For Graduate School policies and procedures beyond the Music Department please see the Graduate School Handbook.
For guidelines, frequently asked questions, and information beyond the purview of the Music Department’s Graduate Handbook, see our Best Practices, developed in collaboration by graduate students and faculty in the Department of Music.
Table of Contents
- The Director of Graduate Studies
- Advising and Registration
- Statement of Shared Values
- The Honor Code
- Research Fellowships and Grants
- The M.A. Language Requirement
- The M.A. Thesis
- The M.A. Comprehensive Examination
- Transfer Credits and M.A. Equivalents
- The Ph.D. Written Examination
- The First Ph.D. Oral Examination (Dissertation Proposal Defense)
- Advancement to Candidacy
- The Dissertation
- The Second Ph.D. Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense)
This document outlines the departmental requirements of our M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Musicology; it also explains what students should and must do at various points in these programs in order to make satisfactory progress and to remain in “good standing” (both of which are normally required for purposes of continuing registration and funding). “Good standing” is an official University term governing academic eligibility to pursue, or continue in, a program according to various criteria; “satisfactory progress” is a matter of departmental judgment taking into account good standing and other issues such as a student’s overall performance within an appropriate scheme of study.
Our graduate program is an integrated M.A.-Ph.D. program, constructed on the assumption that students will pursue the M.A. and Ph.D. in one continuous sequence: the M.A. is one of the required steps in earning the Ph.D. Students accepted into the program who have already earned a graduate degree from a different institution will consult with the Director of Graduate Studies to determine whether or not that degree will be recognized in whole (thereby allowing a student to waive the requirement of completing the UNC M.A.) or in part, based on the requirements of that degree and their congruence with those of our own program; further information is provided in the section on “Transfer Credits and M.A. Equivalents,” below).
Graduate degrees are awarded by the Graduate School of the University. The present document specifies in greater detail the regulations for our degrees in the Graduate School Handbook (http://gradschool.unc.edu/handbook/), and other such documents from the Graduate School and the University remain the final authority on matters of University requirements and regulations.
The Director of Graduate Studies
Our graduate activities are coordinated and monitored by the Director of Graduate Study (DGS). Admissions and financial aid fall under the purview of the Department’s Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, chaired by the DGS. The DGS works in concert with the Associate Chair of the Academic Division (when these two offices are not occupied by the same person), with the Director of Graduate Admissions, and with the Music Department Chair. The DGS also certifies to the Graduate School completion of various requirements leading to the award of a degree. Students wishing to waive any of the Department’s requirements or otherwise alter the programs outlined below must petition the DGS in writing.
Advising and Registration
Each semester the student will schedule an interview for advising with the DGS to agree upon courses for the following semester. Only after meeting with the student will the DGS remove the advisor’s flag in ConnectCarolina which will enable the student to register. The DGS’s evaluation of students’ proposed schemes of study, and of their performance, will play a crucial role in determining satisfactory progress as defined above and in certifying fulfillment of requirements for the degree. Graduate students’ progress, and their performance as teaching assistants, are also reviewed on an annual basis by the faculty.
Statement of Shared Values
We—the graduate students and faculty of the UNC musicology program—always strive to provide a safe and collegial environment that nurtures intellectual growth and academic freedom.
We respect diverse views in seminars and other scholarly conversations by listening carefully, by consciously making space for others’ voices, and by taking each individual’s ideas seriously.
We value participation from people of all stances and identities—including, but not limited to, class, ethnicity, faith, gender, nationality, politics, and sexuality.
In seeking to empower all participants in our conversations, we aim to be conscious of how wider systems of power and marginalization may shape our interactions and perceptions.
We acknowledge the competitiveness in academia, but we also foster an environment of supportiveness and collegiality in our academic endeavors.
The Honor Code
All graduate students are strongly encouraged to read the Graduate School’s policies on Academic Integrity and Ethics (http://gradschool.unc.edu/academics/resources/ethics.html). These policies, including the UNC Honor Code, are applicable at all times. In the event of student misconduct that appears to violate these policies, the DGS will follow all protocols as mandated by the University as well as by the Graduate School.
Research Fellowships and Grants
The Music Department and the Graduate School offer graduate students a number of fellowships and grants to support research and professional development. The Department offers the following:
- The Kenan Graduate Student Activities Fund supports graduate students’ academic activities broadly conceived to include conference presentation and attendance, research, professional development training, graduate student-faculty collaborative activities, and Departmental-based graduate student programs.
- The James and Lilian Pruett Graduate Research Fellowships offer graduate students the opportunity to spend up to two summer months in the Music Division of the Library of Congress or Wilson Special Collections Library, processing archival collections and conducting independent research.
- The Marcia J. Citron Graduate Research in Musicology Fund is granted annually to support doctoral research in musicology.
For more information on these departmental resources please visit the graduate program’s page on research funding opportunities.
The Graduate School offers the following fellowships, including:
- Dissertation Completion Fellowships to support doctoral students in the final year of their dissertation. Each fellowship enables a student to focus full-time on research and writing. This improves quality of the work and shortens the time to complete the degree.
- Off-Campus Dissertation Research Fellowships to support students conducting dissertation research away from the UNC-Chapel Hill campus for one and two consecutive semesters.
- Summer Research Fellowships to provide summer support to doctoral students so they may focus exclusively on their dissertation research. The fellowship is intended to enable students to complete their degree more quickly and supports students who normally do not have funding during the summer.
- The Richard Bland Fellowship Professional Pathways Program to support doctoral students exploring non-faculty career paths through the design and experience of a unique summer internship opportunity.
For more information on these Graduate School resources, please visit http://gradschool.unc.edu/funding/gradschool/fundingcal.html.
A completed M.A. (or equivalent) is the principal requirement to continue toward the Ph.D. Students will complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of course work toward the M.A., normally over a period of two academic years. Most individual courses count as three credit hours (involving three hours in the classroom per week). In the first three semesters of residency, nine credit hours per semester are required to meet the Graduate School definition of full-time study. Although the M.A. thesis alone (MUSC 993 taken for three credit hours) technically meets the full-time requirement in the fourth semester, students should continue to take six credit hours of seminars in addition to MUSC 993 that will count toward coursework requirements for the Ph.D.
Two courses are required of all M.A. candidates:
- Music 750 “Resources and Methods of Musicology” (taken in the fall semester of the first year);
- Music 993 “Master’s Thesis and Research” (normally taken in the spring semester of the second year, leading to the presentation of the M.A. thesis).
These two courses count toward the total of 30 credit hours. The remaining credit hours (24) will normally consist of proseminars and seminars in musicology (including music history, music theory, ethnomusicology, and other scholarly topics in music) at the 800- and 900-levels.
Students pursuing the M.A. degree may petition to substitute one Independent Study (MUSC 890) for no more than three credit hours during their second full year in the program. Prior to enrollment in MUSC 890, they must submit a written proposal of at least one page (single spaced) to the DGS outlining the scope of the intended subject, the schedule of meetings with the proposed faculty supervisor, and the planned result (usually a paper). This proposal must contain the written endorsement of the proposed faculty supervisor.
Should a student wish to undertake study outside the Department (e.g., in another department at UNC-CH) to count within the credit hours for the M.A., it must involve graduate courses of substance in the arts, humanities, and sciences, as opposed to courses that teach specific skills (such as computer programming and foreign languages) or that offer generic surveys. Courses taken outside the Department must have an obvious relationship to a student’s program, and the student must submit a written rationale concerning such study for the approval of the DGS, who may require written support from the DGS of the external department in question. The same procedure applies to the substituting of graduate courses in Music or another subject at other institutions (e.g., Duke University), subject to the formal credit-transfer schemes in place at a given time.
There are two additional requirements for the M.A. degree:
- an examination in one foreign language;
- the M.A. Comprehensive Examination.
Each of these is described more fully below. Where appropriate, sample examination papers are made available in the Music Library.
The University allows a maximum of five years for the completion of the M.A. degree. A full-time student in the graduate program, however—and particularly when that student receives financial aid from the Department or University—should complete the degree within two academic years. A supported student who does not complete the requirements for the degree prior to the fifth semester of the program will normally not be regarded as making satisfactory progress.
The M.A. Language Requirement
The M.A. student must demonstrate reading proficiency in one language other than English judged suitable to the scheme of study by the written consent of the DGS. Students may demonstrate proficiency in one of three ways: (1) By achieving a grade B or better in a UNC-CH fourth-semester language course (typically, course number 204 or its equivalent, e.g. 212, 402); (2) By placing out of the fourth-semester language course through the placement examination given by the appropriate foreign-language department; (3) By passing the appropriate Foreign Language Proficiency Assessment offered through the Graduate School. Any instruction taken in the course of meeting this requirement will not count toward the credit hours required for the M.A. or Ph.D. Students are strongly encouraged to meet this requirement as early as possible in their course of study. This requirement must be met prior to receiving the M.A.
The M.A. Thesis
The Department requires a thesis for the M.A. degree. Students will register for three credit hours of MUSC 993 (Master’s Research and Thesis) no later than their fourth semester of residence, during which they will write their theses. The thesis will be a revision of a paper prepared for a graduate seminar in musicology. It will represent a genuinely original scholarly effort, if (by its nature) on a relatively small scale. The M.A. thesis should not disrupt progress toward Ph.D.-level work, although students often regard it as an opportunity to complete a substantial piece of scholarship that can serve as a basis for their first publication (whether within or outside the intended area of the Ph.D. dissertation). By the spring semester of the first year the student should be alert to the need to select such a paper and also to identify a faculty thesis advisor. The thesis committee will consist of this advisor and two other members of the faculty, all three to be appointed by the DGS.
Graduate students must confirm their M.A. Thesis Committee in time for the DGS to approve the committee by the last day of class of the semester prior to the thesis’s intended submission.
There is no oral defense of the M.A. thesis; the thesis is approved when judged to be satisfactory in its written form by the committee.
In order to maintain satisfactory progress, students must submit their approved thesis to the Graduate School by its spring semester deadline (typically, the second week of April). Successful completion of the thesis, including submission to the Graduate School, is a prerequisite for taking the M.A. Comprehensive Examination.
The M.A. Comprehensive Examination
The M.A. Comprehensive Examination tests students’ knowledge of the field and ability to comprehend and interpret source materials. The goals of the examination are as follows: first, students will demonstrate the ability to understand and summarize the source materials on the examination; and, second, students will demonstrate the ability to contextualize and interpret source materials within the general musicological discourse at a level deemed by the faculty to be appropriate for a person receiving an M.A. degree. The Examination will be administered at the end of the fourth semester of study (or the second semester for students entering with an approved M.A. gained elsewhere). Successful completion of the M.A. thesis (including submission to the Graduate School) is a prerequisite for taking the Examination.
The Examination’s content will address a list of sources compiled by the Music Department’s Academic Faculty. Each faculty member will submit:
- one substantial source, such as a monograph, edited collection, textbook, feature-length film, recorded album, other source material
- one shorter source, which could be an article, a score, an album or sounding object, or another source of similar scope/length.
- one examination question to accompany each item; questions may require responses in the form of essays, mid-length prose answers, analytic responses, short answers, or other formats.
Together these items will comprise the content covered by the Examination. Students will receive the list of sources and accompanying questions by the last day of the final examination period in the prior spring semester (or for new students intending to enter UNC with an approved M.A. gained elsewhere, as close as possible to the equivalent time).
The M.A. Comprehensive Examination Committee, consisting of three faculty members, will author the Examination. The Academic Faculty will review the Examination prior to its administration, and a majority must approve it.
The M.A. Comprehensive Examination will consist of two parts. Part I will comprise a three-hour session during which students will answer a subset of questions, selected by the M.A. Comprehensive Examination Committee, from those provided by the faculty with the source materials. For Part I, students may access only a list of the source materials (no annotations or other notes). Part II will comprise a selection of questions on broader issues—written by the M.A. Comprehensive Examination Committee–that emerge from the source materials. Students will have three days to complete Part II in a take-home format (typically distributed Friday morning at 9 a.m., due Sunday at 11:59 p.m.). For Part II, students may access any sources they wish, including their own preparatory materials and sources beyond the list provided for the examination. For both Parts I and II, questions may require various forms of responses, including but not limited to essays, mid-length prose answers, analytic responses, and short answers. The quality of argument, supporting evidence, and overall writing will take precedence over mere quantity of writing in the evaluation of the examination, and an upper-limit word-count will be supplied for all essay-format questions.
Any graduate student for whom English is not the first language may petition the M.A. Comprehensive Examination Committee for extended time on Part I of the examination. The Committee will take the request to the Academic Faculty; if approved, the petitioning student will have 1/3 as long in additional time on the examination (e.g., a 3-hour segment of the examination will be allotted a total of 4 hours).
The entire Academic Faculty will evaluate the students’ examinations. Examinations will be graded as Pass or Fail.
Students must receive at least 2/3 passing votes from the Academic Faculty in order to pass the M.A. Comprehensive Examination. Students who fail the Examination may petition to retake it on the originally assigned source materials at the start of the following semester.
Students who do not pass the M.A. Comprehensive Examination will have their funding subject to review. The faculty may choose to continue their funding up to the time of their second attempt at the Examination. A second failure results in the student becoming academically ineligible to continue in the Graduate School. Passing the examination satisfies one requirement for receipt of the M.A. degree, but is not, in and of itself, sufficient demonstration of satisfactory progress in the program to retain funding for subsequent semesters of study; such decisions are determined by the faculty in overall review of a student’s performance in the program, of which this examination is only one contributing part.
Transfer Credits and M.A. Equivalents
Students accepted into the program who have already earned a graduate degree from a different institution will consult with the DGS to determine whether or not their previous work will allow them to receive transfer credit within the UNC M.A. in accordance with the guidelines of the Graduate School, or to waive certain requirements within the Ph.D. Such determination will be made based on the requirements of the prior degree and their congruence with those of our own program, including but not limited to such factors as the nature of the coursework (seminar-based, as opposed to lectures or surveys), the number of credit hours, and the requirement of a substantial master’s thesis. In light of this consultation, a student may also petition the DGS to waive the requirement of completing our M.A. degree en route to the Ph.D. This petition will normally be presented and considered during the student’s first semester at UNC; its outcome will considered by the Academic Faculty based on the recommendation of the DGS.
Students who intend to petition for a waiver of the M.A. will still take MUSC 750 to supplement their prior experience and acquaint them with the UNC program and faculty. They will also be expected in the course of their first year to meet the Department’s M.A. Language Requirement and to pass the M.A. Comprehensive Examination (described above). Such students may petition the DGS to have prior graduate-level language proficiency demonstrated at another institution count toward the M.A. Language Requirement; and to gain exemption from the M.A. Comprehensive Examination by way of having previously passed a comparable examination in another institution. Such students may (but need not) take a maximum of one Independent Study (MUSC 890) in their first year; the procedure to register for MUSC 890 will follow that detailed above under the M.A. Degree.
A completed M.A. (or equivalent) is the principal requirement to continue toward the Ph.D.
The Ph.D. combines coursework with independent scholarly research that culminates in the writing of a dissertation. The Ph.D. student must complete 42 credit hours of coursework, normally including 36 hours of proseminars, seminars, or independent studies in musicology (including music history, music theory, ethnomusicology, and other scholarly topics in music) at the 800- or 900-level. For students graduating with the UNC M.A. in Musicology, the 30 credit hours required for the M.A. will count towards those 42 credit hours for the Ph.D., therefore requiring only 12 additional such credit hours (not including MUSC 991 and 994 as described below). For such students, any courses taken beyond the 30-credit minimum during the time of M.A. candidacy will count toward the Ph.D. requirement.
Students receiving a waiver of the UNC M.A. may petition the DGS also to waive a number (normally up to 18) of the 42 credit hours of coursework required for the Ph.D., therefore potentially requiring only 24 additional such credit hours (not including MUSC 991 and 994 as described below). The outcome of this petition will be considered by the Academic Faculty based on the recommendation of the DGS.
Students may take no more than two Independent Studies (MUSC 890) in a given academic year; the procedure to register for MUSC 890 will follow that detailed above under M.A. degree. Students may elect to pursue a formal minor as specified by the regulations of the Graduate School. Students may also petition the DGS to take courses outside the Music Department but within UNC or Duke University (whether or not as part of a formal minor); credit earned from such courses will count towards the 42 credit-hour requirement. Any such courses taken outside the Department must be courses of substance as detailed above under the discussion of extra-Departmental courses for the M.A.
In addition to seminars, the Ph.D. student must take:
- at least six credit-hours of MUSC 994 (Doctoral Dissertation);
- at least three credit-hours of MUSC 994’s corequisite, MUSC 991 (Dissertation Colloquium).
Students must register for at least three credit hours of MUSC 994 during any semester in which they make progress on their research or complete a formal academic milestone (e.g., a defense of the dissertation proposal or of the dissertation itself).
Students are expected to register for MUSC 991 (“Dissertation Colloquium”) for each semester in which they also register for MUSC 994, save for the following exceptions: 1) when prevented from doing so by absence from campus, with the written consent of the DGS; and 2) in the semester in which the student defends the dissertation. MUSC 991 (1.5 credit hours) does not increase the tuition-fee obligations for which students or the Department are responsible.
The purpose of the “Dissertation Colloquium” is to provide advanced graduate students a forum where they can present and discuss work-in-progress on their dissertations, conference papers, articles, and other writing projects. Course content will also include professional-development activities such as practicing conference presentations as well as reviewing research-fellowship applications and job-application materials.
Registration for MUSC 994 constitutes full-time enrollment under Graduate School definitions (although a two-year residency requirement must still be met by students entering with an approved Master’s degree in hand). University regulations allow the student eight years from the date of first enrollment to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. degree. However, the Department and Graduate School strongly encourage students to make more expeditious progress toward their Ph.D.
The Ph.D. Written Examination
Students normally take the Ph.D. Written Examination in their fifth semester of residence. Students who have received a waiver for the M.A. must take the examination in their third semester of residence. All students must have previously passed the M.A. Comprehensive Examination.
Each student will select a Ph.D. Written Examination Committee, comprised of three members of the UNC Music Department’s Academic Faculty. The DGS must approve the formation of the committee. In close consultation with all three committee members, the student will compile a list of sources that covers their field of interest and relevant methodologies. The committee must approve the final reading list.
The Ph.D. Written Examination will comprise a series of essay questions written by the committee that address both the student’s field and relevant methodologies. Students will have access to an annotated version of the approved bibliography created during their reading period and submitted to the committee ten days prior to their taking the Examination; the committee may require redactions of this material as it considers appropriate. Each student’s Examination will take place in two three-hour sessions, administered over a two-day period at the end of the fall semester.
On completion of the Ph.D. Written Examination, the committee will vote either (a) to inform the DGS that the student has passed the Examination, or (b) to refer the examination to the entire Academic Faculty for further consideration. Referral to the entire Academic Faculty will also be an automatic response to a lack of unanimity on (a). In the case of such referral, a student must receive a majority of positive votes from the entire Academic Faculty in order to pass the Examination. Students who fail the Examination may retake it after a minimum of three months have passed from the first attempt.
Students who do not pass the Ph.D. Written Examination will have their funding subject to review. The faculty may choose to continue their funding up to the time of their second attempt at the Examination. A second failure results in the student becoming academically ineligible to continue in the Graduate School.
The First Ph.D. Oral Examination (Dissertation Proposal Defense)
Upon completing the requirements for the M.A. degree, the student will begin to work on a dissertation topic with a specific faculty member. Students identify a dissertation topic and, in consultation with the DGS, a suitable dissertation advisor, who is appointed by the DGS. Once their required seminar coursework is completed, students register for MUSC 994 (Doctoral Research and Dissertation) with their dissertation advisor and undertake the necessary readings, preliminary research, and field summary to prepare their dissertation proposal. Students will normally begin exploring possible topics during their fourth semester (second semester for students who have received a waiver of the UNC M.A.) and do the bulk of this work during their fifth (third) semester, culminating in a critical evaluation of the relevant scholarly literature that is the subject of the Ph.D. Written Examination. This work prepares the student to write a dissertation proposal. This proposal provides the basis for the First Ph.D. Oral Examination, which is normally taken during the first or second semester following the Ph.D. Written Examination.
As soon as possible after completion of the requirements for the M.A. degree and the Ph.D. Written Examination, the student will convene a Dissertation Committee, comprising the dissertation advisor (who will normally serve as chair) and four other faculty members. Some of these may come from outside the Department as deemed appropriate by the regulations of the Graduate School and by the DGS, who must appoint the entire committee. At least three people on the committee, including the chair, must be regular members of the UNC-CH faculty. Faculty on fixed-term appointment or from other institutions require formal approval by the Graduate School in a process initiated by the DGS.
The Dissertation Committee will submit the student to an oral examination and formal review of the dissertation proposal. All committee members must participate in the First Ph.D. Oral Examination save in the most extenuating circumstances, and in any case, the examination must be conducted with five faculty members present.
The proposal itself consists of a document in three parts:
- an abstract of the proposed dissertation suitable for posting on the Department website and for submission to the online database Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology (sponsored by the American Musicological Society; https://www.ams-net.org/ddm/);
- a comprehensive statement that summarizes both the substance of the proposed dissertation and the steps that will be taken to complete it;
- an extensive bibliography including, when required by the subject, a detailed list of sources.
The student will present copies of the proposal to the members of the committee before the First Ph.D. Oral Examination. At the Examination the committee will question the student concerning the appropriateness and feasibility of the dissertation as outlined in the proposal. Immediately after the Examination, the committee will recommend either the acceptance of the proposal, its rejection, or its modification. A rejection amounts to failure of the Examination and is subject to the same procedures as a failure of the Ph.D. Written Examination. Should the proposal require modification, the committee may or may not delegate responsibility for monitoring such modification to the committee chair; in this case, however, another Examination will not normally be required.
Advancement to Candidacy
Immediately upon passing the First Ph.D. Oral Examination, students who have completed all Departmental language requirements, and have met all appropriate Graduate School conditions will qualify for Advancement to Ph.D. Candidacy. In common parlance, a “Ph.D. Candidate” is classified as ABD (“All But Dissertation”). The Department requires Advancement to Candidacy for nomination for Graduate School Fellowships (Research or Dissertation Completion Fellowships) or for Society of Fellows awards. Students must also be Ph.D. Candidates to qualify for certain external sources of dissertation funding.
The dissertation is the central activity of the Ph.D. degree. In the course of researching and writing it the student begins to gain the status of independent scholar. The dissertation is a substantial contribution to the fund of knowledge in the discipline; it will be judged as a publication by the external scholarly community. The student should not, however, confuse heft with significance, and while a particular topic might require an especially lengthy treatment, another equally valid dissertation might take a considerably more compressed form.
A student will confer frequently with the advisor (normally once a week), who will read the dissertation chapter by chapter, making appropriate comment and corrections. The student is also encouraged (in consultation with the advisor) to invite other members of the Dissertation Committee to read and comment on revised drafts of chapters. All committee members will have read the entire dissertation thoroughly before the time of the defense. For this reason, students must submit the complete dissertation draft to be defended at least four weeks in advance of its defense to all members of their committee in order for the committee to propose any substantial revisions they consider necessary.
The Second Ph.D. Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense)
When advisors deem the dissertation acceptable in substantial terms, they will have the candidate: 1) submit it to the Dissertation Committee for evaluation; and 2) poll the committee for available dates to sit the dissertation defense. The committee must receive the dissertation at least four weeks in advance of the scheduled date for the defense. The committee chair will then convene the Second Ph.D. Oral Examination, in which the doctoral candidate defends the dissertation. All committee members must be present at the Examination save in extraordinary circumstances, and in any case, the examination must be conducted with five faculty members present. The committee may, if this seems appropriate, open the defense to the public. The candidate will be expected not only to answer questions of detail at the defense, but also to expand upon the larger aspects of the dissertation in terms of its subject, methodologies, and relationship to other work in the same field. Immediately after the examination, the committee will recommend either acceptance of the dissertation or its rejection. Acceptance may also involve minor corrections to the dissertation by the candidate to the satisfaction of the committee members. When these requirements have been fulfilled, the Report of the Final Oral Examination is submitted (signatures of all committee members are required) to the Graduate School, as well as the dissertation in a form designed to meet the standards defined in the Graduate School’s Thesis and Dissertation Guide (https://gradschool.unc.edu/academics/thesis-diss/guide/).
There can be no absolute rules governing the awarding of such aid to graduate students because of the uncertainties of state funding as well as other variables. Nevertheless, it is possible to define a number of general principles that guide the faculty each year in assigning aid.
Financial Aid is normally granted by way of Departmental teaching and research assistantships, and University fellowships. The Department Chair awards assistantships and ranks students for University fellowships based on the recommendation of the Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee.
Subject to legislative appropriation, Financial Aid normally comprises a stipend, the payment of in-state tuition, tuition remissions for out-of-state students, and other benefits. In order to maximize the available resources, the Graduate School and Department strongly encourage out-of-state students who are U.S. citizens to apply for in-state residency no later than the beginning of their third semester (incoming state residents should apply before matriculation). Steps should be undertaken immediately upon arrival in North Carolina to establish in-state residency.
For more information about the procedure and access to the online residency application, students should review the information at: http://gradschool.unc.edu/residency/index.html.
By means of a teaching assistantship, research assistantship, University fellowship or a combination of these, the department typically supports a beginning M.A.-Ph.D. candidate at least through the fourth year. However, students who receive external awards or other funding during the tenure of their departmental fellowships or assistantships such that internal support is not required will normally be permitted to defer up to two separate or consecutive semesters of the fellowship or assistantship to the next available year (i.e., the fifth year in the case of a fellowship or assistantship initially awarded for four years). In addition, the department has generally been able to support students in good standing beyond the fourth year (for example, when defined funds are available to perform some specific Departmental or University service). Students working on their dissertations are encouraged to apply for extra-Departmental funding, such as University dissertation research and writing fellowships as well as those provided by various external bodies. Students should consult with the DGS and dissertation advisors for information about available fellowships.
Holders of Departmental teaching and research assistantships will be expected to carry out duties associated with such assistantships. Usually these duties involve acting as a teaching assistant (TA) on at least one undergraduate course per semester, ranging from grading assignments through running recitations (small-group tutorials) to teaching the occasional class. The Department views the experience gained by its TAs to be an important part of a student’s professional development, and makes every effort to ensure that TAs have an opportunity to be involved in a range of courses with different faculty members.
Assistantships and fellowships are awarded subject to annual review, and may be withdrawn if a student fails to remain in good standing or to make satisfactory progress. Departmental teaching and research assistantships may also be withdrawn if a student fails to fulfill adequately the duties associated with those assistantships. The process of awarding (and withdrawing) assistantships lies in the hands of the Department Chair, advised by the Associate Chair (Academic Division) and by the DGS in conjunction with the Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee.
Admission to the program and the awarding of financial aid are two separate processes, and students admitted without financial aid remain eligible to enter the program and progress through it. Such students may submit a written petition to the DGS for financial aid in their second or subsequent years as part of their yearly self-assessment; the DGS will bring such petitions to the attention of the faculty and the Department’s Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee. While the Department is sensitive to the needs of its unfunded students, they compete in the pool with new admissions in each subsequent year.
- Instate Residency: Application for In-State Residency strongly encouraged by the beginning of the third semester (incoming state residents should apply before matriculation). Students should be aware of the requirements for establishing in-state residency and begin to fulfill them as soon as they arrive in Chapel Hill.
- M.A. Language Requirement (must be met before completion of the M.A. degree)
- Master’s Thesis (must be submitted prior to taking the M.A. Comprehensive Examination)
- M.A. Comprehensive Examination (normally taken at the end of the fourth semester, or the second in the case of students entering with an approved M.A. or the equivalent)
- Ph.D. Written Examination (normally taken at the end of the fifth semester, or the third in the case of students entering with an approved M.A. or equivalent)
- First Ph.D. Oral Examination (i.e., defense of dissertation proposal; normally taken during the first or second semester following the Ph.D. Written Examination)
- Dissertation and Second Ph.D. Oral Examination (must be completed within eight calendar years from the date of first registration in the graduate program).
The Graduate Program in Musicology’s guidelines for student graduation and ceremony participation follow those published in the Graduate School Handbook (http://gradschool.unc.edu/handbook/).
Students must notify The Graduate School of their plan to graduate by submitting an Application for Graduation no later than the deadline shown in the University Registrar’s Calendar for the semester in which they expect to graduate. Applications should only be submitted when the student realistically intends to graduate that semester, and are valid for one semester only. Students who do not graduate in the semester expected must submit another application for graduation in a future semester.
Master’s and doctoral degrees are awarded at the end of each semester (May and December) and the second summer session (August). Formal commencement exercises, hosted by the Graduate School, are held in May and December, whereas the Department of Music’s graduation ceremony is held in May only.
All students receiving their degrees in May are encouraged to participate in the Department’s May commencement ceremony. All students receiving their degrees in August and December are encouraged to participate in the Department’s May commencement the following year.
Doctoral students are also encouraged to participate in the Graduate School’s Hooding Ceremony, held in May only, recognizing those who are graduating in May or those who graduated in the prior most recent December or August terms. Students planning to participate in the hooding ceremony should contact the Graduate School.
Only students who have successfully submitted their thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School by its April deadline may participate in the department’s commencement ceremony in May. Those who submit their thesis or dissertation for an August or December graduation must wait to participate in the department’s commencement ceremony the following year.
I. After a dissertation has been submitted to and accepted by the Graduate School, the student may submit the dissertation for an Award by way of an application to the DGS:
- The complete dissertation
- A statement that describes your contribution to the field, no more than 1 page.
- A concise summary of your dissertation, no more than 5 pages.
- A statement of your long-term research interest and vision, no more than 1 page.
- Two letters of recommendation, one of which is from your dissertation advisor (submitted directly to the DGS), which speak specifically to your research contribution and the quality of the dissertation.
- Your CV, no more than 5 pages.
- For all application materials, the page-counts are defined by 12-point font, 1-inch margins, double-spaced.
II. The DGS will make this application available to the entire academic faculty.
III. Once per semester, after the deadline for submitting the dissertation to the Graduate School, the Graduate and Financial Aid committee will review the applications according to the category measures listed below. Advisors will recuse themselves from this committee, and alternate faculty members may be asked by the DGS to serve on this committee in an ad hoc capacity when multiple faculty members have recused themselves. The committee will make a recommendation to the academic faculty regarding each application. The academic faculty will vote on whether to recommend that the department chair confer the award.
IV. The Outstanding Dissertation Award is not competitive save by the criterion of a dissertation being excellent in the all category measures, and there is no limit on the number of awards that may be granted in a given period.
- Academic Record: Applicant has a strong academic record as evidenced through one or more of the following: publications/presentations; awards/honors, professional experience, grants/fellowships, etc. listed on their CV and/or referenced by the advisor or nominator; scholarly, professional, or community activities that have enhanced their teaching and/or research qualifications; cross-disciplinary research endeavors.
- Originality: Research question and/or approach is novel and innovative, addresses gaps in the current scholarship, and significantly advances understanding in the applicant’s field.
- Readability: Applicant’s materials are clearly articulated, compellingly written, and understandable for non-expert audiences, utilizing appropriate use of text, charts, and graphs.
- Research Design: Applicant’s research goals are clearly outlined, explore specific and important questions, acknowledge potential benefits and limitations, and are supported by appropriate quantitative or qualitative methodology.
- Research Significance: The contribution, importance, and impact of the applicant’s research to the field, as well as broader impacts, are clearly outlined and supported by advisor and nominator.
Revised January 18, 2023
To view the archived 2020 Graduate Handbook, click here.