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Comprehensive Examination Policy

All students must pass an oral comprehensive examination before a committee consisting of graduate faculty members.  The examination consists of two parts:

  • Paper Presentation.  Students will be required to prepare and submit a paper demonstrating their highest level of scholarship and writing ability.  This paper should be selected well in advance of the exam after consultation with the student’s advisor.  Students may use a paper that they submitted as a requirement for a course, but the paper should be revised, corrected, and updated for the oral examination.  The student should prepare and give a 20-minute presentation of the paper, suitable for a professional education conference.
  • Music Education Questions.  Students will be asked to prepare answers to questions posed by the committee.  Students may not speak from notes during the exam. Five questions will be submitted for preparation; four will be randomly selected for response during the exam.  Study guidance will be given to the student prior to the exam and will address content from the students’ coursework.

The comprehensive oral examination will be given to students in the semester before taking MUSC 545: Curriculum Project or MUSC 546: Thesis I and II.  Students taking the exam will meet with their advisors approximately one month prior to the exam for the purpose of receiving the questions submitted by the graduate faculty.  Students may not speak from notes during the exam. This exam will take approximately 60 minutes to complete.

At the conclusion of the exam, students will be asked to leave the room while the committee confers. One of two recommendations will be made: (1) full pass, (2) retry all or a portion of the exam.

Students may repeat any portion of the exam one time on a date to be determined by the committee. After two unsuccessful attempts on any portion of the exam, the entire exam is deemed a failure.

The purpose of the comprehensive oral exam is to demonstrate the candidate's

  • knowledge of the content materials throughout the degree,
  • ability to present the acquired knowledge in a setting comparable to a presentation given at a conference/professional meeting, and
  • ability to organize and communicate acquired knowledge to an audience.