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Music Student Guidebook

This page provides students with relevant policies and procedures for the Department of Music.

Students are advised to consult general university policies in the University Catalog, the Center for Academic Success, and the Graduate Resource Center.

Please make sure you have accepted your invitation to the Music Department Canvas Page. The Department sends out announcements through Canvas. If you need the invitation re-sent, contact the Department Chair.

General Information

This section contains information relevant to students across our department, including communication, locker and instrument rental, and student recital hour.

Communication to Students

All official communications to students about academic matters, policy updates or other departmental matters are sent to the official Cal State LA email account provided to each student. Students who prefer to use another email account are responsible to “forward” their emails from their official Cal State LA account to their email of preference.

It is strongly recommended that students be diligent about either accessing their official Cal State LA email account or forwarding email to their preferred account to ensure that they receive any important messages from the Department of Music or the university about their graduate program. Students who need assistance with accessing email should contact Cal State LA’s ITS HelpDesk.

Facilities

Commercial Music Studios

MUS 19 and 20 are Commercial Music studio spaces, with MUS 20 serving as a “live room” for MUS 19, and as a rehearsal space for the Commercial Music Ensemble. MUS 17 is an editing / mixing space. Access to these rooms is approved by the instructor of the class. Guidelines for use are provided in class.

Interactive Media Lab

The IML is located in MUS 220. The lab contains Macintosh computers and MIDI keyboards for input. The lab has a variety of music software for notation, sequencing and music drill and aural skills practice. The lab is open to all students enrolled in music classes. Hours of the lab vary each semester and are posted on the door of the lab at the beginning of each semester.

Practice Rooms

Currently enrolled music majors, minors and non-majors enrolled in applied music, class piano, music fundamentals, or any major ensemble may request practice room access.

Practice room hours are 7:00am to 11:00pm and are available to students on a first come first served basis. Their use is for the sole purpose of individual practice. Unauthorized use will result in practice room privileges being revoked for the remainder of the term. Continued violations will result in permanent suspension of practice room access.

Rooms affiliated with the Commercial Music program will need to be renewed each term with approval by our CM faculty. Percussion and piano major-only rooms are renewed via consultation with and permission from Professors Snow and Deak. Only new applied piano and percussion students need to request access.

New Students

Please fill out the OneCard Practice Room Access Request form. Access to regular practice rooms is provided by default when completing the online request form.

Returning students

Your access is automatically renewed each term, as long as you remain enrolled. Please reach out to the Music Office if you have questions about access.

Instrument Rentals

Instruments are available to students enrolled in music classes and may be checked out from the Department. Rental fees vary for the use of these instruments.

To rent an instrument, follow the steps below:

  1. Pay the $40 Instrument Rental fee through the Cashier’s Office. This can be done through their CashNet portal, which you can access by clicking here.
  2. Forward the email with your receipt to Armando Rosales. Mr. Rosales will send a form for you and your professor to complete and sign through DocuSign.
  3. Complete and sign the rental form. Once completed, a copy of the completed form will be sent to everyone who signed.
  4. Set an appointment with Mr. Rosales to pick up your instrument.

Lockers

Lockers are available for currently enrolled music majors, minors and non-majors enrolled in qualifying music courses. Lockers are distributed based on instrument size and are not for use of storing anything other than your musical instrument(s), music and/or musical accessories (e.g., mutes, instrument stands). Priority for large lockers is given to students with large instruments.

The following is the fee structure for lockers. In order to secure a Series D or E locker, an area coordinator’s permission must be obtained.

  • Series A: $10/semester ($20 per year)
  • Series B: $15/semester ($30 per year)
  • Series C: $20/semester ($40 per year)
  • Series D: $25/semester ($50 per year)
  • Series E: $30/semester ($60 per year)

Here are the steps for obtaining a locker.

  1. Pay the rental fee through the Cashier’s Office. This can be done through their CashNet portal by clicking here.
  2. Forward the email with your receipt to Armando Rosales. Mr. Rosales will send a form for you through DocuSign.
  3. Complete and sign the rental form. Once completed, a copy of the completed form will be sent to everyone who signed.

Student Recital Hour

  1. Dr. Christopher Gravis ([email protected]) will coordinate recital hour bookings and performances.
  2. Recital Hour time slots are available for weeks 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, beginning on September 8. Week 14 is added to accommodate the usual increase of requests toward the end of the semester.
  3. Dr. Gravis will handle all of the communication with applied faculty and will keep a reservation list for the entire semester. An electronic form for making reservations is now available, and confirmations will be provided in a timely manner. The reservation process will require all information necessary to produce a program, including names of pieces, composers and dates, and total length of performance, along with contact information for the student and applied teacher.
  4. Reservations for recital hour can be made for any week during the semester up until the Monday at noon prior to each performance. Reservations received later than the deadline will be confirmed at the discretion of the coordinator if space is available and all required information is provided at the time of the request.
  5. Performances will be limited to five minutes, which will allow for nine performers per recital hour with stage resets between performers. Faculty may request more than five minutes for a student, which may be accommodated if there are less than nine performers registered by the deadline.
  6. Students may perform up to three times per semester.
  7. Requests for program order (performing earlier or later on the recital) will be considered, but not guaranteed.
  8. Performances will begin at 3:15 and the doors will open at 3:05.
  9. Students shall announce their names and pieces from the stage.
  10. Click here to access the reservation form.

Undergraduate Policies and Procedures

Click on the tabs below for policies and resources for undergraduate Music students.

Auditions

All students are required to audition for placement in private lessons as soon as possible after admission to the university. Auditions are normally 10 minutes in length. Students should select material for the audition that best illustrate their abilities. All students are encouraged to go to our website for more information about audition repertoire (http://www.calstatela.edu/music/auditions).

Students who wish to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree in a performance area will be required to perform a more advanced audition than those seeking the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree. This audition normally takes place at the beginning of the year, but can occur any time by appointment with the Area Coordinator. Questions about specific requirements for this audition should be directed to the area coordinator associated with the specific degree program for which you are auditioning.

Advisement

All new undergraduate students in the Department of Music must have an initial advisement appointment with an Arts and Letters Undergraduate Advisor by the end of the first semester at Cal State L.A. Students should follow up regularly (once per semester is recommended).

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music program students all use the Arts & Letters Advisement Center for advising. Please visit their web page for information and advising resources by clicking here. 

Coursework in the Music Major is mostly sequential and is designed to be taken in a specific order. It's crucial that students follow the sequences to ensure timely progress towards graduation.

Students should bring all paperwork they have received from the university to their initial advisement appointment. Transfer students can bring unofficial transcripts from other institutions to their first meeting but should ensure that all official transcripts are submitted directly to the Admissions Office. Transcripts sent to the A&L Advisement Center are considered unofficial.

Advisors will provide an overview of general education, university, and major-specific requirements. It is expected that students check their enrollment dates and plan accordingly for registration each term. Students must use the university's e-advising tools to monitor their degree progress in partnership with their advisor. If required, students may be referred to other faculty for diagnostic testing or auditions.

All new undergraduate students will be required to audition for placement in applied music and may be required to test for placement in class piano or music theory. See those sections for more information.

Each course of study is designed so that it may be completed in approximately four years, provided the student attends both semesters per year, takes a full load of approximately 15 units per semester, and enrolls for required courses as they are offered (some courses are offered only once every two years, so it is important that each student plan a course of study that will ensure that such courses can be taken as they are offered). Students enrolled in the Music Education option are advised that a fifth-year course of study in professional education courses is required by the state. More information can be found through the Charter College of Education.

Change of Major

Students who are interested in changing major options within the music department must contact the Department Chair. For any of the BM options, an audition will be required with the faculty who teach in that option prior to receiving approval from the Chair.

Music Theory Placement Examinations

Freshmen/First Year Students

First-year theory students are not required to take a placement exam unless they have previously taken theory courses and believe they can test out of one or more semesters of theory coursework.

Transfer Students

New transfer students who have completed the entire lower division theory and musicianship (aural skills) core at another school are not required to take the theory placement exam and will be considered to have fulfilled that requirement. Students who have not already passed the complete lower division core theory and musicianship (aural skills) sequence at another institution should take the placement examination in music theory. Students will not be required to repeat coursework they have already passed but may choose to do so if the placement exam results show that earlier coursework will help fortify their skills and ensure success in subsequent courses. Students should enroll in the recommended level of theory (Music Theory and Musicianship I-IV) and the corresponding Lab (Musicianship Lab I-IV).

Students who have met with an advisor and have passed the complete lower division core theory and musicianship sequence may go directly into upper division coursework that requires lower division theory as a prerequisite.

Students who wish to test out beyond the course into which they were placed as a result of this initial placement exam or beyond the highest-level theory course taken at another institution must do so through Credit by Examination.

The Music Theory Placement exam can be taken online, and should be completed at least one week prior to the beginning of the student’s first semester at Cal State LA. This can be done through the Department of Music Canvas course. Students will be invited to join the Canvas course upon enrollment.

It is highly recommended that students review the materials before taking this exam. This exam may be taken only once.

Recommended Texts for Review

  • Kostka and Payne, Tonal Harmony, McGraw-Hill
  • Kostka, Materials and Techniques of 20th-Century Music, McGraw-Hill

For additional questions regarding theory placement, please contact Dr. Sara Graef at [email protected]

Piano Proficiency Requirement

All undergraduate students are required to fulfill a piano-proficiency requirement prior to graduation, either by successfully completing the class piano sequence (MUS 1031, 1032, 2031, and 2032) or by passing the Piano Proficiency Exam. The exam is offered each semester by arrangement with the faculty Piano Proficiency Exam coordinator, Dr. Zachary Deak ([email protected]), under the course number MUS 2033. BM Piano Majors enrolled in Applied Piano are exempt from the piano proficiency exam. It is strongly encouraged that you take the exam before the end of your sophomore year or during the first semester of study for transfer students. The exam will take place during Weeks 12 and 13 of the semester.

Requirements for the proficiency examination include:

  • Scales in all major and minor keys
  • 7th chords in all keys, both hands
  • I - IV6/4- I - V6/5 - I chord progression in all keys
  • Vocal accompaniment
  • Harmonization
  • Transposition
  • Basic sight-reading
  • Open-Score Reading
  • Solo repertoire

Students with some piano background, but not enough to bypass the entire two-year class piano sequence, may arrange with the class piano instructor to take a placement test. Students who test above the beginning level will be placed in the sequence at the discretion of the class piano instructor and be given Credit by Examination for any terms bypassed (see that section for further information.)

Ensemble Requirement and Ensemble Information

To complete a degree in music, students are required to develop their performance ability and to appear in at least one student solo or ensemble recital or concert each year. All music majors must demonstrate progress in the study of their major performing medium (instrument or voice) before a faculty jury at the end of each semester in which they are enrolled in applied lessons. Individual instrumental and vocal applied music lessons are only available to music majors who have passed the performance audition.

Undergraduate and graduate music majors and minors are required to participate in a major performance ensemble, and complete it with a “C” or better for each semester of residence as follows:

  • Students who declare a wind or percussion instrument as the principal performance area must register for band, students who declare an orchestral string instrument as the principal performance area must register for orchestra, and students who declare voice as the principal performance area must register for choir. BA, MA, and other students without a declared principal performance area must participate in one of major performance ensembles listed above, commensurate with skill level of the student, assigned by the ensemble director, and in consultation with area coordinators.
  • Students accepted into the BM- or MM-Commercial Music will register for Commercial Music Ensemble as their major performance ensemble.
  • Students accepted into the BM-Jazz Studies will register for Jazz Ensemble as their major performance ensemble.
  • Students accepted into the MM-Afro-Latin program will register for Afro-Latin Ensemble as their major performance ensemble.
  • A student whose principal performance area is Keyboard or Classical guitar must participate in a major performance ensemble for four semesters before substituting the appropriate Chamber Music or Guitar Ensemble in place of a major performance ensemble. Transfer students in these areas must have two semesters of Major Performance Ensemble in residence at CSULA before substitution with Chamber Music or Guitar Ensemble in place of Major Performance Ensemble is permitted, if other prerequisites are met (i.e., four semesters continuous enrollment).
  • A student who has completed state-funded lessons, who is not taking lessons at all, or who is taking fewer than six units of music must still be in an appropriate major performance ensemble (with the exception of MM and MA students who have completed all coursework).
  • Music minors who have completed their music coursework have met the performance ensemble requirement

The following ensembles are available for student participation. Ensembles that require an audition are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  • MUS 3209 - Symphonic Band
  • MUS 3269 - Concert Choir *
  • MUS 4209 - Wind Ensemble *
  • MUS 4299 - Jazz Ensemble: Small
  • MUS 4249 - Jazz Ensemble *
  • MUS 4259 - Chamber Singers *
  • MUS 4279 - Afro-Latin Ensemble *
  • MUS 4289 - New Music Ensemble
  • MUS 4309 - Mariachi Ensemble
  • MUS 4329 - Orchestra *
  • MUS 4449 - Commercial Music Ensemble *
  • MUS 4849 - Exploration Ensemble*
  • MUS 4859 - Chamber Music *

Each ensemble presents at least one public concert over the semester. Contact specific ensemble directors for more information.

BA Senior Project

Bachelor of Arts students complete a Senior Project, in which they engage in an in-depth study that focuses on their special musical interests. 

Students must register for a total of 2 units of MUS 4870, including at least one unit during the semester in which the final Project is submitted. The units can be spread out over 2 semesters if needed. These units may be counted as elective units in the BA general option.

Students will receive a grade for the Project, which must be a minimum of a C in order to pass. Students who do not pass with at least a C may re-submit in a subsequent semester. Only one re-submission will be allowed. Students may postpone submission of Paper or Presentation, but will be subject to University regulations for dropping a class, receiving a mark of “W,” tuition forfeit, etc

BA Paper Overview

  1. The paper will be a minimum of twenty-five (25) pages of text, and will be carefully footnoted using Chicago or MLA style. You must footnote any idea that you find in a book, article, or other source, even if it is in your own words.  A paper without footnotes will not be accepted.

  2. The paper must attempt to answer a particular question related to music and will be a synthesis of your sources.  You are required to have a least fifteen sources for your project; be sure to include both books and articles.  Online sources may be unreliable and will not count toward your minimum number, with the exception of peer-reviewed sources such as Grove Online or The Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music.

  3. The paper should have a logical structure, and include a thorough bibliography and any necessary graphics, score excerpts, or recorded examples (on a disc).  Your paper must demonstrate proper grammar, spelling, format, footnoting, and bibliography.  Your arguments must be persuasive in order to achieve your goal of answering the question you are trying to prove; this is not just a report.  A project such as this takes much editing and reworking.  The finished project represents the culmination of your education at Cal State LA.

BA Presentation Overview

  1. The presentation will be 20 to 25 minutes, including no more than 8 to 10 minutes of musical examples.

  2. The project must attempt to answer a particular question related to music and will be a synthesis of your sources.  You are required to have a least fifteen sources for your project; be sure to include both books and articles.  Online sources may be unreliable and will not count toward your minimum number, with the exception of peer-reviewed sources such as Grove Online or The Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music.

  3. The project should have a logical structure, and include a thorough bibliography and any necessary graphics, score excerpts, or recorded examples (on a disc).  Your paper must demonstrate proper grammar, spelling, format, footnoting, and bibliography. Your arguments must be persuasive in order to achieve your goal of answering the question you are trying to prove; this is not just a report.  A project such as this takes much editing and reworking.  The finished project represents the culmination of your education at Cal State LA.

  4. As with the paper, you will need at least fifteen sources, and your handouts must include a detailed bibliography.

  5. Use Powerpoint slides, and/or recorded or live music to make your points.

BA Project Committee

You will approach two faculty members in the department to serve on your BA Senior Project Committee. One is your Project Advisor who may be either a tenure-track faculty member or a Lecturer faculty, and the second is a tenure-track faculty member who serves as a BA Senior Project Committee Member.

You can find the current faculty eligible to serve here. The best project advisors and committee members will have at least some knowledge of the field that you wish to research for your Project.

  • The Project Advisor is your listed instructor for MUS 4870. You meet on a regular basis with them, and they provide feedback for work you submit to them. Every advisor has a different advising style and different preferences for how you submit work, so expect to regularly communicate with them about your work. It is your responsibility to incorporate feedback your advisor provides into your current and future drafts, and to reach out if you have questions.

  • The Committee Member provides additional perspective about the draft beyond what your advisor might provide, and might recommend areas in which to expand, corrections based on their area of specialization, additional sources to consult, and more.

    • BA Paper: Committee members review your draft after it is completed with your Project Advisor, usually in Week 10.

    • BA Presentations: Committee members will attend your final presentation and give feedback at that time.

Bibliography

A bibliography consisting of a minimum of 15 resources is required for the Project and Presentation. These resources may be a combination of books, periodicals, and primary sources. Scores may and should be used, but will be considered as supplementary to research sources. To count as a source, articles must be peer-reviewed and have a named author. Grove Online is acceptable as a source; make sure to include the author first in your bibliography and not the Grove information.

It is your responsibility to locate and review sources using resources like the University Library, CSU+, and Interlibrary Loan. For more information, visit the library website by clicking here. Student Research Consultants and Subject Librarians are available to help you find sources as well at no cost to you, and you can set appointments by clicking here.

Citations

Your bibliography must contain properly formatted citations. All information that is not your own must have a footnote that refers to the source it came from. Consult with your Project Advisor regarding what style manual is best for your work.

For more resources on writing and citing, visit this page from the University Library.

Proofreading

Your committee is not responsible for proofreading your work. If your work has extensive grammatical issues and typos at any stage, it may be sent back to you for further revisions, and repeated instances of this might impact your timeline toward graduation.

We encourage you to use resources like the Center for Academic Success’s Writing Wing (click here for more information) which is available at no cost to you, and/or having a peer who is a strong writer proofread drafts for you.

Grading

Students will receive a grade for the Project, which must be a minimum of a C in order to pass.  Students who do not pass with at least a C may re-submit in a subsequent semester.  Only one re-submission will be allowed.

Students are expected to adhere to the timeline below. They may postpone submission of Paper or Presentation, but will be subject to University regulations for dropping a class, receiving a mark of “W,” tuition forfeit, etc.  

Recommended BA Project Schedule

The following schedules are two-semester timelines. One is provided for a Paper, and one is provided for a Presentation.

Schedule (BA Paper)
  • First Semester
    • Before Semester 1 Begins: Find a project advisor, and register for their section of MUS 4870.
    • Weeks 1-3: Discuss project ideas with your advisor. Begin creating a list of resources and reviewing those resources to create a Senior Project Proposal.
    • Week 3: Submit Senior Project Proposal to Advisor for their approval.
    • Weeks 4-15: Arrange a regular meeting time with your advisor to review progress. Complete the rest of the research and begin drafting your paper.
  • Second Semester
    • Weeks 1-7: Set a new meeting time with your advisor if your availability has changed. While completing the rest of your research, approach a second tenure-track faculty member to serve as a first reader on your BA Thesis Committee.
    • Week 8: Submit first Rough Draft to your Project Advisor. Incorporate advisor feedback into your draft.
    • Week 10: Submit draft to First Reader. Incorporate Committee feedback into your draft.
    • Week 13 (Monday): Submit finalized paper with all committee feedback incorporated to Project Advisor. The paper should not require significant revision at this point and needs to incorporate all feedback required by your Advisor and First Reader. Failure to meet this deadline may result in having to stay an additional semester to complete the paper.
    • Week 15 (Monday): Final Paper submitted to Advisor by Monday. BA Senior Project grade posted by end of semester.
Schedule (BA Presentation)
  • First Semester
    • Before Semester 1 Begins: Find a project advisor, and register for their section of MUS 4870.
    • Weeks 1-3: Discuss project ideas with your advisor. Begin creating a list of resources and reviewing those resources to create a Senior Project Proposal.
    • Week 3: Submit Senior Project Proposal to Advisor for their approval. Decide on the date of your presentation (in Semester 2) and the format (virtual or in-person.)
    • Weeks 4-12: Arrange a regular meeting time with your advisor to review progress. Complete the rest of the research. Begin drafting a thorough presentation outline. Assemble any recorded material you plan to use.
    • Week 12: If you are working with collaborators, have them commit to the presentation.
  • Second Semester
    • Weeks 1-7: Set a new meeting time with your advisor if your availability has changed.Approach a second tenure-track faculty member to serve as a committee member. Complete the rest of your research.
    • Week 8: Submit first Rough Draft of your script, presentation outline, and any video, audio, or scores to your Project Advisor. Incorporate advisor feedback into your draft. 
    • Week 10-15: Present your project at the assigned time. The presentation will be recorded, and your committee will give you feedback at that time.
      • Week 13: Submit finalized outline with committee feedback incorporated to your Project Advisor.
    • Week 15: Presentation Recording submitted to Advisor by Monday. BA Project grade posted by end of semester.

Bachelor of Music Junior Recitals

View and download the Music Recital Information Packet here.

Eligibility

Students in the Bachelor of Music Performance program are required to present a 30 minute junior recital. Students at the 3000-level of applied study in the Bachelor of Music program are eligible to apply for a Junior Recital (MUS 3400). Once registered, approval to proceed is by recital hearing at least two weeks prior to the proposed recital. Students must be enrolled in the 3000-level of applied music at the time of the recital.

Recital Committee

Students are responsible for approaching faculty in the department to assemble a three-person Recital Committee. The first person on the committee is the student's Applied teacher, and the other two members are faculty from our department. Click here to view available faculty and their contact information.

Recital Hearing

All recitals are approved by the recital committee at the Recital Hearing given at least two weeks before the recital is to take place. Students should provide scores to committee members ahead of time and be prepared to perform the entire program during the hearing.

Publicity

Posters may be made by the student and may be posted on campus. Students must receive approval of their poster by the area coordinator before printing and posting recital flyers.

Recital Day

Recitalists and all performers involved in the recital must be at the Music Hall at least 15 minutes before their scheduled recital time. Work closely with your applied teacher and Arts and Letters productions to ensure a smooth recital.

To schedule your recital and access all necessary forms, visit this page to begin the Music Recital Request Form.

 

Bachelor of Music Senior Recitals

View and download the Music Recital Information Packet here.

Eligibility

Students in the Bachelor of Music Performance program are required to present a 50-minute senior recital. Students in the Bachelor of Music Education program are required to present a 40-minute recital. B.M. Senior Recitals may occur no sooner than the semester after successful completion of the Junior Recital. Students must be enrolled at the 4000-level of applied music at the time of the recital. No duplication of repertoire may occur between Junior and Senior Recitals. Students meeting the above criteria are eligible to register for a Senior Recital (MUS 4400). Once registered, approval to proceed is by recital hearing at least two weeks prior to the proposed recital.

Recital Committee

Students are responsible for approaching faculty in the department to assemble a three-person Recital Committee. The first person on the committee is the student's Applied teacher, and the other two members are faculty from our department. Click here to view available faculty and their contact information.

Recital Hearing

All recitals are approved by the recital committee at the Recital Hearing given at least two weeks before the recital is to take place. Students should provide scores to committee members ahead of time and be prepared to perform the entire program during the hearing.

Publicity

Posters may be made by the student and may be posted on campus. Students must receive approval of their poster by the area coordinator before printing and posting recital flyers.

Recital Day

Recitalists and all performers involved in the recital must be at the Music Hall at least 15 minutes before their scheduled recital time. Work closely with your applied teacher and Arts and Letters productions to ensure a smooth recital.

To schedule your recital and access all necessary forms, visit this page to begin the Music Recital Request Form.

Applied Lessons

Majors in the Bachelor of Arts program and Bachelor of Music program options II (Composition) take four units of applied music (private lessons) on their instrument at any level (1000-4000). Bachelor of Music option VII: Commercial Music, track 2 takes four units of applied composition (MUS 4601) and track 3 takes eight units of applied commercial music (MUS 3191, 3192, 4191, 4192). Students in the performance options of the Bachelor of Music program take 16 units of private lessons on their instrument with a maximum of four units at each level (1000-4000). A change of level is normally approved during the jury at the conclusion of the second semester of study at one level.

Juries

A jury examination is required at the end of each semester of study unless the student has performed a junior or senior recital in that term. The jury is normally about ten minutes in length and is adjudicated by faculty members in the student’s performance area (brass, woodwinds, percussion, strings, voice, or keyboard). Failure to perform a jury as required will result in an incomplete grade for the semester and may result in a failure for the semester. Preparation for the jury is done in conjunction with the applied lesson teacher during the course of the semester. Each student is assigned a jury grade based on an average of the grades recommended by the faculty members present. That jury grade represents 30% of the overall grade for applied lessons that semester.

Scheduling Lessons

Each student has the responsibility to make contact with the applied lesson instructor during the first week of each semester of study to make arrangements for lesson times. Students studying with adjunct faculty should contact the Music Office for information on contacting the private teacher. Students enrolled for one-unit lessons are entitled to the equivalent of one 25-minute lesson each week and students enrolled for two-unit lessons are entitled to the equivalent of one 50-minute lesson each week. While weekly lessons are normal, a double lesson every other week is possible if both student and instructor agree to this arrangement. If a student misses a scheduled lesson, the lesson is forfeit. If the teacher cancels the lesson, the teacher is obliged to reschedule.

Piano Accompanists

Accompanists are provided by the department for applied lessons, for juries and recitals. Students who wish to utilize an accompanist for a jury or recital are responsible to contact the Staff Accompanist by the fifth week of the semester to allow time for appropriate practice and rehearsal. Accompanists are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Recital/Performance Attendance (MUS 1000)

Each semester a number of solo and ensemble performances are presented in the department. These include ensemble performances, faculty-artist performances, student performances and guest artist performances. Music majors must fulfill the MUS 1000 Concert/Recital Attendance requirement. Students must attend seven (7) music department concerts or recitals per semester. Students participating in a performance may count that concert as one of their seven events. Cal State L.A. freshmen will be required to complete six (6) semesters of MUS 1000, and transfer students must complete two (2) semesters of MUS 1000.

Course Prerequisites

Almost all upper-division courses have required prerequisites that must be completed before enrolling in the course. Consult the university catalog to determine prerequisite requirements for each course. In certain circumstances, students may also enroll with the permission of the instructor.

Course Limitations

Students are advised that courses that may be repeated for credit (private lessons, ensemble courses, independent-study courses) have a maximum unit limit. Students are advised to consult the university catalog and make note of these limitations for any such courses in which they enroll. Units taken over the maximum will not be counted by the university toward any requirement.

Course Substitutions

Under certain circumstances, it is possible to substitute one course for another in the music program. This is especially true in the electives, where a selected course might not be available in a timely manner. Under these circumstances, the student must contact the primary undergraduate advisor who must approve the substitution, and who will then make the necessary change in the student’s program. Failure to make these changes in a timely manner may result in a delay in processing for graduation.

Credit by Examination

According to university policy, students may elect to complete requirements for courses through Credit by Examination. In such cases, students will enroll for the course and complete a Credit by Examination contract form with the class instructor not later than the beginning of the semester in which the course is offered. Instructors set the examination conditions, and students are advised that the grade received on the examination will constitute their grade for the course. Contact the Music Office for Credit by Examination forms.

Grade Point Average Requirements

A minimum 2.0 grade point average is required for graduation. According to university regulations, students must have a minimum 2.0 in all courses in general education and a minimum 2.0 in all courses in the major. In addition, students must make a grade of C or better in each Basic Subjects course in general education and a grade of C or better in the core courses in music. These courses include Music 1011, 1012, 1021, 1022, 1031, 1032, 1510, 2011, 2012, 2021, 2022, 2031, 2032, 2701, 2702, 3000, 3800 and 4020. Students failing to make a grade of C or better in any of these courses must repeat the course. In such cases, students are advised that they should contact their advisor and file a petition requesting permission to repeat a course. Failure to do so may adversely affect graduation.

Students who fail to maintain a 2.0 average in any semester will be placed on academic probation by the university. Continued failure to make progress toward correcting the grade-point deficiency will result in disqualification and eventually in expulsion from the university. Undergraduate students who are disqualified may be reinstated a maximum of three times. In the event of disqualification, the student must contact their advisor to set the conditions for reinstatement and complete a reinstatement form. In any case, students who are experiencing academic difficulty are strongly encouraged to make frequent contact with their advisor to help plan a course of action which will result in improved academic performance.

Transfer Units

Students transferring to Cal State LA may transfer a maximum of 90 semester (135 quarter) units of work from other accredited institutions. Music courses taken at other institutions are governed by course articulation agreements on file with the registrar. See the primary undergraduate advisor for consultation. Course equivalencies for all other courses are determined by the university at the time of transfer (note: the university can take up to a year to complete this process). Courses taken at community colleges or other two-year institutions cannot be used to satisfy upper-division requirements (3000 or 4000 level) at Cal State LA. Students who feel they have had courses at a community college which are equivalent to upper-division courses at Cal State LA should explore Credit by Examination.

Planning for Graduation

The Graduation Office requires students to file a graduation application during the filing period in advance of the expected date of graduation. Students can find graduation application deadlines in the current schedule of classes. Application for graduation includes an analysis of progress toward the degree that must be signed by the student’s primary advisor. Students may file for graduation after they have completed a minimum of 90 semester units.

Graduate Policies and Procedures

Click on the tabs below for policies and resources for graduate Music students.

Graduate Classifications

Graduate students are first admitted to the university under Conditionally Classified Standing. Under this classification, students may enroll in no more than 13 units of 4000-level courses (including transfer units). Students may not enroll in 5000-level courses as conditionally classified students. In order to attain Classified Standing the candidate must: a) meet department requirements and prerequisites, and b) have a minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units of university coursework. Classified Standing is granted by the College of Arts and Letters when these conditions are met and when the student has an approved program on file in the school office. All entering graduate students must meet with the Principal Graduate Music Advisor before or during the first semester of enrollment.

Advisement Guidelines

As soon as possible after matriculation, a new graduate student should contact the faculty member responsible for graduate advising in his/her area of study. This faculty member will serve as the student’s principal program advisor. Graduate program advisors serve as mentors to their advisees and guide them through their graduate studies in the degree program in which they are enrolled. A student may request to change program advisors, provided that both the previous and new advisor agree to the change. If there is a change of program advisor, the department’s Principal Graduate Music Advisor, should be notified immediately to ensure that the student receives appropriate advisement to successfully complete his/her degree program. All graduate students should take MUS 5000 in their first semester at Cal State L.A.

Requirements for the Program

A candidate must have an approved master’s degree program on file, which is determined in consultation with the Principal Graduate Advisor and the program advisor in the student’s major area of study. The approved program must be followed and any change or variation must be approved in advance by the program advisor and the Graduate Advisor. No 5000-level course may be taken for credit in the program before the program is officially approved and the student is given Classified Standing. All course substitutions are filed with the Graduate Advisor.

Each program must have a minimum of 30 units of 4000- or 5000-level courses, with at least 15 units at the 5000-level. The decision on the Option or the emphasis within the Option is made by the candidate in consultation with a program advisor and approved by an area committee (Instrumental, Keyboard or Voice Performance, Music Education, Commercial Music, Composition, Choral or Instrumental Conducting.) The completed program is submitted by the Principal Graduate Advisor to the department office for the Department Chair’s signature and becomes official when approved by the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

Completion of Degree

Each degree program is designed so that students attending full-time could complete the degree requirements in two semesters of study. However, students typically take less than a full load each semester and require longer to complete the degree. It is also possible that the sequence in which classes are offered or prerequisite requirements that a student is required to complete may also extend the degree beyond two semesters. Graduate students must complete their degree program within seven years from the first semester of matriculation for their completed course work to be valid. Courses expire after seven years. Expired courses must either be retaken, replaced with other current courses or be validated according to university procedures. A maximum of 10 units of course work (one-third of the program) may be validated, according to College of Arts and Letters policy. Candidates with expired courses in excess of the 10-unit maximum must complete additional course work to replace expired courses to fulfill graduation requirements.

Requirements for Admission to Classified Standing

Prior to admission to classified standing, graduate students must complete any audition or portfolio requirements required in their degree option, complete necessary placement examinations, and complete and file a program of study with the Principal Graduate Advisor. These requirements are detailed below.

Audition Requirements

Students wishing admission to the Performance or Conducting options in the Master of Music program must complete an audition/portfolio review with the faculty committee in their area of study. An audition is normally 15-20 minutes in length and requires that the student perform music of various periods at a difficulty level consistent with admission to graduate status.

Portfolio Requirements for Composition

Students wishing admission to the Composition option of the Master of Music program must submit a portfolio of their work. Typically, this portfolio will consist of not less than four examples of their recent work. For more specific examples of portfolio requirements, students should contact Dr. John M. Kennedy.

Portfolio Requirements for Commercial Music

Students wishing admission to the Commercial Music option of the Master of Music program must submit a portfolio of five to seven examples of their work.

  • Applicants wishing to focus their studies in Film Scoring are encouraged to submit both scores and recordings if possible.
  • Applicants wishing to focus on Songwriting are encouraged to submit recordings and/or videos of their work and lead-sheets if possible.
  • Applicants wishing to focus on Production/Music Tech are encouraged to submit recordings.

Performers may submit audio but video of performances are highly encouraged and preferred. These materials must be submitted via YouTube, Dropbox, Hightail, WeTransfer, etc. Every portfolio should contain an explanation sheet, where applicants highlight the specific contributions they’ve made to each example submitted. For more specific examples of portfolio requirements, students should contact Professor JP Marcondes-Mourao, Professor Ross Levinson or Professor Steve Wight.

Portfolio Requirements for Conducting

Students wishing admission to the Conducting Option, Choral or Instrumental tracks, of the Master of Music program must submit a portfolio for consideration of the area faculty. This portfolio will consist of a professional resume, two letters of recommendation, an essay that addresses professional goals, a ten-minute video sample of a rehearsal focused on the conductor (not the ensemble), a list of repertoire performed in the past two years and a copy of the online application receipt.

Placement Examinations

Prior to the first semester of graduate study, students must complete placement examinations in music theory and music history. The purpose of these examinations is to determine the level of attainment in music theory and history to ensure that students have sufficient preparation to be successful in their required graduate courses. These placement examinations require that each student demonstrate knowledge of theory and history equivalent to the core undergraduate theory and history sequence at Cal State LA. A time and place for the examinations will be posted by the Music Office and will also be available on the department website at least three weeks in advance of the fall semester.

Music Theory

All graduate students are required to take a placement examination in music theory except students who completed their undergraduate degree in music at Cal State LA. Students who graduated with a degree in music from Cal State LA are not required to take the placement exam. Receiving a passing score on this exam or completing coursework to satisfy any deficiency identified is a pre-requisite for enrollment in certain graduate-level classes, including MUS 5301 and 5302.

The Music Theory Placement Exam will be given during the first class session of Graduate Theory Review (MUS 4790) in the room assigned to that class. Results will be available within 24 hours. Please contact the Graduate Advisor for specific information.

The music theory placement exam will have one of three results:

  1. PASS. This means that no remedial coursework is necessary, and students may enroll in MUS 5301, 5302 and/or 5303.
  2. MUS 4790. This is the Graduate Theory Review class. This one-semester class is offered only in the fall semester each year. It is intended to “brush-up” theory skills and reviews content that entering graduate students should have covered during their undergraduate coursework in music. It is not intended for students with significant deficiencies in basic theory skills. The prerequisites for MUS 4790 include graduate student standing, and placement based on results of the Graduate Music Theory Placement Exam or instructor approval.
  3. Undergraduate Theory. Students who demonstrate greater deficiencies in music theory and require remedial work that cannot be successfully completed in the review class (MUS 4790) may be placed into undergraduate-level theory and musicianship. Students who are placed in undergraduate-level theory courses will also be required to enroll in the level of musicianship that corresponds with the level of theory in which they are enrolled.

Students may only take the theory placement exam twice, and only once per semester. If a student does not pass the exam on the first attempt, they may make a second attempt. After the second attempt, the student will be required to enroll in the course into which they place. Students should be aware that a failure to pass on a second attempt might slow their progress toward completion of the degree.

The following is a list of skills expected at each level of undergraduate theory and musicianship and which may be covered on the placement exam. Writing exercises, composition, and analysis will be expected at all levels. Musicianship classes will include identification and performance of aural fundamentals; sight-singing with solfege; melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dictation; and aural analysis of music in a variety of styles.

  • MUS 1011/1021: Key signatures, major and minor keys, intervals, triads, seventh chords, basic voice- leading and part-writing, non-chord tones, basic chromatic alterations, simple and compound meters. Basic sight-singing with “moveable do” solfege; simple, diatonic melodic and harmonic dictation; singing and identification of fundamentals such as intervals, triads, and seventh chords.
  • MUS 1012/1022: Introduction of chromatic harmony, particularly focusing on secondary dominants and secondary leading-tone chords and modulations to closely related keys. Neapolitan chords and augmented 6th chords are introduced in this class as well.
  • MUS 2011/2021: Continuation of chromatic harmony, focusing on augmented 6th chords, modulations to distantly-related keys, and formal construction of periods and small binary and ternary forms.
  • MUS 2012/2022: Continuation of chromatic harmony, through non-functional harmony and including analysis of late-Romantic music. Introduction to music of Impressionist, 20th-century, and contemporary techniques in theory and composition. Musicianship skills will include polyrhythm, non-tonal harmony and melody, and modal and synthetic scales.

Recommended textbooks to assist students who wish to review prior to taking the theory placement examination:

  • Kostka and Payne, Tonal Harmony, McGraw-Hill
  • Kostka, Materials and Techniques of 20th-Century Music, McGraw-Hill

For additional questions, please contact Dr. Sara Graef.

Music History and Writing Placement Exam

The music history placement examination is offered at the beginning of each fall academic semester during the first week of instruction. Please contact the Graduate Advisor for specific information. The graduate placement examination in music history assesses the equivalent content of an undergraduate sequence in music history, covering music history from classical Greece through the twentieth century. The multiple-choice music history exam includes listening recognition, score analysis, and period, style, genre and composer identification. The short writing exam demonstrates the student’s ability to write in an essay format.

Results from the music history placement examination will be emailed to each student’s official Cal State LA email account as soon as they are graded.

Suggested Reading:

  • Grout, Donald J. and Palisca, Claude. A History of Western Music, 5th ed. or later. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996 or later.
  • Palisca, Claude, ed. Norton Anthology of Western Music, 3rd ed. or later. Vol. 1, New York: W.W. Norton, 1996 or later.
  • Palisca, Claude, ed. Norton Anthology of Western Music, 3rd ed. or later. Vol. 2, New York: W.W. Norton, 1996 or later.
  • Hanning, Barbara Russano. Concise History of Western Music. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998 or later.
  • Poultney, David. Studying Music History: Learning, Reasoning, and Writing about Music History and Literature. 2nd ed. or later. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1996 or later.

Students are encouraged to contact Dr. Beverly Stein for further information regarding this diagnostic examination.

Commercial Music

The graduate placement examination in commercial music covers the following:

  1. Chord identification, chord construction, and harmonic analysis using jazz/commercial style analysis
  2. Basic orchestration and arranging.
  3. Basic knowledge of music technology

Suggested Reading:

  • Feist, Jonathan. Berklee Contemporary Music Notation. United States, Berklee Press, 2017.
  • Graf, Richard, and Nettles, Barrie. The Chord Scale Theory & Jazz Harmony. Germany, Advance Music, 1997.
  • Jaffe, Andy. Jazz Harmony. Germany, Advance Music, 2009.
  • Levine, Mark. The Jazz Theory Book. United States, Sher Music, 2011.
  • Adler, Samuel. The Study of Orchestration. 2nd ed., Norton.
  • Ray, Don B. Orchestration Handbook. Santa Monica, CA: Periphera, 1989
  • Runstein, Robert E., and Huber, David Miles. Modern Recording Techniques. United Kingdom, Routledge, 2017.
  • Owsinski, Bobby. The Recording Engineer's Handbook: 4th Edition. United States, Bobby Owsinski Media Group, 2017.

Afro Latin Music

The graduate placement examination in Afro Latin Music covers the following:

  1. Chord identification, chord construction, and harmonic analysis using jazz/commercial style analysis
  2. Basic orchestration and arranging
  3. Style Analysis

Suggested Reading:

  • Ricigliano, Daniel. Pop and Jazz Harmony for: Composers, Arrangers, and Performers. Donato Music Publishing, 1978.
  • Levine, Mark. The Jazz Theory Book. Petaluma, CA: Sher Music, 1998.
  • Baker, David. Arranging and Composing for the Small Ensemble. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing, 1978.

Credit for Transfer Courses

Students who transfer to California State University, Los Angeles from an accredited music graduate program may apply a maximum of 9 semester units from that program to their degree program at Cal State LA. Placement of transfer courses in the student’s program are made by the area advisor, and must be approved by the Graduate Advisor, the College of Arts and Letters, and the University. Students who are unsure whether a course taken at another institution may count for graduate credit should file a request for transfer evaluation through their area advisor.

Studio Lessons and Ensemble Enrollment Standards

Graduate students have a limit to the number of private instruction units in which they may enroll. Students in the performance options of the Master of Music program enroll for two semesters of applied lessons at two units each semester, for a total of four units. Students in the other Master of Music options and the Master of Arts options may enroll for two semesters of one-unit lessons, for a maximum of two units.

If a student is not enrolling in full-time study throughout their degree program, it may be advisable for him/her to spread out studio lesson enrollments over the length of graduate study by reducing the number of units each semester in which s/he enrolls. Please consult with your area advisor for guidance about enrollments. This must be approved by the Principal Graduate Advisor.

Each student has the responsibility to contact the private-lesson instructor to which they have been assigned during the first week of each semester of study to arrange lesson times. Students enrolled for one-unit lessons receive the equivalent of one 25-minute lesson each week. Students enrolled for two-unit lessons receive the equivalent of one 50-minute lesson each week. Two-unit lessons meet weekly. One-unit lessons may meet for half an hour weekly or for one hour biweekly if both student and instructor agree to this arrangement. If a student misses a scheduled lesson, the lesson is forfeited. If the teacher cancels the lesson, the teacher is obliged to reschedule by mutual consent.

Students who cancel their lesson must contact their teacher prior to the lesson. The instructor is not obliged to make up a lesson if the student cancels their lesson. Students who receive lessons in a Master of Arts or Master of Music program are required to participate in an ensemble during each semester in which they are enrolled. One ensemble per term of applied lessons is the departmental co-requisite. The area coordinator must approve the ensemble enrollment to ensure they match both the departmental expectations and the goals of your degree program.

During the registration period for each semester, students enrolling for private lessons are required to obtain the signatures of their private-lesson instructor on the private-lesson form. This form must be completed and taken to the Music Office before the student is authorized through the GET system to add lessons.

Course Substitutions

Students who wish to substitute a course on their program must file a GS-5, Course Substitution form, through the Principal Graduate Advisor. This must be done before or during the semester in which the substitution is taken. The department cannot guarantee that the substitute course will be approved for the program if it is completed before the GS-5 is filed and approved.

Course Limitations

Students are advised that courses that may be repeated for credit (private lessons, ensemble courses, independent study courses) have a maximum unit limit. Students are advised to consult their catalog and make note of these limitations for any such courses in which they enroll. Units taken over the maximum will not be counted by the university toward graduation. The Department of Music also observes these limits when approving enrollments in private studio lessons.

Course Validation

Any course taken more than seven years after the first semester of study must be validated in order to be used on the program. The College of Arts and Letters will allow validation of a maximum of 9 units. The first step in the process is for the student to obtain permission to validate by obtaining the required signatures on the GS-11, Permission to Validate Course Work. Once this has been completed and approved by the College Graduate Studies Committee, the student must make arrangements with the individual course instructor of the expired course to complete the validation. Validation may consist of a written or oral examination, or any similar activity that the course instructor identifies appropriate. After the validation is complete, the student must obtain the instructor’s signature on the validation form and submit it to the Music Office.

Writing Proficiency Examination

Students who did not receive an undergraduate degree from an institution in California State University system or who have not taken an approved writing examination as part of the undergraduate degree must complete the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) within two semesters of their classification date. Failure to do so may result in a registration hold after the third semester. To complete the examination, the student must register for a graduate section of UNIV 4000 and complete the examination on the day specified for that section of the course. Proof of successful completion of the requirement is necessary for graduation.

Grade Point Average Requirements

A minimum 3.0 grade point average is required for graduation. Students who fail to maintain a 3.0 average in any semester will be placed on probation by the university. Continued failure to correct the grade point deficiency will result in expulsion from the program. Students who are removed from the program may not return at any time to complete a graduate degree in the department. ​

Residency

Residency requires at least 21 semester units for the master’s degree completed in residence at Cal State L.A.

Leave of Absence

Graduate students are granted a maximum of 2 semesters, subject to renewal. Petitions must be filed at Administration 146 after action by the department/division/school chair or director (also the college graduate dean in the case of graduate students) no later than 5 weeks before the end of the semester before the proposed leave. Approval entitles students to continuing status for registration purposes if they return no later than the semester specified in their petition. Continuing students who return from a leave are entitled to priority registration privileges and are not required to file an application for readmission. More information can be found in the University Catalog under Procedures and Regulations.

Classified post-baccalaureate and graduate students retain classified standing. Unclassified post-baccalaureate and conditionally classified graduate students who have an approved program on file in their college graduate studies office are subject to the conditions of those programs. All others are subject to the requirements in effect when they return.

For more information, visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to Candidacy is a prerequisite to enrollment in the Graduate Project (MUS 5990) and the Comprehensive Examination (MUS 5960). Advancement to candidacy requires the following:

  • Completion of at least 12 units of the degree program with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Completion of the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).
  • Recommendation of the department.
  • Approval of the College Associate Dean.

When these requirements have been met a student must see the Principal Graduate Advisor in order to complete and file the necessary form.

Graduate Projects

All candidates for the master’s degree in the Department of Music must complete MUS 5990 or 5995 - Thesis or Project in order to graduate. Specific guidelines for the preparation, approval and submission of the project for each option are available in the music office, and candidates beginning this process should obtain these guidelines and consult with their primary advisor. Candidates should also consult the Graduate Thesis, Project, and Dissertation Guidelines on the Office of Graduate Studies webpage by clicking here.

Preparation of the project should begin as soon as possible but must be completed after all course work on the program has been taken. In order to proceed with MUS 5990/5995, the student must be advanced to candidacy. Permission to begin the Thesis Proposal is then granted by the area coordinator and should be submitted no less than one semester before the intended semester of completion. At the beginning of this process, students should obtain a Project Approval form, available in the music office, which contains a place for signatures of the area committee and the project committee.

The committee for MUS 5990 or 5995 is chaired by the Project Advisor, who is the listed instructor for MUS 5990/5995 and may be either a full-time faculty member or Lecturer. The student is responsible for finding a second committee member, who must be a full-time faculty member. The Applied instructor, if not serving as the Project Advisor, may serve as a third committee member with no editorial responsibilites for the Project Report.

The following checklist illustrates the order of events in completion of the project:

  1. The outline of the proposal is prepared in consultation with an advisor.
  2. The completed proposal is approved by the advisor, by the area committee (e.g., project proposals in music education must be approved by the music education area), and by the department chair before the candidate enrolls in MUS 5990/5995.
  3. The project committee is selected in consultation with the primary advisor, and project committee members must sign the project approval form.
  4. Ongoing consultation takes place with the project committee during preparation and completion of the project.
  5. The completed project is approved by the project committee.

Graduate Recitals

View and download the Music Recital Information Packet here.

Candidates for whom the final project is a recital will work with their applied teacher to create an appropriate recital and have the recital approved by their area committee at the end of the semester before the semester in which the recital is to take place.

The candidate is responsible for communicating with their project committee so that all members attend the recital. The candidate must ensure that the proposed date is available for the project committee members and should provide a reminder to the project committee two to three weeks in advance of the recital. During the semester when the recital is scheduled, the candidate, in consultation with the project advisor, will also prepare the project report according to the guidelines specified by the area.

The program advisor for candidates completing recitals is ordinarily the private lesson teacher. However, the program advisor must also be a full-time faculty member. If the private lesson instructor is a part-time faculty member, the candidate must select a full-time faculty member as program advisor who will work in cooperation with the private teacher in the preparation of the recital report.

To schedule a recital, the student must complete a recital form that is available through A&L Productions. Information on use of facilities, equipment, etc., can also be found at the A&L Productions website by clicking here.

Degree candidates should consult with their program advisors to determine the number of units of 5990/5995 for which they should enroll each semester. Three (3) units of 5990/5995 are required for graduation, but the units may be taken incrementally, as determined by how long the project will take. For example, if the project will take three semesters, the student should enroll for one unit each semester.) A grade of RP (Report in Progress) will be given until the project is completed. The candidate must be enrolled for at least one unit of MUS 5990/5995 during the semester in which the project is submitted. If all 3 units of 5990/5995 are used before the project is submitted, the student must enroll for MUS 9000 for zero units. The candidate is required to pass the Comprehensive Examination (MUS 5960) before credit for the project is awarded.

Thesis and Project Deadlines

Students must submit a title and abstract with their GS-12 form signed by committee by add deadline (week 3 of the first semester in which they register).

In the semester of graduation, the student must submit a completed draft to the Project Coordinator and the Music Office by Friday of Week 10.

All University deadlines for graduate theses and projects may be found by clicking here.

Comprehensive Examinations

All candidates for a Master’s degree, admitted between Fall 1990 and Fall 2018 (and ongoing for Summer Master’s in Choral Conducting students), shall take the Comprehensive Examination (MUS 5960) after completion of their course work. The structure of the Comprehensive Examination is determined by each candidate’s program advisor and is based on the course of study the candidate has completed in her/his degree program. Consult with your program advisor about the structure of the comprehensive examination in your area of study.

Approval and preparation for the comprehensive exam must be completed the semester before enrollment in MUS 5960. Preparation consists of consultation with the candidate’s program advisor to determine examination areas and receipt of study questions. Broad study questions are normally provided from which more specific test questions are selected by the course instructor. Students must take the comprehensive examination during the semester they are enrolled in MUS 5960.Test dates for each semester are designated by the department. Comprehensive Examinations are normally held on Friday of the 13th week of both fall and spring semesters. No comprehensive examinations are offered in the summer. Students are advised to obtain a copy of the written guidelines for the comprehensive examinations from their area/program advisor. Students are allowed three attempts to pass each part of the Comprehensive Exam. If by the third attempt all three portions of the Exam are not passed, the student will be discontinued from the program.

Planning for Graduation

In most circumstances, the graduation office requires a student to file a graduation application two semesters in advance of the expected date of graduation. Students are encouraged to read the current Schedule of Classes for information on graduation application deadlines. University deadlines are fixed and your music department advisors have no control over these dates and policies. Students should assume that there are no exceptions to the university published deadlines.

Degree and Credential Programs for Graduate Students

Students should refer to the online catalog for the most up-to-date requirements for the degree. Students are responsible to fulfill all degree or credential requirements presented in the published catalog that is in effect at the time of matriculation as a graduate student. It is important that you know the current degree requirements. Students who wish to fulfill requirements that will prepare them to enter the single subject credential program in the Charter College of Education should also refer to the current online catalog.

Credentialing requirements differ from degree requirements in that they are established by the State of California. Candidates for credentials must fulfill the California state requirements in effect at the time of their application for the credential, regardless of the date they may have entered a degree or credential program in a university.

Prerequisite requirements for graduate students pursuing an MA or MM in music without an undergraduate degree in music

Students must complete the following course sequence or demonstrate competency in course content through an appropriate proficiency examination:

  1. Music Theory and Musicianship I-IV, 16 units
  2. Music History (MUS 2701 and 2702), 6 units
  3. Beginning Conducting (MUS 3800), 2 units
  4. Sufficient Applied Music (and ensemble) to perform a BA senior recital, min. 2 units OR 2 units of applied music (and ensemble) and sufficient course work in composition for a 20-minute recital of original work, min. 4 units
  5. Minimum of three courses from the Bachelor of Arts General Option requirements (please see the University Catalog for a list of courses)
  6. Minimum of eight additional units in the student's major area (with advisor approval)
  7. Completion of the piano proficiency requirement
  8. Senior recital or equivalent, as determined by the area.