Graduate Student Handbook
- Master of Music in Performance or Conducting
- Master of Music in Music Education
- Doctorate of Musical Arts in Performance or Conducting
- Residency Requirements
- Full-Time Enrollment
- Minimum Enrollment
- Late Enrollment
- Continuous Enrollment
- Leave of Absence
- Online Application
- Diagnostic Exams
- Timetable and Requirements for 702, 704, and 748
- Supervisory Committee
- Plan of Study
- Timeline and Forms
- General Policies
- Academic Warning
- Academic Probation
- Transfer Credits
- Assistantship Calendar
- Loads and Stipends
- Work Philosophy and Outside Employment
- Amenities and Office Procedures
- Time Limitations
- TOEFL Requirements
- Academic Honesty
- Previous Enrollment in MUSC 748
- Graduation Timeline
- Language Requirements
- Ensemble Requirements
- Keyboard Competence
History and Background: Music activities began at the North Dakota Agricultural College in 1903, and have been a part of the institution ever since. The current graduate program in performance and conducting was started in 2002, the master’s in music education was added in 2008, and the master’s and doctoral tracks in collaborative piano were added in 2015. We feature the only master’s and doctoral program in performance and conducting in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and western Minnesota, and have prepared professional teachers, performers, conductors, and faculty members in higher education with a remarkable degree of musical and employment success. The NDSU School of Music (formerly the Department of Music) was inaugurated on September 26, 2012. As a result of a generous endowment gift from the Robert and Sheila Challey family, the School of Music was named the Challey School of Music on October 8, 2014.
Roles: Graduate students in the School of Music assume two distinct but interrelated roles. They are students in the most rigorous sense—expected to further their musical education in their specialty areas as well as in music coursework and experiences that directly support those specialties. Expectations are uncompromising, and based on the philosophy that anything less than excellence in their roles as graduate students is unacceptable. If graduate students have assistantships, they are also de facto staff members, charged with the responsibility to act as teachers, performers, scholars, researchers, and staff assistants to nurture other NDSU students and to assist NDSU faculty members. Expectations are equally rigorous and uncompromising.
Behavior: Graduate students must comport themselves as role models for other students, and also, if they have assistantships, as responsible staff members. NDSU graduate students treat all students with respect and understanding, encourage student learning, reward student excellence, behave compassionately and ethically in all interactions with all members of the greater NDSU community, and always act as respected and respectful representatives of NDSU and the School of Music. Any graduate student who does not continuously demonstrate these characteristics may lose privileges or support, or may be dismissed from the program. More specifically, students must read and follow the NDSU Code of Student Conduct document http://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/policy/601.pdf, and also, since School of Music assistantship responsibilities often involve “power differential” relationships, the NDSU policies regarding consensual relationships, http://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/policy/162_1.pdf. Graduate students also must follow NDSU requirements concerning annual sexual harassment training and Title IX training. On a positive note, NDSU Music encourages and rewards graduate student successes and appropriate behavior, and provides many opportunities for healthy growth and development.
Graduate students with assistantships that place them in teaching or supervisory positions with other students are expected to uphold standards of professionalism in behavior, appearance, dress, and manner. Consider that you are not in a peer relationship with students when you are teaching or supervising. Neatness in dress and appearance is expected. If you have questions about what is appropriate, please speak with your advisor or the graduate coordinator.
Evaluation: Graduate students with assistantships are formally evaluated every year, sometimes every semester. The evaluation is administered by the advisor and other involved faculty members, and the written summary of the evaluation is placed in the student’s file, to be consulted in the renewal of assistantships and eventual letters of recommendation.
Disciplinary Actions: Problematic progress toward degree, problematic performance of duties, and/or problematic behavior on the part of graduate students may result in change of academic status, counseling, reprimand, loss of privileges or assistantship benefits, suspension, or dismissal from the program. These actions are taken after consideration by and recommendation of the advisor, the faculty, and the administration of the School of Music. A student may appeal such a decision through a written request including appropriate documentation to the Director of the School of Music within a week of the action. The Director may call a meeting of appropriate individuals for further information, and will rule on the appeal after consultation with the faculty. The result of the appeal will be communicated to the student, the faculty, the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Dean of the Graduate School.
The Handbook: This document is updated continually and the most current revision always applies unless waived or modified as petitioned through the graduate coordinator. The current version of the Handbook is online, accessible from the School of Music webpage. The information in the Handbook is to be used in conjunction with the Graduate School Catalog, found online and accessible from the Graduate School webpages. If there are differences among the current Handbook, the version of the Handbook in effect at your matriculation, and/or the Graduate Catalog, consult the graduate coordinator. Resolution is always ultimately a decision of the faculty of the School of Music.
It is the responsibility of the graduate student to know the requirements of his/her program.
The Master of Music in Performance or Conducting
The M.M. in either performance or conducting provides opportunities to refine and augment knowledge and to develop professional competence beyond the typical undergraduate experiences. The degree is offered with specializations in vocal performance, piano performance, collaborative piano performance, instrumental performance on selected instruments, choral conducting, and instrumental conducting for wind and percussion ensembles. The degree is most beneficial if experienced over two years of residency with optional summer work, but may be accomplished through part-time study, depending on availability of faculty resources and scheduling considerations. It is not possible to accomplish the M.M. with summer study only. After completion of or during the last semester of coursework, students engage in capstone experiences of comprehensive examinations and the recital.
The Master of Music in Music Education
The Master of Music in Music Education Degree is designed to be completed in three summers or in a combination of summers and the academic year. Classes are offered both online and on campus, making this 30-credit program convenient for professional teachers working in the field. The program offers flexible classes and personal attention. Course-work can be focused on elementary, choral/vocal, or instrumental music education. No thesis is required. Students complete a four-credit practicum, planned jointly by the student and her/his advisor.
The Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance or Conducting
The D.M.A. provides the opportunity to achieve artist-level capabilities in performance or conducting. Specialties include vocal performance, piano performance, collaborative piano performance, instrumental performance on selected instruments, choral conducting, and instrumental conducting with a wind/percussion emphasis. The degree is most beneficial if experienced with virtually all coursework taken in residence and while holding a teaching assistantship. For students with a master’s degree, this usually takes two to three years of fulltime study, often with summer study. Some flexibility is possible, but see specific residency requirements below. After completion of or during the last semester of coursework, students engage in capstone experiences, including qualifying examinations, recitals, and a final document.
The DMA has a minimum of 90 hours of coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree. Students with a master’s degree from an accredited institution may apply up to 30 hours toward the 90-hour total, subject to the recommendation and approval of the advisor, the graduate coordinator, and the director of the School of Music.
M.M.: No residency requirement. The music education track is designed to be accomplished through part-time study. In the performance and conducting tracks, full-time study is typical and encouraged.
D.M.A.: Most D.M.A. students with a master’s degree spend three years at NDSU, the first two in fulltime residence with an assistantship, the last year with a more limited load and limited assistantship while they complete terminal requirements. For students in conducting or performance who already have a master’s degree in their discipline, two or three years of residency is typical. At least one year is required. A residency of only one year is atypical and must be approved by the graduate coordinator on the basis of an acceptable plan of study developed in advance. Due to course rotations and faculty availability, it typically will not be possible to design a program with only one year of fulltime residency. In any case, a residency of only one year is discouraged. One year is defined as two consecutive semesters of residency of at least 9 credits each, not including the summer session.
There may be rare cases in which a student is admitted to the DMA without a master’s degree in her/his specialty track, or in which the student has fewer than 24 transfer credits from a master’s degree. In these cases, a special residency plan must be developed and approved by the graduate coordinator, the prospective advisor, and the director of the School of Music.
Nine or more credits are considered a full-time graduate load. To receive financial aid, students must be enrolled in at least five credits. Loan deferment may also require full- or half-time status. Eligibility varies with financial aid programs and students should contact their lender for requirements. Graduate Assistants working 16 hours per week are considered full-time if registered for five or more graduate credits. Federal laws have some effects on international students with respect to credits and assistantship duties. See the graduate coordinator for details. You may also contact the student services associate for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Madonna Fitzgerald at Madonna.Fitzgerald@ndsu.edu.
Graduate students who wish to register for more than 15 credits must secure the approval of their advisor, the graduate coordinator and the dean of the Graduate School.
Graduate students who are not required to have full-time status are not required to enroll in a specific number of hours. All graduate teaching assistants must be enrolled in a minimum of five hours each semester.
No enrollments are permitted after the 20th day of class. Graduate students must have all financial obligations cleared with the NDSU Business Office before the 20th day of class.
Students are required to register for at least one credit each semester (fall and spring) until all degree requirements are completed, including submitting final copies of a thesis, paper, or dissertation. The graduate dean will approve the degree only after the student has registered for any semesters not covered by either registration or leave of absence, but not more than four credits total.
A student who has not registered for longer than a continuous two-year period must also reapply for admission and is subject to the degree requirements at the time of readmission.
Continuous enrollment for M.M. in Music Education students is considered to be six credits per year.
Leave of Absence
Students who interrupt their graduate program prior to the completion of all degree requirements must maintain continuous enrollment for Fall and/or Spring Semesters of the absence, or obtain a leave of absence, using the form here.
NOTE: Leaves of absence do not alter in any way the seven and ten-year time limitations.
Go here to begin your online application. When your application is complete (including all references and transcripts), the Graduate School will inform the School of Music. At that time, if invited, you will be able to schedule your interview/audition. Feel free to contact your major professor, Dr. Jo Ann Miller (Jo.Miller@ndsu.edu), graduate music coordinator, or Dr. Sarah Prigge (Sarah.Prigge@ndsu.edu), graduate program administrator, if you have questions about the application process. Some students, especially those with non-traditional backgrounds of study that differ from NASM standards expectations, may be asked to demonstrate NASM standards of competence at any point in the application process. It is your responsibility to keep in touch with the Graduate School about the status of your application.
Prospective students in the M. M. or D.M.A. in performance or conducting whose written applications have been favorably reviewed will be invited to prepare an audition for admission to the program. The music performed for the audition must be approved by the appropriate area. The audition should be scheduled through the student’s prospective advisor and the graduate coordinator. During the audition and interview, students should be prepared to discuss their educational and career goals.
If unsatisfactory, an audition may be repeated (only once), at the discretion of the area faculty.
New graduate students must take diagnostic examinations in music history and literature, and in music theory and analysis prior to the first semester of enrollment. In the choral conducting and voice areas there may also be assessments in vocal pedagogy and diction. The examinations will be given the week before classes begin each semester. The purpose is to demonstrate ability to undertake course work leading to a graduate degree, as well as to determine areas of study where further course work is necessary. The examinations will also help determine the specific program of study for each candidate. Weaknesses in particular areas of history or theory and analysis will be identified as a result of the diagnostic examinations, and will require remedial coursework as indicated in the examination evaluation and report.
There will be a two-day workshop with graduate students the week before classes begin in the fall semester. New graduate students take diagnostic examinations, work with advisors, learn box office procedures, get computers set up, get keys, discuss assistantship duties, fill out forms for the School of Music office staff, and undergo orientation to assistantship and teaching responsibilities. There are no diagnostic examinations for the Master of Music Education students.
Timetable and Requirements for 702, 704, and 748
As a result of diagnostic examinations, 702 (Graduate Theory Survey) and/or 704 (Graduate History Survey) may be required before a student takes further coursework in theory and history. 702 and 704 are online survey courses, and in the performance and conducting tracks do not count toward degree credit counts or elective credits.
If a student is required to take 704 (Graduate History Survey), the course is taken in the fall, in the first semester of residency. If a student is required to take 702 (Graduate Theory Survey), the course is taken in the spring, in the second semester of residency. 748 (Bibliography and Research Methods) is required of all M.M. and D.M.A. students in the performance and conducting tracks, and is taken in the spring semester during the first year of residency.
Your major professor is the primary advisor for your program. Ultimately, the faculty members in your area are responsible for advising throughout your program, including your plan of study, recitals, etc. All faculty members are responsible for knowing the programs in their areas. The coordinator of Graduate Studies in Music may advise incoming students in the fall semester, then pass the responsibility to the area. Supervisory Committee: The supervisory committee (except in the D.M.A. for the outside member) should be formed during the semester during or immediately after the major adviser is identified for the student, before the plan of study is formulated. All committee members should contribute to the plan of study.
The supervisory committee will have at least three members. The members consist of:
- The major adviser, who must be a full or associate member of the graduate faculty. The student selects the adviser with approval of the graduate coordinator in the School of Music and the Dean of the Graduate School. The major adviser will act as the chair of the student's supervisory committee and will be in charge of the Plan of Study. The remaining members of the committee must be agreed upon by the student, the major adviser and the graduate coordinator, and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
- A second member, who must be a full or associate member of the graduate faculty. This person will also be in the student’s major area.
- A third member, from Music History or Music Theory.
- The Graduate School appointee (not necessary for M.M. students), must be a full member of the NDSU graduate faculty from outside the student's program. This appointment is officially made by the graduate dean, but suggested by the area.
The role of the Graduate School appointee is to ensure that the student's Plan of Study follows Graduate School guidelines and that other Graduate School policies are observed. The Graduate School appointee also ensures that the expectations for the student's performance are reasonable and that interactions with the supervisory committee are conducted on a professional basis.
NOTE: Other qualified individuals may participate as committee members following approval by the Graduate Dean upon a recommendation accompanied by rationale and curriculum vitae by the appropriate program administrator and academic dean.
The supervisory committee members are agreed upon by the major adviser and student, and approved by the graduate coordinator of the School of Music and the dean of AH&SS and shall be recommended to the dean of the Graduate School for final approval.
The committee assists the student in the preparation of a plan of study and advises the student throughout graduate work.
Plan of Study
Using the departmental check sheet, you should develop a tentative plan of study in consultation with your advisor (first year). When approved by your committee and the graduate coordinator, fill out the form and submit it to the Graduate School. If a plan changes, fill out a change of plan form. Courses taken in a different semester do not need a change of plan.
Timeline and Checklist for M.M. Students
Plan of Study – Masters Degree Plan of Study
Submit to Graduate School within first semester of study
Signatures: Committee of three faculty members; one must be history/theory, and Department Chair or Coordinator
Request to Schedule Comprehensive Examination
Submit to Music Office at least two weeks before the examination
Report of Comprehensive Examination
Submit to Music Office as soon as examination is completed (submitted by your advisor)
Report of Final Recital
Submit to Graduate School right after the recital (submitted by your advisor)
Application for Graduation (cannot be submitted until after the report of final recital has been approved.)
Details to know:
- Your committee members need to attend the comprehensive oral exam and the final recital.
Timeline and Checklist for D.M.A. Students
Plan of Study – Doctoral Degree Plan of Study
Submit to Graduate School within first year of study
Signatures: Committee of four faculty members (one must be history/theory AND one faculty member from outside the music area) and Department Chair or Coordinator
Report of Language Exam
Submit to the music office only as soon as examination is completed
Request to Schedule Comprehensive Examination
Submit to Graduate School at least two weeks before the examination
Signatures: Advisor and Department Chair or Coordinator
Report of Comprehensive Examination for the DMA (after both the written and oral exams are finished) (need updated link)
Submit to Graduate School as soon as examination is completed (submitted by your advisor)
1st draft of document should be given to your committee (see separate document with more details about document timeline)
Request to Schedule Final Lecture Recital DMA
Submit to Graduate School at least two weeks before the recital
Signatures: Advisor and Department Chair or Coordinator
Report of Final Lecture Recital DMA
Submit to Graduate School right after the recital (submitted by your advisor)
Details to know:
- Your outside committee member needs to attend the comprehensive oral exam and the final lecture recital. The outside committee member should also have the opportunity to review the disquisition. Advisor and student will determine the involvement of the outside member.
- The comprehensive exam and lecture recital cannot take place in the same semester.
- The 3 minute dissertation video must be submitted to the graduate school before submitting your paper for review.
- You need to complete the disquisition approval form (signed by all committee members with the completed disquisition) The IRB form goes along with this form.
- Students have one year from the final lecture recital to finish the disquisition with graduate school approval.
- Only courses with grades of A or B count toward the degree. If you receive a C or lower in a required course you must re-take the course.
- If any undergraduate courses are required in your program (as a result of diagnostic examinations or inadequate course work in undergraduate or master’s work), the tuition waiver (for a student with an assistantship) will not cover those credits. See below for languages, however.
- At any point in the degree a student may be dismissed for inadequate progress toward the degree. Such decisions are made by the student’s advisor, with approval from the committee, the graduate coordinator, and the division director.
- Students are required to register for at least one credit each semester (fall and spring) until all degree requirements are completed, including submitting final copies of the final document. The graduate dean will not approve the degree until the student has registered for the number of credits of research for any semesters not covered by either registration or leave of absence, but not more than four (4) credits total. A student who has not registered for longer than a continuous two-year period must also reapply for admission and is subject to the degree requirements at the time of readmission. M.M. in Music Education must register for six credits per year in order to be in compliance with the continuous enrollment requirement.
- The grade of “incomplete” is given only in exceptional circumstances, and with strict procedures for completion. See the graduate coordinator for details, if necessary.
- Classroom teaching as primary teacher and instrumental accompanying: 2:1; that is, 100 minutes assistantship credit for each 50 minute class contact hour. The additional hours are used for preparation, ancillary duties, and meeting with students.
- Applied teaching and vocal accompanying: 3:2; that is, 45 minutes assistantship credit for each half hour of contact time in lessons. The additional hours are used for preparation, ancillary duties, and meeting with students.
- Assisting a class or ensemble: Variable. Hours vary among classes and ensembles, and may not reflect actual contact hours. Your advisor and the graduate coordinator will assign credit based on the class.
- Box office, clerical/staff work, and assisting faculty members: 1:1; One-hour assistantship credit for each hour of commitment.
- Recital repertoire choices may be revised and refined as you and your advisor work on it together. The recital program must be approved by your advisor/principal teacher.
- Recitals and their rehearsals must be scheduled with your advisor and the music office at least three months prior to the performance.
- The date of the recital may not be scheduled with the School of Music office until the repertoire has been approved by the advisor.
- The recital program must be prepared by the student, and must use the departmental program format. The basic program will be printed by the School of Music. Translations and program notes are the responsibility of the student.
- If the recital is off-campus you must make arrangements for the recording, ushers, and other amenities.
- Program notes are required, and must be approved six weeks before the performance by your advisor and submitted at least three weeks in advance to the promotions director in the division office.
- Recital hearings must be held, normally at least one month before a memorized recital, and at least two weeks before a non-memorized recital. Members of your major area, including your advisor, must be at the recital hearing, and affirm that the recital is ready for formal performance. You may be required to reschedule the performance if it is not ready. The recital will be graded by the advisor, in consultation with the committee, all of whom will attend.
- Students are responsible for accompanist and supporting musicians’ fees.
- Note that all committee members must attend recitals, and that all area committee members must attend the hearing. The student should be very careful to arrange these events around faculty schedules.
- Select date, location and choral ensemble
- get approval of committee
- approve with Director of Promotions and Scheduling
- Submit rehearsal schedule to major advisor
- Get approval of literature from advisor and committee
- Submit first draft of program notes to committee
- Schedule recital hearing
- Submit final recital program to committee and to Director of Promotions and
Scheduling for layout and printing
Students must be aware of the curricular requirements for their degree programs, and also aware of course rotations and scheduling. Further, there are requirements or guidelines for certain courses:
702 (Graduate Theory Survey) and 704 (Graduate History Survey)
M.M. in Music Education: These classes are the required history and theory/analysis courses for the Master of Music in Music Education degree.
M.M. and D.M.A. in performance and conducting: As a result of diagnostic entrance examinations, 702 and/or 704 may be required before a student takes further coursework in theory and history. 702 and 704 are online review courses, and in the performance and conducting tracks do not count toward degree credit counts or elective credits.
If a student is required to take 704 (Graduate History Survey), the course is taken in the Fall, in the first semester of residency. If a student is required to take 702 (Graduate Theory Survey), the course is taken in the Spring, second semester of residency. Other remedial courses and timetables (including undergraduate courses or experiences) may be required depending on the student’s preparedness for graduate study in any curricular area.
748 (Bibliography and Research Methods)
748 is required of all M.M. and D.M.A. students in the performance and conducting tracks, and is taken in the Spring semester during the first year of residency.
Four credits of 789 are required of D.M.A. students. The first credit is taken in the Fall of the first year of residency; the second credit is taken in the Fall of the second year of residency; the last two credits are taken as arranged with the student’s advisor and committee.
Applied study for performance majors consists of a one-hour lesson weekly. D.M.A. students register for 4 credits; M.M. students register for 2 credits. If faculty loads permit or adjunct instruction is available, performance graduate students may also have elective study on secondary instruments, and conducting students may have elective applied instrument or voice study. These are generally ½ hour lessons with juries and studio policy requirements as set by the instructor.
Academic Warning: Any student in GOOD STANDING whose cumulative grade point average drops to less than 3.0 at any time of attendance is automatically placed on academic WARNING. Any student admitted in CONDITIONAL status because of grade deficiency is automatically placed on academic WARNING. If a student on academic WARNING fails to achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in the subsequent semester of attendance, then the student will be placed on academic PROBATION.
Academic Probation: A student on academic PROBATION may not continue the pursuit of the graduate degree program without a waiver from the Dean of the Graduate School acting on a recommendation from the appropriate program administrator. This recommendation must include a review of the student's status and a proposed plan of remediation that will allow the student an opportunity to return to a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 within one additional semester. If the cumulative grade point average is not at least 3.0 after this one additional semester, the student will be dismissed from his or her graduate program.
A student on academic PROBATION is not eligible for a graduate assistantship or tuition waiver.
Transfer Credits are determined by your advisor and your committee by the end of the first month. For M.M. students, up to nine credits may be applied from outside post-baccalaureate work, approved by the advisor and graduate coordinator. For D.M.A. students—of the 90+ hours in the post-baccalaureate program, up to 30 credits may be applied (from post-baccalaureate work, usually a master’s degree), approved by the advisor, the student’s committee and the graduate coordinator.
Assistantships benefit both the student and the department. They provide significant professional experience for you as well as staffing assistance for the department. Success in your first college-level position is often dependent upon training and success as a graduate assistant. As a result, the Challey School of Music endeavors to provide you with a breadth of assistantship experiences that will prepare your professional future. At the same time, the School of Music is able to fund your tuition waivers and assistantship stipends by means of assigning graduate assistantship hours in clerical and staff duties as well. You should expect a wide range of duties as part of your assistantship.
Assistantships are assigned for the academic year, but are subject to modification or withdrawal at any time during the year at the discretion of the School of Music. Poor performance of duties or conduct not consistent with expectations as described in the Introduction of this document will result in reassignment, reduction, or rescinding of assistantships. Assistantships are not guaranteed for the entire period of residency, though the School of Music attempts to do so, making them available for two years for both master’s and doctoral students. A third year of assistantship support is occasionally available for well-qualified doctoral students.
We assign assistantship duties and hours based on your strengths, areas identified for your development, your class load and class schedule, and the needs of the School of Music.
You should not view your assistantship as hourly work for hire that is consistent week-to-week. Later in your career as a faculty member, you will experience periods of seemingly overwhelming time commitment, and also periods that are comparatively calm. Some assignments may require very little for a period of weeks, followed by weeks of significant commitment. While this is not always convenient to your own schedule, it is the nature of our profession. Realizing this, you must stay well ahead in your coursework and applied studies so that you are prepared when your assistantship may require additional time.
Assistantships run from August 15 to May 15, and some extend beyond these typical dates (sports bands, for example). Assistants are expected to be available during these and other specified periods.
Loads and Stipends
Assistantships are frequently called “half-time,” “quarter-time,” or “partial.” The “half-time” term is derived from the standard definition of a 40-hour workweek, and therefore requires an average of 20 hours of commitment per week. Quarter-time assistantships are calculated similarly and average a 10-hour commitment per week. The number of hours in an assistantship may vary by departmental needs, funding, and student requests.
Assistantship stipends are calculated based on payment of $375 per hour for doctoral students and $300 per hour for master’s students. Typical assistantships are as follows:
Other proportions are possible—the number of hours in graduate assistantship are variable depending on SoM needs. To calculate appropriate assistantship loads, the School of Music uses the following guidelines:
Tuition and Fees
Graduate students with assistantships automatically have full tuition waivers, but are subject to all graduate student fees—university, graduate school, and School of Music—including applied lesson fees of $275 per semester per registration.
Work Philosophy and Outside Employment
During your residency, all your attention should be on your professional development. Your primary focus is the successful pursuit of your degree. Next in importance is your commitment to your departmental assistantship duties. If you have a 16-hour assistantship, you should have only four hours of additional outside employment. Such employment should be professional in nature—e.g., as an adjunct faculty member in music at one of our sister institutions, as a church choir director, as a private studio teacher, etc. Therefore, if you have a normal class load, outside employment plus your assistantship should not amount to more than 20 hours per week. Students who have attempted more compromise their academic work, theirs assistantship duties, or both. The combination of coursework, research/creative activity in preparation for your terminal requirements, and assistantship duties will fill your available time. If you have a smaller assistantship, we recommend you devote even more time to your studies.
Amenities and Office Procedures
Office: As a graduate assistant, you will be assigned a workspace in the music building, with access to a computer. Basic office furniture will be provided.
Computer: We have been able to furnish a computer to most graduate students, connected to the internet and with printing capabilities routed to the main office or other campus printers. You are welcome, of course, to use your own computer, but insurance coverage does not cover privately owned equipment, and the university cannot install site-license software on privately-owned machines.
Printing and copying: Please read this paragraph carefully, as the policies are sometimes misunderstood by graduate students. As a graduate assistant, you will likely use office printing and copying facilities for the classes you teach. See the office staff for a copy code for the office machine. Remember that, for high-volume copying (over 20 pages), you should send the job to the duplicating service on campus, saving 2 cents per sheet. Further, copying and/or printing for your own use as a student is not supported by the department. You may use the printer and copier as a convenience, and you should reimburse the office at the rate of 10 cents per page for personal printing or copying. Students may be charged for unreimbursed copies.
Legal issues: Copyright laws are strictly followed in the department. There are “fair use” guidelines, but copying music under copyright in order to avoid buying sheet music or collections is illegal.
Telephone: Local telephone calls can be made from any campus phone by dialing 9 followed by the seven-digit F-M area number. Authorized long distance calls for a faculty member or department business are handled through the assistant’s advisor.
Time Limitations: Graduate credit for any coursework that is more than seven (7) calendar years old at the time of the final examination cannot be used to satisfy a master's degree program. The analogous time limitation for a doctoral degree is 10 years. Following the final lecture recital the candidate has one (1) year during which to complete an approved disquisition. The Graduate School may impose additional requirements if this timeline is not met.
TOEFL Requirement: NDSU requires a minimum TOEFL score of 525 (paper-based) or 71 (Internet-based). The minimum IELTS score required is 6.
Students, faculty, and administration all contribute to an atmosphere where the honesty of individuals is presumed and practiced.
Faculty members and graduate assistants are responsible for providing guidelines concerning cheating and plagiarism at the beginning of each course, and should use precautionary measures and security in cases where cheating is likely to occur.
Students are responsible for submitting their own work. Students who cooperate on oral or written examinations or work without authorization share the responsibility for violation of academic principles, and are subject to disciplinary action even when one of the students is not enrolled in the course where the violation occurred. Students have the right to be informed when they are suspected of violating academic principles and have the right to a fair opportunity to refute them.
Faculty members have the prerogative of determining the penalty regarding prohibited academic conduct in their classes. Faculty members may, among other sanctions, fail the student for the particular assignment, test, or course involved. Penalties may be varied with the gravity of the offense and the circumstances of the particular case. In this situation, the student may not drop the course in question without the permission of the instructor. Faculty members will provide a written statement of the action to the department chair, dean, graduate dean, and Provost.
For complete information regarding disciplinary sanctions, appeal procedures, and hearing guidelines, refer to https://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/policy/335.pdf.
Previous enrollment in MUSC 748—Music Bibliography and Research Methods. A student who has previously taken MUSC 748 or a comparable course at another institution may be entitled to a waiver or an audit status for this course. For students who have taken the course in a recent master’s degree at NDSU the course is waived, at the discretion of the advisor and course instructor. Students who have taken the course at another university should present evidence, including scholarly papers or other documentation, to the instructor of the course if they wish to waive or audit the course. Graduation timeline: You are responsible for meeting the Graduate School deadlines as they pertain to your graduation and the completion of your program.
Language requirements differ for each degree and area. Language proficiencies include vocabulary and grammar at a level determined by your area, and, for voice/choral students, diction. The language proficiency exam(s) are administered by your area’s designee, and may be taken at any point in your study— but must be completed before comprehensive or qualifying exams.
All D.M.A. graduates must have reading proficiency in at least one foreign language. For some, an alternative such as a computer language or other research skill (if appropriate to your specialty area), may be substituted with approval by your committee, the graduate coordinator, and the division director.
Entering D.M.A. students in vocal performance are expected to have appropriate reading and diction proficiencies in French, German, and Italian. Remedial work may be required upon recommendation of the advisor and committee.
Students in Choral Conducting (M.M. and D.M.A.) must demonstrate proficiency in pronunciation (IPA) in French, German, and Latin. There will be a written exam, to be completed before the comprehensive examinations.
Note: NDSU allows for graduate students to take up to eight credits of undergraduate language study without having to pay tuition. Make sure to notify the graduate coordinator so you can arrange for a tuition waiver.
Requirements vary by area, but students are expected to be in a major ensemble in their area every semester in residence. Exceptions may occur with permission of the advisor, committee, and area.
Students in the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting program are required to complete two credits for the M.M. and six credits for the D.M.A. of major choral ensemble membership. Two credits may be transferred from a master’s program and the remaining four credits will be required in the doctoral program. Participation in a choral ensemble gives the candidate the opportunity to learn rehearsal techniques, develop choral vocal technique, increase knowledge of choral literature, observe conducting techniques and develop skills to manage a major choral ensemble. Candidates in residence are required to participate in at least one choral ensemble each semester of their residency as assigned by their advisor. Credit will not be granted to the student for any ensemble in which they have primary responsibility. Specific ensemble membership will be approved by the candidate’s major advisor. Credit may be obtained for participating in choral ensembles not associated with NDSU if approved by the candidate’s major advisor and committee.
Keyboard competence: Requirements vary by area.
Voice: Students must demonstrate the ability to accompany beginning student lessons. For the most part this will be evaluated during regular assistantship duties but a formal evaluation may be required to demonstrate the standard, as determined by your advisor.
Choral: Students must demonstrate good rehearsal piano techniques, including warmups, open score and simple accompaniments. For the most part this will be evaluated during regular assistantship duties but a formal evaluation may be required to demonstrate the standard, as determined by your advisor.
Instrumental: No keyboard requirement
Recitals are an integral part of the degree process. The MM and the DMA are performance degrees and the highest performance standards are expected.
Instrumental Area Recitals (under review).
Choral area recitals
Master of Music students in choral conducting will present one recital. This recital may be shared with another Master of Music student or it may be presented as a solo recital. The amount of music prepared by the student should be 25 to 35 minutes in length. All of the literature that is performed on the recital must be approved by the student’s committee.
If the student chooses not to use any of the choral ensembles from NDSU for their recital, the candidate must request permission from their committee to use an off-campus choral ensemble. Pick-up choirs must also be approved by the candidate’s committee.
The recital will be evaluated by the candidate’s committee. Degree credit will not be given for a recital graded lower than B.
The candidate will also submit substantial program notes for the recital. They will demonstrate scholarly research into the composers and repertoire.
It is the responsibility of the candidate to make arrangements for audio and video recording of this recital. Time line for Master’s Recital
4 months prior
2 months prior
1 month prior
3 weeks prior: Submit final program
2 weeks prior: Recital hearing
Doctor of Musical Arts candidates in choral conducting will present three recitals.
- The First Doctoral Recital – MUSC 780
The first recital will be presented by the end of 60 hours of post-baccalaureate course work. The length of the program should be 30 – 45 minutes. All of the literature that is performed on the recital must be approved by the candidate’s committee. The guidelines to be followed for this recital are those of the Master of Music conducting recital. A written document will not be required for this recital. The recital will be evaluated by the candidate’s committee. Degree credit will not be given for a recital graded lower than B. Candidates who presented a recital in their master’s program may submit the recital for approval by their committee with appropriate documentation.
- The Second Doctoral Recital – MUSC 780
The second doctoral recital will be presented by the end of 75 hours of post-baccalaureate course work. This will be a full-length solo conducting recital. This recital will include the use of an instrumental ensemble. It is the responsibility of the candidate to assemble and prepare the instrumental ensemble. If the lecture recital topic has been approved, and it includes an instrumental ensemble accompaniment, this requirement may be waived. All of the literature that is performed on the recital must be approved by the candidate’s committee. Substantial program notes are expected but a separate written document will not be required for this recital.
If the candidate chooses not to use any of the choral ensembles from NDSU for their recital, the candidate must request permission from their committee to use an off-campus choral ensemble. Pick-up choirs must also be approved by the candidate’s committee.
The recital will be evaluated by the candidate’s committee. Degree credit will not be given for a recital graded lower than B. It is the responsibility of the candidate to make arrangements for audio and video recording of this recital.
Time line for the Doctoral Recitals is the same as the Masters Recital above
- Lecture Recital – MUSC 780
The lecture recital will be presented by the end of 90 hours of post-baccalaureate course work. This recital relates scholarship to performance. It is one of the final pieces of the student’s academic work and will be scheduled after the student has passed qualifying exams. The candidate will demonstrate the ability to select and organize information in a scholarly manner, and to effectively communicate these ideas about music through written and spoken word.
The candidate will also prepare a formal written document (MUSC 789 D.M.A. Thesis) and a lecture addressing all aspects relating to the approved topic of the lecture recital. The thesis should be complete in at least the first approved draft before the lecture is written, as the information for the lecture recital is drawn from the thesis.
The length of the program, including the lecture, should be approximately 60 - 70 minutes. This recital may include the use of an instrumental ensemble. It is the responsibility of the candidate to assemble and prepare the instrumental ensemble. The topic of the lecture recital and all of the literature that is performed on the recital must be approved by the candidate’s committee.
It is the responsibility of the candidate to make arrangements for audio and video recording of this recital. Timeline for Lecture Recital
6 – 12 months prior
- Topic and literature approved by committee
- Select date, location and choral ensemble
- approve with committee
- approve with Director of Promotions and Scheduling
- Submit rehearsal schedule
3 months prior: First draft of Doctoral Thesis is submitted to committee
2 months prior: Submit lecture notes to committee
1 month prior: Submit program to committee and to Director of Promotions and Scheduling
3 weeks prior: Submit final draft of lecture to committee
2 weeks prior: Recital hearing
Master’s Comprehensive Examinations and Doctoral Qualifying Examinations are required, and used to demonstrate facility in your specialty area and in music history, literature and analysis. Examinations should be taken within a year of completion of coursework; preferably earlier. The Masters Comprehensive Examinations are intended primarily to examine knowledge in the specialty area acquired during the course of study, and additionally to demonstrate a broad acquaintance with music history, literature and analysis. Individual areas may vary slightly, but in general theory/history/literature written examinations will take three hours. Examinations in the specialty area will take an additional three hours.
The Doctoral Qualifying Examinations are intended primarily to examine the specialty area with respect to a complete, thorough and professional knowledge of repertoire, performance practice, historical perspective (of composers, style periods and genres), and pedagogy. Further, students are expected to perform advanced analysis of music literature from any and all periods. They should be able to demonstrate extensive understanding of music literature from all style periods and genres as well as in their specialty areas. They should be able to discuss genres across style periods citing examples of representative composers and pieces, should be able to accurately identify musical scores and likely composers and genres, and make detailed analytical observations germane to the style period and individual works. The length of the examination is determined by the committee, but typically will be six to eight hours of writing each day.
The student is welcome to approach committee members about the nature and scope of the examinations at any point during the residency. The committee chair will gather examination questions from the committee and other faculty members as appropriate at least two weeks prior to the examinations. The committee chair will then prepare the examinations.
In both the master’s and doctoral examinations, the specialty area written examination is given on one day and the history/theory/literature written examination is given on the preceding or following day. The oral section of the examinations at both the master’s and doctoral levels is a meeting between the candidate and the committee, to be scheduled within two weeks of the written exams.
The oral examination may be general and/or may cover material from the written exams. The result of the written and oral examinations may be one of the following:
1. Successful completion—the student has demonstrated adequate knowledge to the committee and requires no further preparation or review.
2. Pass with qualifications—the student’s work demonstrated some facility, but showed the need of additional preparation or review. Additional work may involve written documents and/or preparation for an additional oral review.
3. Deferral—the student’s written and/or oral components are unacceptable, but the committee believes that the student has potential for success. The student will prepare for a second round of written and oral examinations to be scheduled by the committee within one year. The student must pass the re-scheduled examinations to continue in the program.
4. The student is judged by the committee to lack the ability to complete the program (on the basis of the examinations) and is not allowed to continue the program.
For the graduate school: Fill out the “Request to Schedule” form with your advisor at least two weeks prior to the written portion of the exam.
The D.M.A. degree requires a final written document. This document represents the student’s written legacy to the field as a whole, and should provide other specialists with either new or compiled comprehensive knowledge on a specific topic. These documents vary in scope and focus and may be analytical treatises, other primary academic investigations, pedagogical studies, and biographical and/or editorial treatments of historical or contemporary musicians’ contributions. The documents are of a quality and depth that future scholars will find useful as resource material for their own investigations. Length may vary by area and topic, but should be substantial and academically rigorous in content, format, and appearance.
The advisor supervises the document, with input from the advisory committee. Work on the document may take place during the student’s coursework/residency, but the bulk of the work should take place after the comprehensive/qualifying exams.
Below is the typical sequence of coursework related to producing the DMA document:
Fall, Year 1: Students register for 789 (Thesis) for one credit. In the course, doctoral students gather in a seminar class in which they learn techniques of effective scholarly writing and produce short research essays (10-15 pages) on topics ideally related to a potential area of research for their final documents. Individual topics must be approved by the student’s advisor as well as the instructor of the seminar class.
Spring, Year 1: Students enroll in 748 (Bibliography and Research Methods) for two credits. The course covers academic music research materials and methods, and may continue the development of effective writing techniques.
Fall, Year 2: The second credit of 789 (Thesis) is taken after the Bibliography and Research Methods class, in the third semester of residency. Students should register for 789 (Thesis) for one credit. In the course, doctoral students gather in a seminar class and lay out the frameworks of a final document, which ideally will be the topic of the actual final document. However, this is not required. Students write complete drafts of certain sections and outline others. They write a complete title page, a complete abstract, a complete table of contents, a complete introduction, and outlines of the remaining chapters (review of relevant literature, other content chapters, conclusions and summary, and an annotated bibliography). Advisors may be actively involved with the instructor as student work progresses, especially if they determine that the student is working on the actual document topic. It is expected that the advisor and student will eventually make significant changes to this exercise.
Spring, Year 2 and/or later: The third and fourth credits of 789 (Thesis) are completed under the supervision of the Thesis instructor and/or student's advisor, and may be taken in one or more semesters. Additional registrations are permitted if necessary. The time frame is flexible. The result is a completed draft of the DMA document, approved by the advisor. The grade for the final one or two credits of 789 (Thesis) is not awarded until the initial draft is completed, submitted, and approved by the advisor.
After completion of 789 (Thesis) credits and the complete draft document: The student and advisor distribute the draft document to committee members and to the Director of the School of Music for review, analysis, meetings, corrections and suggestions, and subsequent revisions. This process must take place over at least one full semester following the semester of completion of 789 (Thesis) credits. Students are reminded that adequate planning for this last step is important, since faculty schedules are inconsistent and faculty members may not be able to adhere to the student's ideal editing schedule. Appropriate planning with the advisor, committee members, and the director is essential.
The completed document must be submitted to the graduate school for its own editing and formatting process by April 1 for spring graduation, July 1 for summer graduation, and November 1 for Fall graduation.