This document is provided for information purposes only. Wherever it may conflict with the current Bulletins of the IU Jacobs School of Music or the Graduate School, those Bulletins or approved changes take precedence. For more information on admission to the school, see the Jacobs School of Music Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, 1201 E. 3rd Street, Bloomington, IN 47405-7006, 812-855-7998 musicadm [at] indiana [dot] edu . For more information on the graduate music theory program, you are invited to contact the chair of the Music Theory Department and to consult this web site for additional information.
See also the current Jacobs School of Music Bulletin. Admission to the graduate program in music theory is based on the following:
Three letters of recommendation from professors (preferably in music theory) with whom the student has worked.
Transcripts of all previous academic work. The Jacobs School of Music requires at least a 3.0 grade point average in all degrees for acceptance into any graduate program; the theory department usually requires more than this minimum.
GRE General Test scores.
Appropriate writing sample(s). For prospective master's students, this is typically a major music analysis paper (eight pages or more) from an upper-level undergraduate class. Prospective doctoral students may submit an extensive music analysis paper (at least 20 pages), two shorter contrasting music theoretical or music analysis papers, a master's thesis, or large similar project. The writing sample may be on any topic, but if it does not include analysis of tonal music, applicants are encouraged to also submit one or more items that provide evidence of their understanding of tonal music. Examples might include a harmonic analysis of an extended passage of music or a model composition in a contrapuntal or other style.
A personal interview. Applicants who are invited for an on-campus interview will meet with the chair of the department and other members of the faculty and must also complete an audition for an associate instructorship. These interviews and auditions are scheduled during audition weekends through the Office of Music Admissions.
In most cases a student approved for admission to the Ph.D. program in music theory will be expected to have a completed master's degree by the time of initial enrollment at Indiana University. If the master's degree is not completed within two semesters, the student will not be allowed to remain enrolled at IU as a PhD. music theory major. In exceptional cases, however, admission to the Ph.D. directly from the bachelor's degree may be considered.
Both master's and doctoral students are officially admitted into the Jacobs School of Music and directly into the music theory program on the basis of admissions documents and the on-campus interview. Admission recommendations are made by a departmental committee; final admission is made by the Dean, in conjunction with a Jacobs School of Music admission committee.
Doctoral students also need to apply to the Graduate School, which awards the Ph.D.
2. Financial Aid
All qualified music theory majors are guaranteed teaching experience in an extensive undergraduate core theory program of written theory and musical skills.The awards vary depending on the experience and qualifications of the applicant. An Associate Instructor (AI) award provides a monthly stipend, tuition remission for a normal program of graduate courses, and insurance benefits. Master's students who qualify can generally expect two years of financial aid; doctoral students can generally expect three years of financial aid (five years total for those completing both degrees at IU). Teaching coordinator positions are awarded to especially qualified students; these positions include a larger stipend and more tuition credit. A personal audition is required for all Associate Instructor positions and should be requested on the graduate application form.
Some applicants will qualify for supplemental fellowships. Special fellowship awards of up to $18,000 a year plus tuition and an additional year of fellowship are also awarded annually to highly qualified doctoral music theory majors. There are also special fellowship programs for minority students. A 3.75 grade point average for any college and graduate study is required for fellowship consideration.
3. Proficiency Exams/Performance Study
General Jacobs School of Music exams
All entering students take the several general graduate proficiency exams in music theory (written theory, aural theory, sightsinging) and in music history and literature during orientation week.
Both master's and doctoral degrees require that a student demonstrate performance ability in one instrument or voice to a level equivalent to the end of the fourth year for BS and BME students in that area (called the fourth-year concentration level). Students should take this examination during the final week of their first semester of registration. A music theory faculty member may be a voting member of the committee. Contact the chair of the department involved to schedule this.
Students also take a keyboard skills hearing with a committee from the music theory department. The requirements and practice materials for this exam are generally available by the fourth week of the semester. Students then study on their own and take the hearing (by appointment) as often as needed to pass. The practice materials include chord progressions (from Roman numerals), pivot chord modulation techniques, figured bass examples, melodies to harmonize, and score reading excerpts, plus a list of source materials in the library.
All graduate students take a (general) graduate keyboard proficiency exam (which is scheduled during orientation week for new students and at the end of each semester). For music theory students, the departmental keyboard exam substitutes for all but the following: 1. prepared piano composition; 2. scales and arpeggios; 3. prepared piano composition with 48 hours preparation (for more information on the keyboard proficiency, see procedures and dates of the secondary piano program).
Doctoral students who have not completed a master's degree in music theory at IU must either enroll in or validate the master's level "foundation courses": T551 Analytical Techniques for Tonal Music, T555 Schenkerian Analysis, T556 Analysis of Music Since 1900, T565 Stylistic Counterpoint, and T591 Teaching of Music Theory (see the Ph.D. degree requirements for more information). Students may attempt to validate only courses for which they have already completed a similar course with a grade of "B" or better. A written exam is used to validate T551 and T556. The remaining courses may be validated by an interview with, and submission of appropriate materials to, the current instructor of the course. Doctoral students are expected to take T550 Readings in Music Theory, which will substitute for one semester of T658, though exemption by interview with the instructor is available for those who believe they qualify. Any required doctoral course for which a student has taken an equivalent course at another school may also be validated by interview with the instructor, with subsequent approval of the department chair. The requirement is then waived and another course may be substituted.
4. Registration for first semester classes
The Jacobs School of Music's Director of Graduate Studies has a general meeting with all graduate students prior to first‑semester registration. This meeting is followed by a scheduled counseling appointment with the department chair. No more than 9 hours (plus ensemble for master's students) are recommended as a typical semester load for students with AI appointments (12 hours is the maximum). The current fee scholarship pays for a typical course load. There is no charge for ensemble hours.
Master's: The department chair acts as advisor for all master's students. When a student has decided on an outside area, he/she should get an outside area approval form from the Music Graduate Office. (The master's degree has no required minors, but an outside area can become a minor by taking 6 additional hours, for a total of 12.)
Doctoral: For doctoral students, the chair acts as the primary advisor for coursework-related advising in the early years of the program. During the first year, the student, in consultation with the chair, should determine the student's two minors and two languages (or one language and one research skill). Once the minors are firmly settled, the student should submit minor‑field approval forms to the Graduate Office. The actual content of the minors (courses to be taken) is approved by the department involved and the Director of Graduate Studies.
During the second year, the department, in consultation with the student, will recommend appointment of a doctoral advisory committee, which is formally appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies. The advisory committee includes three music theory faculty members, one of whom serves as chair of the committee. The advisory committee also includes one representative of each minor field. Contact the department to find out how minor field representatives are assigned. The members of this committee can assist with course selection in their respective areas, guide the student in preparation for the public lecture and qualifying exams, evaluate the public lecture, administer and grade the qualifying exams, and locate and deal with problems that might arise. The student's academic record will be available to the committee chair.
The music theory department offers the Master of Music (M.M.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Current and anticipated course offerings are posted here. Course descriptions from the current bulletin are provided here.
Master of Music
The master's curriculum consists of 33 credit hours, plus a 2-credit tool subject. Students typically complete the degree with two years of full‑time study. Following is a suggested plan for master's music theory students.
|Year 1 Fall||Year 1 Spring|
|T551 (strongly recommended)||T550 (strongly recommended)|
|T565, M539, or M541/2 (if needed)||T555, T591, or M541/2 (if needed)|
|core or outside area course||core or outside area course|
|Year 2 Fall||Year 2 Spring|
|T556 (strongly recommended)||T658, T599 (strongly recommended)|
|T565 or M539||T555 or T591|
|core or outside area course||core or outside area course|
- T551 should be taken first semester if at all possible. It is prerequisite for several other required courses.
- T550 should be taken during the second semester. It provides general background in music theory literature and the bibliographical/research skills which are particularly important for the various T658 topics. It is also preferable to take M539 (general bibliography course) before or concurrently with T550.
- For M539, students with appropriate background may take a validation exam before classes begin each semester. Contact the instructor.
- The following courses are typically offered in the summer as well: T551, T591, M541/M542, M539, and many music history and literature courses.
Doctor of Philosophy
The doctoral curriculum consists of 90 credit hours. For a student with an AI appointment, it should be possible to complete the coursework in three years (6 semesters @ 9 hours per semester). A typical distribution of credit hours would be:
- Credit for master's degree (30 hours)
- Major courses (24 cr.; T623, T624, T658x6)
- Minors (2 x 12 = 24 cr.)
- Dissertation (12 cr.). The dissertation topic must be approved by the theory faculty before oral qualifying exams are taken.
- Tool subjects (not counted as part of the 90 credits): M539 (2 cr.) and proficiency in two languages or one language and a research skill, as approved by the department of music theory and the Director of Graduate Studies.
It is not possible to produce a semester‑by‑semester course plan for doctoral students. In general, take any necessary proficiency courses as early as possible. Time limits are as follows: 10 years (including time for the master's) before qualifying exams are scheduled; 7 years after the qualifying exams to complete the dissertation and all degree requirements.
7. Degree Exit Requirements
The zero‑credit T599 Master's Degree Comprehesive Review is a departmental review of the student's coursework in the master's degree, which is to be submitted in a portfolio by the third Monday of the semester of enrollment. The department may use it as the basis for an admission decision into the Ph.D. program for those students who wish to continue.
Styles exam: Note that passing the musical styles exam is prerequisite to any written or oral qualifying examinations.
Written qualifying exams: Students are generally required to take written qualifying exams in their minor fields. The department involved is responsible.
The specific content of the written major field qualifying exam in music theory is determined by the chair of the student's advisory committee in consultation with the committee members. Beginning fall 2007, the major field exam will be in this format:
There will be four questions, one on each of the following topics: (1) the history of music theory, (2) theory and analysis of tonal music, (3) theory and analysis of post-tonal music, and (4) a topic whose focus is determined by the student's advisory committee in consultation with the student. The fourth question may be on a specialized area that has been the subject of one or more T658 seminars the student has taken, or on a topic that is being developed for the dissertation proposal.
At least two of the questions will be based on specific musical compositions. The advisory committee will provide scores for those questions two weeks before the scheduled examination. The scores will be picked up from the Music Graduate Office. The committee may identify the pieces in advance and may give specific instructions on what to prepare (research on the music, analyses following one or more particular methods, etc.). The student will NOT be permitted to bring notes or annotated scores to the examination, however; clean copies will be provided at that time.
The student should discuss appropriate study strategies with the chair and members of the advisory committee. If the student fails the exam first time, it is possible to retake once all or any part of the exam, as the committee requires.
Public lecture: The public lecture must be completed by the time the oral qualifying exam is taken.
Topic proposal: The dissertation topic proposal must be approved by the department faculty before the oral qualifying exam is taken.
Oral qualifying exam: After all written qualifying exams are passed and the topic proposal has been approved, the student may schedule the oral qualifying exam. Members of the advisory committee, usually including the minor‑field representatives, will be present. The focus of the oral exam is left to the discretion of the members of the advisory committee. It may follow up on questions from the written exam (or the student's responses to them) or may cover new topics.
General information about qualifying exams and the development of a topic proposal is available from the Graduate Office, as is a style guide for dissertations. Also see the Bulletin. All written and oral qualifying exams must be completed within one calendar year.
Dissertation: The Music Graduate Office publishes information concerning dissertations.