Each student has final responsibility to ascertain that he or she has complied with all applicable catalog requirements for graduation. Faculty and advisors assist students in developing their programs, but they cannot waive or vary degree requirements as these appear in the University Bulletin. Students must read the “Doctoral Degree Requirements ” section of this Bulletin; that which follows pertains to School of Music practices and policies and it amplifies Bulletin statements.
Two doctoral degrees are available in the School of Music: the doctor of philosophy in music education, and the doctor of musical arts. A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation. Graduate students must receive a grade of B or better in any class in order for it to count toward the graduation requirements.
Students pursuing the doctor of musical arts degree do so with an emphasis in performance and pedagogy. Specific areas in which the DMA may be earned are:
Admission Requirements: Doctoral Degrees
In addition to acceptable grades (see general admission requirements ) and GRE scores, successful applicants to the doctoral program must have an appropriate baccalaureate or master’s degree with a major in music, an acceptable candidacy audition (for DMA degrees), strong letters of recommendation, and successful personal interviews. Letters of recommendation should be from persons qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study and should be sent to the School of Music. Members of all underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. Acceptance to the School of Music requires students to meet expectations beyond these requirements; see “Degree Candidacy.”
Students who are unable to meet regular admissions standards may be considered for conditional admission. (For details concerning conditional admission, see “Admission Requirements and Procedures ” in this Bulletin.) Please note: The Graduate Record Examination is required for both conditional and regular admission.
Important Note: Acceptance into the doctoral degree programs of the School of Music requires that students meet expectations beyond those stipulated in the Bulletin; see “Acceptance into the School of Music,” in this Bulletin.
Ensemble Participation: Doctoral Degrees
All full-time doctoral students majoring in music are required to participate in a major ensemble during their first four terms of residence. A maximum of two (2) hours of graduate credit earned from ensemble work may be counted toward a degree. The ensemble in which one participates will be determined by the student’s major applied area and area of interest.
Doctoral Exception: On rare occasions a doctoral student may be excused from ensemble participation for one semester of residence if there is a bona fide academic reason for such. This ensemble participation waiver must be requested in writing and approved by the student’s advisory committee.
Acceptance into the School of Music: Doctoral Degrees
Acceptance: Admission to graduate study does not imply acceptance into the School of Music for doctoral-level study. A maximum of nine (9) hours of graduate work earned before one has gained admission to the School of Music can be applied towards a degree. To gain acceptance, one must:
- Performance and Pedagogy: possess a master’s degree; Music Education: possess a master’s degree and successful teaching experience (K-12);
- take diagnostic entrance examinations the Friday before school begins;
- pass a candidacy audition (DMA in performance and pedagogy, applied areas only) prior to or during the first term of full-time residence or before completing nine (9) hours of course work;
- pass a candidacy audition (DMA in performance and pedagogy, conducting area only) prior to the first term of enrollment;
- submit and gain approval for a portfolio of one’s representative scores or recordings prior to the first term of enrollment (DMA in performance and pedagogy, composition area only);
- pass all entrance examinations, DMA special examinations (see specific areas in which the DMA may be earned);
- consult with the dean of Graduate School, have a major professor and an advisory committee appointed, and begin planning the total degree program early in the first term of attendance or before nine (9) semester hours have been earned;
- complete at least nine (9) hours of graduate course work relevant to one’s degree plan with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5;
- by the end of the second semester, all doctoral students must complete a Degree Planning Sheet, approved by the advisory committee. (Doctoral students should be counseled by their advisory committee before registering for courses); pass qualifying exams.
Diagnostic Entrance Examinations: Doctoral Degrees
All entering doctoral students are required to take a Diagnostic Entrance Examination consisting of three parts: music theory, music history, and expository writing. The purposes of this examination are (1) to determine if the student has foundation-level deficiencies that need to be addressed in order for him/her to be successful in doctoral-level courses, on the qualifying examinations and on the comprehensive examinations; and (2) to provide information that will guide the student and his/her adviser in selecting useful and appropriate academic courses.
Students who fail either or both of the theory and history sections of the diagnostic examination will be required to enroll in the appropriate review courses (MUS 620 and/or MUS 630 ) during their first semester of full-time study. Exceptions to this requirement may be granted for the spring semester only and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students are required to earn a grade of “B-” or better in that/those course(s). Students who fail either the theory or history sections (or both) and intend to pursue graduate study part time must complete the appropriate review course(s) before completing 12 credit hours. In some instances a student may be required to enroll in one or more appropriate undergraduate courses. Credits earned in these courses (both the review courses and any required undergraduate course) are not counted toward the doctoral degree.
Students who do not pass the expository writing section of the diagnostic examination may be advised to take an appropriate writing course in the English department and will be required to take MUS 500 - Writing About Music , even if it is not one of their degree requirements.
The diagnostic entrance examinations are administered on campus each Friday preceding the first day of classes in fall, spring, and summer.
Qualifying Examinations: Doctoral Degrees
All doctoral students are required to complete a qualifying examination consisting of three written components (music theory, music history, and the student’s major area). This examination must be completed before the beginning of the second semester of full-time doctoral study. Part-time students must complete this examination at the end of the second semester of enrollment. The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine if, after a semester of doctoral coursework (which may include review courses) and of independent study, the student is academically qualified to proceed with doctoral study. In order to be successful on the written portions of this examination, the student must be able to think critically and be able to synthesize material from a variety of sources. Sample examinations may be available to students in some areas. Doctoral students should consult their major professor and the dean of graduate school regarding examination policies beyond those listed in the Bulletin.
A student who fails any part of the qualifying examination may, with the permission of his or her committee, repeat it. However, any coursework (in the area of the exam which the student failed) enrolled in after that initial failure and before the qualifying examination is passed in its entirety can be considered to be remedial and will not count as doctoral coursework.
If a student fails any part of the qualifying examination and is not given permission by the advisory committee to retake the failed sections, then the student may not continue as a degree candidate.
The School of Music doctoral qualifying examinations are offered the third weekend in November, the third weekend in April and the third weekend in July.
Plan of Study. Students must submit their signed, official Plan of Study Form to the Graduate School by the end of the second semester they are enrolled. The Plan of Study Forms are available at www.usm.edu/graduateschool/planofstudy.php - click on the "Plans of Study" link.
Jury Requirements/Final Examinations: Doctoral Degrees
Students who are enrolled in MUP private lessons in their principal applied area and who are seeking the doctor of musical arts degree with emphasis in performance must perform a jury for the appropriate applied faculty. All other doctoral students enrolled in MUP private lessons must perform a final examination for the applied teacher. At the finish of each semester and summer term, the applied teacher must complete a Final Jury/Examination Form for each student and file it with the graduate coordinator. Students enrolled in applied music who do not take a final examination or perform for a jury will receive the grade “I” or “F.” All grades of “I” must be completed by the end of the next semester (excluding summer term). See Grading System in this Bulletin.
The applied teacher must record and submit any exception to this policy to the coordinator of graduate studies; signatures of all appropriate area faculty must be included on this form.
Comprehensive Examinations: Doctoral Degrees
At the completion of all coursework and other required examinations, the doctoral student is required to successfully complete a written comprehensive examination in the student’s area of specialization, music theory, and music history. The examination in the student’s area of specialization will be prepared and graded by the student’s committee members from that area. The examinations in music theory and history will be prepared and graded by the appropriate area faculty. The candidate’s committee members representing music history and theory will deliver the recommendation of each of those areas to the full committee. The full committee will meet to discuss the examination and recommend a grade of “pass” or “fail” for each area (specialization, music theory, music history). This meeting will be held during the first three weeks of the following semester. The graduate coordinator must receive results of the comprehensive examination in time to notify the dean of the Graduate School no later than the printed deadline (See Comprehensive Exam in the Bulletin for deadlines).
When it is determined that the comprehensive examination is unsatisfactory, in whole or in part, the student will be granted a second examination. The examination must be retaken within one year of the first, and the student will be required to repeat only those sections of the examination judged to be unsatisfactory. It is strongly recommended that the student confer with his/her committee members and other appropriate area faculty for suggestions or assistance in preparation for this repeat examination. If the second examination is determined to be unsatisfactory, in whole or in part, the student cannot earn a doctoral degree in music or music education at The University of Southern Mississippi.
The purpose of this comprehensive examination is to evaluate the student’s ability to analyze and synthesize material from a variety of sources and to communicate that knowledge in written form. Success in coursework does not guarantee success on the comprehensive examination. Most students will need to undertake a serious program of independent study and preparation in addition to any or all required coursework in order to complete the comprehensive examination successfully. Doctoral students should consult their major professor and the graduate coordinator regarding examination policies beyond those listed in the Bulletin.
The School of Music doctoral comprehensive examinations are offered each semester at the same time.
Exact dates and times are determined by the School of Music and are publicized as soon as possible.
Oral Defense: Doctoral Degrees
After the dissertation has been accepted and after all required coursework has been completed, but at least seven weeks before the candidate is scheduled to receive the degree, a final oral defense of the dissertation and related fields will be conducted by the student’s advisory committee and any other faculty members designated by the director of the Director of the School of Music. The examination will be open to any member of the graduate faculty.
Advisory Committee: Doctoral Degrees
Early in the first term of full-time residency or before nine (9) hours of graduate credit have been earned, the student and the student’s major professor select those faculty who will serve as the student’s advisory committee. The advisory committee must be appointed before one takes the qualifying examination. The committe must consists of five members: major professor, two other professors from the major area (or a substitute approved by the School of Music Director), music theory professor and music history professor.
The major professor and the student shall develop a planning sheet of coursework based upon qualifying examination information together with course requirements. In those cases where a student is required to take additional coursework beyond the minimum required by the degree, the advisory committee will counsel the student and plan the program of studies.
The student must ascertain that all members of the advisory committee can attend before scheduling a recital.* At least 14 days before the recital, the student must remind the members of the committee by issuing a written or emailed invitation to each. Doctoral recitals shall not be scheduled to occur during the week of final examinations.
If recitals are required by the student’s degree plan, the advisory committee must:
- Approve the repertoire in writing, attend the recital, and grade the performance as “satisfactory” (S) or “unsatisfactory” (U).
- This grade, indicating the majority opinion of the advisory committee, must be recorded on the Graduate Examination Report and submitted to the graduate coordinator.
- Should a recital be canceled or postponed until a succeeding semester, the recital will be graded “E” (course in progress).
- Should a recital be judged “unsatisfactory”, another recital, at a date determined by the advisory committee, must take place.
- A student who receives two grades of “unsatisfactory” in meeting degree recital requirements will not be allowed to continue as a candidate.
*When all members of a committee cannot attend a degree recital, the concert will be videotaped for the member(s) unable to attend.
- The dissertation topic must be approved by the student’s major professor and advisory committee and must be an original and significant contribution to knowledge in the chosen field. The Human Subjects Protection Review Committee (IRB) must also approve the topic, if applicable. Students should consult the IRB committee. A student may not enroll in more than three hours of MUS 898 or MED 898 before the prospectus has been approved.
- Once a topic has been approved, the student must enroll in MUS 797 , MED 797 , MUS 898 , or MED 898 in each semester/term until the degree is completed.
- A separate publication outlining university requirements concerning the preparation of dissertations is available in the Graduate School.
- Additionally, instructions specific to the development of an approved topic in Music (see required pamphlet “Prospectus Guide for the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree”) or Music Education must be followed. These may be obtained from the graduate coordinator.
Defense of the Dissertation Prospectus
A formal defense or gathering of the committeeis required for the approval of the dissertation prospectus. At the defense, the student responds to questions about the prospectus, which must be distributed to committee members at least two weeks in advance. After the defense, the student must present an updated prospectus and approved form to the individual committee members. The completed form and revised prospectus is then given to the graduate coordinator for processing.
The doctoral student must be sure that a number of documents are filed with the Graduate School. Please see “Documents-Doctoral Degree Requirements ,” this Bulletin.
Continuous Enrollment Requirement: Students must meet the requirement specified in the front section of this Bulletin.
Students must meet the residency requirements specified in this Bulletin.
Acceptance of a prospective student into the D.M.A. program in the conducting area requires a previously earned master’s degree in music or music education. The conducting faculty must be satisfied that the student is qualified to pursue the D.M.A. at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Students applying for entrance into the D.M.A. program in the conducting area must:
- provide an application that includes a current resume; a repertoire list specifying works conducted in performance; three letters of recommendation which center on the applicant’s conducting abilities; a videotape of a rehearsal conducted by the applicant; and a video or audio tape of a performance conducted by the applicant.
- complete an interview and an audition. After review of the application by the conducting faculty, the applicant may be invited to an interview-audition on campus. It will include 1) a session with the conducting faculty to assess one’s musical proficiencies and 2) a rehearsal of an appropriate university ensemble to assess one’s rehearsal technique.
In the interview, the applicant will demonstrate the following:
- musicality, preferably by showing proficiency as a performer on a standard orchestral or band instrument, on a standard keyboard instrument, or as a singer
- keyboard proficiency above the basic level in technique, musicianship, and open-score reading;
- a high degree of competence in ear-training and sight-singing
- thorough knowledge of the traditional orchestral and band instruments and their transpositions;
- acquaintance with a broad range of appropriate repertoire from various periods
- detailed knowledge of works from the applicant’s repertoire list
The audition rehearsal will use repertoire selected in consultation with the appropriate faculty and will last for approximately 30 minutes. The applicant’s competence in effective gestural and verbal communication will be assessed. For applicants admitted to the program with deficiencies in any of the above, no degree credit will be granted for any required remedial work.
The D.M.A. student will be required to take either MUS 500 or MED 825 . Also required are MUS 702 ,MUS 731 , MUS 732 , and MUS 898 ; MED 731 , MED 732 , MED 733 ; MUP 896 and MUP 897 . The remainder of the coursework will be determined in light of the student’s qualifying examination, entrance interview-audition, interests or professional goals, and the counsel of the major professor and graduate advisory committee. In planning this program, the following minimum distribution of graduate courses (including master’s degree work) is required: thirty (30) semester hours in performance, conducting, and recitals, nine (9) semester hours in music history (survey courses and/or MUS 571 ), three (3) semester hours in music literature (MUS 531 and/or courses with the word "literature" in the title), nine (9) semester hours in music theory, and six (6) hours of approved electives which may include a cognate field of study (a course in foundations of music education is recommended). A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation. Graduate students must receive a grade of B or better in any class in order for it to count toward the graduation requirements.
Recitals: Two concerts and a lecture recital will be required. Repertoire for these concerts must be approved in advance by the student’s advisory committee. When practical, the repertoire will include works for both vocal and instrumental components. As a general rule, not more than one doctoral concert/recital may be presented by a candidate during any semester nor more than two during any nine-month period. Rare exceptions will be permitted, but only under rigidly controlled procedures. See your advisory committee for details.
Satisfactory competence in English and German, French, or Italian is required for candidacy. Competence in a foreign language can be demonstrated by:
- completing three semesters of an undergraduate-level language course with a grade of B or higher;
- completing two semesters of a graduate-level course in German or French in reading for research with a grade of C or higher.
Note: Credit for graduate courses in foreign languages will not be counted toward the degree.
The D.M.A. dissertation, required for completion of the degree, consists of two parts. Part I must be a written thesis that is an original and significant contribution to the knowledge of the field; it must give evidence of the candidate’s ability to make a scholarly investigation of limited scope. Part II must include all recital programs, concert programs, and program notes presented during the student’s residency.