This information is curated specifically for graduate students preparing for the 2020–21 school year.

DMA Workshop

Wednesday, April 28

This is targeted towards current DMA students who plan on graduating next year, but anyone can attend! It’s essentially going to be a walkthrough of the steps required of the degree after you finish your coursework through to graduation – Page Stephens and I will be there for any questions you might have.

The workshop will be recorded for those who cannot attend.

Doctoral Common Comprehensive Exams

Summer 2021


  • You must either be in your final semester of coursework or have completed all of your coursework (excluding dissertation and/or treatise/nontreatise hours)
  • You must be registered during the semester you plan to take comprehensives – this includes for any retakes

Sign Up

In order to sign up for the common comps, DMA students will need to send a course outline to Marina Martinez (instructions for which can be found under ‘Forms’ on the website) for approval by the GSC chair. MM Musicology students are not required to submit a course outline or have any divisional approval, and may sign up for the Score ID exam as soon as they feel ready. Sign-up instructions will be shared after the spring.


The exam will be administered online. It will be open note, but in order to perform well, you should be well prepared ahead of time.

Music History

Monday, July 19
3 hour exam: 9am – 12pm
  • Jazz Emphasis students (performance and comp) only need to answer one question, even on a first attempt, but only have 1.5 hours to do so. The exam will end at 10:30am for Jazz students.

Relevant material is covered by MUS 380 courses (Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, 18th Century, 19th Century, and 20th Century). You can prepare for this portion of the exam by reviewing lecture notes, assigned readings, and repertory covered in your MUS 380 Advances Studies in the History of Music Courses.

Students are provided with 7 essay questions, one from each of the six historical periods; there may also be a question dealing with non-canonical repertoires. Students will be expected to answer 2 of the 7 questions. The questions will be general enough so that anyone who has successfully completed the corresponding MUS 380 courses and has retained the information should be able to answer the questions.

Score Identification

Wednesday, July 21
3 hour exam: 9am – 12pm
  • Jazz Emphasis majors are exempt from taking Score ID
  • MM Musicology majors must answer at least 7 excerpts

A walkthrough of what to include in your answers, as well as a grading rubric for the score ID portion, can be found in the graduate handbook (‘How to Prepare for the Common Portion of the Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations’).

Students are given 8 excerpts representing various historical periods, media, and genres and must identify 6 of the excerpts correctly. Students may submit answers for all 8 of the excerpts, but must answer at least 6 correctly. For each excerpt, students should suggest a likely composer or school of composition, the genre, and approximate date of composition and then defend these with a brief, written discussion of the salient stylistic features of the excerpt.

Grading and Procedure

The common comprehensive exam is graded by members of the musicology/ethnomusicology faculty.

Results are reported to the graduate coordinator, who then sends out individual results.

If this is your first attempt at the common comps, you must take both the history and score ID components.

Failure to attempt a section will result in failure of that section.

If you fail one or both portions of the exam on the first try, you must retake the failed portion of the exam. If you fail a portion of the exam twice, you have two options. You can either:

  1. Take one or more graduate courses as determined by the musicology faculty. This will require a grade of B or higher in the specified courses to complete the requirement and pass the history and/or score ID portion of your exam, or
  2. Take the relevant portion(s) of the exam a third time, with the understanding that a third failure will result in termination of your degree program.

You must pass all portions of both the common comp and your specialized comprehensive examinations in order to be admitted to doctoral candidacy.

Important Spring 2021 Dates & Deadlines

April 16

Last day to apply for a graduate degree. Please try to submit your application before the deadline in case there are any technical issues (this goes especially for MM students)!

April 19-30

Summer/Fall registration is open. Students are urged to register for classes during this initial registration period, as it will save a lot of trouble trying to register right before classes begin. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with your faculty mentor before registering if you have any questions about which courses you should sign up for.

April 23

Last day a doctoral candidate may hold a dissertation defense for the Spring 2021 semester. If you still need to submit the ‘pink sheet’ (Request for Final Oral Exam) to the Graduate School, please email Marina Martinez. 

April 26

Last day to change grade status to or from the credit/no credit basis and for new doctoral candidates to change registration to dissertation. At this point in the semester,  Marina Martinez can make all course and grade changes. If you plan to apply to candidacy this semester and do not do so by this date, you may need to wait until the Fall before being formally admitted.

May 7

Last class day – last day to drop a class, last day to submit final paperwork to Graduate School for graduation. Please make sure ALL paperwork (including the Certification of Degree Requirements that your committee should sign after a defense or lecture recital) is submitted by this date, otherwise you will not be able to graduate!