Feb 25, 2021  
2019-2020 Graduate Bulletin 
2019-2020 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Music (History and Literature) MM

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There are two master's degrees available in the School of Music: one with a major in music leading to the Master of Music degree, and the other with a major in music education leading to the Master of Music Education degree. Emphasis areas in the Master of Music are Conducting, Music History & Literature, Music Theory, Performance, Collaborative Piano, and Woodwind Performance & Pedagogy. The Master of Music in History and Literature prepares the candidate for doctoral studies in musicology. 

Admission Requirements

Acceptance into the master's degree programs of the School of Music requires expectations beyond those in the Graduate Bulletin. Admission to graduate study does not imply admission to candidacy for a master's degree. A maximum of nine (9) hours of graduate work earned before one has gained admission to the School of Music can be applied toward a master's degree. Members of all under-represented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Students seeking regular admission to master's level programs at The University of Southern Mississippi must:

  • Have a "B" average or better on music courses in the undergraduate degree 
  • Have a grade point average of at least 2.75 (A = 4.0) on the last two years of undergraduate study
  • Submit test scores of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination. (Music Theory M.M., Music History & Literature M.M., and Music Education M.M.E. programs only)
  • Resumé
  • Writing Sample that demonstrates your ability to write original research.
  • Submit at least three strong letters of recommendation and/or undergo a successful personal interview.

Students who are unable to meet regular admission standards may be considered for conditional admission.  For details concerning conditional admission, see Admission Requirements and Procedures .

Program Requirements and Academic Policies

Diagnostic Examinations 

All entering master's students are required to take a Diagnostic Entrance Examination in music theory and in music history & literature. The purposes of this examination are 1) to determine whether the student has foundation-level deficiencies that need to be addressed in order for her/him to be successful in graduate courses and on the comprehensive examination; and 2) to provide information that will guide the student and his/her advisor in selecting useful and appropriate academic courses.  

Diagnostic Examinations are administered on campus in fall, spring, and summer each Thursday and/or Friday preceding the first day of classes or as announced by the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. Newly admitted students should always see the Coordinator for the most up-to-date information.

Students who do not pass the history diagnostic exam must enroll in MUS 630. Students who do not pass the theory diagnostic exam must enroll in MUS 620. These courses must be included within the first two semesters of graduate work.  Exceptions to this requirement may be granted for the summer semester only and will be considered on an individual basis.  

Undergraduate music theory and/or history courses may be required as prerequisites to further study in graduate music theory or history.  Students who do not pass the music theory review, or the history review (or required undergraduate courses) will not be allowed to enroll in further study in music history or music theory until the grade of "B-" or better is earned in the required course(s).  

Advisory committee

Early in the first term of full-time residence or before nine (9) hours of graduate credit have been earned, the student and the major professor select those faculty who will serve as the student's Advisory Committee. Master's committees must include three members: 1) the major professor, 2) another professor from the major area, 3) a representative from Music Theory.  Changes to this formula must be pre-approved in writing by the School of Music Director. These faculty members will help the student plan his/her program of study, attend and grade his/her recital, and prepare and grade his/her comprehensive exam.   

Special Problems Courses (MUS 692, 792, MED 692, 792) 

Students cannot enroll in special problems courses without appropriate approval. Petitions requesting permission to enroll are available on the School of Music website at https://www.usm.edu/music/forms-0

Petitions must be submitted to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies by the end of SOAR open registration. Special Problems courses demand a minimum of 45 hours work for each hour of credit earned. It is expected that the result of any problem undertaken be available for faculty examination; copies of term papers, examinations, or compositions must be turned in to the Coordinator for this purpose.

Comprehensive Exam

A written comprehensive exam is required. The test will be prepared and graded by the student's Graduate Advisory Committee; it will cover the area of the major field. Master's comprehensive exams dates will be posted by the Coordinator of Graduate Studies in the summer of the ensuing Academic Year. Announcements are made approximately two (2) months prior to the exams.  The dates will be in October (fall dates may vary), April, and July. The exact dates of the examinations are determined by the Coordinator of Graduate Studies and are publicized as soon as the University's Academic Calendar is available. 

Students must register for the exam two months in advance with the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. The Coordinator of Graduate Studies must receive the results of the comprehensive examination in time to notify the University Registrar and the Graduate Office (i.e., no later than the last day of general exams for presenting signed theses to the Graduate Office).

A student who fails the Comprehensive Examination may repeat the exam once; the test must be repeated within one year of the first comprehensive examination.

Special Requirements for the M.M. in History and Literature

Undergraduate Prerequisites

Baccalaureate degree with a major in music AND at least one course in each of the following: counterpoint and orchestration.

Special Examination

Demonstrate for the music history faculty the ability to translate excerpts in at least one foreign language (French, German, Italian, or Spanish) before completing nine (9) hours of graduate coursework. Prior to the first registration, demonstrate writing ability by submitting a research paper, preferably in music. 

Course Requirements (34 hours)


In addition to requirements above, the major professor and the advisory committee may specify that the student pass REF 601 - Educational Research: Interpretation and Applications  (3).

At least 18 hours of coursework must be at the 600 level or higher. A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.

Graduate students must receive a grade of B- or better in any class for it to count toward graduation requirements.

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