Examination & Graduation Information


Be Prepared

This page provides information and resources for graduate students to prepare for major milestones and exams. Students should work closely with their advisor and committee throughout their graduate study, and questions can be directed to the Graduate Coordinator at musicgrad@ku.edu.
KU campus at sunset

Graduate Diagnostic & Qualifying Examinations (Music Students Only)

All new graduate students except those in music education, music therapy, or M.M. opera are required to take the music history and music theory diagnostic exams. New graduate piano majors must also take an exam in piano literature.

Fall 2022 Exams

Music History

Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. - The exam will be available online through Canvas during this time. Students are encouraged to study a Music History textbook from their undergraduate courses or review old versions of the exam available in the Music Library for study purposes.

Please log onto Canvas one or two days before the exam to download the required Respondus lock-down browser. Instructions are on Canvas. Please contact Dr. Roberta Schwartz for more information about this exam, 434 Murphy Hall, rfschwar@ku.edu

Music Theory

Thursday, August 18, 2022: 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. - Online through Blackboard. All incoming graduate students will take the following 4 exams (60 minutes each) 1) aural skills, 2) basic harmony and voice leading, 3) form and 4) post-tonal theory. Keyboard players, composers, theorists, and musicologists will take an additional exam in counterpoint (60 minutes). A Practice Exam is available for those wishing to practice before the actual exam. Please contact Dr. Ingrid Stölzel for more information about this exam, 226 Murphy Hall, istolzel@ku.edu

Piano Majors 

(New graduate student piano literature exam)

Tuesday, August 16, 2022, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., 402 Murphy Hall. 

All incoming graduate students must take the diagnostic exam in piano literature. Any student who does not take the exam will be automatically placed in the review courses. The exam will cover the breadth of piano literature, including listening, from 1600-present. Below are materials to help you study. Information about the exam date will be posted on the Graduate Calendar along with all other entrance exam information. The exam will be offered in August each year. Please contact Dr. Michael Kirkendoll for more information about this exam, 310 Murphy Hall, michaelkirkendoll@ku.edu.

Spring 2023 Exams

Music Theory

Thursday, January 12, 2022: 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. - Online through Canvas. All incoming graduate students will take the following 4 exams (60 minutes each) 1) aural skills, 2) basic harmony and voice leading, 3) form and 4) post-tonal theory. Keyboard players, composers, theorists, and musicologists will take an additional exam in counterpoint (60 minutes). A Practice Exam is available for those wishing to practice before the actual exam. Please contact Dr. Ingrid Stölzel for more information about this exam, 226 Murphy Hall, istolzel@ku.edu

Music History

Friday, January 13, 2022, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. - The exam will be available online through Canvas during this time. Students are encouraged to study a Music History textbook from their undergraduate courses as preparation for the Musicology diagnostic exam. Students are encouraged to study a Music History textbook from their undergraduate courses or review old versions of the exam available in the Music Library for study purposes. Please contact Dr. Roberta Schwartz for more information about this exam, 434 Murphy Hall, rfschwar@ku.edu

Piano Majors 

(New graduate student piano literature exam)

There is no formal piano major graduate diagnostic exam in the spring semester. This exam is only offered prior to the fall semester. If for any reason a student must take the exam prior to the spring semester, please communicate directly with Dr. Michael Kirkendoll, 310 Murphy Hall, michaelkirkendoll@ku.edu.

Fall 2022 Exams

Music Theory Doctoral Written Qualifying Examination

September 23-26, 2022 - Starts at 9:00 AM on Friday, September 23rd, and is due on Monday, September 26th by 9 AM (administered via Blackboard). If you have questions about the exam, please contact Dr. Scott Murphy (smurphy@ku.edu). Contact musicgrad@ku.edu if you plan to complete this exam by September 20th.

Music History Doctoral Written Qualifying Examination

Friday, October 21, 2022 - Music Library Seminar room, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM with a lunch break. Information in School of Music Handbooks.

Spring 2023 Exams

Music Theory Doctoral Written Qualifying Examination

February 17-20, 2023 - Starts at 9:00 AM on Friday, February 17th, and is due on Monday, February 20th by 9 AM (administered via Canvas). Contact musicgrad@ku.edu if you plan to complete this exam by February 13th. Information in School of Music Handbooks. If you have questions about the exam, please contact Dr. Scott Murphy (smurphy@ku.edu). 

Music History Doctoral Written Qualifying Examination

Friday, March 24, 2023 - Music Library Seminar room, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM with a lunch break. Information in School of Music Handbooks.

Class of 2023 Graduates

The KU School of Music will honor graduates from Summer 2022, Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 (as the Class of 2023) during our Spring Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, May 13th at 10:30 AM in the Crafton-Preyer Theater. Students must register to participate in two steps:

  1. Apply for Graduation in Enroll & Pay 
  2. Complete the Registration Form

Information on the KU Commencement and other university ceremonies. 

As you prepare to complete your graduate program in the School of Music, there are several important steps to follow. Because graduation requirements are different at each degree level (Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees), students are encouraged to talk to their advisor and the Graduate Coordinator in advance when they are ready to complete a milestone in their academic career. In cooperation with program faculty and school staff, the School of Music Graduate Coordinator is responsible for processing graduation each semester and communicates requirements, deadlines, and ceremony information each semester.

All students should refer to KU’s Academic Catalog to review degree requirements for their program and the Academic Calendar to be sure they meet posted deadlines for graduation requirements.

Preparing to Graduate

The School of Music Graduate Coordinator, program faculty, and students each play a major role in the graduation process. It is important to understand the roles and responsibilities that each unit plays in the graduation process:

Students

Students should utilize the degree timelines, the graduation checklist (updated link available fall 2021) and Academic Calendar as a guide to all enrollment and degree requirements and deadlines. While faculty and staff make every effort to provide information and assistance, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to ensure that all degree requirements have been met and necessary documentation submitted by the semester deadline for degree completion.

It is also the student’s responsibility to schedule academic milestones (i.e. final exams and defenses) at least 3 weeks in advance of the date of the exam. This is done by contacting the Graduate Coordinator at musicgrad@ku.edu with your completed exam authorization form which includes the exam type, time, location, and committee members. The 3-week timeline provides ample time for both the faculty advisor and the Graduate Coordinator to approve degree eligibility and process exam outcomes. Failure to schedule academic milestones at least 3 weeks in advance can result in a delaying or canceling the final exam/defense, thus delaying graduation.

Program Faculty

Faculty provide confirmation to the Dean’s staff that all degree requirements have been met by pre-approving the exam authorization, and work with individual faculty to resolve any outstanding grade issues. Faculty Advisors and Committee Chairs must also observe the universities deadline to submit outcomes of final exams/defenses and final grades in Enroll & Pay for the University Registrar to process the degree conferral. 

School of Music Graduate Coordinator

The Graduate Coordinator reviews a student’s academic file to ensure the degree check sheets are completed by the graduation deadline(s) for a given semester, which can be found on the Academic Calendar or on the Graduate Studies webpageAny requirement not submitted or submitted after the deadline will cause the student's graduation to be postponed to a later semester and may require additional enrollment.  In addition to the check sheet items, the Graduate Coordinator verifies final degree certification in the following ways:

  1. The resolution of any Incomplete, Missing, or Waiting grades;
  2. Final GPA of 3.0 or above after all grades post (this takes place after the graduation deadline);
  3. Verifies a complete Degree Check Sheet (course and performance requirements met);
  4. Satisfactory completion of the final exam or defense;
  5. Submission of the thesis or dissertation if applicable (initial uploading of thesis or dissertation to ProQuest); and
  6. Submission of required graduation checklist items as determined by degree type.

All graduation requirements for graduate students vary by degree:

Doctoral Degree Requirements (PhD and DMA)

  1. “Apply to Graduate” for the correct semester in Enroll & Pay.
    • Log into Enroll & Pay. After logging in, click on Degree Progress/Graduation, then click on KU Apply for Graduation.
    • If you applied for a previous semester, you must re-apply (no penalty or cost to reapply).
  1. Schedule your final examination or presentation with your Advisory Committee at least three weeks in advance by submitting the Exam Authorization Form to musicgrad@ku.edu. Note: failing to schedule your final examination or defense three weeks prior may be grounds for canceling or delaying your exam, which may push your graduation to a later term.

     3. Review your Degree Progress Check Sheet with your faculty advisor or committee chair.

  • Please make sure all classes that count towards your degree are included and correct. Do not include coursework with a grade of "C- or below" as meeting graduate degree requirements. If you have any incomplete (I) or waiting grades (WG) from previous semesters, please contact your instructor to request those be changed. Note: Incomplete grades revert to an "F" after one academic year.
  1. Upon successfully passing your final exam or defense, send the following degree requirements to musicgrad@ku.edu:
  • KU ScholarWorks Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) Release Form;
  • The certificate of completion of the Doctoral Student Completion Survey; and
  • Signed Title Page and Acceptance Pages of your dissertation (can be an electronic copy or scan). Please note ALL committee members must sign the title page; only your chair must sign the acceptance page. You may combine multiple signed pages (not all signatures need to be on the same page) if needed, but it is your responsibility to ensure all signatures are collected and submitted by the graduation deadline.
  1. Upload the unsigned PDF copy of your dissertation online (instructions) through UMI ProQuest. Note: The Office of Graduate Studies houses the official formatting requirements for theses and dissertations. Although students may find the general content layout of previous theses or dissertations helpful, students should not use the formatting from an old thesis or dissertation, since formatting instructions may change from year to year. Current formatting guidelines for dissertations can also be found on the Graduate Studies website
  2. Complete the School of Music Post-Graduation Survey upon completion of your degree or within 6 months of degree completion.

Master’s Degree Requirements

All Students:

  1. “Apply to Graduate” for the correct semester in Enroll & Pay
    • Log into Enroll & Pay. After logging in, click on Degree Progress/Graduation, then click on KU Apply for Graduation.
    • If you applied for a previous semester, you must re-apply.
  2. Schedule your final examination or presentation with your department program coordinator at least three weeks in advance by submitting the Exam Authorization Form to musicgrad@ku.edu. Note: failing to schedule your final examination or defense three weeks prior may be grounds for canceling or delaying your exam, which may push your graduation to a later term.
  3. Complete the School of Music Post-Graduation Survey upon completion of your degree or within 6 months of degree completion.

Thesis Students Only:

  1. Review your Degree Progress Check Sheet with your faculty advisor or committee chair.
    • Please make sure all classes that count towards your degree are included and correct. Do not include coursework with a grade of "C- or below" as meeting graduate degree requirements. If you have any incomplete (I) or waiting grades (WG) from previous semesters, please contact your instructor or department assistant to get those changed. Note: Incomplete grades revert to an "F" after one academic year.
  1. Upon successfully passing your final exam or defense, send the following degree requirements to musicgrad@ku.edu:
    • KU ScholarWorks Electronic Theses and Dissertations Release form.
    • Signed Title Page and Acceptance Pages of your thesis (can be an electronic copy or scan). Please note ALL committee members must sign the title page; only your chair must sign the acceptance page. You may combine multiple signed pages (not all signatures need to be on the same page) if needed, but it is your responsibility to ensure all signatures are collected and submitted by the graduation deadline. 
  2. Upload the unsigned PDF copy of your dissertation online (instructions) through UMI ProQuest (*if completing a thesis). Note: that the Office of Graduate Studies houses the official formatting requirements for theses and dissertations. Although students may find the general content layout of previous theses or dissertations helpful, students should not use the formatting from an old thesis or dissertation, since formatting instructions may change from year to year. Current formatting guidelines for theses can also be found on the Graduate Studies website.

Graduate Certificate Requirements

  1. “Apply to Graduate” for the correct semester in Enroll & Pay.
    • Log into Enroll & Pay. After logging in, click on Degree Progress/Graduation, then click on KU Apply for Graduation.
    • If you applied for a previous semester, you must re-apply.

Can I submit a PDF or scanned copies of graduation requirements online or am I required to submit them in-person?

All materials can be completed electronically and submitted via email to musicgrad@ku.edu. All graduating students are required to complete the graduation checklist items (listed above for each degree type), per the instructions above.

What is an embargo, and should I place one on my work?

Embargoes are generally advised if you have a publishing agreement for your entire manuscript, have a patent pending or if your research is of a sensitive nature. Embargoes can only be granted with the signature endorsement of your Graduate Director on your ETD Release form. By signing, your director agrees that your submission will be held from public access for up to 2 years.  More information about embargoes can be found here.

What is copyrighting and should I register a copyright for my work?

Your work is already protected, but you may choose to have UMI ProQuest register copyright on your behalf with the Library of Congress (for a fee).  Please see KU Libraries' information on copyright and image copyright for more information.

When will I get my official diploma?

Diplomas will not be available until the middle of the following semester (see Academic Calendar for actual date). You will be notified when your diploma is available for pick-up.  You may also have your diploma mailed to you by selecting this option when you complete the online Application for Graduation or online through the Registrar's website.

How can I obtain my diploma or transcript earlier than the posted date?

Diplomas are processed by the Registrar’s office after grades post for the semester you graduate (see Academic Calendar for specific dates). Diplomas are ordered after that date and shipped to the Registrar’s office to be dispersed. If there are extenuating circumstances which require a diploma or transcript prior to the posted dates, you should first ascertain if a Statement of Forthcoming Degree will meet your needs. If a Statement of Forthcoming Degree is not sufficient, you can make a request to musicgrad@ku.edu and the Graduate Coordinator will work with the University Registrar to petition an expedited process (FacEx Appeal).

Which companies provide binding services?

Please visit the Graduate Studies website for recommended binding companies. One local company that also provides soft-bound copies is Printing Solutions.

Will the Graduate Coordinator check my submission before the graduation deadline?

It is the student’s responsibility to file the thesis, dissertation, or DMA document by the Application for Graduation deadline, and ensure that it meets all ProQuest and University formatting guidelines. The Graduate Coordinator will verify that the initial submission has been completed prior to the deadline, as this is a requirement of graduation. The Graduate Coordinator also complete a basic formatting check as a courtesy to students. We make every effort to do this check before the degree verification process is complete, though an unusually large number of graduates may cause delays. If there are formatting changes needed, you will have two weeks to make those minor updates and submit a revised version. You will receive an email notification when your thesis or dissertation has been reviewed and the formatting approved and submitted for publishing.

Is there a special ceremony for doctoral degree candidates?

Yes. In addition to Commencement, all doctoral degree candidates are invited to participate in the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony each May. The Office of Graduate Studies coordinates the event. This event is intended for students who completed their degree by the spring graduation deadline (although students completing in summer may attend).

To participate in the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, doctoral students must apply for graduation by March 1st. No exceptions will be granted. Applying for graduation by March 1st will ensure you get information about how to register for Hooding and complete necessary steps.

What do I wear to the graduation ceremony?

All students must wear a black cap and gown. Graduate students also wear a hood and a black tassel. Students should check with the KU Bookstore for information on specific regalia based on program of study.

How much is regalia and where can I purchase it?

All regalia may be purchased at any KU bookstore. All information regarding regalia can be found on the KU Commencement website.