General Policies

General Policies and Program Requirements for the MASTER OF MUSIC (M.M.), MASTER OF MUSIC EDUCATION (M.M.E.) and MASTER OF VOICE PEDAGOGY (M.V.P.)

General Policies and Requirements

Graduation with Distinction

Graduate Assistantships

General Policies and Requirements

  • An applicant for admission as a graduate student must, by the time of initial enrollment, provide documentation of having earned a baccalaureate degree, normally, but not necessarily, with a major in music.
  • International students also should review “Admission as an International Student” in the Admissions section of this catalog for additional information and requirements.
  • All entering students in the M.M. degree take placement tests in order to determine the level of their skills in a variety of areas. Please refer to “Placement Exams” in the Admissions section of this catalog. Also, please consult the Graduate Hearings and Placement Testing page on the University website.
  • Graduate students must earn minimum grades of “Y” or “B-” in all courses mandated to remove deficiencies in musical preparation, as determined by placement examinations at the time of initial enrollment. If a grade of  “Z” or “C+” or lower is earned, the course must be repeated.
  • All degree requirements must be completed within seven years of initial enrollment. Students who have not completed a degree within this time may be required to repeat courses and/or to meet further requirements. If more than one year has elapsed since the date of last enrollment, students may be required to re-apply and re-audition for the program, and must meet all requirements in place at the time of their readmission.
  • A minimum cumulative or semester grade point average of 3.00 must be maintained at all times. Students who fall below this level may become ineligible to receive graduate awards and are placed on conditional academic standing. Students in this situation place themselves at risk of academic dismissal. Grades earned in courses offered through Continuing Education are recorded but are not factored into the grade point average. A 3.0 cumulative grade point average is required for graduation, and students must be removed from Conditional Academic Standing to be eligible for graduation.
  • Only courses carrying graduate credit may be counted toward master’s degree requirements.
  • Sacred Music, Choral Conducting, and Organ Performance majors must demonstrate, by means of examination or of transcript grades, a reading knowledge of either French or German equivalent to two years of study at the college level. Piano Accompanying and Coaching majors must present one year each of college-level study in French and German. Voice Pedagogy and Performance majors must present one year each of college-level study in two of the following languages: French, German, and Italian. Grades of C- or below are not accepted as a demonstration of these skills. Graduate credit is not awarded for foreign language study. A score of 3 on the AP (Advanced Placement) test or a score of at least 65 on CLEP tests is sufficient for language deficiency removal for graduate students providing that these tests were taken within the previous 5 years.
  • Undergraduate foreign language study is sequential, each course being prerequisite to the next. A minimum grade of C is required for advancement to the next level. Grades of C- or below will not be accepted. Placement tests are offered for students who have a background in French, German or Italian. Advanced standing may be approved, but credit is not awarded except by transfer of credits earned in foreign language study at the college level. Most graduate students must demonstrate proficiency in foreign languages or show transcript evidence of completion of college level study as indicated below. Native speakers may be exempted from taking a course in their native language by the Dean or by recommendation from the appropriate language instructor. This exemption does not receive credit, but fulfills graduate language requirements in that language. 
  • All graduate Voice, Choral Conducting, and Piano Accompanying and Coaching majors must take a proficiency examination in English, Italian, French and German Diction, and the International Phonetic Alphabet. For students who do not pass all or part of the proficiency exam, the Voice Department will recommend courses or other options to prepare to re-take the exam. Students who do not pass the proficiency exam must re-take and pass the examination as a graduation requirement.
  • Graduate students majoring in Sacred Music, Organ Performance, or Choral Conducting must demonstrate a reading proficiency in either French or German in order to pass out of LL640 and LL641 by taking a translation proficiency test for graduate students offered during the week of orientation; or must provide transcript evidence of successful completion (minimum C grades) of two years of college study in one of those languages; or may take either LL 640 German Reading or LL 641 French Reading to satisfy this requirement.
  • Graduate students in Voice Pedagogy and Performance must pass a university administered proficiency examination, both written and oral in two foreign languages, chosen from French, German or Italian; or must provide transcript evidence of successful completion of one year of college study in two of those languages; or may take LL 141 French I and LL 142 French IILL 145 Italian I and LL 146 Italian II and/or LL 151 German I and LL 152 German II, to satisfy these requirements. C grades are the minimum acceptable for all foreign language proficiency purposes. Grades of C- or below will not be accepted.
  • Graduate students majoring in Piano Accompanying and Coaching must pass a university administered proficiency examination, both written and oral in French and German languages or must provide transcript evidence of successful completion of one year of college study in those languages; or may take LL 141 French I and LL 142 French II, and LL 151 German I and LL 152 German II, to satisfy these requirements. C grades are the minimum acceptable for all foreign language proficiency purposes. Grades of C- or below will not be accepted.
  • Graduate students pursuing the M.M. or M.M.E. degrees must earn credit for at least two terms of choral ensemble experience.
  • All graduate students must pass a final oral examination in each major field. The oral examination may be scheduled only after completion of any and all non-credit-bearing courses being taken to remove deficiencies in musical preparation, and upon approval by the student’s academic advisor. This stipulation does not apply to foreign language courses being taken to establish proficiency levels. The oral examination must be completed by the deadline published in the calendar section of this catalog. Please see “Oral Examinations” in the Academic Policies section of this catalog.  Further information is available on the website at Graduate Programs - Music Education .
  • A maximum of six graduate credits may be earned by transfer from other institutions with departmental approval. Credit by examination is not awarded at the graduate level except in the case of applied music. In the case of course waivers, the credits involved must be replaced with other elective course credits, unless stated otherwise by the department offering the course.
  • Apart from workshops taken to satisfy choral ensemble requirements, students pursuing the M.M. or M.V.P. degree may present toward “Electives” a maximum of six Continuing Education credits. Students pursuing the M.M. or M.V.P. degree may present toward “Electives” a maximum of two credits of choral ensemble participation beyond “Core” requirements. Students pursuing the M.M.E. degree may present toward “Electives” a maximum of twelve summer workshop credits. After the completion of primary applied lesson requirements, students may enroll in elective applied lessons and count those credits towards “Free Electives.” Elective applied lessons carry a fee. In some degree programs, “Electives” must be chosen from discrete lists of courses unless otherwise approved by the major field department.
  • Students must register for applied study during the term when they plan to give a voice, organ, piano, or composition recital, unless this requirement is specifically waived by the applied department.
  • Students in the M.M.E and M.V.P. programs must register for 1 hour of thesis credit in the semester or summer term in which thesis work begins, in the semester or summer term in which work is completed, and in any other semester or summer term in which assistance is provided by the thesis advisor. Students in the M.A.T. program must register for ME 750, in the semester or summer term in which capstone work begins, in the semester or summer term in which work is completed, and in any other semester or summer term in which assistance is provided by the capstone advisor.
  • Commencement:  Academic year requirements extend through the annual spring Commencement. All students enrolled in required ensembles (Chapel Choir, Schola Cantorum, Symphonic Choir) are required to participate in Commencement unless excused under extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances, such as serious illness. All other students are encouraged to participate in Commencement.  In particular, credit for spring semester choir participation is lost if a student does not attend and is not excused from Commencement. Students participating with the members of the graduating classes are required to purchase or rent appropriate academic regalia, available through the college store.
  • In addition to the information given here and on the following pages, students are referred to individual department handbooks for additional information and requirements.

Graduation with Distinction

Graduate students are graduated with distinction upon earning a cumulative grade point average of 3.85 in all 500-, 600-, and 700-level courses.

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of assistantship positions and graduate scholarships are available to full-time graduate students. Inquiries about these assistantships should be directed to the Office of Admissions located on the Westminster campus of Rider University. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 at all times to retain an assistantship.

Specific Program Requirements

Requirements for the specific graduate programs are outlined in the charts on the following pages.