Master of Music Handbook

This handbook is your guide throughout your Master of Music 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 are available online at MM requirements. 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: KU Policy: Benefits Available to Graduate Research Assistants, Graduate Teaching Assistants, and Graduate Assistants. It explains what is covered for each level of appointment.


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

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.

Graduate Diagnostic Examinations

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

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

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

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

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

Musicology diagnostic exam and review courses

Musicology diagnostic exams will cover 6 historical periods:

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

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

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

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

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

Textbooks appropriate for review include:

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

Music Theory diagnostic exams will cover five areas:

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

See Graduate Music Theory Diagnostic Exam Practice for a practice theory diagnostic exam.

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

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

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

Textbooks appropriate for review include:
Aural Skills

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

Tonal Theory

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

Post-tonal Theory

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


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

18th Century Counterpoint

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

Literature diagnostic exam for piano students

(Updated fall 2020)

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

Degree Requirements

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

Pursuing more than one major

If you decide to pursue two or more majors for your Master’s degree, you must follow and complete the requirements as found on the degree check sheets for each major. Courses can overlap (e.g., theory, musicology) and be used to satisfy the requirements of both majors. Courses specific to each program must be completed for that program.

You may choose to complete one major and obtain your degree in that area before completing the other. In that case, you have a three-member Advisory Committee to oversee your final oral exam for that major. You then have a second committee of three members for your second oral exam in the second major. You receive your Master’s Degree in the first major before completing the second major.

You also have the option to complete your Master’s degree in both majors at the same time. In this case, you have a committee of four members that satisfies the committee requirements for both majors. That committee presides over a single final oral exam during which you would be asked questions that pertain to both majors. You complete all requirements for both majors before graduating.

The University of Kansas Registrar’s Office only provides one Master’s degree in either case. The Master’s diploma will be for a Master of Music, without the major(s) listed.

EXAMPLE: If you majored in Oboe Performance, your diploma would indicate that you earned a Master of Music. If you also completed the requirements for an additional Musicology Master’s degree, your diploma would still only indicate that you earned a Master of Music.

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, MM 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 (MM) 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).
Language requirements for opera and voice students

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

  • Completion of a two-semester undergraduate-level sequence of the language;
  • Completion of a two-semester undergraduate-level accelerated sequence of the language;
  • Completion of an approved one-semester graduate-level course in the language (in-person or online);
  • Completion of an approved two-semester online undergraduate course; or
  • Completion of a KU or other approved test in the language.

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

Diction requirementsBoth programs, MM-Opera and MM-Voice, require proficiency in French, German, Italian, and English diction before graduating. Proficiency is determined by an examination of your college transcripts and during your audition. If you have a diction deficiency, you will be required to take a diction class in the deficient language. Any undergraduate classes taken to fulfill the language requirements will not count toward your required credit hours for graduation.
Ensemble enrollment requirementMaster’s degree students in orchestral instruments must audition for and play as assigned in a major instrumental ensemble for a minimum of 2 semesters. Major ensembles are KU Symphony Orchestra (KUSO), Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, and Jazz Ensemble I. String instrumentalists are required to be in the KUSO every semester they are on scholarship and/or every semester they are enrolled in VION 811, VIOA 811, VNCL 811, or DBBS 811. Exceptions to this policy are allowed on a case-by-case basis and only by the ensemble conductor in consultation with the faculty member in the studio area.
ElectivesElective hours can be selected from any music or non-music courses. Elective courses must be at the graduate level (500 or above) to count toward the degree.
MUSC 801: Research and BibliographyMUSC 801 – Music Bibliography and Research, is a required course for all graduate students in music.
Waiver for MUSC 801If you have taken a comparable course at another university, you may be entitled to a waiver of MUSC 801. To request a waiver, provide the Musicology Area Coordinator with a syllabus or course description of the course you wish to use in place of MUSC 801. If the waiver is approved and if the comparable course taken at another university carries graduate credits, these credits may be transferred to fulfill the 30-credit minimum for the Master’s degree.
Jury examinationsAll MM performance majors are required to take a jury examination each semester. Additionally, any student enrolled in studio instruction at the Master’s level (____711 for the student’s secondary instrument) may be expected to take a jury at the discretion of the instructor.
Graduate Advisory Committee:
3 members required

You must choose your advisory committee members and complete an Advisory Committee Form by the beginning of your second year. Discuss the membership of your committee with your advisor and personally ask each faculty member to serve and sign the Advisory Committee form. 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 from the Musicology or Music Theory/Composition Area.

NOTE: The selected Musicology/Music Theory professor will examine you in both areas. 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:
  • satisfaction of diagnostic deficiencies in the first 3 semesters of enrollment;
  • for DMA students, performance of the DMA qualifying recital by the end of the first year of enrollment; and
  • satisfactory completion of at least 1 credit that meets degree requirements each semester of enrollment.

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

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

Degree Recitals

All MM degree students in performance and conducting are required to perform a final solo recital. Students beginning their degree program in Fall 2016 or after must enroll in ____899: Master’s Recital. You must receive a grade of B or better for satisfactory completion of the degree requirement. Recital previews are at the discretion of the area; some areas require them, others do not. The option to have a recital preview is available to all students and instructors, regardless of the area requirement. The area must approve recital content no less than 3 weeks prior to the recital date. All degree recitals must be held in a venue open to the public.

Additional recital requirements

Piano: Students majoring in piano are expected to perform a chamber music recital or a concerto in addition to the solo recital.

Opera: Students majoring in opera performance must perform a significant role in at least one fully staged production with orchestra.

Conducting: Master’s conducting recitals must include approximately 50 to 60 minutes of music performed with a scheduled university ensemble or one approved by the student’s major professor.

Composition: Students must present a public program of original compositions, approximately 45 minutes in length.

Scheduling your recitalAll degree recitals, including conducting recitals, are scheduled in the School of Music Communications and Events Center, 460 Murphy Hall at least 3 weeks prior to the performance date. The recital scheduling packet is available in 460 Murphy as well as online at Recital Scheduling. Your advisor’s signature must be on the recital form. Recital scheduling is also required for conducting students who are using several performances as one recital.
Priority scheduling

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

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

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

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

Recital recordings

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

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

Getting to 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.
Prospectus for the thesis: Musicology, Music Theory and Composition majors

If you are pursuing a Master of Music degree in Musicology, Music Theory or Composition, you must submit a prospectus for a thesis after you have successfully satisfied all deficiencies and completed the majority of your coursework. The prospectus is distributed to and approved by the faculty in the major area and your graduate advisory committee. For Musicology and Theory, the prospectus must include a description of the project, a survey of related literature, a description of methodologies, a preliminary outline, and a preliminary bibliography. For students in composition, the prospectus should outline a large-scale work. The prospectus must be approved by the major professor before it is distributed to the remainder of the advisory committee.

Master’s Thesis (Musicology, Music Theory, and Composition majors)All Master’s students in Musicology, Music Theory, and Composition have a written document that they will defend at their Master’s Final Exam/Defense. Master’s students in Musicology and Music Theory will defend a thesis. Master’s students in Composition will write a major composition and a substantive analysis. All documents are submitted online through KU ScholarWorks and UMI ProQuest for publication after they have been defended and approved.
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 in Musicology, Music Theory, and Composition must submit the final draft of the thesis or final composition project to UMI (ProQuest) publishing. The instructions for submission can be found at 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, According to UMI your submission will be published in an 8.5 x 11 format regardless of the size of the document you submit. If you have questions about the submission of large-format scores, please contact UMI.

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 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.


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.

Hooding ceremony

The School of Music graduation convocation takes place on the Saturday immediately after finals week and includes the hooding of graduating Master’s students. Only those students who have applied for graduation in Enroll and Pay are eligible to participate in the hooding ceremony. Students may only attend the ceremony once per KU degree in the School of Music.

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.