Texas Tech University

Master's Final Examination

Master's Program

Every candidate for a Master's degree is required to pass a final comprehensive examination in music during the term or semester of intended graduation. The student should consult the chairperson of their advisory committee to arrange for the time and place of the examination. It should be scheduled in accordance with Graduate School deadlines for submission of final reports. The chairperson of the committee will report the results to the School of Music's Associate Director for Graduate Studies immediately after the examination. Students must be enrolled for at least 3 hours at the time the final examination is taken.

The examinations and their committees are constituted as follows:

  • For students in Performance, Conducting, and Jazz Master's programs, the committee will be constituted of the committee chair, a representative from the Musicology faculty, and a representative from the Music Theory faculty.  The examination will be oral.
  • For non-thesis Music Education students, the committee will be constituted of the chair and two faculty committee members. Typically all committee members are Music Education faculty members, but they may also be (at the discretion of the chair) from Musicology, Music Theory, or Performance.  The examination will be oral.
  • For thesis and composition students: the thesis committee (refer to the Thesis section of this handbook) serves as the committee for the oral thesis/composition defense.  Comprehensive expertise in music will also be examined, either as part of the thesis defense (MME Degrees) or as a separate written examination (MM-Musicology, MM-Theory, MM-Composition) conducted and evaluated by faculty from the respective areas.

The final examination is a synthesis and application of knowledge acquired during the course of study leading to the Master's degree; consequently, satisfactory performance in coursework does not necessarily guarantee successful performance on the final examination. A student who fails the final examination may repeat it once after an interval of four months or more.

At the discretion of the School of Music, a student who passes the examination but does not graduate within 12 months may be required to repeat the examination.

Guidelines for Master's Final Comprehensive Examinations (whether oral or written)

The examination will cover:

  • General information about music history and music theory of all eras
  • Specific information about the student's major area and the graduate recitals (if applicable)

In preparing for the examination, the student should:

  • Interview the members of the examination committee for guidance on the content of the examination
  • Review all undergraduate Music History and Music Theory courses
  • Review notes from all graduate courses taken

Questions asked during the examination may include:

  • History, literature and pedagogy of the major area, notable teachers and performers, trends in performance, teaching and research in the major area, and discussion of specific pedagogical issues
  • Identification of musical scores for genre, possible composer, approximate date of work, form, medium, harmonic analysis, and terminology
  • Bibliography, including periodical literature in the major field

Preparation Information (Music Theory) available here

Preparation Information (Music History) available here


Return to the Graduate Handbook home page.