2014-15 Catalogs

MM in Jazz Studies

See Program Requirements

Requires a minimum of 30 credit hoursCredits
     MUS 510 Bibliography and Research in Music3
     MUS 520 Seminar in Music History3
     MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory3
     MUP 603 Applied Music (jazz studies)9
     MUP 690 Recital0
     MUS 506 Chamber Music (jazz)1
     MUS 507 Jazz Ensemble1
     MUS 682 Chamber Jazz Ensemble Evolution and Analysis2
     MUS 683 Large Jazz Ensemble Evolution and Analysis2
     Electives–Any MUS, MUP or MUE 500- or 600-levelcourses.6

Nine credits of applied music in jazz studies (three 3-credit courses) will be scheduled as private lessons. These studies will be supplemented with two semesters of performance in a chamber jazz ensemble and two semesters of performance in a large jazz ensemble.


Jazz Studies majors must present one recital for completion of their degree program.  The recital will be comprised of no less than sixty (60) minutes of repertoire which features the candidate as a soloist.  The ensemble and the repertoire must be approved by the program advisor and/or the private instructor.

Information for Matriculated Students

Graduate Competency Exams

All incoming School of Music graduate students must pass competency exams in music theory/ear training and music history and literature prior to enrollment in MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory and MUS 520 Seminar in Music History. These exams will be graded pass/fail. Each exam may be taken no more than three times. Students unable to pass after three attempts must withdraw from the program.

Special Requirements and Standards

All music graduate programs must be completed within six years from the date of matriculation.

Students must maintain a B average in all course work and must have no grade lower than B-. Students who receive grades lower than B- will be reviewed for retention in the graduate program. Jury reviews are scheduled each semester for majors in performance and jazz studies. Consult the School of Music for policies on jury review.

Each program requires that students demonstrate mastery in their primary area of study. Jazz students meet this requirement through the presentation of a recital. Consult the individual requirements below for more details.

The following conditions will apply to all recitals:

  • Required recitals must be performed after successful completion of the comprehensive exams
  • Grading of the recital will be by a committee of no less than three jurors. The jurors will be drawn from the graduate faculty, the degree candidate's graduate advisor, and the degree candidate's private instructor.
  • The candidate must receive a grade of B or higher on each recital. If the grade of B is not achieved, the candidate must perform another recital that contains at least 50 percent new material. If the grade of B or higher is not achieved at this recital retake, the candidate must petition the faculty to remain in the degree program.
Transfer credit

Six graduate credits may be transferred to USM from another NASM-accredited college or university.

Admissions credit

Additionally no more than six graduate credits for work earned at USM in the five years prior to matriculation may be credited to the master's degree.


A one-year residency is required for jazz studies.

Exit Requirements

Students must present one recital for completion of their degree program. The recital will be comprised of no less than sixty minutes of repertoire that features the candidate as a soloist. The ensemble and the repertoire must be approved by the program advisor and/or the private instructor. Candidates will be tested on topics in jazz studies. Sample questions are available for review and study.

Contact the USM Office of Graduate Admissions for an application and instructions. Visit Graduate Admissions online at: http://usm.maine.edu/graduateadmissions.

Every applicant for admission must submit:

  • An application form
  • The application fee
  • Official transcripts of all previous college and university work
  • An essay of 300-500 words on your professional goals
  • A professional résumé

In addition, applicants to the School of Music graduate program must fulfill the following requirements prior to enrollment:

  • A baccalaureate degree or its equivalent in music or music education
  • An audition (by invitation only; see details below).

Applicants in jazz studies must also submit:

  • A representative repertoire of works performed.
  • A recent recording that contains at least fifteen minutes of a live performance including a demonstration of your improvisational abilities.
Music Audition

Once the Office of Graduate Admissions application is complete, the School of Music Graduate Studies Committee will review the materials and make a recommendation to the School's coordinator of graduate studies. The program advisor for jazz studies will contact applicants selected for an audition. The jazz studies audition requires a fifteen-minute performance of jazz repertoire that is diverse in style and shows improvisational abilities. Applicants will take a sight singing exam at the time of the audition.

Each degree program has specific audition requirements outlined below. Acceptance into an area of study is exclusive to that area, and a separate application and audition is required for each area. Due to the intensive and individualized nature of a graduate program in music, admission in specific areas will be limited.