Music Department

Master's Requirements

Music History and Theory Placement Exams

All entering graduate students in music must take the graduate placement examinations in theory and history (excluding Music Business students who do not take these tests). These exams are given prior to the beginning of classes. Students must take these exams prior to beginning their formal study. Additional coursework (up to a maximum of 8 credits) may be required as a result of these placement examinations. In addition to assessing level of achievement and background in music theory and history, an evaluation of English writing proficiency may result in the recommendation of courses to develop writing skills to meet expectations of graduate level work.

Master's Students in Music cannot graduate without taking the placement examinations and completing all remedial requirements. Visit the exams page for upcoming test dates.

Music Doctoral Students may not take the Candidacy Exams unless they have taken the placement examinations and completed all additional work that may be required.

English Requirements

All graduate students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in writing in English at a level appropriate for graduate study. Such writing will be necessary for many of the graduate courses and for meeting the Colloquy Requirement in all programs at the master's level.

The Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions will assess English proficiency through written work in courses designated by the programs to assess the English writing proficiency or through independent assessment of essay writing. The course designated by the program is to be taken during the first year of graduate study, preferably in the first semester.

Writing proficiency for doctoral students is assessed as part of the admissions process. Doctoral Students identified as needing to develop their writing skills for doctoral level work may be required to take MPAME-GE 2021 Music Reference and Research as a remedial course in addition to degree requirements.

Courses or Action as Required By Programs for English Proficiency


Course/Action Required for English Proficiency

Dance Education

MPADE-GE 2403 Research in Dance

Educational Theatre

MPAET-GE 2021/2022 Development of Theatre and Drama or MPAET-GE 2193/2194 Drama in Education

Drama Therapy

MPADT-GE 2114 Introduction to Drama Therapy

Instrumental Performance Studies

MPATC-GE 2046 Music Criticism or MPAME-GE 2021 Music Reference and Research Materials

Jazz Studies

MPATC-GE 2046 Music Criticism

Music Business

Program Director Will Assign As Needed

Music Composition

MPATC-GE 2046 Music Criticism

Music Education

MPAME-GE 2021 Music Reference and Research Materials

Music Technology

MPATE-GE 2600 Digital Audio Processing I

Music Theatre Studies

MPAVP-GE 2066 Music Theatre Workshop: Process and Performance

Music Therapy

MPAMT-GE 2931 Children and Adolescent Theory and Methods

Performing Arts Administration

MPAPA-GE 2130 Environment Seminar

Piano Performance Studies

MPATC-GE 2046 Music Criticism or MPAME-GE 2021 Music Reference and Research Materials

Vocal Performance Studies

MPAME-GE 2021 Music Reference and Research Materials

Program Directors, Graduate Advisers, and Professors of Graduate Courses may refer students for group or individual tutoring as determined by the Coordinator.

Specific courses in the department and the school have been designed to enhance and develop graduate student writing skills. Students needing additional help in developing writing skills in English, you should check with their adviser.


All Master's Degree Programs are required by New York State to include a terminal, culminating experience. This requirement is met by registering for the colloquy course in the course and section that applies to your program. You should discuss with your program director the project you will develop for your colloquy. In general, the colloquy project should present a culmination of your studies and activities during your study for the master's degree. This will vary from program to program. For example, performance and composition programs require recitals as part of the colloquy experience, while other programs require some sort of project or thesis related to research or development of materials.

For some programs, the colloquy may serve in place of the traditional M.A. thesis, although the expectation is to produce a project that is the equivalent of a graduate thesis. Programs in Music Therapy and Music Education, require a master's thesis.

You must clear the topic for your colloquy project or thesis with your Adviser or Program Director. Clearance for the topic should be obtained well in advance of writing the document. Each program provides its own guidelines for meeting the colloquy requirement.