2019-20 Catalogs

MM in Jazz Studies

Program Advisor: Christopher OberholtzerChris.Oberholtzer@maine.edu

Requires a minimum of 30 credit hoursCredits
     MUS 510 Bibliography and Research in Music3
     MUH 520 Seminar in Music History3
     MUT 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 MUH, MUS, MUP, MUT or MUE 500- or 600-level courses6

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 coursework and must have no grade lower than B-. Students who receive grades lower than B- will be reviewed for retention in the graduate program. Students are required to take jury examinations in each semester of applied music enrollment until the recital is successfully completed.

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 at least two jurors. The jurors will be drawn from the graduate faculty and the degree candidate's private instructor.
  • The candidate must receive a grade of B or higher on the 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

In addition to the required degree recital, candidates will be required to complete a written examination in which they will be prepared to discuss topics and answer questions in their field. The exit examination will be scheduled through the appropriate full-time faculty member.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: Waived for all applicants.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • An essay of 300-500 words on your professional goals
  • A professional résumé
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

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 application in the Office of Admissions 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. 

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.

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.

International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process.

English Proficiency Test Scores

Official English proficiency examination scores are required from international applicants and/or applicants whose primary language is not English, unless the applicant has received a degree from an English-speaking institution. The University of Southern Maine accepts the following score reports sent directly from the testing agency.  TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for a graduate program.

Where to send transcripts and application materials

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation