Graduate Information and Policies

Graduate Music Studies

Information and Policies


  1. Introduction and Mission Statement

    The David L. Walters Department of Music at Jacksonville State University seeks to provide professional training and promote scholarship among students in the discipline of music.  Course offerings lead to the Master of Arts in music with either a music education or general music concentration.  Students choose between an instrumental or vocal/choral program of study and will engage in activities that nourish their broad and specific educational needs.  With a flexible course schedule that provides evening and summer classes, the JSU Music Department makes a commitment to serve the regional educational community and helps foster and preserve a high level of musical instruction.  A fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music, the music department offers graduate instruction by highly qualified faculty members with significant professional experience.  Small classes and many opportunities for one-on-one instruction help create a comfortable and stimulating educational environment.

  2. Departmental Admission Requirements 

    Applicants seeking admission to graduate study in the David L. Walters Department of Music must first satisfy all admission requirements of the Graduate Studies, which are available online on the Graduate Studies website. The student must also submit the Graduate Application for Music Study downloadable at and take the Graduate Music Placement Examination (consisting of Music History and Music Theory) before completing nine credit hours and being admitted to the program.  Students admitted with conditions or on probation will be advised to strengthen their application status through self-study or by auditing undergraduate Music History and/or Music Theory courses.  Admission decisions are made by the Graduate Committee and are based on educational records, GRE or MAT scores, the student's recent GPA, letters of recommendation, written expression of goals, and the results of Graduate Music Placement Exam.  Additionally, students must complete MU511 Research Methods or currently be enrolled in MU511 Research Methods when pursuing beyond nine credit hours. 

    Applicants for the Master of Arts degree with a major in music and a concentration in music education must possess an undergraduate music education degree and a valid state teacher certification.  Applicants who do not currently hold a teaching certificate and who wish to attain teacher licensure may elect to pursue the Alternate Fifth Year Program (see Graduate Catalog). Applicants for the Master of Arts degree in general music must hold an undergraduate degree in music.  

  3. Individualized Course of Study, Research Method Requirement, Thesis Option

    Before completion of the first semester in the master’s program, all entering students who have been formally admitted to the JSU Graduate Studies must schedule an advisement conference with the Music Department Head or Graduate Music Advisor in order to prepare their Course of Study.  At this conference, the student and/or advisor should have available for reference copies of undergraduate and relevant graduate transcripts, together with transfer credit reports (as appropriate), as well as results of the Graduate Music Placement Examination.  The resulting individualized Course of Study will address deficiencies (if any) and serve the student as a template in progress toward the degree.  The graduate Course of Study will include 4-7 credit hours (occasionally more) of approved elective courses, addressing the student’s special interests or to remedy deficiencies as revealed by the placement examination.

    The student must complete MU511 Research Methods before completion of nine credit hours and enrollment in Music Literature/History courses.

    A thesis option is available to candidates for the Master of Arts in General Music and Master of Arts in Music Education degrees.  Students considering this option should read the section “Thesis Options and Procedures” found in the Graduate Catalog.

  4.  Candidacy, Comprehensive Final Examination, and Graduation 

    Students become degree candidates when they have completed twenty-six credit hours of course work and submit the Application for Comprehensive Exam/Degree form, available in the office of the Graduate Studies.  This form must be completed by October 1 for fall graduation, February 1 for spring graduation, and June 1 for summer graduation.  The graduate student must also submit an Application for Candidacy, available at, to the David L. Walters Department of Music.  This application will consist of the individualized Course of Study with completed courses indicated, and remaining courses, thesis, recital or other work to completed, delineated.  A graduate faculty committee will be formed at this time, consisting of the major professor, department head, and an additional music professor with whom the student has studied.

    All graduate music candidates must complete a final comprehensive examination.  This examination will cover all relevant portions of degree course work and will be administered during the final semester of study by the candidate’s graduate faculty committee.  The examination will be in two parts:  written and oral.  The four-hour written examination will cover music theory, history and literature, and the area of the candidate’s concentration (music education, for example).  An analysis of the candidate’s answers will structure the second part of the final examination, a one-hour oral examination.  The written and oral portions of the examination will not be administered on the same day, and the student is encouraged to confer with the graduate faculty committee between the two portions of the examination.  Scheduling of the final examination is the candidate’s responsibility An unsuccessful examination may be retaken only once.

  5. Graduate Assistantships and How to Apply

    Graduate Assistantships in music are available on a competitive basis to qualified applicants.  Terms of the award vary by area and extent of responsibilities but usually include a monthly stipend and graduate tuition remission.  Applicants who wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship award are strongly encouraged to arrange an on-campus interview and audition.  Since each area within the Department of Music has separate criteria for awarding assistantships, the student should contact the appropriate division head for details.  Graduate teaching assistantships are currently awarded in the following areas:  Jazz Studies (Dr. Andy Nevala, Director, 256/782-5883); University Bands (Kenneth G. Bodiford, Director, 256/782-5175); and Choral Activities (Dr. Patricia Corbin, Director, 256/782-5544), and other areas, as determined by department head.  Applications for assistantship awards are available at the Graduate Studies (256/782-5348) and online on the Graduate Studies website.  Although applications are accepted at any time, it is recommended that they be submitted by February 1 for an award beginning in the Fall semester.  Applications for admission to the Graduate Studies are also available at the same location and online.