Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) MEMT Handbook

Major in Music Education; Emphases in Music Education or Music Therapy (Oct 2020)

This handbook is your guide throughout your Doctor of Philosophy program in Music Education and Music Therapy (MEMT). 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.

    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


    Characteristics of the Program

    The Ph.D. degree emphasizes research and scholarship. It often is sought by those who aspire to careers in research and graduate-level teaching. The requirements help the student develop a broad and profound understanding of musical behavior, sophisticated skill and extensive experience in pursuing new knowledge of such behavior, and a rational system for evaluating the relationships between the specialty and other areas of human understanding. The program culminates with the completion of a substantial piece of original research.

    Course requirements are flexible for the doctoral degree. Each student's program is planned in light of his or her background and to meet the demands of the anticipated academic and professional career. Each student is expected to achieve, however, a broad understanding of human musical behavior and to become skilled in researching such behavior. Scholarly and professional competence, not hours of credit per se, are the underlying requirements for conferring the degree.

    Because of the unique approach and content of the graduate program in music education and music therapy at The University of Kansas, doctoral students normally take most of the graduate courses offered in MEMT. Courses in the 900 series are for doctoral students; those who have not had courses in the 800 series or its equivalent in master's degree study normally take those courses also. Understanding the influence of music on behavior underlies professional practice in music education and music therapy. Thus, the doctoral programs normally include coursework in this area. Graduate students are also encouraged to pursue research on related topics.

    The doctoral program assumes that the individual's undergraduate and master’s study developed fundamental knowledge in acoustics, aesthetics, anthropology, history, psychology, and sociology of music. Students without prior experience in these areas may find it useful to take relevant courses at the University. Likewise, the practice of music education and music therapy requires broad musicianship, which has been sufficiently internalized to become second nature. Doctoral students frequently find it useful to continue developing this musicianship through graduate music courses, or collateral undergraduate music study.

    Graduate study in music education and music therapy emphasizes research to develop knowledge in the discipline and its relationship to other areas. MEMT engages in and supports research and expects its graduate students, particularly at the doctoral level, to become competent research scholars and contribute to the body of professional knowledge.

    All areas appropriate to music education and music therapy are possibilities for dissertation research. MEMT’s research orientation becomes evident from its doctoral research requirements and its research-related courses at the graduate level.

    Requirements for Admission 

    1. Master's grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
    2. Appropriate baccalaureate and master’s degrees to support the individual’s goals for doctoral study.
    3. Three (3) letters of recommendation, estimating the applicant's potential for success in doctoral study.
    4. Documentation of at least 5 years successful full-time experience, or its equivalent, as a professional public school music educator if seeking an emphasis in music education, or at least 5 years successful full-time experience as a professional music therapist, or its equivalent, if seeking an emphasis in music therapy.
    5. Submission of a video recording (URL) appropriate to the degree emphasis.
    6. Write a reasoned statement of your professional goals and research interests.
    7. An interview with the appropriate faculty for area of emphasis.
    8. Final official degree conferred transcript(s) must be sent directly from all previous colleges or universities.
    9. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
    10. Other supporting materials may be required.
    11. MEMT students admitted to the ME-Ph.D. program with a concentration in Vocal pedagogy must do a live audition for the Voice faculty prior to the 1st term of enrollment.


    See KU Registrar: Enrollment for online course enrollment information. 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. They 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.

    Your advisorNew MEMT students will be assigned an advisor upon admission, but this advisor may change. Your 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 Office of the Registrar and resources for academic services
    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 Schedule Change Form is required. If you are not required to have full-time status there is no required minimum number of credits. Doctoral Candidates should take note of the post-comprehensive enrollment requirements found in the Graduate Studies Policy Library. 
    Late enrollment

    To avoid late enrollment fees, you must enroll BEFORE the first day of classes. Enrollment information, including the enrollment schedule, is found on the KU Registrar. 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.
    Leave 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 the Leave of Absence (LOA) Request form 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 Checklist/Programs of Study are available for the PhD program in Music Education & Music Therapy. The checklist/program of study should reflect coursework listed in your MEMT Ph.D. Degree Requirements Program Plan degree (for more information, see MEMT Courses and Processes). You may request an updated copy of the degree checklist/program of study kept in your academic folder from the Graduate Student Services office in 446 Murphy. 

    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 includes 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.

    MEMT Degree Requirements

    Residency RequirementAccording to MEMT policy, doctoral students must enroll in two semesters of resident study, which may include the summer session to complete a minimum program of engagement. Semesters do not need to be consecutive, but students must be enrolled full-time in academic pursuits as defined by University Policy.

    Summer enrollment is not required to maintain registration, but summer enrollments may be counted toward the 18 part-time pre-comprehensive hours. 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.

    Graduate progress toward degree

    Graduate 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. Maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the major area.
    2. Completing of at least 1 credit hour of degree requirements each semester of enrollment.
    3. Maintaining academic and scholarly integrity.
    4. Complying with academic policies at the University, School, and Area level.

    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.

    Doctoral degree program time constraintAll 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).

    MEMT Coursework and Processes

    First Semester Coursework

    The student should consult with an appropriate advisor from the MEMT doctoral faculty to plan coursework for the first semester of residence.

    Selecting a Doctoral Program Planning Committee (DPPC)

    At the end of the first semester of enrollment, the student and major advisor select a Doctoral Program Planning Committee (DPPC). This committee consists of the advisor and 2 other members of the graduate faculty. The Program Planning Committee approves the student’s anticipated coursework and practica as stated on the official MEMT Ph.D. Degree Requirement Program Plan form. The number of course credit hours required beyond the master’s degree is determined by the student’s Doctoral Program Planning Committee.

    MEMT 812: Research in MEMT

    MEMT 812, Research in Music Ed & Music Therapy, is required for all graduate students in MEMT 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. 

    If you have taken a comparable Research and Bibliography graduate course at another university, you may request a waiver or substitution of MEMT 812. To request a waiver, provide your Doctoral Program Planning Committee (DPPC) - see description below) with a syllabus of the course you wish to use in place of MEMT 812.

    Three Research Project 

    Doctoral students in MEMT meet the Research Skills requirement by completing three (3) research projects suitable for publication. These may be developed and completed independently or in consultation with appropriate doctoral faculty members. There must be a project for three different types of research methodology, most commonly representing methods of qualitative, descriptive, experimental, or historical (including the history and logic of ideas) research. The student may propose other divergent methodologies if those fit their program of study more adequately. It is up to the DPPC to approve the methodologies each student utilizes.

    Each completed project is reviewed typically by the student’s DPPC (see "Selecting a DPPC" above), which rules in the majority whether the project is of sufficient quality for publication in a national, refereed research journal in music education or music therapy using the Doctoral Competency Project Reviewer's Report form. The committee chair will determine if the projects will be reviewed by additional faculty not a part of the committee. Single-author studies that have been published or accepted for publication in such journals may be used to demonstrate these skills.

    Completion of each of the three (3) research projects must be certified by the student’s mentor/advisor in MEMT.

    Aspirancy to Candidacy

    A student who has been admitted to the Graduate program to work toward a doctoral degree is known as an aspirant.

    After successfully completing the comprehensive oral examination, the student becomes a candidate for the degree. All time schedules and other general requirements specified for the Ph.D. degree in the Academic Catalog pertain specifically to the Ph.D. in Music Education. In addition, MEMT specifies certain additional requirements for these degrees. The aspirant’s responsibility includes familiarity with these requirements.

    MEMT Grievance process

    Should the student have a grievance in MEMT, the graduate student must consult the MEMT Graduate Director or MEMT Area Coordinator. If informal measures do not resolve the case, a MEMT grievance committee will be selected to consider the case. The committee will include both student and faculty members. Should the MEMT committee be unable to resolve the problem, the case will be directed to the School of Music grievance process.

    Comprehensive Oral Exams 

    Scheduling the Comprehensive Oral Exam 

    After all 3 research projects are determined as complete by the Doctoral Program Planning Committee, the student will schedule and take the  comprehensive oral exam as specified in the University of Kansas Academic Catalog. The full Doctoral Committee will be present for the comprehensive oral examination.

    The student must obtain advisor approval and submit the GPtD Authorization form requesting permission to schedule the comprehensive oral examination to MEMT at least 2 weeks before the proposed date of the comprehensive oral examination.

    Dissertation Committee:
    5 members required

    The Dissertation Committee requires a minimum of 5 members to administer the Comprehensive Oral Examination, as well as the Doctoral Final Examination/Defense. PhD students must submit the Graduate Student Advisory Committee form (.pdf) before the Oral Comprehensive Exam can be scheduled. Members of your committee must hold Graduate Faculty status. Discuss the membership of your committee with your advisor and personally ask each faculty member to serve and sign the Committee form. 

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

    The Dissertation Committee for PhD students in MEMT is comprised of:
    •    The Committee Chair or Advisor (MEMT faculty),
    •    Two faculty from MEMT,
    •    One faculty member from anywhere across the university (may be MEMT or MUSC faculty) 
    •    One Graduate Studies Representative (see details below).

    Graduate Studies Representative (formerly Outside Member)

    The Graduate Studies Representative is a graduate faculty member outside of MEMT. This member is not required to read your papers or grade them. The Graduate Studies Representative must be a member of the Graduate Faculty and have GSR privileges. 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 School of Music Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and if necessary, the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies.

    The Oral Comprehensive Exam 

    The oral comprehensive exam will meet the following stipulations:

    1. The examination will be scheduled typically for 3 hours (as determined by committee chair) and may be scheduled in 2 parts.
    2. The examination will include a defense of all 3 preliminary research projects.
    3. The examination will also cover all elements of study that should be germane to doctoral study in music, music education, and music therapy.
    4. Once a doctoral student has passed the oral comprehensive examination, he or she is subject to the Graduate Studies’ post-comprehensive continuous enrollment policy.

    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 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.

    A student is deemed to have passed the oral comprehensive examinations if he or she wins the vote of a majority of the official 5-member examination committee.


    Dissertation Credit Hours

    All coursework must be completed with an appropriate grade prior to scheduling the oral comprehensive examination and enrolling in dissertation credit. No instructor may assist a student with dissertation research unless the student is enrolled for dissertation credit. Oral examinations in defense of the dissertation will not be scheduled for students not enrolled for dissertation credit.

    Number of Dissertation Credit Hours

    Once a doctoral student has passed the oral comprehensive examination, he or she must be continuously enrolled each fall and spring semester in one or more hours of dissertation or programmatically equivalent coursework that both moves the student towards degree completion and reflects, as accurately as possible, the candidate’s demands on faculty time and university facilities. During this time, until all requirements for the degree are completed (including the filing of the dissertation) or until 18 post-comprehensive hours have been completed (whichever comes first), the candidate must enroll for a minimum of 6 hours a semester (fall/spring).

    Post-comprehensive enrollment may include enrollment during the semester or summer session in which the oral comprehensive examination has been passed. If after 18 hours of post-comprehensive enrollment the degree is not completed, the candidate must continue to enroll each semester until all degree requirements have been met. The number of hours of each enrollment must be determined by the candidate’s advisor and must reflect as accurately as possible the candidate’s demands on faculty time and university facilities.

    Completion of Dissertation with  < 18 hrs.

    While being continuously enrolled, should a student complete the dissertation document and successfully pass the final oral examination with fewer than 18 hours of dissertation credit, he/she is not required to enroll for further credit hours.

    Formal Dissertation Proposal 

    The Doctoral Committee supervises the candidate’s dissertation research. The candidate submits a formal dissertation proposal to all five members. The candidate may not proceed with gathering data until the formal proposal has gained Doctoral Committee approval. Approval can happen individually with each of the five members, or a formal proposal presentation event can be requested by any Doctoral Committee member or the student. The dissertation proposal signed by all five (5) Doctoral Committee members must be filed with MEMT and the School of Music.

    Dissertation Options

    There are 2 dissertation options: 1) Traditional or 2) Alternative. Students may choose either a traditional academic dissertation format or an alternative 3-piece dissertation format. Both options require a dissertation committee and a dissertation as a final product.

    Option 1 – Traditional Dissertation

    The doctoral dissertation reports the results of one (1) substantial piece of original research. It develops and tests theory in appropriate areas and makes a substantial contribution to knowledge.

    Option 2 – Alternative Dissertation

    The doctoral dissertation reports the results of three (3) substantive pieces of original research. These studies need to be substantive enough to constitute three (3) first tier publications. Each of the three (3) studies must stand on its own merit and be completely ready for submission. It is suggested that they also be accompanied by a comprehensive (“Traditional Dissertation”) review of literature on a topic related to the three investigations unless one of the three articles is a review-type study, which again must be suitable for publication.

    Scheduling the Final Oral Exam

    Upon completion of the dissertation document, the candidate must pass the final oral examination, which includes a defense of the dissertation. The student submits the GPtD Exam Authorization form for approval to hold the Final Oral Examination at least 2 weeks in advance of the scheduled exam.

    Additionally, at least 1 month must elapse between the successful completion of the comprehensive oral examination and the date of the final oral examination. The committee chair, programs, or the School may require a longer minimum interval between the oral comprehensive exam and the final dissertation defense. No final examination will be scheduled unless this requirement has been met.

    Submission of Dissertation to Committee

    The completed document must be in the hands of the examining committee at least 2 weeks prior to the examination.
    Final Oral Examination 

    The final oral examination is based primarily on, but is not restricted to, the dissertation and its defense.

    A student may not be given an oral examination unless currently enrolled. The exception to this policy is doctoral students who complete degree requirements during the first week of summer session or within the first two weeks of the fall or spring semester. They are not required to be enrolled for that term unless they were not enrolled during the previous semester.

    A student is deemed to have passed all oral examinations if he or she wins the vote of a majority of the official 5-member examination committee.

    No more than 3 doctoral oral examinations will be scheduled in any given week within MEMT.

    MEMT Doctoral Dissertation Format

    General Requirements for Dissertation

    Review all applicable information from the Graduate Studies Electronic Thesis/Dissertation website concerning formatting and submission of the dissertation as well as this document when beginning to enroll for doctoral dissertation coursework.

    Writing Style 

    Writing style must follow APA or Turabian style depending on the type of dissertation. If information in the Graduate Studies Dissertation Instructions conflicts with the APA or Turabian style, the Graduate Studies Instructions must be followed and will override the APA or Turabian regulations. In all other areas, the APA or Turabian guidelines must be followed.

    Paper Requirement (for printed and bound Dissertation)

    8 1/2 x 11 inch – White - Acid-free - Weight of 20#, 24#, or 28# bond are the norm (not restricted) with - Rag content of 25% with watermark (hold paper to light to see). The paper must have no discernible background pattern. If you do not supply the paper to the bindery you may use what they have available as long as it is 8 ½ x 11 inch, white, acid free, watermarked, and has no discernible background pattern.
    Unacceptable paper: Recycled - Erasable bond - Patterned


    Copyright is not required but is highly encouraged. If at a later date a student wants to substantiate a copyright claim, registration of copyright is a prerequisite to legal action.


    Read over the information on embargo on the Graduate Studies website. Typically, MEMT students do not elect to embargo their document. Talk it over with your committee chair regarding instituting an Embargo on your document if you still have questions.

    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.

    Cover page statement

    The following is the appropriately worded paragraph for the MEMT dissertation that will be used in place of the paragraph shown on the Graduate Studies title page example. If your emphasis is not Music Therapy, simply remove “(Music Therapy)” from the last line of the paragraph below.

    Submitted to the graduate degree program in Music Education and Music Therapy and the Graduate Faculty of the University of Kansas in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education (Music Therapy)

    Electronic Submission

    Read carefully and print out all applicable documentation concerning electronic submission of the dissertation on the Graduate Studies website. Complete all corrections as directed by the dissertation committee. Upon final approval by the chair of your committee, obtain chair’s signature on the original acceptance pages, prepare your document and submit your dissertation electronically. After submission, the student will receive a system generated email confirming that the document has been submitted and cleared of all necessary checks and will soon be delivered to ProQuest/UMI for publishing.

    Doctoral Surveys

    These are online surveys. To complete the Doctoral Completion Survey (DCS) and the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) go to the Graduate Studies webpage for students who are preparing to graduate.
    Begin with the DCS. If you exit the survey prior to clicking the" Submit" button at the end, your responses will not be saved.
    Then, you will be taken to an external site to complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). You must forward the Certificate of Completion for the doctoral completion survey receipt after completing the SED to

    COVID-19 Information

    This handbook lays out standard policies that govern your doctoral program, which may need to be adapted to meet the realities of pursuing a graduate degree during a pandemic. You are 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 ever in doubt:


    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.

    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 Doctoral Program Planning Committee (DPPC).

    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 Registrar’s Comprehensive Fee Schedule.

    Refunds for dropped classes

    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, 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.

    Financial Support

    Graduate Studies funding opportunities

    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: KU Graduate Studies.

    Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs)

    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 academic services. 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.

    Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) tuition waivers

    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: KU Policy: Benefits for 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.

    School of Music Student Opportunity funds

    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.


    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, KU Graduate Studies: Graduation, 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.

    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.
    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, he or she believes that there has been an improper application of the grading procedure the instructor has 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.

    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.