- What is the admissions process like?
- What will my teaching experience look like? How much mentorship will I have, and how much independence will I have?
- How long does the MM program take?
- What are the course requirements for the MM program?
- How long does the PhD program take?
- What are the course requirements for the PhD program?
- What does the PhD program look like after coursework is completed?
- Will I have opportunities to continue performing?
- What will my financial aid package be?
What is the admissions process like?
The application and admissions processes for MM and PhD candidates are quite similar. By December 1, you must submit your application to Indiana University and to the Jacobs School of Music (more information can be found on the website for the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid). In addition to the graduate applications, the music theory department requests two writing samples, one of which should ideally show some skill in the analysis of tonal music. For MM applicants, it is also acceptable to submit analytical work, such as a Roman-numeral analysis or a voice-leading sketch.
From the initial applicants, we select a group who are invited to campus (note that in 2021, campus visits will happen virtually). These candidates will meet individually with three faculty members of their choosing, and will also meet with the chair. Each candidate also receives a musicianship evaluation, in which we assess the applicant’s teaching ability through tests of aural and keyboard skills, as well as analysis of score excerpts and audio excerpts.
What will my teaching experience look like? How much mentorship will I have, and how much independence will I have?
All of our graduate students receive an Associate Instructor (AI) appointment. Our undergraduate core courses consist of large lectures taught by a faculty member (two or three times per week) and small-group drill sections taught by the AIs (twice per week). Each AI therefore works closely under the mentorship of a faculty member who provides lesson plans and holds weekly staff meetings, but also has a high degree of independence in crafting their own drills. Our more advanced AIs can also be appointed as AI coordinators, who are responsible either for teaching the honors sections of undergraduate theory or for supervising the large-lecture undergraduate aural skills courses, and who essentially serve as instructors of record for their courses.
After their initial semester of appointment, AIs submit preference forms indicating what they would like to teach. We do our best to honor these preferences, giving each AI a teaching experience customized to their pedagogical interest and drawing on their specific strengths. Students who complete both MM and PhD degrees have the opportunity to serve as AIs for our complete undergraduate curriculum in both written theory and aural skills.
How long does the MM program take?
Our MM program typically takes two years to complete.
What are the course requirements for the MM program?
For the MM degree, each student takes 21 credits (seven courses) in the major field. These are:
- Analytical Techniques for Tonal Music
- Analysis of Music Since 1900
- Schenkerian Analysis
- Stylistic Counterpoint (either 16th-century or 18th-century)
- Readings in Music Theory
- Music Theory Pedagogy
- One doctoral seminar
Additionally, students are required to complete six credits (two courses) in music history and literature, six elective credits (which can also be taken from music theory or history course offerings), and our Music Bibliography course.
At the end of the MM program, students submit a portfolio of written work, demonstrating proficiency in research, analytical, and practical areas.
How long does the PhD program take?
Most students complete our PhD program in five years: two to three years of coursework, and another two to three years of exams and dissertation.
What are the course requirements for the PhD program?
The core of our PhD program comprises 25 credits (eight courses). These are:
- History of Music Theory I and II
- Four special-topic seminars
- Readings in Music TheoryChoice of one more doctoral seminar, a Master’s-level seminar, or an independent-study project
- Dissertation Topic Workshop (one credit; completed during the last semester of coursework)
- Students who come to IU from other institutions are required either to take or validate (by exam or portfolio) our MM courses listed above.
PhD students must minor in either music history or musicology. Students may pursue a second minor by selecting twelve additional credits in another field; otherwise, these credits may be used for general electives or put towards the dissertation. In addition, students must pass a reading-knowledge exam in one non-English language or demonstrate proficiency in a related research skill, subject to approval of the department. Students usually finish coursework in five or six semesters.
What does the PhD program look like after coursework is completed?
After students complete coursework, they must complete a dissertation topic proposal, pass minor- and major-field qualifying exams, and complete their dissertation. A typical order of events is as follows:
- In the last semester of coursework, students take the Dissertation Topic Workshop, which culminates in a dissertation prospectus—a short version of what will become their full topic proposal
- Students take their minor-field exam in music history or musicology. Once students begin the exam process, they have one calendar year to complete all exams
- Students take their major-field written qualifying exam. This normally comprises four topic areas: history of theory, tonal analysis, post-tonal analysis, and a special topic often related to the student’s dissertation. Students may substitute the special topic by doubling up on one of the other topic areas.
- Once a student has passed the major-field written exam, they sit for the oral exam, in which the faculty may follow up on the written exam or ask more general questions about the field.
- At any point during the exam process, or after it is complete, the dissertation prospectus is expanded into the full topic proposal, which is approved by the entire department.
- Once a student has passed all exams, and their dissertation topic proposal is approved, they are a candidate for the degree, and need to complete the dissertation itself.
Will I have opportunities to continue performing?
Yes! Our students are encouraged to continue their performance activities. Each MM student enrolls in large ensembles for their four semesters in the program, giving them an opportunity to perform with our world-class orchestra, choir, new-music, or historical-performance ensembles. Private lessons and are also available to all of our graduate students via audition with the relevant faculty. Our GTA (Graduate Theory Association) also hosts a recital each fall, in which the theorists can showcase their talents in performance and composition.
What will my financial aid package be?
Each of our students receives a package worth approximately $45,000. Students receive a 96.5% tuition reimbursement, health insurance, and a stipend of roughly $10,500 per year. Some mandatory fees apply, but we are often able to provide additional scholarship assistance for exceptional applicants.
Additionally, we have three Jacobs Fellowships available for PhD students, which provide an $18,000 stipend per year for four years.