Department of Music

Graduate Advisory Committee, Comprehensive Exam and Project Paper Defense

Graduate Advisory Committee

Your Graduate Advisory Committee is comprised of faculty members who work together to assist you with many aspects of your degree program including: coordinating your Graduate Study Plan (GSP); administering and evaluating your Oral Comprehensive Examination; advising you during the writing of your Project Paper; and administering and evaluating the your Project Paper defense.

Your Graduate Advisory Committee must include a minimum of three faculty members from the Department of Music, with one member designated as the committee Chair. Although adjunct music faculty may serve on your committee, the UAF Graduate School prefers that graduate committees are comprised of only full time, tenure-track faculty. Additionally, only full time, tenure-track faculty may serve as committee Chair. Your committee Chair will likely be your studio professor, and the selection of other committee members should be made in consultation with your Chair.

The Appointment of Graduate Advisory Committee form may be completed and submitted to the Graduate School at any time during your first year, but no later than the end of the second semester in your first year. The submission of this form often coincides with the submission of your Graduate Study Plan (GSP). The GSP is a form that outlines the specific courses you plan to complete within your degree program.

Oral Comprehensive Examination

The Oral Comprehensive Examination takes place within the first semester of your second year. Successful completion of the examination allows you to proceed with scheduling your graduate recital and Project Paper defense. Your Graduate Advisory Committee evaluates your examination as a Pass, a Conditional Pass or a Fail. If you should fail the examination you must wait until the following Spring semester before retaking it. Failure to pass the examination a second time will result in expulsion from the Master of Arts Degree program. Once you have successfully passed the exam, your Report on Comprehensive Exam form may be completed and signed.

The Oral Comprehensive Examination is intended to evaluate your understanding of the evolution of music in Western culture to the present day. You will be expected to speak insightfully and articulately about any of the following: major historical eras and style periods; significant composers and their representative works; musical forms; the development of important instrumental and vocal styles and genres; topics related to the development of your particular instrument and its literature. Additional questions could also consider specific material covered in course work within your degree program.

The required course MUS 625 Topics in Music History along with additional elective courses MUS 421-424 are designed to provide you with a basis for the knowledge and contextual understanding you must demonstrate in order to pass the examination. In addition to thorough individual study and self preparation, you should consult with members of your Graduate Advisory Committee about strategies and additional resources for exam preparation.

The examination is a two-hour session during which you are queried by members of your Graduate Advisory Committee. Other music faculty members and graduate music students are allowed to attend, but only members of your committee are allowed to participate in the questioning. A notice of the date, time and location of your Oral Comprehensive Examination must be posted, by you, no later than one week before your scheduled exam.

Check with the Music Office for a template of the information required for your notice.

Project Paper Defense

The Project Paper Defense takes place within the second semester of your second year, following successful completion of the Oral Comprehensive Examination and recital. Your Advisory Committee evaluates your examination as a Pass, a Conditional Pass or a Fail. If you fail the defense, you will need to consult with your committee Chair on arranging for a second defense. You may only have two defenses total.

The Project Paper Defense requires you to address the substance, style and format of your Project Paper through a line of questioning directed by members of your Graduate Advisory Committee. At least two weeks prior to the defense, you will have provided a copy of your final Project Paper draft to each member of your committee. You should expect that some further corrections and revisions will be required or recommended by your committee as a result of the defense meeting.

Your Project Paper must be successfully defended and each member of your committee must sign the Report on Project Defense form. This paperwork must be received by the graduate school no later than their April deadline (see Graduate School website for specific date) of your graduating spring semester. For this reason, your defense must occur no later than one week prior to this deadline. This allows time for required revisions and editing as recommended by your committee at the defense. Once these revisions have been completed and approved by all members of your committee, your Report on Project Defense form may be completed and signed. Two copies of your Project Paper will remain on file in the Department of Music.

The Project Paper Defense is a two-hour session during which you are queried by members of your Graduate Advisory Committee. This is a public forum. Other music faculty members in attendance may be given the opportunity to ask questions, however, only members of your committee will be involved in determining the outcome of your defense. A notice of the date, time and location of your Project Paper Defense should be posted by you no later than one week before your scheduled defense.

Check with the Music Office for a template of the information required for your public Project Paper Defense notification.