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:
- Hold a music degree or minor in the undergraduate degree.
- 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.
- 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 .
Please note: The Graduate Record Examination is required for both conditional and regular admission. Students who are admitted conditionally must go through an interview process with area faculty.
Program Requirements and Academic Policies
With the exception of the online Master of Music Education degree, all entering master's students for the Master of Music Education (MME) 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. MUS 620 and MUS 630 must be taken in 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). MUS 620 and MUS 630 are required courses for the MME Online track.
NOTE: Only the MME (Online) students may enroll in MUS 620X and MUS 630X for graduate credit. Resident students must enroll in MUS 620 and MUS 630.
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 or Music History. 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.
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.
Requirements for Distance Track
Completion of a bachelor's degree in music education at The University of Southern Mississippi or an equivalent program that included student teaching and state licensure.
The Distance program can be completed in 18 to 24 months, taking 2 to 3 courses online during the fall and spring, and 3 to 4 courses during the summer. Some courses require a two-week intensive residency occurring at the end of June.
Students applying for the distance program must submit an example of writing (any research or report written in the last year or a 3 to 5-page literature review on a music education topic of choice) along with a cover letter requesting admission to the distance program.
Requirements for the MME Track II - Seeking Licensure
Completion of a bachelor's degree in music at The University of Southern Mississippi or an equivalent program. At least 18 hours of course work must be at the 600 level or higher. A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.
Admission to graduate study does not imply admission to candidacy for a master's degree. In
addition to requirements listed to gain degree candidacy listed above, Track II candidates must:
- Successfully pass the Praxis I and Praxis IIA exams before or by the end of the first semester of study. Failure to do so will prevent further enrollment in the program.
- Successfully pass the Basic Technology Exam given by the education department before or by the end of the first semester. Failure to do so will prevent further enrollment in the program.
- If not required for the previous undergraduate degree, successfully pass a music education piano proficiency examination by the end of the second semester of enrollment.
- Must obtain clearance from the Office of Educational Field Experiences (OEFE) before required observation and practica in specified music area methods courses.
- Successful completion of degree requirements include:
- Successfully passing Praxis IIB before graduating.
- Successful completion of student teaching seminars and two supervised teaching placements.
a. The candidate can complete one full semester (6 credit hours) consisting of two experiences.
b. The candidate can teach one experience each over two semesters (3 credit hours each) for a half day.
3. Successful completion of comprehensive examinations.
4. Applying for teacher licensure.