General Requirements for Doctoral Degrees

Qualifying Examinations

Applicants for a doctoral degree are not considered candidates for the degree until they have passed the qualifying examinations and have been recommended by their advisory committee to the dean of the University Graduate School or the dean of the Jacobs School of Music.

Preliminary Requirements

Before the qualifying examinations are scheduled, doctoral students must have been admitted to the curriculum and have met the following preliminary requirements:

  1. The student must have satisfied all prerequisites, proficiencies, and tool subject requirements.
  2. To take the major field examination, the student must have completed all course work for the major field (except certain recitals and dissertation, final project, or essay). For minors within the Jacobs School of Music, the student must have completed all course work in the minor field before taking the examination for that minor.
  3. Students pursuing the Ph.D. in music theory and D.M. in composition must have their dissertation topic approved before taking the oral qualifying examination. Students pursuing the D.M., D.M.E., or Ph.D. in music education must have their final project or dissertation topic approved before the major field written examination may be scheduled. Students pursuing the Ph.D. in musicology may have their dissertation topic approved before or after the qualifying examinations.

Research topic proposals must be approved by the student’s research committee and, if the research involves human subjects, by the Bloomington Institutional Review Board. Information on procedures for securing approval of research topics may be obtained from the Music Graduate Office. When preliminary requirements have been met, students may schedule qualifying examinations in the Music Graduate Office. Upon application, written qualifying examinations may be written during the summer term.

Musical Styles

All doctoral students must demonstrate their ability to deal analytically and stylistically with a broad range of musical compositions by taking the Doctoral Styles Examination. Students must take the exam in their first spring semester of enrollment. Students who pass the exam meet the requirement. Students who do not pass the exam may retake the exam once with permission of the director of graduate studies, if their score is within a range recommended by the Doctoral Styles Committee. Students who do not pass the exam must earn a grade of B or higher in T545 Introductory Analysis of Music Literature. This course may fall anywhere in the student’s curriculum. T545 taken previously at Indiana University and passed with a grade of B or higher will be accepted in place of the exam; transfer credits will not be accepted. This requirement must be completed before a student may begin to take qualifying examinations.

Written Examinations

Students must take written examinations in the major and minor fields. (Minors outside the Jacobs School of Music may not require a written examination.) These examinations are prepared by the advisory committee member(s) representing the major or minor field and may be based on the content of courses taken in each field or on the background and concepts pertinent to the area. At the discretion of the minor field representative (as guided by appropriate department policy), students having music performance as a minor may substitute a 30-minute performance examination by a faculty jury or a graded recital for the written examination. The minor in music information technology requires submission of a portfolio in place of a written exam.

Oral Examination

The oral qualifying examination is administered by the student’s advisory committee. The major field oral qualifying examination has as its aim the assessment of the student’s knowledge of the major area. For D.M. students (performance, conducting, or composition), the examination is especially focused on the literature included in a repertoire list approved by the chair of the student’s advisory committee and the director of graduate studies. This examination may include assessment of the student’s ability to articulate an understanding of the formal/analytical characteristics of the music, its historical development and social context, and features related to its teaching and learning. Minor field oral examinations, if required, take place at the same time as the major field oral examination, but are evaluated separately. The result of each portion of the examination is determined by a majority vote of the advisory committee members from that field. A failed examination may be retaken once. The committee will prescribe the scope of questioning of the reexamination. Oral examinations may be scheduled during the summer term only if the entire advisory committee is available.

Academic Bulletins

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Previous Bulletins

Students are ordinarily subject to the curricular requirements outlined in the Bulletin in effect at the start of their current degree. See below for links to previous Bulletins.