MASTER'S DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
1. Apply to the Graduate School of the University.
a. Transcripts should be sent directly to the University, not the School of
b. Please note that there are additional admission requirements for international students.
a. Audition for the School of Music faculty (for performance, conducting,
or jazz degree.)
b. Send a portfolio of compositions or written materials (for composition, musicology, or music education degrees).
Beginning of first semester:
3. Take entrance examinations in music history and theory.
4. Begin course of study.
End of second semester:
5. Submit MM degree plan to the School of Music Graduate Studies Office (See 5.6 MM Degree Plans)
6. Present the recital, thesis, or practicum.
7. During the first week of the final semester, Apply to Graduate and submit the following documentation to the School of Music Graduate Studies Office:
a. Degree Candidacy Form
b. Completed MM degree plan
c. Official UM graduate transcript (found on MyMemphis)
8. Take the Master's Comprehensive Examination.
Students enrolled in Master's degree concentrations that require large ensemble participation must attend ensemble placement auditions at the beginning of each semester. Dates, times, and locations are shared by the wind, strings, and choral areas.
All MM degrees require a recital, thesis, or practicum as a culminating project.
Performance, Conducting, and Pedagogy - A degree recital. A recital hearing should be scheduled at least two weeks before the recital. The recital hearing is evaluated by the members of the student's area. See 4.1 Recital Scheduling, Programs, & Recordings for more information.
Composition - A composition practicum - This is a substantial composition or a portfolio of compositions.
Musicology, Music Education - A written thesis or project, which is submitted to the library for archival purposes. Musicology students may substitute a lecture-recital with a substantial research component, and music education students may substitute a practical master's project prepared under faculty supervision.
Orff-Schulwerk - The Orff practicum. The practicum includes four pieces or sections:
- Two recordings of the candidate's teaching and a written self-critique.
- A paper representing scholarship in music education.
- A paper or project representing scholarship in music history or music theory and the application of that work to music education.
- A paper or project related to the candidate's field of specialization, i.e. choral music, general music, instrumental music, or jazz. The student presents the written portfolio to the committee, and the committee members review the student's work. An oral examination based on the portfolio is held during final exam week.
Jazz and Studio Music - The culminating project is flexible and may consist of a thesis, a recital, a lecture-recital, or a practicum depending on the student's interests in consultation with faculty.
The Master's Comprehensive Examination is a timed, written comprehensive exam and taken during the student's final semester of study. Prior to taking the exam, students must have completed deficiencies in music history and theory and must file an official Candidacy Form listing all coursework for the degree.
The written comprehensive test is composed of the following six essay questions:
• Three questions from the student's major (e.g. viola)
• One question from a music history course
• One question from a music theory course
• One 'wildcard' question from any remaining course
Each question is intended to take a half hour to answer. Questions must come from the student's course of study and specifically the course taken and the instructor who taught it. No more than three questions may be from the same instructor. The theory and history review courses are not eligible: all questions must be on le¬gitimate graduate coursework. Students will submit a form to the Graduate Studies Office of a list of courses on which the written portion will be based.
Students with transfer credit should consult with the appropriate U of M faculty before requesting questions in that area; faculty may ask for course syllabi or other materials in order to ensure that the question matches the material in the course the student actually took.
Each master's candidate must pass five out of the six written questions.
Students who fail the examination may participate in a retake (with different questions), two weeks later. Failure of the retake results in termination from the program. A third attempt will be permitted only by petitioning the Director of the School of Music.
5.5 Applying to Graduate
The deadline for applying for graduation is within the second or third week of the semester you plan on graduating. These steps must be completed and submitted to the School of Music one week prior to the Graduate School deadline. The Graduate School's Deadlines for Degree Candidates gives detailed due dates for each step of the process. The Graduate School's Graduation Information page links to all required forms.
Step 1 - Login to the MyMemphis portal online and Apply to Graduate. If you don't manage
to graduate during the semester you apply, you have to reapply in the following semesters.
Step 2 - Fill out the Candidacy form, which is found on the Graduate School Forms page under "Graduation Forms." The Candidacy form requires you to list the courses you have taken that count as part of the degree: the "Dept." (actually the prefix, e.g. MUAP, MUHL), the course number, the course title, the number of hours, the grade, and the year. Your accurate and current degree plan, submitted after your second semester of study, will help simplify this process.
When filling out the Candidacy form:
- The Graduate Studies Coordinator is the School of Music Associate Director of Graduate Studies. The College Director of Graduate Studies is the Associate Dean of College of Communication & Fine Arts. Departmental Records should be the name and email address of the Graduate Studies Office staff member in the School of Music.
- Do not list any credits or courses that are not found on your degree plan. Only enter courses that are a formal part of the degree curriculum, not courses with undergraduate numbers (e.g. language, theory review), extra ensembles, or ensembles taken for 0 credit-hours. The credits you enter on the candidacy form must equal the exact number of credits of your degree.
- For courses currently underway, leave the "grade" box blank. Use the grade IP only for courses (normally thesis-type courses) for which you have actually received the grade IP.
Step 3 – Before your candidacy form will be signed you will need to submit the following
to the School of Music Graduate Studies Office:
1. UM Academic transcript (from MyMemphis)
2. Approved Degree plan with signatures (see 5.6 Master's Degree Plans)
The candidacy form is routed through Docusign to your major professor, the Associate Director of Graduate Studies, to the CCFA office of the Associate Dean, and then to the Graduate School for appropriate signatures.
By end of the first semester of study, the student must submit a degree plan, which lists all courses required for the degree and is approved by the student's major professor and the Associate Director of Graduate Studies. Students should consult their major professor as they prepare a degree plan. A list of courses that aren't offered each semester can be found in 3.14 Rotating Course Offerings. This list is not definitive and it is recommended that students contact area faculty to find out the latest course offerings for the upcoming semester. Any changes to the degree plan must be submitted in writing on a degree plan form and approved by the major professor and Associate Director of Graduate Studies, and filed with the School of Music Graduate Studies Office. Degree plans may not be filed in the semester a student plans to graduate. Click on the following links for specific degree plans:
- MM in Composition
- MM in Conducting
- MM in Jazz and Studio Music
- MM in Music Education
- MM in Musicology
- MM in Orff-Schulwerk
- MM in Pedagogy
- MM in Performance
5.7 MM-DMA Accelerated Track
Students who wish to continue from the MM into a DMA program of the same concentration have the option, with the approval of the major professor, of following an accelerated track. This four-year track can save students two semesters of coursework compared to the traditional five-year MM to DMA path. Students will earn the MM degree after the fourth semester of study. At that time a Change of Status form must be submitted to the Graduate School to advance from the master's program to a doctoral program.
It is highly recommended a student work closely with their major professor/advisor and follow the recommended timeline for their concentration listed below when filling out a degree plan for the MM-DMA Accelerated Track. The degree plan should be submitted by the end of the second semester of study and approved by the student's major professor and the Associate Director of Graduate Studies. A list of courses that aren't offered each semester can be found in 3.14 Rotating Course Offerings. This list is not definitive and it is recommended that students contact area faculty to find out the latest course offerings for the upcoming semester. Any changes to the degree plan must be submitted in writing on a degree plan form and approved by the major professor and Associate Director of Graduate Studies, and filed with the School of Music Graduate Studies Office. Degree plans may not be filed in the semester a student plans to graduate. Click on the following links for specific degree plans:
Students can download recommended timelines for the doctoral degrees to use as guides when planning the degree.