYou may elect to be graded with Credit (CR) or No Credit (NC) instead of ABCDF under certain circumstances. For graduate students, the grade of CR will be recorded for a grade of C or above, a grade of NC for a grade of C- or below. Courses graded CR/NC will not satisfy degree requirements in School of Music graduate programs and still require tuition and fees be paid.
GPA and academic probation

You must maintain at least a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) in all coursework in your major area and you must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for all graduate-level courses. If your cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, you will be placed on academic probation. You must raise your GPA to 3.0 or above by the end of the following semester (probationary period) to be returned to regular status.

If you have not raised your GPA to 3.0 by the end of the semester of probation, you will not be allowed to re-enroll in coursework and will be dismissed, unless the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs acts favorably on a recommendation from the faculty members in your area that you continue in graduate study on continued probation.

Transfer credits

At the doctoral level, credits do not transfer per se. Prior coursework may be taken into consideration when developing a course of study with your advisor. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs must approve any credits being considered.

Tuition and Fees

Graduate students are assessed the standard resident or non-resident graduate tuition rate for every credit in which they are enrolled, including undergraduate credits. Music classes carry an additional course fee which, like tuition, is assessed per credit hour. If you have a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), the tuition and course fees are waived at the percentage stated in your GTA contract.

All graduate students pay required campus fees. Lawrence campus fees are assessed per credit hour if you are enrolled in fewer than 6 credits. If you are enrolled in 6 or more credit hours, you will pay the flat rate. The School of Music GTA does not cover campus fees. Tuition and fee information, including the current rates, can be found at KU Financial Aid & Scholarships, and on the KU Registrar’s Comprehensive Fee Schedule.

The longer you remain enrolled in a course, the lower your refund will be if you decide to drop the course. Check the Registrar’s Office website, KU Registrar, for the academic calendar that provides deadlines for dropping classes and the refund rate. You may drop courses online up to the last day to drop. After that date, you may only drop if you complete a FacEx Appeal and it is approved.

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TopicDetails
Refunds for dropped classes

 

Financial Support

Graduate Studies funding opportunities ">Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) ">Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) tuition waivers ">Scholarships ">School of Music Student Opportunity funds ">

 

TopicDetails

The KU Office of Graduate Studies offers a limited number of fellowships, travel funds, and scholarships to assist academically superior students. Summer fellowships are available to currently enrolled Doctoral students. Only one or two students may be nominated for each award. Nominations are made by the area coordinator, who submits the nomination packet electronically to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Let your area coordinator know if you are interested in being nominated. Application forms are available on the Graduate Studies website in late December or early January. Information on the application and nomination process is also on that site.

Graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs) are offered in ensembles, musicology, music theory and composition, music education and therapy, and in many areas of performance. Normally, a GTA can be renewed for a maximum of 16 semesters while working on a Doctoral degree.

To be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship, complete a GTA application, available on the Student Academic Resources page, Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff. Applications are due in the Graduate Student Services office, 446 Murphy, by March 1. Speak with your advisor or area coordinator about available GTAs or about seeking reappointment for your current GTA. Students seeking a GTA outside of the School of Music should work directly with the hiring department in that area.

GTA tuition waivers are as follows:
• 40% appointment is 100% tuition and course fee waiver
• 30% appointment is 75% tuition and course fee waiver
• 20% appointment is 50% tuition and course fee waiver
• 10% appointment is 25% tuition and course fee waiver

There is complete information regarding GTAs and the benefits that come with them at this website: Benefits Available to Graduate Research Assistants, Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants. It explains what is covered for each level of appointment.

A small number of music scholarships are available for graduate students. Please speak with your area coordinator about what is available to you.

The School of Music provides funds to support travel for the professional development of students and to increase the visibility of its academic programs. These funds are for students participating in national and regional conferences in which they perform, present papers, or hold workshops. The funds also support students invited to perform or present at other regional, national, or international venues. To request School of Music opportunity funds, please complete the School of Music Opportunity Fund - Student Travel Reimbursement Request Form.

 

 

 

Graduate Diagnostic Examinations

First-year students in all MM (except MM-Opera), DMA, PhD-Theory, and PhD-Musicology programs are required to take the School’s graduate diagnostic exams immediately before the first semester of enrollment. A student who received a bachelor’s or master’s degree from KU within the last 4 years is exempt from this requirement. Students’ enrollment in School of Music coursework may be cancelled if the diagnostic exams are not taken.

TopicDetails
Diagnostic exam gradingEach section is evaluated as Satisfactory (S), Review (R), or Deficient (D). If Satisfactory (S), no remedial work is required. If you receive a Review (R), you are strongly encouraged to review the material on your own before your oral exams. If Deficient (D), you must remediate the deficiency.
Diagnostic retakesDiagnostic exams that are failed can be retaken only once, and only immediately before the second semester of enrollment. Extenuating circumstances will be considered. A score of Deficient on a re-take requires that the student take the review class and pass with a grade of C or better.
Remediation of diagnostic deficiencies

If a student fails one or more of the diagnostic areas on the first administration of the diagnostic exam, the student either (a) passes the diagnostic exam in the failed areas on the second administration, or (b) earns a grade of C or better in the appropriate courses listed below to clear the deficiency.

Deficiencies must be remediated as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the second semester of enrollment and at the latest by the end of the third semester. If a student has not cleared all deficiencies by the end of the third semester of enrollment, enrollment in subsequent coursework will not be allowed.

The above is the only avenue for students to clear deficiencies. Independent study is not permissible, nor will diagnostic exams be made available to students outside of the opportunities scheduled before each fall and spring semester.

Musicology diagnostic exam and review courses

Musicology diagnostic exams will cover 6 historical periods:

  • Medieval
  • Classical
  • Renaissance
  • Romantic
  • Baroque
  • 20th-21st Century

The examination includes essay questions; identification of terms, titles and names, and identification of stylistic traits in recorded examples.

Six independent 400-level review courses will be offered each academic year. These courses do not count toward your degree and are for remediation of deficiencies only.

Fall:
MUSC 474: Graduate Review: Medieval (1 credit; offered 1st third of the semester)
MUSC 475: Graduate Review: Renaissance (1 credit; offered 2nd third of the semester)
MUSC 476: Graduate Review: Baroque (1 credit; offered 3rd third of the semester)

Spring:
MUSC 477: Graduate Review: Classic (1 credit; offered 1st third of the semester)
MUSC 478: Graduate Review: Romantic (1 credit; offered 2nd third of the semester)
MUSC 479: Graduate Review: 20th-21st Century (1 credit; offered 3rd third of the semester)

Textbooks appropriate for review include:

  • Mark Evan Bonds, A History of Music In Western Culture
  • Richard L. Crocker, A History of Musical Style
  • J. Peter Burkholder, Donald J. Grout, and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music
  • David Poultney, Studying Music History: Learning, Reasoning, and Writing about Music History and Literature
  • Douglass Seaton, Ideas and Styles in the Western Musical Tradition
  • K. Marie Stolba, The Development of Western Music: A History
Music Theory diagnostic exam and review courses

Music Theory diagnostic exams will cover five areas:

  • Harmony
  • Aural Skills
  • Form
  • 20th Century
  • 18th Century Counterpoint (for Piano, Organ, Church Music, Music Theory, Musicology, and Composition majors only)

For a practice theory diagnostic exam see Graduate Music Theory Diagnostic Exam Practice.

Four independent 400-level review courses will be offered each academic year. These courses do not count toward your degree and are for remediation only.

Fall:
MTHC 400: Graduate Review: Written Theory (1 credit; offered first 8 weeks)
MTHC 402: Graduate Review: Aural Skills (1 credit; offered second 8 weeks)

Spring:
MTHC 404: Graduate Review: Form (1 credit; offered first 8 weeks)
MTHC 406: Graduate Review: 20th Century (1 credit; offered second 8 weeks)

Textbooks appropriate for review include:
Aural Skills

  • Joe Phillips, Paul Murphy, Jane Piper Clendinning, and Elizabeth West Marvin, The Musician’s Guide to Aural Skills, Volumes 1 & 2
  • Free website: www.teoria.com has ear training practice tests

Tonal Theory

  • Jane Piper Clendinning and Elizabeth West Marvin, The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis

Post-tonal Theory

  • Stefan Kostka, Materials and Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music
  • Joseph Straus, Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory

Form

  • William Caplin, William, Classical Form: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven

18th Century Counterpoint

  • Robert Gauldin, A Practical Approach to 18th Century Counterpoint

Literature diagnostic exam for piano students

(Updated fall 2020)

All new piano graduate students must take a piano literature diagnostic exam assessing knowledge of keyboard literature from 1300 to the present day. A student who received a bachelor’s or master’s degree in piano from KU within the last 4 years is exempt from this requirement. Students who do not pass this exam are required to satisfy the deficiency by enrolling in PIAN 743, PIAN 744, PIAN 746, and/or PIAN 747, as recommended by the Piano Area Coordinator. If you have questions regarding the Piano Literature Diagnostic Exam or want further information, contact the Piano Area Coordinator.

Degree Requirements

YOU are responsible for knowing your degree requirements. The faculty and staff of the School of Music are here to assist you in any way they can, but the timely completion of your degree depends on you.

TopicDetails
Program of Study

Beginning with students admitted Fall 2015, each DMA student (except the DMA in composition), with advising from his or her major professor, is required to submit a complete Program of Study for approval by the end of the second semester of enrollment. Students who do not submit the Program of Study will not be permitted to enroll in the third term.

The Program should include a schedule for meeting all deficiencies, a plan for completing all graduate coursework including a cognate if chosen, a projected residency, a projected schedule for recitals, a projected semester for the Doctoral exams (qualifying and oral), and a projected semester during which the Lecture-Recital will be held and the DMA Document defended. The student’s major professor and graduate committee should assume primary responsibility for monitoring progress within the approved plan. Plans will be kept in the student’s online file in 446 Murphy. Subsequent changes to the program of study must be noted and approved by the student’s advisor. An updated Program will be submitted yearly to musicgrad@ku.edu.

According to Graduate Studies policy, doctoral students must complete a minimum program engagement equivalent to two full-time semesters. This may be accomplished through either of the following:

Summer enrollment is not required to maintain registration, but summer enrollments may be counted toward the 18 part-time pre-comprehensive hours. The time spent in attaining the master’s degree at KU may also count toward this enrollment requirement, at the program’s discretion. The various programs of study for the school’s doctoral degrees prescribe a minimum number of coursework credits and other degree requirements. Relevant prior graduate coursework may be taken into consideration when developing programs of study.

The course of study in each major field is found in the online catalog at KU Academic Catalog: School of Music. Please obtain an updated copy of your degree sheet from the Graduate Student Services Coordinator to complete your Plan of Study.

NOTE: Any requested change to a faculty-approved degree program must come before the Committee on Graduate Studies in Music (COGSIM) as a student petition. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in required credits, courses, or policies.

Adding a master’s degree while pursuing a DMA

If a DMA student chooses to add on an additional Master’s degree while pursuing their doctorate, they should complete the Internal Graduate Application (for multiple Graduate Degrees) (no additional fee) and be aware of the following:

  1. The student will be required to complete 18 new credits toward the added Master’s degree while pursuing a Doctoral degree.
  2. Credits taken for the optional Doctoral cognate may be used for the added Master’s degree if these credits are not already being used to fulfill a Doctoral degree requirement (e.g., MTHC credits for a theory cognate).
  3. The Master’s advisor has the prerogative to assign elective credits to the two degrees as they see fit.
  4. 6 of the 12 MTHC or MUSC credits required for the Doctoral degree can be used to meet the requirements for the added Master’s degree. An additional 3 credits must be taken to complete the 9 credits of MTHC or MUSC required for any of the School’s Master’s degrees.
  5. If the 3 credits for MUSC 801: Music Bibliography and Research have been waived for the Doctoral degree, they are waived for the added Master’s degree.
Doctoral degree program time constraint:

All Doctoral degrees must be completed by 8 years from the time of enrollment in doctoral coursework. Students may petition for a one-year extension beyond the 8-year requirement. Petitions for extensions go to the Committee on Graduate Studies in Music (COGSIM).

Doctoral residency requirement:

Two semesters, one of which may include a summer session, must be spent in resident study at KU. They do not need to be consecutive. During this period, you must be involved full time in academic pursuits. Enrollment in approved online and distance-learning courses offered through KU cannot be used to meet the doctoral residency requirement (see full policy on Engagement & Enrollment in Doctoral Programs).

Language requirements:

Some music degree programs have a language requirement. Examine your Program of Study sheet for the specific language requirements and discuss them with your advisor.

DMA Voice students must have taken one year each of French, German, and Italian during their college career. They can be courses taken at any time during your college career. In consultation with your advisor, any of the following may be used to fulfill the language requirement:

  • Completion of a two-semester undergraduate-level sequence of the language;
  • Completion of a two-semester undergraduate-level accelerated sequence of the language;
  • Completion of a one-semester graduate-level reading course;
  • Completion of an approved two-semester on-line undergraduate language course; or
  • Completion of a KU or other approved test in the language.

If you are coming to KU with one semester of a language which is not a graduate level reading course, you must take a second semester course in the language, take a graduate reading course, or pass a KU or other approved test.

ElectivesElective hours can be selected from any music or non-music courses. Elective courses must be at the graduate level (500 or above) to count toward the degree.
MUSC 801: Research and Bibliography

MUSC 801, Music Bibliography and Research, is required for all graduate students in music and satisfies the Graduate Studies “Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship” (RSRS) requirement for doctoral students. All doctoral students must meet the RSRS requirement before proceeding to the oral comprehensive exam.

Waiver for MUSC 801

If you have taken a comparable Research and Bibliography graduate course at another university, you may request a waiver of MUSC 801. To request a waiver, provide the Musicology Area Coordinator with a syllabus of the course you wish to use in place of MUSC 801.

Jury examinations

All DMA students in performance areas are required to take a jury examination each semester until the semester in which the first degree recital is presented, after which juries are no longer required. Juries will include the faculty members in your major area. Additionally, any DMA student enrolled in studio instruction (____ 711 for the student’s secondary instrument) may be expected to take a jury at the discretion of the instructor.

Graduate Advisory Committee:
5 members required

Your Graduate Advisory Committee administers your Oral Comprehensive Examination and the Doctoral Final Examination/Defense. Members of your committee from the performance faculty are also responsible for grading your doctoral recitals.

Your Graduate Advisory Committee is a 5-member committee. DMA students in performance must submit the Advisory Committee form (.pdf), before the first degree recital can be scheduled. You may wait to choose your MTHC/MUSC member and your Graduate Studies Representative until before your Oral Comprehensive Exam. Members of your committee must be on the Graduate Faculty. Discuss the membership of your committee with your advisor and personally ask each faculty member to serve and sign the Advisory Committee form (.pdf).

Only faculty members with privileges to serve or chair a doctoral committee may be selected. A member without those privileges may not serve on a doctoral committee.

Advisory committees for DMA students in Church Music, Conducting, and Performance are comprised as follows:

  • two members from your area,
  • one from Musicology or Music Theory/Composition,
  • one Graduate Studies Representative, and
  • one additional member from the School of Music Graduate Faculty.

Advisory committees for DMA students in Composition are comprised as follows:

  • two members from Composition,
  • one from Musicology,
  • one Graduate Studies Representative, and
  • a fifth member from the School of Music Graduate Faculty.
Graduate Studies Representative (formerly Outside Member)

The Graduate Studies Representative is a graduate faculty member outside of the MUSIC department. This member is not required to attend your degree recitals or to grade them. The Graduate Studies Representative must be a member of the Graduate Faculty. As the Graduate Studies Representative, they are a voting member of the committee and may or may not participate in questioning you during your Oral Comprehensive and Doctoral Final Exams. The role of the Graduate Studies Representative is to report any unsatisfactory or unusual aspects of the examination to the Chair of your advisory committee, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in Music, the School of Music Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Committee Oral Exam/Defense attendance:

All five members of your advisory committee must participate in the Oral Comprehensive Exam and the Doctoral Final Exam/Defense. For doctoral oral examinations, all members of your committee must be physically present for the Oral Comprehensive Examination or Final Oral Examination/Defense to commence (see oral exam attendance policy).

The student, the committee chair, and the Graduate Studies Representative must all be physically present at the examination. Mediated attendance by any of these three is prohibited without special permission from the Graduate Studies Office.

When a situation arises in which a committee member cannot be physically present, attendance via mediated means is acceptable at the discretion of the committee chair. In cases where the student prefers an examination in which all committee members are physically present, the student’s preference shall be honored.

Graduate progress toward degreeGraduate students in the School of Music must maintain an expected level of academic performance throughout their program to maintain good academic standing. Criteria for evaluating satisfactory performance include:
  1. a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the major area;
  2. academic and scholarly integrity;
  3. compliance with academic policies at the University, School, and Area level; and
  4. satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree, to be evaluated yearly as determined by the following:
  • satisfaction of diagnostic deficiencies in the first 3 semesters of enrollment;
  • for DMA students, performance of the DMA qualifying recital by the end of the first year of enrollment; and
  • satisfactory completion of at least 1 credit that meets degree requirements each semester of enrollment.

Students who are unable to complete degree requirements during any semester due to injuries, illness, financial difficulties, or family emergencies should submit a request for a Leave of Absence. Failure to request a Leave of Absence will not relieve the student of the requirements to continue to make progress toward the degree as defined above.

Failure to make progress toward the degree as defined above will result in a student not being in good academic standing and the student will be put on probation or dismissed from the program. The School will evaluate graduate students pursuing more than one degree program based on their progress toward meeting the requirements of each program individually.

Degree Recitals

All students in performance and conducting must perform a total of three recitals. This does not include the DMA Lecture-Recital if you select that as your final project. All degree recitals must be held in a venue open to the public.

Each recital program must be approved by all faculty members in your area before the recital is to be performed. At least two of the three degree recitals must be given before you complete your Oral Comprehensive Examination.

TopicDetails
DMA Qualifying Recital

The first DMA recital serves as a qualifying recital and is used to determine whether you will be allowed to continue in the DMA program. Unless an extension is approved, the first DMA recital must be presented within the first two semesters of enrollment. You may petition for an extension by submitting a formal written request, including justification for the extension, to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The request must include a letter of support from the major professor and an endorsement from the area coordinator.

As determined by your Graduate Advisory Committee, there are three possible outcomes from the qualifying recital:

  • You are allowed to continue in your proposed course of study and proceed with subsequent DMA recitals,
  • You are allowed to continue in your proposed course of study, but will be required to repeat the first DMA recital or;
  • You are not allowed to continue in the DMA program.

If you are required to repeat your first recital, you will only have one additional opportunity after the first attempt.

Recital requirements

Options for the types of recitals that will fulfill the recital requirement may include a full solo recital, concerto performance, chamber music program, or a second Lecture-Recital. Please discuss options with your advisor.

Piano: Students majoring in piano must perform a chamber music or concerto recital as one of the three required degree recitals.

Wind and Orchestra Conducting: Doctoral students in instrumental conducting must perform three recitals, each consisting of 50-60 minutes of programmed music. These recitals may consist of the combination of works conducted with various scheduled university ensembles over the course of multiple semesters.

Choral Conducting: Doctoral students in choral conducting are required to conduct three recitals. Each of the recitals will be a concert-length public performance with the ensemble to which the student has been assigned. “Concert-length public performance” is defined as a minimum of 30 minutes of conducted music.

A conducting student who wishes to use an ensemble other than a scheduled university ensemble must obtain permission from the student’s major professor.

Recital grading

Doctoral recitals, including the Lecture-Recital if given, will be graded by the performance area members of your committee. The Graduate Studies representative and the Theory or Musicology member are not required to submit a grade. You must receive a composite grade of at least a B on all recitals for satisfactory completion of this degree requirement.

Scheduling your recital

All degree recitals, regardless of performance location, must be scheduled and registered in the School of Music Communications and Events Center, 460 Murphy Hall at least 3 weeks prior to the performance date. The recital scheduling packet is available in 460 Murphy as well as online at Recital Scheduling. Your advisor’s signature must be on the recital form. Recital scheduling is also required for conducting students who are using several performances as one recital and voice students who are using an opera role as a degree recital. If you have enrolled in ___965: Doctoral Recital, you must register your recital using the recital packet.

Recitals performed away from the City of Lawrence:
  • Only one of the three DMA degree recitals may be held away from the city of Lawrence.
  • The DMA Lecture-Recital must be held in the city of Lawrence.
  • Your major professor must approve in writing any of the three DMA degree recitals held away from the city of Lawrence.
  • The performance must be a public performance.
  • A quality video recording of the event must be made and submitted as required.
  • At least one member of your committee is expected to be present. Attendance is at the student’s expense. The major professor and the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee must approve in writing an event for which no committee member will be present.
Priority scheduling

Recital scheduling for each semester begins with the priority scheduling week. Only graduate students are permitted to schedule during the first two days of the priority week. Non-degree recitals will be scheduled on the fifth day of that week. After the priority scheduling week, all recitals are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority scheduling week for the Fall semester happens in late August or early September. Priority scheduling week for Spring happens in late October or early November. Watch for posters in Murphy Hall as well as email notification of priority scheduling dates.

Recital dates and timesStudents are welcome to check the School of Music master calendar – the “Swarthout Book” – any time in 460 Murphy. Before scheduling a recital, confirm available dates with your advisor to avoid conflicts. When ready to schedule, be prepared by having a primary date/time and 4 alternative dates/times.
Standard recital times are:
  • Saturday & Sunday – 2:30, 5:00, & 7:30 PM
  • Monday thru Friday – 5:00 & 7:30 PM
Recital feesRecital fees are in the recital packet at Recital Scheduling. They include:
  • Murphy Hall Recital
    • Includes hall rental, marketing, piano tuning, programs, student monitor, audio recording
  • Bales Recital Hall
    • Includes hall rental, marketing, & programs
    • Recording is done by Bales staff.
  • Off Campus Recital
    • Includes marketing, programs, & student monitor
    • Recording is NOT included
    • Note: Off campus recitals may incur extra costs such as venue rental, piano tuning, and recording
  • Conducting Recital
    • Includes marketing, programs, student monitor, & audio recording
Recital programs

It is your responsibility to provide a properly formatted recital program. See the School of Music Student Recital Program Style Guide, in the scheduling packet, for specific program formatting information. The recital programs are due in 460 Murphy no less than 2 weeks in advance of the recital. Both an emailed program and a paper copy signed by the instructor must be submitted at least 2 weeks before the recital. Failure to meet this deadline will result in cancellation of the recital with no refund of the recital fee.

You must provide a copy of your recital program to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator for your file.

Recital recordings

All graduate degree recitals must be recorded for inclusion in the School of Music digital archive. If your recital is recorded by School of Music Recording Services you will receive a link to the digital file after your recital. You are required to submit a paper copy of your recital program to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator for your file. Students using other than School of Music Recording Services must submit a copy of the recital program to the Graduate Services Coordinator and submit an audio recording to the recording engineer, recording@ku.edu, by the end of the semester in which the recital is performed for inclusion in the digital archive.

Conducting students using a compilation of performances for a degree recital must contact recording@ku.edu for instructions on how to submit the recordings for the digital archive.

Lecture-Recital

The Lecture-Recital is the final recital for the DMA in performance areas. It includes the lecture document. The defense of the document is scheduled with your advisory committee to be held after the Lecture-Recital.

The Lecture-Recital should be between 70 and 80 minutes in length, including the intermission, normally with a minimum of 30 minutes’ performance time. The music should be new to the student and should include at least one major work. The candidate should be the principal performer and lecturer.

The candidate may present the lecture as a formal reading of the paper or in a less formal, paraphrased manner. The style of the presentation will be determined by the student and the major advisor.

Events other than solo recitals used to fulfill degree recital requirements

Events other than a solo recital to be used to fulfill a degree recital may include, but are not limited to, major opera roles, recitals taking place off campus (cf. off-campus recital policy), and professional conference performances. These events must be registered as a degree recital and the appropriate recital fee paid. The student’s committee determines whether these events will fulfill a recital requirement.

The student is responsible for making certain a recording is made of all events used for full or partial fulfillment of a given recital. If the event occurs off-campus, the student must provide an audio or video recording for grading purposes and to be included in the digital archive.

Qualifying, Oral, and Final Exams

At some point you will have completed most, if not all, of your degree requirements and will be preparing to graduate. Understanding the policies and timing of the Written Qualifying Exams, Oral Comprehensive Exam, and the Doctoral Final Exam/Defense will ensure that you graduate when you want to graduate.

TopicDetails
Written Qualifying Examinations

The Written Qualifying Examinations are School of Music exams that must be passed before taking the Oral Comprehensive Examination. You must have satisfied all diagnostic examination deficiencies and the bulk of your coursework before you are eligible to sit for these exams. Please work with your advisor and the Graduate Student Services Coordinator on the timing for these exams. Scheduled dates for the Written Qualifying Exams are on the School of Music Graduate Calendar. When you are ready to take the examinations, notify the Music History and Music Theory Area Coordinators that you intend to participate in the next scheduled exam. DMA students have the option to replace either or both the written qualifying exams in Music History or Music Theory with an additional three-credit-hour graduate-level course in the relevant area, with approval from their major professor and area coordinator.

Note: The student’s major professor and area coordinator (if they are different persons) have the authority to require the student to take the qualifying exam in music theory, music history, or both.

The Doctoral Written Qualifying Examinations have three components:

  1. Music History – will assess student knowledge of representative literature and composers of each major period of music history, as well as general bibliographic resources in music. This exam will be prepared and graded by the Musicology Area.
  2. Music Theory – will assess broad knowledge of music theory as it relates to music performers. The exam will be prepared and graded by the Theory Area. Organ and Church Music DMA students have two options for the music theory exam: either the Theory Written Qualifying Exam or a Keyboard Improvisation exam.
  3. Major field – will assess aspects of the student’s major field, including but not necessarily limited to, applied literature/repertoire, pedagogy, and specialization-specific sources and resources. Faculty in the major area are responsible for preparing and grading this exam.

PhD-Musicology, PhD-Theory, and DMA-Composition students should discuss the components of their Written Qualifying Exams with their advisors.

Written Music History Qualifying Exam

The Written Music History Qualifying Exam is proctored in-person once per semester during the academic year or students may choose to take an additional three-credit-hour MUSC course with approval from their major advisor and area coordinator to meet this requirement. Please take note of the following rules and suggestions for the Written Music History Qualifying Exam.

  • There are old versions of the exam available in the Music Library that you can consult for study purposes.
  • No notes, either handwritten or saved on a computer or similar device, may be consulted in the examination room. All information that students provide in answering questions must be supplied from knowledge that they possess when they enter the room. The exam will be proctored by Musicology faculty and graduate teaching assistants.
  • A laptop may be used for the bibliography section, which requires access to the internet, but it is possible that all other sections of the exam will be taken on paper. Laptops will only be allowed on other sections of the test if an effective lockdown browser can be found.
  • Phones may be in the room, but may not be on the desk where the student is working on the exam. Phones must be turned off and may not be consulted at any point while taking the exam.
  • You will not be allowed to work outside of the exam room except during the bibliography section.
Written Theory Qualifying Exam

The Written Theory Qualifying Exam is proctored online through Blackboard (PRAC000-256: Doctoral Music Theory Qualifying Exam). Students interested in sitting for the Written Theory Qualifying Exam should email the Graduate Coordinator at musicgrad@ku.edu to be enrolled in the Blackboard/Canvas section. Students may take the Written Theory Qualifying Exam once per semester during the academic year or students may choose to take an additional three-credit-hour MTHC course with approval from their major advisor and area coordinator to meet this requirement. Exemptions would need to be justified on exceptional grounds and at the discretion of the Music Theory Area. Students may take the Written Theory Qualifying Exam as many times as necessary to pass the exam.

Students should use the free online source Open Music Theory in preparing for the exam. The site is intended to facilitate review of material that has already been studied in one form or another. If students would like to find more in-depth sources, they can feel free to contact someone on the Music Theory faculty for recommendations. The exam will not have any questions about Galant Schemata or Pop/Rock Music but everything else covered in the online source is a possibility.

Exam Authorization Form for Oral Comps and Doctoral Final Exam

 

*Exam Authorization form required 2 weeks in advance*

The Doctoral Oral Comprehensive Exam and the Doctoral Final Exam/Defense are University-level exams. The Graduate Studies Office is notified of the School-approved exam by the submission of the Exam Authorization PtD (Progress to Degree) form, found at Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff. This form must be completed by you, signed by your committee chair, and submitted to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator, 446 Murphy, no later than 2 weeks before your scheduled Oral Comprehensive Exam or your scheduled Doctoral Final Exam.

The form is submitted before the Oral Comprehensive Exam to verify that you have completed the RSRS requirement, are in good academic standing, have completed the residency requirement, and that you have successfully passed all Written Qualifying Exams. The same form is used before the Doctoral Final Examination/Defense to submit the topic of your final DMA Document or PhD Dissertation to the KU Office of Graduate Studies.
Failure to submit this form 2 weeks in advance of the exam will result in the rescheduling of your exam.

Scheduling your Oral Comprehensive Examination and your Doctoral Final Examination

 

*Exam Authorization form required 2 weeks in advance*

When you are ready to schedule your Oral Comprehensive Exam or Doctoral Final Exam/Defense with the members of your Graduate Advisory Committee, you must

  • find a date and time that all committee members can meet.
  • find and reserve a location. The Music Library Seminar Room is a popular site.
  • complete the Exam Authorization PtD form, following the directions at the top of that form. The Exam Authorization form must be submitted to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator AT LEAST 2 WEEKS in advance of the exam date. The form is used for pre-approval of your final exam and as a report of your exam results by your committee when you complete the exam.

At least one month must elapse between the successful completion of the Oral Comprehensive Exam and the date of the Doctoral Final Exam/Defense.

Oral Comprehensive Examination

 

 


*Exam Authorization form required 2 weeks in advance*

The Oral Comprehensive Examination is required of all KU doctoral students. Once passed, it confers All But Dissertation (ABD) status and you become a doctoral candidate. Although this is a university-level exam, it is administered by your Graduate Advisory Committee.
You may schedule your Oral Comprehensive Exam
  • when you have cleared all diagnostic deficiencies;
  • when you have passed your Written Qualifying Exams;
  • when you have given at least two of your required degree recitals;
  • when you have no incompletes on your transcript in any classes; and
  • if you are in good academic standing.

Under no circumstances will students be allowed to schedule and take the Oral Comprehensive Exam until all of these criteria have been met.

The Oral Comprehensive Exam will cover all aspects of your major field of study and serves as a synthesis of your academic training as a whole. Questions will be asked by each member of your committee to assess the professional level and depth of your knowledge of theory, musicology, pedagogy, repertoire, and any other specific questions deemed pertinent to your major area. Doctoral students are expected to have developed the capacity for individual study and inquiry; therefore, the subject matter of the examination is not necessarily limited to courses in which the student has enrolled.

Exam Grading

For both the Oral Comprehensive Exam and the Doctoral Final Exam/Defense, the committee reports a grade of Honors, Satisfactory, or Fail. If you receive a “Fail” on the exam, you may repeat it on the recommendation of your Graduate Advisory Committee, but under no circumstances will you be allowed to take it more than three times. You may not retake the Oral Comprehensive Exam until at least 90 days have elapsed since the previous attempt.

Post- comprehensive enrollment
“Continuous Enrollment”

Beginning with the semester after passing the Oral Comprehensive Exam until all requirements for your degree are completed OR until 18 post-comprehensive hours have been completed, all Doctoral candidates must enroll in a minimum of 6 credits during the fall and spring semesters. The credits taken during the semester you pass your Oral Comprehensive Exam will count toward the 18 post-comprehensive credit requirement.

If you have reached the 18-credit maximum and have not completed your degree requirements, you must continue to be enrolled every Fall and Spring semester in at least 1 credit until you graduate.

Doctoral Final Oral Exam/DefenseFor doctoral candidates in Composition, Musicology, and Music Theory, the Doctoral Final Exam/Defense is devoted primarily to the defense of your dissertation. For candidates in conducting and performance, the examination will deal primarily with the research reported in the DMA document.

Written Final Documents

All doctoral students in the School of Music have a written document that they will defend at their Doctoral Final Exam/Defense. PhD students in Musicology and Music Theory will defend a dissertation. DMA students in Composition will write a major composition and a substantive analysis. DMA students in Performance will present either a Lecture-Recital with an accompanying DMA document, or will write a more extensive DMA document in lieu of the Lecture-Recital. All documents are submitted online for publication after they have been defended and approved.

TopicDetails
Dissertation/Document proposalALL doctoral-level students must submit a dissertation/document proposal to their committee members. You will find guidance for writing an effective proposal in the DMA Document Guidelines and Time Frame. Students should submit their proposals to their committee members for approval via email and obtain physical signatures on the Research Proposal Approval Form (.pdf). These signatures confirm that you have provided your topic to your committee members and that they approve of the topic. After obtaining signatures from each committee member, return the completed form to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator. Your advisor and committee members will work with you on the content and scope of your proposal.
Musicology, Music Theory, and Composition major timelinePhD and DMA-Composition students must submit a proposal to all members of their committee no later than the end of the semester in which the Oral Exam is completed.
DMA document timelines and deadlines

DMA students may refer to the DMA Document Guidelines and Time Frame. 

If students intend on sitting for their Oral Comprehensive Exam, writing, and completing their Doctoral Final Exam/Defense in the same semester, the DMA Document proposal must be submitted to the committee at least 12 weeks before the defense. Students will then be required to turn in their signed topic proposal form to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator at least 6 weeks before the defense, when they schedule their Oral Comprehensive Exam.

If students intend to complete their Orals and Doctoral Final Exam/Defense in different, consecutive semesters, they will be required to turn in their topic proposal form when they schedule their Doctoral Final Exam/Defense with the Graduate Coordinator.

In either situation, carefully note the established priority deadlines for Student Action below, which are indicated by an asterisk (*).

Student or Faculty ActionDocument StatusTime Prior to Defense
StudentDocument proposal presented to committee12 weeks*
CommitteeCommittee approval of proposal9 weeks
StudentFirst draft to committee chair6 weeks*
ChairDraft returned to student with comments4 weeks
StudentRevised paper to committee members3 weeks*
CommitteeComments from committee returned to student1 week
StudentLecture Recital 
StudentFinal draft delivered to committee3 days
StudentFinal defense 

The table above indicates the established priority deadlines for completion of the DMA Document. Meeting the four deadlines for Student Action ensures that your major professor, committee chair, and other committee members will have sufficient time to carefully assess your work and provide the necessary guidance and critical reading for a successful paper. If you fail to meet any of these deadlines, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will postpone your Final Doctoral Exam/Defense.

Formatting requirements for dissertations and documents

The Graduate Studies Office has formatting requirements for all PhD dissertations and DMA documents. These formatting requirements can be found on this webpage: KU Libraries: Thesis and Dissertation Formatting. The page also has information on Multimedia Files, Copyright and Issues of Responsible Research, Preparing Your Manuscript and services available for writing and preparing your manuscript for publication.

Submission of dissertation and document for publishing

All School of Music doctoral students must submit the final draft of the DMA document or PhD dissertation to UMI (ProQuest) publishing. The instructions for submission can be found at the Graduate Studies website, KU Graduate Studies: Submitting. Submitting your dissertation or document to UMI for publication is a graduation requirement. The final document must be submitted for school approval no later than the semester deadline for meeting degree requirements for graduation. The deadline can be found on the Graduate Studies calendar at KU Graduate Studies: Graduation.

DMA students in Composition submit their final composition project online as well, KU Graduate Studies: Submitting. According to UMI your submission will be published in an 8.5 x 11 format regardless of the size of the document you submit. If you have questions about the submission of large-format scores, please contact UMI at ProQuest.

Signed title page, signed approval page, and abstract for your fileTo complete requirements for graduation, all doctoral students, PhD and DMA, who have defended a final document must submit to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator, 446 Murphy:
  • a signed title page and
  • signed approval page

You are advised to take the signature pages with you to the Doctoral Final Exam/Defense to get the necessary signatures while your committee is convened.

Graduation

The Graduate Studies Office has deadlines each semester for meeting all degree requirements including exams passed, completion of the dissertation or document and applying to graduate in Enroll & Pay. Those dates are on the Graduate Studies Graduate Calendar, under Students. Extensions will not be granted. Your submitted Program of Study should include the approximate times you have planned for these events. You are strongly encouraged to meet with the Graduate Student Services Coordinator or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in Music when you have completed your Written Qualifying Examinations to review the timing of the remainder of your degree requirements.

TopicDetails
Application for graduation

You are urged to complete an application for graduation at the beginning of the semester you plan to graduate or the semester prior if meeting the early graduation deadline (without enrollment). This is done in Enroll and Pay. You must have submitted your application to graduate by the Graduate Studies completion deadline. If you do not graduate the semester you apply, your application to graduate will be rescinded and you will need to reapply for the future semester you plan to graduate.

Are you finished?

Doctoral students must be especially focused on the timing of the final semesters of their degree program. You are strongly encouraged to meet with the Graduate Student Services Coordinator or Associate Dean for Academic Affairs well before you plan to graduate to make certain you are meeting all requirements, that you know what remains, and that you will be approved to graduate.

Graduation information

Degrees are awarded three times a year to graduate students who have met the requirements specified by the Graduate School as found in the Academic Catalog. The KU Commencement events occur only once a year at the end of the Spring semester for Spring graduates and those who graduated in the preceding Summer and Fall.

Hooding ceremony

The School of Music graduation Special Recognition Ceremony takes place on the Saturday immediately after finals week and includes the hooding of graduating School of Music Doctoral students. Only those students who have successfully passed the final defense are eligible to participate in the doctoral hooding. A student whose defense has been scheduled during the summer semester may petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for permission to participate in the School of Music hooding ceremony.

The KU Graduate Studies office holds a doctoral hooding ceremony at the Lied Center for all KU graduating doctoral students. Information on the Graduate Studies Doctoral Hooding Ceremony can be found on the Graduate Studies website, KU Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. Please check this site for requirements, tickets, date, and time.

Information on the University commencement can be found at KU Commencement. To order your diploma, refer to KU Registrar: Diplomas.

COGSIM (Committee on Graduate Studies in Music)

The Committee on Graduate Studies in Music consists of 5 faculty members elected by the School of Music faculty and 2 graduate student representatives selected early in the fall semester by the COGSIM faculty members from a list of graduate student volunteers. The committee shall:

  • monitor artistic and academic requirements and standards of graduate programs in cooperation with the areas;
  • consider requests for curricular changes and changes in degree requirements from the areas and make recommendations to the faculty;
  • act on petitions from graduate students. Any requested change to a faculty approved program of study must come before COGSIM as a student petition.
TopicDetails
Graduate Student PetitionsFor exceptions to degree requirements or other policies and regulations within each degree program, students must submit a petition to COGSIM. Committee decisions will be communicated by the Graduate Student Services Coordinator.
Appealing a Final Grade

For a grade appeal, the student must first attempt to resolve the issue by contacting the instructor within six months. If the grade conflict remains unresolved, a student may initiate an appeal of a final course grade if, but only if, they believe that there has been an improper application of the grading procedure the instructor announced for the course.

A graduate student may initiate their appeal to COGSIM by completing a Graduate Student Petition form. A student may appeal the decision made by COGSIM to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and, ultimately, to the University Judicial Board. More information about School of Music Policies & Grievence Proceedures can be found on the Resources Webpage (under Faculty & Staff Resources).

If the student’s appeal is sustained at any level, the final course grade shall be assigned in accordance with Section 2.3.5 of the University Senate Rules and Regulations. The Association Dean for Academic Affairs may be consulted at any time for advice on any aspect of the process.

Academic Misconduct

See the University Senate Rules & Regulations for the complete University policy on Academic Misconduct including definitions and examples.

KU Information

Both the official KU website and KU School of Music website contain a wealth of information. You can find information on the KU website about parking, student health services, recreation services, KU ID cards, email, and enrollment.

International Support Services

If you are an International Student, please become familiar with International Support Services (ISS). There are often variations in each situation; the ISS advisors can best advise you on how academic decisions, such as taking a leave of absence, dropping below full-time status, or changing majors, can affect your visa status.

Grievance Policy and Procedures

Grievances arising within the School of Music must be heard under the School’s Grievance Procedure. The School of Music grievance procedure applies to the faculty members, unclassified professional staff, and students.

School of Music Directory

All School of Music faculty (including each area coordinator) and staff can be found at People Directory.

Musicology Written Qualifying Examination

There are old versions of the exam available in the Music Library upon request. These can be used for study purposes.

  1. No notes, either handwritten or saved on a computer or similar device, may be consulted in the examination room. All information that students provide in answering questions must be supplied from knowledge that they possess when they enter the room. The exam will be proctored by Musicology faculty and graduate teaching assistants.
  2. A laptop may be used for the bibliography section, which requires access to the internet, and the afternoon essays may be written on computer, but without access to the internet. Any student found accessing the internet or other material on their computer while taking the essays will be asked to leave the exam. The morning segment of the exam will be written on paper.
  3. Phones may be in the room but may not be on the student’s desk. Phones must be turned off and may not be consulted at any point while taking the exam.
  4. You will not be allowed work outside of the examination room except during the bibliography section.
  5. The exam will include the following sections:
    • Six listening examples for which the student supplies a possible composer, approximate date of composition, and brief musical description.
    • Three score identification examples for which the student supplies a possible composer, approximate date of composition, and brief musical description.
    • Ten composers/people that the student will identify and briefly account for their musical importance.
    • Ten terms that the student will define and briefly contextualize.
    • A bibliography section in which the student will be provided with the name of a composer and a genre, and through the use of standard electronic databases the student will provide ten worthy sources for each topic from the last twenty years.
    • An essay section that includes three pairs of questions drawn from the Middle Ages/Renaissance, Baroque/Classic, and Romantic/Modern eras, from which the student will choose three essays to write, one from each pair of eras.
  6. Two versions of the exam will be administered: one for DMA students and PhD students in theory, and the other for PhD students in Musicology.
  7. Students will have the opportunity to make up sections that they do not pass the first time. All make-ups, except the bibliography section, will be administered in a proctored environment and under most circumstances only two make-ups of each section will be possible.
  8. The exam has eight sections, counting the essays as three sections. The student must pass at least four of them to qualify for make-up procedures; otherwise, the student will be required to take the entire exam the next time it is administered.

Musicology Portion of the Oral Comprehensive Exam

For all students, a general knowledge of the history of music, including the ability to discuss representative examples of music. Suggested topics:

  • Developments in the periods of music history and how music changed between the periods
  • Regional or national developments in music
  • Developments of musical forms, compositional procedures, and genres
  • Performance practices, performance media, and musical instruments
  • Important composers, theorists, and treatises

For students in music theory and composition, a knowledge of the history of music theory and composition from ancient Greece to the present. The student should know specific theorists and treatises, important developments in music theory, how theorists at different times described certain techniques and stylistic aspects of their time, and how theory related to actual music. Suggested topics:

  • The history and theories of counterpoint, harmony, modes, forms, tonality, rhythm, and tunings and techniques
  • Twentieth-century notation and techniques

For students in performance, a specialized knowledge of:

  • The history of music written for the performer’s medium, with an understanding of important stylistic changes within and between the various historical periods, major composers, and their most significant compositions in the performer’s medium.
  • Knowledge of the history of the instrument and related instruments and performing groups.
  • The performance practices of the various historical periods, with knowledge of primary and secondary sources that describe these practices.

DMA Document Guidelines and Time Frame

I. Introduction: General Definition of the DMA Document

The DMA document is generally developed in conjunction with a Lecture Recital, which is presented publicly by the candidate. The recital portion demonstrates your advanced level of musicianship; the written document demonstrates your ability to conduct specialized research and make an important contribution to scholarship on performance. Successful documents will define a clear and focused topic and articulate supportable arguments regarding that topic.

Prior to submitting a DMA topic proposal, you should:

  • complete sufficient work on the project to clearly define a topic
  • articulate a purpose and a provisional argument
  • identify the appropriate scholarly field and research methodology
  • be familiar with the relevant sources on the topic

Consult with each of the members of your advisory committee about your topic; they will each need to approve the proposal before you can formally begin your document.

Your completed document must conform to the established guidelines found at KU Libraries: Thesis and Dissertation Formatting and will be either:

  • a lecture recital based on a submitted critical essay of at least 25-30 pages
  • a submitted thesis document of at least 55-60 pages

Based on the format that you have selected for your doctoral document, research foci may include, but are not limited to:

  • transcription and critical analysis
  • interviews
  • historical musicology
  • music pedagogy
  • music theory and analysis
  • quantitative and qualitative methods as they apply to performance (e.g., music and medicine, behavioral studies, etc.)

II. The DMA Topic Proposal

  1. General definition

    Your Graduate Advisory Committee is charged with ensuring that all doctoral documents reflect high standards of musicianship, scholarly relevance, and academic excellence. To that end, the purpose of the DMA topic proposal is to enable the committee to evaluate the feasibility and scholarly significance of the proposed project. A successful proposal will explain the topic with which the project is concerned, present a cogent argument, demonstrate the project’s contribution to existing scholarship, identify sources of available evidence and indicate the methods that will be used to support your argument.

    The document will also display the author’s competence with English prose, style, and organization. The sections required in all DMA topic proposals ensure that these goals are met; see below for detailed descriptions of each. In general, it is essential that the topic and the argument be clearly defined and that everything included in any section of the topic proposal be explicitly related to the topic. Any historical or analytical material in the proposal must be supportable by evidence. Students planning to conduct interviews as part of their research must provide evidence of contact with each intended interviewee, as well as a list of sample questions.

  2. Topic Proposal Format, Length, and Style

    The proposal should be submitted in double-spaced 12-point New Roman font with standard (1”) margins. Citation throughout the proposal should be footnotes or endnotes, according to the guidelines in the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., which is available on-line through KU Libraries. Any source referenced in the topic proposal must be cited in the body of the proposal itself, as well as in the bibliography. All musical examples or imported images should be reproduced in high quality scans (300 dpi or higher). The topic proposal as a whole should consist of 2-3 pages; do not exceed 5 pages.

    The topic proposal should demonstrate your familiarity with and capability of producing scholarly prose in English. Grammar, spelling, and syntax should be free from error, and its overall structure should be clear and easy to follow. It is highly recommended that you read your proposal out loud to yourself or to another person. For detailed accounts of effective prose style, consider Oliver Strunk and E. B. White, The Elements of Musical Style; Richard J. Wingell, Writing About Music: An Introductory Guide, and Richard J. Wingell and Sylvia Herzog, Introduction to Research in Music.

  3. Required Sections for all DMA Topic Proposals

    1. Email sent to all members of the committee requesting approval of the project

    2. Introduction/description of project

      In this section, you will define the purpose of your project. This is usually posed as a problem to be solved, a question to be answered, or an anomaly to be explained. It should culminate in a thesis statement: the argument that you will pursue in your document, even if it is still provisional. The statement of purpose should be justified by the significance of your topic and the current state of research.

    3. Survey of Related Research

      In order to convincingly argue that a given topic is significant, a new approach is necessary, or new evidence should be presented, you must include a summary of previous research on your topic. All doctoral documents include a section of this nature, usually as part of the introduction. The purpose of this section, in both the topic proposal and final document, is to identify the relevant available literature on the subject and to evaluate it in order to justify the need for a new study.

      Research included should represent a variety of formats, including (but not limited to) books, essays, journal articles, scores and recordings, practical and scholarly editions, and articles in detailed scholarly dictionaries such as the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Grove Music Online). Note: textbooks, general encyclopedias like the Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia articles, and the like are NOT acceptable sources for a doctoral document. Do not claim that nothing has been written about a given topic. Even if a particular musical work or problem has largely escaped scholarly attention, describe the sources that do exist: biographies, scores and drafts, recordings, etc.

      Also include in this section how your document will complement existing research on the subject.

    4. Procedures and Methodologies

      In this section, explain in detail how you will undertake your research. The methods described must support the statement of purpose; that is, they must demonstrate the potential for solving the problem, resolving the issue, answering the question, or explaining the anomaly that is the focus of the topic proposal. The methodology chosen must reflect the concerns of the scholarly field(s) appropriate to the project. Some projects may require a combination of research methods.

      • Critical editions or transcriptions require descriptions of the source materials used and an account of the methods used in critical decision making.
      • Historical musicological research requires an account of the primary and secondary documents that will be used, and an explanation of the interpretive methods that will be applied to that evidence.
      • Music pedagogy or other research involving experimental methods requires a comprehensive account of the proposed experiments or solutions
      • Theoretical or analytic projects should identify the pieces to be analyzed and identify appropriate analytical methods for that music; in addition, the analytical methods used must be demonstrated by means of specific examples, including musical excerpts.
      • Performance guides must identify the technical or musical challenges posed by the chosen repertoire and present pedagogical or practical methods to solve these problems.
        • Outline the procedures you will follow in your research. Include score or recording analysis, archival study, research trips, interviews, etc.
        • State any specific skills you will need in order to accomplish your research, e.g., knowledge of another language, theoretical techniques, analytical methods, etc.
        • Explain how you will synthesize the material into a coherent thesis.
        • Students planning to conduct interviews as part of their research must provide a list of interviewees you have contacted, as well as sample questions.
    5. Outline

      You must also include a provisional outline of your document. This should be as detailed as possible, particularly if theoretical analysis is included (“Analysis of Movement Four” is not sufficiently specific). It is highly recommended that the topic proposal also includes a brief prose description of the content of each chapter.

    6. Bibliography

      In your bibliography, include all literature relevant and significant to your topic. Citations to scholarly literature, relevant editions, and/or primary source materials are required, even if you do not intend to quote them directly in your paper. Tertiary sources, such as textbooks, general encyclopedias like the Encyclopedia Britannica or Grove Music Online, Wikipedia articles, and the like are NOT acceptable sources.

      You should be in regular contact with the chair and other members of your Graduate Advisory Committee while writing both your proposal and your document. You don’t need to do this alone!

    7. Formatting and document submission

      Information for proper formatting for your document and final submission to ProQuest is found on the KU Library website: KU Libraries: Thesis and Dissertation Formatting.

III. Timelines and Deadlines

Carefully note the established deadlines below, which are indicated by an asterisk (*). If you fail to meet any of these deadlines, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will postpone your final defense.

Student or
Faculty Action
Document statusTime prior to defense
StudentDocument proposal presented to committee12 weeks*
CommitteeCommittee approval of proposal9 weeks
StudentFirst draft to committee chair6 weeks*
ChairDraft returned to student with comments4 weeks
StudentRevised paper to committee members3 weeks*
CommitteeComments from committee returned to student1 week
StudentLecture-Recital 
StudentFinal draft delivered to committee3 days*
StudentFinal defense 

Upon submission of your proposal, you may schedule your defense no sooner than twelve weeks later; the timeline above begins as soon as you have submitted your proposal. If you anticipate taking your orals, writing, and defending your document in the same semester, you are required to turn in your topic proposal at your oral exam.

There are established deadlines for completion of the DMA document. The table above indicates these deadlines and provides space for planning the time frame of your final document and defense. The timeline ensures that your major professor, committee chair, and other committee members will have sufficient time to carefully assess your work and provide the necessary guidance and critical reading for a successful paper.

PLEASE USE THE DEADLINES TABLE TO ASSIST YOU AND YOUR COMMITTEE IN DETERMINING IF YOU ARE ON TRACK WITH YOUR DOCUMENT. PLACE THE APPROXIMATE DATE YOU PLAN TO DEFEND YOUR PAPER AT THE BOTTOM AND WORK YOUR WAY UP USING THE “TIME PRIOR TO DEFENSE” TIMEFRAME FOR THE APPROXIMATE DATES. THIS WILL ASSIST YOUR COMMITTEE MEMBERS BY GIVING THEM APPROXIMATE DATES FOR THEIR REVIEWS OF YOUR DOCUMENT.

Examples of DMA Documents

KU ScholarWorks is the University repository for all KU theses, dissertations, faculty publications and DMA documents. Recent DMA document submissions can be found here: KU ScholarWorks: Music Dissertations and Theses

Exemplary DMA documents: