Frequently Asked Questions


I want to major in Music Theory, Music Composition, or Musicology. Do I still need to pass an audition?

Yes. You need to pass an audition on a classical instrument or voice. All students pursuing degrees in the School of Music must successfully complete their audition.

Can I major in classical guitar?

Classical guitar is only available as a major instrument for students wishing to pursue a Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) in Music Education or Music Therapy. We do not currently offer a classical guitar performance degree. If jazz guitar is your instrument, you may audition for the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Jazz Studies. 

On my KU Admissions Application, I indicated "pre-music." Does this mean I'm accepted into the program?

No. "Pre-music" means that you are accepted to the university with an intent to major in music. To become a music major you must also pass your audition. Pre-music students are not eligible to take classes in the School of Music outside of non-major courses and ensembles.

What if I can't make it on any of the scheduled audition dates?

If none of the scheduled dates work for you, please contact the faculty member listed in your area directly and arrange your audition date and time with them. If you cannot reach a faculty member, contact the main School of Music office at and we will assist you. Make sure your audition is prior to March 1. 

Am I eligible for a music scholarship if I do not major in music?

No. Music scholarships - with the exception of athletic band scholarships - are reserved for students who major in music only.

Can I be in band, choir or orchestra without majoring in music?

Yes. All students at KU are invited to audition and join our ensembles. 

I want to study music, but I don't play an instrument or sing. Can I still be a music major?

No. All students in the School of Music must be proficient in a classical or jazz instrument or voice. If you are interested in music, but do not have skills in those areas you are invited to take one of our non-major courses. The School of Music is a professional school, so all students must first meet both the academic and music requirements for admission. 

I am interested in sound production/engineering (e.g., running a recording studio, operating a mixing board for live or studio music, etc.). Is there a program for this?

No. We do not currently offer courses or a degree in sound production/engineering. 

I scheduled an audition, but came down with the flu and can't make it. Am I allowed to reschedule?

Yes, of course. Just make sure to communicate your situation with us as soon as possible so we know what is going on. We can then assist you in contacting the appropriate faculty member in your area to schedule an alternate date. To allow time for any unforeseen circumstances we strongly encourage you to schedule your audition in January or February. 

Is the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Theatre & Voice degree a musical theatre degree?

No. The B.F.A. in Theatre & Voice combines study in classical vocal music and the theatrical arts. Your voice lessons/vocal study will focus on art songs, oratorio, opera, and other classical pieces. Be sure to plan your audition repertoire accordingly.


What is the Exam Authorization (GPtD) form?

All master's and doctoral students at KU must pass oral comprehensive exams to finish their degree. Doctoral students also have a final exam called a defense that is the last step to the degree. Because these exams are required by the KU Graduate Studies office, we must submit pre-approval for those exams to the university using the Exam Authorization Form or GPtD (GPtD stands for Graduate Progress toward Degree.) The results of your exam are also recorded on that form and submitted online. Once you have passed these exams, they are recorded on your advising report.

What is the Oral Comprehensive Exam for Doctoral students?

The Oral Comprehensive Exam is the oral comprehensive exam you take with your 5-member committee after you have completed all of your required courses and written comprehensive exams. The Oral Comprehensive Exam (Oral Comps) is required of all doctoral students at KU. Passing this exam makes you a doctoral candidate, after which you have only your dissertation, lecture-recital and document or document left to complete and defend. Passing your Oral Comps gives you ABD (All But Dissertation) status. PhD students must wait at least 5 months between the Oral Comps and the Final Defense. DMA students must wait at least 3 months between the Oral Comps and the Final Defense.

Master's degree students also have a final Oral Exam that concludes their degree program.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the KU School of Music Graduate programs?

Your major professor is your advisor and the person with whom you want to plan your degree program. Go to your advisor first with questions regarding degree requirements.

You may also contact the Graduate Services Coordinator, Jane Gnojek, at or at 785-864-2862.

If you are interested in Music Education/Music Therapy Graduate programs, contact Lois Elmer at, or 785-864-4784.

Do I have to take the Musicology and Music Theory Diagnostic exams?

The Musicology and Music Theory Diagnostic exams are required of all incoming graduate students majoring in Performance, Musicology, Music Theory, and Composition. Students who have a music degree from the University of Kansas are exempt from the diagnostic exams. Those students in the above mentioned majors who have not taken the diagnostic exams before the first day of classes will not be allowed to enroll.

Who is my advisor?

Your major professor is your advisor. Use your degree check sheet to plan your degree program and progress with your advisor.

Friends of the School of Music

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School of Music Events

Reach Out Kansas, Inc., Smithyman & Zakoura Chartered and KU Music Concert Series 2014-2015

Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually