The policies and procedures on this page, together with the official current General Catalog of the University and the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College, should provide clear guidelines concerning all aspects of graduate study.
Graduate Student Policies and Procedures
It is the responsibility of each graduate student to be informed about the policies and procedures of the School of Music graduate program and the regulations of The University of Iowa Graduate College. Graduate students are expected to:
Consult with their principal adviser concerning course schedules prior to all registration periods.
Select faculty committees for recitals and the final and/or comprehensive examinations, in consultation with their principal advisor. Students are expected to contact faculty personally and obtain signatures confirming faculty availability for committee responsibilities (recital forms and dissertation topic approval forms).
Be aware of the School of Music deadlines for examinations and degree completion requirements.
Consult with the Director for Graduate Studies as necessary for guidance on degree programs, examinations, completion of the Plan of Study, and other details relative to graduation requirements.
Graduate courses taken at other accredited colleges and universities may be transferred and applied toward degree requirements at The University of Iowa, pending approval. For D.M.A. students, the maximum number of core academic courses that may be transferred is five: one bibliography/research course (equivalent to Introduction to Graduate Study in Music MUS:5300), two music history courses (only one of which can be equivalent to a 4000-level course), and two theory courses. Courses equivalent to those required due to the results of the Graduate Advisory Examinations are not considered for transfer credit. For example, if a student is required to take MUS:5200 Review of Undergraduate Theory as a result of the Music Theory Advisory Exam, a course of similar content taken at another institution will not be considered for transfer credit. Other courses specific to area requirements (i.e. literature and pedagogy courses) may be submitted for evaluation, as well. Transfer credit requests for Ph.D. students will be evaluated on an individual basis.
The student makes a formal request for transfer credit to the Director for Graduate Studies by submitting, to the Academic Office (1400J VOX) or by email email@example.com, a completed Request for Graduate Transfer Credit form and supporting materials, including a syllabus for the course, any written papers for the course, a transcript which indicates the final grade for the course, exams which seem pertinent to the materials covered in the course, and other materials of significance. Send one email per each indivdual course request. All requests are to be submitted from the individual student and no recommendations from individual faculty members on behalf of a particular student will be accepted.
School of Music does not accept transfer credits for applied lessons or enembles from any institution; this includes students that continue their University of Iowa education from M.A. to D.M.A.
The Director of Graduate Studies will consult with a designated faculty member in the area, and will receive a recommendation in writing from the area or area head regarding the requested transfer credit. The Director of Graduate Studies will then determine an outcome based on the recommendation from the area. Students will be notified of the results by an emailed letter.
To facilitate registration scheduling, students are urged to request transfer credit in the first semester of enrollment in the graduate program. It is the responsibility of the student to be an advocate for their academic file while at the University of Iowa and to be cognizant of particular academic course requirements that pertain to their individual degree programs.
Of the 30-semester hour minimum required for a M.A., 24 s.h. must be completed at the University of Iowa. Classes with grades lower than "C-" do not count toward residency or toward the degree. Classes with a grade of "S" do count.
Doctoral Graduate College Residency
All doctoral programs will contain a minimum of 72 s.h. of graduate work. Of those 72 s.h., a minimum of 39 must be earned while registered in the University of Iowa Graduate College, and after formal program admission. For example the academic registration cannot be fulfilled by coursework completed under the non-degree or non-departmental student classification or with transfer credit. Classes with grades lower than "C-" do not count toward residency or toward the degree. Classes with a grade of "S" do count.
All students should consult their advisor prior to the beginning of each pre-registration period. Applied students (performance, conducting, composition) should consult their major professor. Musicology, Theory, Music Education, and Music Therapy students should consult their assigned area advisor.
General questions concerning the graduate program may be directed to the Director for Graduate Studies. Any change in the course registration requires the signature of the principal adviser.
Recital, comprehensive and final examination, and thesis/essay committees are selected by the student with approval of his/her major professor. Tenured and tenure-track faculty are considered “regular graduate faculty.” Visitors, lecturers, emeritus, clinical and adjunct faculty may be approved for comprehensive and final examination committee membership (temporary graduate faculty status) by the Graduate College. Temporary graduate faculty status does not qualify one to serve as one of the required regular graduate faculty committee members.
The composition of committees may be defined further by the areas. Please check specific area guidelines.
Master’s Recital Committees must be comprised of three members of the graduate faculty, with no fewer than two members of the regular graduate faculty.
The Final Examination Committee for the Master's degree consists of at least three members of the graduate faculty, appointed by the dean upon recommendation of the major department or program, at least two of whom are from the major department and at least two of whom are members of the regular graduate faculty. If the examination covers work in another department, one member of the committee must be from that department. Upon recommendation of the major department, the dean may appoint additional qualified persons (not necessarily members of the graduate faculty) to serve as voting members of the examining committee, and at their discretion the Graduate College dean may add a member to the committee.
The Doctoral Recital, Comprehensive Examination and Final Examination are conducted by committees of no fewer than four members of the graduate faculty, three of whom must be regular members of the graduate faculty, appointed by the dean upon recommendation of the major department, except that departments may request the dean's permission to replace one of the four members of the graduate faculty by a recognized scholar of professorial rank from another academic institution. A member of the graduate faculty from outside the major department is required in those cases where a related field outside the major department is included in the comprehensive examination.
Upon recommendation of the major department, the dean may appoint additional qualified persons (not necessarily members of the graduate faculty) to serve as voting members of the examining committees. A voting member may be added at the discretion of the Graduate College dean.
Notification of Exam Results
Students are to be notified by their major professor of the results of qualifying exams and recitals within two weeks of the exam or recital, of the results of final or comprehensive exams within three weeks of the exam, and of the results of essay, thesis, or dissertation defenses within forty-eight hours of the defense. In the event of a vote of Reservations on a qualifying recital, qualifying examination, or degree recital, the student and the Director of Graduate Studies are to be notified in writing by the major professor of how the Reservations will be satisfied. In the event of a vote of Reservations on a final or comprehensive examination, the student, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the appropriate Associate Dean of the Graduate College are to be notified in writing by the major professor of how the Reservations will be satisfied.
Advanced degree credit is given for grades of A, B, C, and S (satisfactory). No credit is given for D, F, I (incomplete), W (withdrawn), R (registered), and U (unsatisfactory). Plus (+) and minus (-) grades are also assigned. The grade of I may be used only when a student's work cannot be completed due to illness, accident, or other circumstances beyond the student's control. The I grade must be removed within the first session of registration after the closing date of the session for which it is given; otherwise it becomes an F. Summer sessions are not counted as a full session. The deadlines for removal of a grade of I are given in the University Schedule of Courses. Grades of S and U may be used for specialized registrations such as Thesis, Research, Independent Study, and Special Projects. Neither S nor U is used in computing grade-point averages. The R grade indicates that a student registered for zero credit and attended as an auditor throughout a course.
See the Graduate College Manual of Rules and Regulations, section VI, "Marking System" for further information.
Master's students complete the Plan of Study with their primary adviser within the session in which the final exam is taken. Completed Plans of Study are submitted to the Academic Office for approval by the dates indicated each semester. The Plan accompanies the departmental request to the Graduate College for permission to take the final examination.
Ph.D. and D.M.A. students complete the Plan of Study with their primary adviser within the session in which the comprehensive exam is taken. Completed Plans of Study are submitted to the Academic Office for approval by the dates indicated each semester. The Plan accompanies the departmental request to the Graduate College for permission to take the comprehensive examination.
Examinations are scheduled by the School of Music. Students are notified by email when exam information is due.
2023-2024 Exam Dates:
Fall 2023 Deadlines
- All final/comp exams will be take-home.
- Faculty must send their comp exam questions in PDF format to students and Pauline via email by Friday, October 6.
- The deadline for students to submit exam answers in PDF format to Pauline is Friday, November 3, 12:00pm CST. Exam submissions received after 12:00pm CST will NOT be accepted; this is a non-negotiable deadline.
Spring 2024 Deadlines
- All final/comp exams will be take-home.
- Faculty must send their comp exam questions in PDF format to students and Pauline via email by Tuesday, March 5.
- The deadline for students to submit exam answers in PDF format to Pauline is Tuesday, April 2, 12:00pm CST. Exam submissions received after 12:00pm CST will NOT be accepted; this is a non-negotiable deadline.
- The requirements for all master's degrees include a final written examination. Such an examination will not duplicate course examinations. It will be evaluated by an examining committee consisting of at least three members of the graduate faculty, two of whom are from the major area, unless the area consists of only one faculty member. The examination is judged to be satisfactory or unsatisfactory, with two unsatisfactory votes making the committee report unsatisfactory. If the area so recommends, candidates who fail the examination may present themselves for re-examination, but not sooner than the next regularly scheduled examination period in the following session. The examination may be repeated only once.
- Candidates for doctoral degrees must pass a comprehensive examination, consisting of written or oral parts or both at the discretion of the major area. Admission to the comprehensive examination is granted upon the recommendation of the major area, the filing of the Plan of Study, and the approval of the Dean of the Graduate College. A student must be registered in the Graduate College at the time of the comprehensive examination, which must be passed not later than the session prior to the session of graduation. This examination is intended to be an inclusive evaluation of the candidate's master of the major and related fields of study, including the tools of research in which competence has been certified. For doctoral committees a minimum of four faculty members evaluate the exam. If the student has an approved secondary area, the secondary area advisor must be one of the four members, and will provide questions pertaining to that area. The examination may be repeated only once.
The following are degree examination requirements within the School of Music:
- M.A. — Final Examination (see specific area information)
- Ph.D. Composition, Theory — Qualifying Examination
- Ph.D., D.M.A. — Comprehensive Examination (see specific area information)
- Ph.D., D.M.A. — Final Examination, Defense of Dissertation, Thesis Composition, D.M.A. Essay/Thesis
Exam Guidelines and Information:
- Students are NOT allowed to use the Internet, notes, scores, etc., unless approved by the question writer and it is specifically stated on your original question.
- For exam results contact your committee chair. Results are not given out in the Academic Office. The Grad College only notifies doctoral students who pass their exams.
Doctoral students must maintain continuous registration once they have passed their comprehenseive exams. This means they must be registered every fall and spring semesters until they pass their final defense, deposit their thesis, and graduate.
Registration options are as follows:
1. A minimum of 1 s.h. in a required or elective course, such as research or thesis hours to complete the plan of study,
2. Doctoral Continuous Registration (DCR). DCR requires a 1 s.h. tuition/fee payment.
If a temporary lapse in a student's academic program is required due to military service, medical leave, maternity leave, or personal/family leave, a student may petition the Graduate College to be allowed to register for Ph.D. Postcomprehensive Registration (PCR), which allows for the assessment of a special minimum fee. If a petition is granted, it is to be understood that a student will not make significant use of university resources, or engage in significant consultation with the faculty.
In the final semester, Music requires doctoral students to register for 1 s.h. of DMA Essay/Thesis. If an additional semester is needed after the defense prior to the thesis deposit students may register for Doctoral Final Registration (DFR), which requires a 1 s.h. tuition/fee payment.
The Short Hours Form is an on-line request that must be completed by the Graduate Coordinator, Pauline Wieland. Students are not allowed to complete the on-line request. If a student does send a form into the system it will be deleted. The form must be approved by both the student's advisor and the department DEO.
The intent of this form is as follows:
- The student may be obtaining financial aid and needs to be at least a half-time student.
- The student may be deferring previous student loans and needs to be at least a half-time student.
- IRS regulations state that a student employee has to be doing research in fulfillment of their degree and enrolled as at least a half-time student in order to qualify as exempt from FICA withholdings.
Students on an assistantship must have prior approval from Dr. David Puderbaugh before making the formal request.
To request a Short Hours Form students must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following information:
- Full Name and UID Number
- Faculty Advisor's Full Name
- Session(s) for certification: Fall, Spring, Summer (This document can cover a calendar year (January through December) OR an academic year (Summer Session through Spring Semester.)
- Status of Enrollment: Full-Time
- From the options below list the activity that is the reason for the request that is not reflected in the current registration.
Due to federal regulations, ONLY the criteria LISTED below are considered valid activities for fulfilling this form. All reasons work CONCURRENTLY with a registration during the selected session(s)/semester(s).
- Research in fulfillment of a degree requirement
- Writing a dissertation or thesis
- Preparing a prospectus
- Gaining facility in a foreign language/other tools
- Preparing for a comprehensive/final examination
- Research/Teaching Assistantship (RA/TA)
Students who require a Short Hours Form for a previous time period must do the request by paper form and those forms are located in the Academic Office, 1400J VOX.
A copy of the dissertation/essay/thesis must be given to the committee two weeks prior to the scheduled defense. (This copy is to be used for the defense; any further revisions should be made following the defense.) It is important to schedule the defense at least two weeks prior to the Graduate College’s deposit date to allow for any substantial changes that may be necessary.
Please note that School of Music deadlines may differ from some of the Graduate College deadlines and if so then the School of Music deadlines take precedent.
Summer 2024 deadlines (TBA)
In many cases it is advisable to consult with committee members during the actual preparation of the dissertation/essay/thesis. This avoids potential problems that could occur at the time of the defense itself. Co-advisers are certainly possible, and indeed necessary in many situations.
Once the defense has been passed, the thesis must be complete and in final form before it is submitted to the Graduate College. See this link for the Graduate College’s formatting requirements: https://grad.uiowa.edu/academics/thesis-and-dissertation. Be aware of the Graduate College’s thesis deadline for each semester: .
Degree- and discipline-specific Information:
For Master's degrees with thesis, not more than 9 semester hours of credit for thesis research and writing shall be counted in satisfying the 30-hour minimum requirement.
For doctoral students, the deposit can be no later than the end of the semester (summers excluded) following the session in which the final examination is passed; failure to meet this deadline will require re-examination of the student.
General Information & Process
1) Students complete their Plan of Study at time of final/comp exams.
2) Only approved sub-track is the Theory Minor.
3) Exam date, time and location must be included before defense can be requested.
4) Two hours are allowed for the defense. Suggestion – when reserving a room try to reserve for 30 mins prior (prep time) and after defense (for committee discussion).
5) Name and Rank: use full faculty names and title/rank.
6) Program is Music unless you have an outside member then use that department name.
7) Electronic verification of the thesis/essay will follow deposit and Graduate College examination. Committee members will be notified to provide electronic verification of thesis/essay.
Dissertation Defense Room Reservation
Dissertation defenses are to be scheduled within the first five weeks of classes. Please include the name of the Primary Advisor, date, and time that the committee is free.
Many dissertation defenses are held in the conference rooms in the administrative suite. A defense will be scheduled for two hours, and the reservation will include an additional half-hour for set-up and half-hour for discussion afterwards (3 hours total). For scheduling in the conference rooms, email email@example.com.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve any other room. The reservation will be confirmed by email to the student, the advisor and the Academic Office.
The DMA Thesis: Recording Project will consist of a high quality, professionally produced audio recording of significant repertoire and an accompanying paper.
Developments in the production and distribution of digital recordings have increasingly led music departments and schools of music in academic institutions to include studio recordings as evidence of research and scholarly work in considering faculty productivity. Professional recordings and videos produced by performing faculty are considered analogous to the publication of books or articles by academic faculty.
In light of these trends in the academic and professional performance marketplace, the School of Music has implemented the DMA Thesis: Recording Project.
To schedule a recital, see Recital Scheduling for the required forms and procedures.
Students are responsible for creating and duplicating their own programs for all recitals. The programs must be prepared according to the style instructions stipulated in the Appendix. Extreme deviations from this style may result in the loss of credit for that recital. Programs may be duplicated at any campus copy center or at a local commercial printer.
Students are responsible for finding someone to distribute the programs at their recital. In addition, it is the student's responsibility to deliver at least one copy of the program to each member of their committee.
One program copy must be submitted to Pauline Wieland and it may be placed in her mailbox in the School of Music mailroom.
Graduate students who complete a degree or certification program during the placement year (September 1-August 31) may establish a placement file with the Educational Placement Office, N302 Lindquist Center. Doctoral students may register for placement services if course requirements will be completed during the placement year.
See also: www.careers.uiowa.edu
Grievances are handled by the Office of the Dean of Students, by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences if the student is employed as a teaching assistant, or by the Graduate College if the student is a research assistant. Copies of the grievance procedures are available from the Graduate College.
In addition, graduate assistants employed by the University of Iowa are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
A student who has a complaint is responsible for following the procedures described below. Complaints may concern inappropriate faculty conduct (including inappropriate course materials), incompetence in oral communication, inequities in assignments, scheduling of examinations at other than authorized and published times; failure to provide disability accommodations, or grading grievances. For complaints involving the assignment of grades, it is College policy that grades cannot be changed without the permission of the department concerned.
The student ordinarily should attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor first. If the complaint is not resolved to the student's satisfaction, the student should consult the course supervisor (if the instructor is a teaching assistant). In the School of Music, if the matter remains unresolved after consultation with the course supervisor, the student should address the Director of Graduate Studies.
If the complaint remains unsolved, the student submits a written complaint to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs through the Graduate College.
A graduate student who elects to pursue a complaint or grievance through the Graduate College AGP is first advised by the Associate Dean of the different possible ways to proceed. The student then elects whether to first pursue a complaint using an informal process or whether to file a grievance and to proceed by a more formal process. Details about these processes are available from the Graduate College Administrative Office.
If the complaint involves sexual harassment, these procedures need not be followed. The University policy on sexual harassment and consensual relationships in the instructional context can be found in "Policies and Regulations Affecting Students," available at the Campus Information Center, in the Office of Affirmative Action, and in September as a supplement to The Daily Iowan.
The Office of the University Ombudsperson responds to problems and disputes brought forward by all members of the University community -- students, staff and faculty -- that appear irresolvable through existing channels. Before consulting the ombudsperson, an attempt should be made to resolve problems by following the procedures described above.
The following Change in Grad Status requests are for current School of Music University of Iowa students and the update is within Music. Music students that want to add a program outside of the School of Music must work directly with that department.
- MA student adding a second MA degree
- MA student continuing on to a DMA/PhD degree
- MA student changing to a different sub-program
- DMA/PhD student adding a MA degree
- DMA/PhD student switching to a MA degree
- DMA /PhD student changing to a different sub-program
To make this request the faculty member of the area must email email@example.com with the information, which includes the student's name, UID number and what specific update is being requested. This email should be copied to the student, and the student's faculty advisor (if a different area). Or if preferred the student may print and complete the Change in Grad Status form and have the appropriate faculty initial/sign the document and then attach it to an email which must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above request is reviewed by David Puderbaugh, Director of Graduate Studies. If approved then the official request is completed on-line by Pauline Wieland, Music Grad Coordinator.
Questions? Contact Pauline Wieland.
The Secondary Area of Music option of the D.M.A. program is an opportunity for students to individualize their course of study according to their strengths, personal interests, and career aspirations. The Secondary Area will enhance their viability in the job market and broaden the student’s professional profile and competence.
The student, their major advisor, and the professor from the secondary area will define this individualized component of the D.M.A. course of study by the end of the first year of study. This contract, listing the required coursework or other specific outcomes, will be filed with the student’s record in the Academic Office. The required coursework will include a minimum of six semester hours. These hours may not include any courses required to fulfill other degree requirements. The student’s Comprehensive Examination committee will include the secondary area advisor, who will provide questions pertaining to the secondary area.
Possible secondary areas include conducting, music education, jazz studies, music theory, music history, chamber music, audio recording, or a secondary applied area. Secondary areas may not be specialized areas of the primary performance/pedagogy or conducting area.
The approval process for the proposal for the Ph.D. thesis*, D.M.A. thesis, D.M.A. essay, D.M.A recording project, and M.A. thesis requires the following steps:
- The student writes the proposal in consultation with the faculty advisor. Every proposal must contain the following information in such detail that the faculty committee may have sufficient information for consideration of your project:
a. Proposed Title
b. Statement of the problem and need for the study; with appropriate references to the current research.
c. Method of research; to include representative bibliography and availability of material.
d. Outline of content: chapter titles and major subheadings.
When the advisor judges that the proposal is complete, the student provides copies, two weeks prior to proposal defense, to the prospective members of the final examination committee.
Either in person, or by conference video/telephone, the student meets with the advisor and the committee to defend the proposal. The meeting includes a substantive discussion of the proposal by the student and the committee members; the student is expected to answer questions about the subject matter, methodology, bibliography, copyright permissions, IRB approval, and so on. The committee will vote on the proposal as satisfactory or unsatisfactory, the latter resulting from two votes of “unsatisfactory.”
a. The proposal defense may take place at any time during the semester the student takes comprehensive examinations, but not before.
b. The proposal defense must be passed at least one semester prior to the thesis final defense.
c. Three committee members must be present; including the committee chair/co-chair. The absent member may participate remotely or provide written feedback. Written feedback must be sent to the student and to the committee prior to the proposal defense to allow for full discussion.
- If the proposal is approved the committee will authorize the Topic Approval form, followed by the student’s Area Head and then the Director for Graduate Studies. The form must be initiated on-line by the student and will enter the Workflow system once it’s complete; which includes all required names and uploaded documents. The form will follow this Workflow path: committee chair, other four members, Area Head, Director for Graduate Studies. Graduate thesis options are described below.
- If the committee evaluates the proposal as unsatisfactory, the student must submit a revised version to the committee, and defend it at a second committee meeting. The committee will again vote to evaluate the proposal as satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
*Ph.D. students in composition whose thesis consists entirely of a musical score are exempt from the above requirement for a committee meeting, but must still have the proposal approved in writing by the members of the final examination committee.
The master’s thesis is a brief work of original scholarship, possibly expanding upon a paper written for a previous seminar. The thesis should be similar in scope to a publishable article in a scholarly journal. Areas with the M.A. thesis requirement include Composition, Music Education (thesis option only), Musicology, and Theory. Consult with your area head for specific requirements.
The essay is of a lesser scope and of a content that may not be of general scholarly interest because it relies on discoveries and interpretations of others already published. Possibilities include comparisons of editions of major works, performance editions, program notes based on an acceptable level of scholarly research, and discussion of performance problems. This listing does not preclude using some of these subjects for the thesis if the research is sufficient in scope and depth. The term Essay must be used on title pages.
The thesis is a research-oriented study of sufficient scope and depth to be of interest to scholars generally. It should present original discoveries and/or interpretations that should be recognized as new by other specialists in the field at the time the thesis is submitted. The subject matter need not be related to the material used in the recitals. The term Thesis must be used on title pages.
D.M.A. Recording Project:
The recording option is a studio quality audio recording of significant repertoire and an accompanying essay. Both the recording and essay will be fully researched, vetted by a committee, then prepared, recorded, and produced by the candidate, and finally evaluated by a committee. The recording project consists of two parts:
- An in-depth proposal in which the candidate describes the project, provides a review of extant recordings, details the significance of the project, and outlines the recording process including preparation of material and proposed schedule for recording, editing, and mastering;
- Presentation of the finished product, including deposit of a 55-75 minute master recording and the accompanying essay consisting of substantive program/liner notes, and formal and public abstracts.
The dissertation makes an original contribution to the knowledge of the discipline. It demonstrates the student’s ability to engage in historical, ethnographic, quantitative, or other critical research as an independent scholar.