Indiana University

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Contact the Music Graduate Office

Office Location
East Studio Building 120 (JS 120)
205 S. Jordan Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405

Mailing Address
1201 E. 3rd Street
Bloomington, IN 47405

Hours: 8 am–12 pm, 1–5 pm
Phone: 812-855-1738Phone

E-mail: musgrad [at] indiana [dot] edu

musicdgs [at] indiana [dot] edu (Prof. Eric Isaacson), Director
serbes [at] indiana [dot] edu (Sara Erbes), Academic Advisor
anmiller [at] indiana [dot] edu (Angie Miller), Recorder
musgrad [at] indiana [dot] edu (Victoria Wheeler), Secretary
musdoc [at] indiana [dot] edu (John Porter), Doctoral Clerk

More Information

Doctor of Music in Piano—Piano Essay Topic Proposal

General information

Doctoral degrees require a final project or dissertation after qualifying examinations.

DM students in Piano propose and write an essay of ca. 8,000-10,000 words (30-40 pages). It is guided and read by a three person Research Committee (ordinarily made up of the major-field members of a student's Advisory Committee). The research committee nomination is part of the topic proposal process. The proposal for this essay must be approved before the written major-field written examination may be scheduled.

Piano students enroll in 1 credit of M621 Doctoral Piano Essay at some point before graduation.

There are different guidelines for the Dissertation in Composition, Doctoral Final Project, and PhD/DME Dissertation topic proposals.

Step 1: Write the topic proposal

Complete the topic poposal cover sheet:

The narrative portion of your topic proposal may be brief and should cover the following subjects:

  1. PROPOSED TITLE: Be brief—you will eventually include this title on your c.v. and other places.
  2. JUSTIFICATION: Explain the need for and the purpose of the study.
  3. SOURCES & MATERIALS: Specify the sources and materials to be used in the study.
  4. ORGANIZATION: State briefly the proposed organization of the study. A chapter outline can be helpful.
  5. METHODOLOGY: State briefly the methods to be followed in accomplishing the study.
  6. RESULTS AND/OR CONCLUSIONS EXPECTED: If discernible at the present stage.
  7. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Provide a bibliography of pertinent related sources, especially those dealing directly with the subject of the proposed study. Differentiate between primary sources (those used as direct objects of analysis, discussion, etc.) and secondary sources (those used for information).
  8. STYLE MANUAL: Please list the style manual to be used in this study (Turabian, MLA, etc.).

Step 2: Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

If your research involves work with human subjects (including surveys, interviews, observations) you must get permission from the University's Institutional Review Board. Information on the IRB approval process can be found here.

You must forward to musdoc [at] indiana [dot] edu evidence that you have submitted the necessary paperwork to start the IRB process before we will distribute the proposal to the committee, and you must submit a copy of the written approval of your research by this committee before your proposal can be approved by the Jacobs School of Music.

If your research does not involve human subjects, you may skip this step.

Step 3: Research director approval

Provide a copy of your draft proposal to your teacher, who will serve as chair and research director of your research committee. Your chair may ask you to make revisions. When the chair approves of your topic, they may either sign the cover sheet or send an email message to the doctoral clerk at musdoc@indiana.edu.  (Other doctoral degrees have a four person research committee and the research committee chair and the research committee director are sometimes not the same person.  For the piano essay, the chair and the director are always the same person, so if you see references to the chair or the director, they always refer to your teacher).

Step 4: Submit to Music Graduate Office

Submit the cover sheet and your proposal narrative, together with a copy of IRB approval, if needed, to the Music Graduate Office.  You can submit the proposal either by bringing in one paper copy or sending the entire proposal through email as a PDF attachment.

If you are living outside Bloomington, you may send your proposal copiy by mail to the address below if you do not submit the proposal electronically.

Doctoral Clerk
Music Graduate Office
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
1201 E Third St
Bloomington, IN 47405

Step 5: Final approval

The proposal is circulated by the Music Graduate Office to other members of the committee for their approval. The committee is asked to respond to the graduate office within two weeks (not including breaks). After their approval, the director of graduate studies checks for IRB approval (if required) and gives final approval.

The Music Graduate Office will inform you by e-mail when your topic proposal has been approved. The topic proposal must be approved before you may schedule the written major-field qualifying examination.

Topic proposal changes

If your proposal has already been approved and you wish to make substantial changes (for example, you decide to switch to a different topic), then please repeat the entire topic proposal procedure starting with Step 1.