Music Education Professional Portfolio Requirements: All students entering the master’s program in music education are required to develop and maintain a portfolio based on their master’s degree experiences. Portfolios are a way to focus on higher order thinking processes such as finding and solving problems, generating hypotheses, determining adaptations and applications, and relating learning to larger contexts. Furthermore, portfolios function as an extraordinary tool for increasing the efficiency of learning as each entry represents not only accomplishment, but directions for future study.
As such, portions of the portfolio may be viewed at various points throughout the program as individual components are created within core music education courses. The portfolio will be presented in its totality during the final oral examination.
The portfolio will be comprised of three sections:
- Oral Examination
The oral examination will be scheduled through the coordinator of graduate studies within the School of Music. The student will present the milestones and domain project portions of the portfolio to the examination committee as the capstone experience of the degree program.
The milestones portion of the portfolio is designed to encourage students to reflect on all coursework completed as part of the master’s program. Students are encouraged to review all coursework and identify three experiences that have been particularly meaningful in shaping a personal understanding of music or music education and in influencing future study and practice. Students should create a one to two-page description of each milestone and be prepared to discuss the significance of the milestones with the oral examination committee.
- Domain Projects
In this section student are encouraged to draw upon their experiences within the master of music program to create a set of question and essay projects that evidence knowledge from three different domains of study. Each domain project is organized as a ten- to fifteen-page answer to a question designed by the student in conjunction with their major advisor. Questions should be created and approved during the second summer of study for students following the three-summer master’s plan.
Question One must cover some topic related to one or more of the four core music education courses. Question Two must draw on MUE 595 coursework and relate to the student’s area of professional emphasis (i.e., general music, choral music, instrumental music, technology, composition, conducting, etc.). Question Two material must relate to at least one MUE 595 course and may relate to other coursework as well. Question Three will address a topic that is of particular interest to the student and which demonstrates the student’s ability to apply knowledge gained in the master of music program to good teaching practice. Each project should be thoroughly researched, organized, and presented in a professional manner.
Music Education Thesis Requirements
Students completing thesis work as the capstone project for the M.M. in Music Education degree will formulate a research plan with the program advisor.
Information for Matriculated Students
Graduate Competency Exams
All incoming School of Music graduate students must pass a competency exam in music theory/ear training prior to enrollment in MUS 530, Seminar in Music Theory. This exam will be graded pass/fail and 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.
Each program requires that students demonstrate mastery in their primary area of study. Master of Music in music education students meet this requirement through the preparation of a professional portfolio or thesis.
The following conditions will apply to all portfolio and thesis projects:
- Portfolio or thesis work will follow the successful completion of the comprehensive exams
- Grading of the portfolio or thesis will be by a committee of no less than two jurors. The jurors will be drawn from the graduate faculty and the degree candidate’s graduate advisor.
- The candidate must receive a grade of B or higher on the portfolio or thesis. If the grade of B is not achieved, the candidate must revise the project document. If the grade of B or higher is not achieved in this revision, the candidate must petition the faculty to remain in the degree program.
Six graduate credits may be transferred to USM from another NASM-accredited college or university.
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.
The music education program is designed to be completed in three summers with the exception of the Seminar in Music History and Seminar in Music Theory, which will be offered as evening courses during the academic year. There is no residency requirement.
Students are required to assemble a MUE 615 - The Professional Portfolio or MUS 695 - Thesis as a capstone project for the degree.