Master of Music Education (MME) Graduate Handbook

This handbook is your guide throughout your Master of Music Education program. 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


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.

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 page. 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 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, is found on the registrar’s website, 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 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 checklistDegree program check sheets. The check sheet has the minimum required coursework and credits for your degree. Using this check sheet with your advisor allows you to plan your entire program and graduate on time. You may obtain an updated copy of the check sheet kept in your folder from the Graduate Student Services office, 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 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.


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 final oral Master’s 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 discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the student’s area, up to nine (9) hours of graduate credit taken at a regionally accredited graduate school may be transferred and applied to a KU master’s degree plan if the credits were taken prior to the final semester of enrollment at KU.

Only courses graded B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or higher may be transferred.

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, 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.

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 Master’s students. Only one or two students may be nominated for each award. Nominations are made by the area coordinators, who submit 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 School of Music GTA can be renewed for a maximum of 4 semesters while working on a Master’s degree.

To be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship, complete a GTA application, available on the Student Academic Resources page. 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.

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.

Your degree program and course of study

The course of study in each major field is found in the online catalog at KU Academic Catalog: School of Music. A check sheet for your degree program can be found on this web page, MME Requirements. Use this check sheet to track your degree progress.

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.

Masters of Music Education (MME) degrees at KU require a minimum of 30 approved graduate credit hours. Individual programs of study, however, may exceed this minimum. You should discuss your course of study with your advisor each semester.

Master’s degree program time constraintAll Master of Music degrees must be completed within 7 years from the time of enrollment in the graduate program. Students must petition for a one-year extension beyond the 7-year requirement. Petitions for extensions go to the Committee on Graduate Studies in Music (COGSIM).
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.
MEMT 812: Research in Music Ed & Music TherapyMEMT 812, Research in Music Ed & Music Therapy, is required for all graduate students in MEMT.
Waiver or Substitution for MEMT 812If 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 advisor a syllabus of the course you wish to use in place of MEMT 812.
Graduate Advisory Committee:
3 members required

You must choose your advisory committee members and complete an Advisory Committee Form found on Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff by the beginning of your second year. Discuss the membership of your committee with your advisor and personally ask each faculty member to serve. All committee members must be on the Graduate Faculty. For the Master’s Degree advisory committee, you must have 3 faculty members as follows: 2 members from the major area and one member from the school or university with graduate faculty status.

The advisory committee will administer the final Master’s Oral Examination.

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:
  • 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.

Getting Ready to Graduate

At some point you will have completed most, if not all, of your degree requirements and will be preparing to graduate. Timing the final tasks and understanding the accompanying policies will ensure that you graduate when you want to graduate.

Exam Authorization (GPtD) Form

The Master’s Final Exam is a University-level exam. The Graduate Studies Office is notified of the School-approved exam by the submission of the Exam Authorization PtD (Progress to Degree) form (pdf). 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 Master’s Final Exam.

Failure to submit this form 2 weeks in advance of the exam will result in the cancellation and re-scheduling of your exam.

Master’s Final ExamThe Master’s Final Exam is the final step to obtaining your Master of Music degree. This is a comprehensive exam of everything you have studied during your degree program. Before you schedule your Master’s Exam, you must have no diagnostic deficiencies, have no incompletes on your transcript, be in good academic standing and have completed all other requirements, including your degree recital. When you are ready to schedule your Final Exam with the members of your Graduate Advisory Committee, you must:
  • find a date and time that all committee members can meet with you;
  • find and reserve a location;
  • complete the Exam Authorization GPtD form (see above), following the directions at the top of that form. The Exam Authorization form must be turned in to the Graduate 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.
Master’s Thesis OptionUpon completion of the thesis document (see instructions for master's thesis format & submission process), the student must pass the final master’s examination, which includes a defense of the thesis. The student submits the Master’s Exam Authorization form located at for approval to hold the Final Master’s Examination at least 3 weeks in advance of the scheduled exam. It is the student’s responsibility to present the final thesis copy to each committee member 2 weeks in advance of the scheduled exam date. The student must be enrolled at the time the final master’s exam is held. The exception to this policy is master’s students who complete degree requirements during the first week of summer session or within the first two weeks of the fall or spring semester are not required to be enrolled for that term unless they were not enrolled during the previous semester. The exam will be scheduled for a period of 2 hours. The examination committee shall be comprised of the student’s major advisor and 2 other graduate faculty members jointly selected by the student and major advisor. The candidate will begin by giving a twenty-minute oral presentation on his or her thesis, but the exam is not confined to that topic. Thereafter, the candidate will address questions posed by the committee arising from the candidate’s presentation and the thesis document..
Formatting your thesis

The Graduate Studies Office has formatting requirements for all Master’s theses and 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, Embargos, Preparing Your Manuscript, and services available for writing and preparing your manuscript for publication.

Submitting your thesis

All Master’s students who select the thesis option must submit the final draft of the thesis or final composition project to UMI (ProQuest) publishing. The instructions for submission can be found at the Graduate Studies website, KU Graduate Studies: Submitting. Submitting your thesis or final composition project 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, KU Graduate Studies: Graduation. 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 items, please contact UMI.

Signed title page, signed approval page, and abstract for your file:To complete requirements for graduation, all master’s students who have defended a final thesis document must submit the following documents to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator at, or drop them off in 446 Murphy:
  • a signed title page
  • signed approval page
You are advised to take the signature pages with you to the Master’s Final Exam/Defense to get the necessary signatures while your committee is convened, but electronic signatures are acceptable for graduation purposes.
Music Education Non-Thesis OptionThe non-thesis option typically functions as a terminal degree and the work must be distributed as indicated in the categories shown on the appropriate Degree Program Plan. This option culminates with enrollment in a 1-credit hour comprehensive final examination (MEMT 898: Master’s Oral Examination) course and the subsequent portfolio and presentation.
Final Master's Examination (Non-Thesis)Each master’s student, with the advice and consent of the advisor and examination committee, will submit the portfolio and complete the presentation in partial fulfillment of the non-thesis degree requirement. The student must be enrolled at the time the final portfolio presentation is held. The exception to this policy is master’s students who complete degree requirements during the first week of summer session or within the first two weeks of the fall or spring semester are not required to be enrolled for that term unless they were not enrolled during the previous semester. See Instructions for the Portfolio Presentation (format & submission requirements)


The Graduate Studies Office has deadlines each semester for meeting all degree requirements including exams passed, completion of the thesis (if required), and applying to graduate in Enroll & Pay. Those dates are on the Graduate Studies Graduate Calendar, Extensions will not be granted. You are strongly encouraged to meet with the Graduate Student Services Coordinator in Music 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?You are strongly encouraged to meet with the Graduate Student Services Coordinator 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 Graduate 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.

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.