Department of Music

Guidelines for Project Paper

Graduate music students must complete a final Project Paper as part of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree in Music. The Project Paper is completed in your second year of graduate study, during which you will be enrolled in a total of six credits of research study under MUS F698: Research.

The topic of a Project Paper is often related directly to musical works appearing on a student’s graduate recital program. The paper would then include research and discussion of these works involving such areas as historical and aesthetic contexts for the compositions, perspectives on musical form and analysis, aspects of style and performance practices, and developments or technological advancements related to the musical instrument. A Project Paper could alternatively involve other specific areas of research interest, and you would then discuss and develop such a topic in consultation with the Chair of your Graduate Advisory Committee.

You will work primarily with your committee Chair in developing the Project Paper topic, planning your course of research study and completing drafts of your paper. It is expected that a complete draft will be submitted to your committee Chair as soon as possible near the beginning of the semester in which you intend to graduate. A complete draft would include your narrative text with appropriate source citations, a list of works cited, and any figures, tables or examples. Your Chair will review this draft, making corrections to the document and offering additional recommendations for revisions. The process of revising and editing your paper may require that you complete additional drafts.

Once you have completed revisions as recommended by your committee Chair, you will present a final Project Paper draft to each member of your Graduate Advisory Committee. This copy will serve as the basis for your Project Defense, and it must be submitted to members of your committee at least two weeks prior to the date of your defense. You should expect that some further corrections and revisions will be required by your committee as a result of the defense meeting. Once these revisions have been completed and approved by all members of your committee, your Report on Project Defense form may be completed and receive the required signatures. You will submit two spiral-bound copies of your Project Paper to your committee Chair. These will remain on file in the Department of Music. As a courtesy, you should additionally offer to provide each member of your Graduate Advisory Committee with a copy of your paper.

When scheduling the date for your Project Defense, you should make sure that you leave adequate time to make final revisions, complete the Report on Project Defense Form and have this form submitted to the Graduate School before their April deadline (check the Graduate School website for the specific date of this deadline).

Please click HERE for Project Paper format and style guidelines.