Graduate Handbook

Department of Music

Claire Trevor School of the Arts

University of California, Irvine

last revised September 2019


The Department of Music is a part of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine, and as such is bound by all its rules and policies. It is the student’s responsibility to be informed about University policies as described in the relevant University publications. The primary location for such information is the Graduate Division website,

In addition, it is expected that the student will be informed about the rules and policies of the Department of Music, which are contained in this Handbook.  The Faculty in Music, consisting of all departmental members of the Academic Senate, has established the rules and policies set forth in this Handbook. The Faculty retains the right to modify, alter, overrule, or change any of the rules or policies set forth in this Handbook, in accord with its bylaws and established practices for so doing, while adhering to the rules and policies of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts and the University of California, Irvine.

  1. General Information

  1. Advising

All graduate students are officially advised by the Graduate Advisor, who supervises the graduate program as the agent of the Department in all academic matters concerning graduate students. The Graduate Advisor interprets the requirements to students, advises the students on which courses to register for each quarter, monitors the progress of students through the program and their satisfaction of requirements on schedule, and acts to enforce Departmental rules and policies. The Graduate Advisor also offers advice, assistance, and consultation to the students, and acts as an advocate for the graduate students to the Department. In addition, the Graduate Advisor may refer students to their thesis advisor or faculty mentor, the Graduate Academic Counselor in the Student Affairs Office of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, or the DECADE faculty mentor.

  1. Registration

The Graduate Advisor must approve each student’s plan for course enrollment each term. It is the student’s responsibility to contact their thesis advisor or faculty mentor each quarter to discuss his or her schedule for the upcoming quarter, and then provide their intended curriculum to the Graduate Advisor. Upon receiving the Graduate Advisor’s approval of the proposed schedule, the student must register for those courses by using the online WebReg before the close of the course enrollment window. (Note: incoming students must be certain to register prior to the fee deadline, which typically occurs around September 15; any necessary adjustments in the schedule can be made following the student’s initial advising sessions with their faculty mentor and the Graduate Advisor during Welcome Week.) Once a student has registered, any proposed adjustments to the schedule should also be approved by the Graduate Advisor. After the quarter has begun, any petitions regarding changes in academic coursework must be signed by the Graduate Advisor. Any requests to substitute graduate seminars in other departments for course requirements in the degree program must be approved by both the faculty guiding the student’s emphasis and the Graduate Advisor.

The quarterly calendar with deadlines for Course Registration and Adjustments to Schedule is available through the UCI Registrar’s website <>. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with these deadlines and to complete the required actions in accordance with them. The Faculty has no jurisdiction to waive these deadlines or any fees that may be imposed on a student for failing to meet them.

  1. Course Enrollment and Completion

Official information about the graduate curriculum and courses in Music can be found in the UCI General Catalog <>. The range in which a course’s number falls indicates its approximate level and clientele.

MFA students must enroll in a minimum of 8 units of 200-level courses each quarter. PhD students must enroll in a minimum of 12 units of 200-level courses each quarter. Music 399 (University Teaching) can be counted toward fulfilling the quarterly minimum. If a Zero-level or 100-level course is required for the degree, it can be counted toward fulfilling the quarterly minimum.

Zero-level (courses numbered 001–099).

These courses are introductory undergraduate courses. Graduate students may take such courses, but they will not count toward the required 12 units of full-time registration, nor can these courses count towards any degree requirements.

100-level (courses numbered 100–199).

These are primarily advanced undergraduate courses. Graduate students may take such courses. If the course is not required for the degree, MFA (not PhD) students may take up to 4 units of 100-level courses to count toward the 12 units of full-time registration. If a course is required for the degree, graduate students can count it toward the 12 units of full-time registration. Certain ensemble, performance, and academic courses at this level are required in various graduate-degree tracks. See the UCI General Catalog for the most recent information on courses required for all graduate-degree tracks in Music.

Ensembles and Performance Courses

Music 160 University Orchestra

Music 161 Wind Ensemble

Music 164 Opera Workshop

Music 176 Chamber Ensembles

Music 182 Advanced Jazz Combo

Music 189 Accompanying for Plucked Strings

Other Courses

Music 131 Post-Tonal Theory

Music 140 Studies in Medieval Music

Music 141 Studies in Renaissance Music

Music 142 Studies in Baroque Music

Music 143 Studies in Classical Music

Music 144 Studies in Romantic Music

Music 145 Studies in Twentieth-Century Music

Music 156A-B Song Literature

Music 158A-B-C Diction

Music 191 Tutorial in Music

Music 199 Independent Study

For additional 100-level courses, please consult the UCI General Catalog. In the Music Department section, select the “COURSES” tab.

200-level (courses numbered 200–299).

These courses are designed for graduate students and constitute the bulk of the Department’s graduate instruction, as follows:

Core curriculum

Music 200 Bibliography and Research

Music 201 Analysis  (for non-ICIT students)


Music 203 Music Thesis

Music 210 Choral Conducting

Music 211 Performance

Music 212 Composition

Music 213 Orchestral Conducting

Music 215A Computer Music Composition and Production

Music 215B Computer Music Programming


Music 209 Seminar in Creative Practices

Music 220 Seminar in Music History

Music 230 Seminar in Contemporary Music

Music 231 Improvisation

Music 235 Critical Studies in Music

Music 236 Theoretical ICIT Seminar

Music 237 Practical ICIT Seminar

Music 239 Thesis Colloquium


Music 276 Contemporary Ensemble

Public Performance

Music 214 Graduate Recital

Graduate Projects (Music 240)

This course entails the preparation of a substantial project in performance, conducting, or composition under the guidance of an appropriate faculty advisor. Please note that the Department requires (1) that all proposed Graduate Projects be approved by the Faculty in advance, and (2) that the combined basis for evaluation will be the completed project and a summary paper. All proposals should be submitted to the Graduate Advisor as part of the course enrollment approval process before the end of the term prior to the term in which the proposed Graduate Project will be undertaken.

Directed Research (Music 250)

Courses in Directed Research are intended to allow the student (typically in the second year and beyond for PhD students) to undertake significant research in performance, conducting, composition, or other projects related to thesis/dissertation work for which there is no formal course offering. Please note that the Department requires (1) that all proposed programs of Directed Research be approved by the Faculty in advance, and (2) that the student submit a full-length term paper or an equivalent tangible project as the basis of evaluation. All proposals should be submitted to the Graduate Advisor as part of the course enrollment approval process before the end of the term prior to the term in which the proposed Directed Research will be undertaken.

Courses outside the Music Department

200-level courses in other departments may also be taken in fulfillment of the 12 units required for full-time status, with the Graduate Advisor’s approval.

  1. Grades

The following grades are used:


A+ (extraordinary), A, A- (excellent)

B+, B, B- (good)

C+, C, C- (fair)

D+, D, D- (barely passing) S (satisfactory)

Not Passing:

F (failure)

U (unsatisfactory) Undetermined:

I (incomplete) NR (No Report)

Although grades lower than B are technically considered "passing", at the graduate level, no degree credit shall be earned for any course in which the assigned grade is not B or higher.

A student may repeat only once any course in which a grade below B or a grade of U was received. For the first eight units of repeated Graduate Studies work, only the more recently earned grades shall be used in computing the student’s grade point average; thereafter both the earlier and later grades will be averaged.

The grade Incomplete may be assigned when a student’s work is of passing quality but is incomplete for good cause. The I grade may be replaced by a passing grade for unit credit provided that the student completes the work of the course in the way authorized by the instructor. The grade Incomplete may only be replaced by another grade or notation subject to the following: (1) The action must be taken prior to the end of the third quarter following the quarter in which the grade Incomplete was originally awarded, or prior to the end of the quarter immediately preceding award of the degree, whichever comes first. Note: instructors are not, however, obligated to allow the maximum time period. Additionally, Incomplete grades will automatically turn into an F after one academic year from the time the Incomplete grade was issued, or upon graduation, whichever comes first. (2) Only quarters in which a student is enrolled will be counted in determining the time after which the grade Incomplete can no longer be replaced.

All grades except Incomplete are final when filed by an instructor in end-of-quarter course reports. An exception is made, however, to allow for correction of clerical or procedural errors. No change of grade may be made on the basis of reassessment of the quality of a student’s work.

Teaching Assistants who have more than two Incompletes on their record must submit a petition (available in the Student Affairs Office, to be signed by the Graduate Advisor and Associate Dean) to be allowed to continue in this role. Approval of the petition is not guaranteed.

  1. First-Year Review

Each student’s progress is reviewed by the Faculty near the end of the Spring quarter of the first year. (If the student’s major teacher is not also a member of the Senate Faculty, he or she will be invited to participate in this review.) Continuing students are required to meet with the Graduate Advisor during the period of the First-Year Review to discuss their status in the program. Topics discussed include instructors’ comments, grades received, satisfactory progress or its absence, and reports from the Graduate Advisor and/or the Thesis Advisor. Discussions regarding continuation in the graduate program and questions on financial support for the following year are possible topics at this meeting. The meeting may also include strategizing course enrollment for the following academic year. The Graduate Advisor will report the student’s opinions about his or her progress to the Faculty. If needed, the Graduate Advisor will inform a student in writing of the result of the First-Year Review, as well as of any specific recommendations or requirements which the Department may make for the student.

  1. Individual Development Plan

All graduate students are expected to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) at the beginning of each academic year. Forms for the IDP differ depending on the degree and area of emphasis. The Graduate Advisor will distribute the forms at the beginning of each academic year, typically during Welcome Week. Graduate students must fill out the form to the best of their ability and schedule a meeting with the student’s principal advisor to discuss the IDP. For continuing graduate students, the principal advisor will likely be the thesis or dissertation advisor. For first year students, consult with the Graduate Advisor to determine the faculty member who will discuss the IDP with you.

  1. Financial Assistance

The Department of Music makes every effort to offer financial assistance through internal University sources to all worthy applicants who do not have their own sources of financial support, such as private resources, support by an external institution, and national or independent fellowships or scholarships. This may take the form of a fellowship, teaching assistantship (TA), or graduate-student researcher position (GSR), or some combination thereof. All applicants for admission will be considered for financial assistance; no separate application for financial assistance is required. Admission to graduate status does not carry with it any implication concerning the award of financial aid, and some students may be offered admission without any financial assistance. Only students with full graduate status are eligible for financial assistance.

Continued financial support beyond the first year depends on the student’s making satisfactory progress in the graduate program, as determined in the First-Year Review. Students who are admitted with financial aid from internal University sources and remain in good standing can expect to receive support through the second year of study, pending the availability of funds.

  1. Student Participation in Departmental Governance

At the beginning of each academic year, the graduate student body may choose to elect a student representative to the Department. The person elected to this position meets periodically with the Chair to discuss issues of importance to graduate students and in general serves as a liaison between the faculty and the students. In addition, graduate students are given non-voting representation on faculty search committees and other ad hoc committees, as appropriate.

  1. Teaching Assistantships

Most students will at some point in their study hold a Teaching Assistantship. Currently the Department makes many of these appointments at the level of 25% (which requires an average of ten hours of work per week inclusive of classroom contact hours, preparation, grading, and office hours for each week of the quarter, including the Final Examination period). Specific teaching assignments are made on a quarter-by-quarter and take into consideration both the student’s areas of interest and departmental needs. At the end of each quarter, a TA evaluation form will be completed with the faculty instructor. Teaching assistants should review these evaluations following the end of the grading period. The faculty will also make use of these evaluations at the time of the First-Year Review and on other occasions, as appropriate. A copy of the TA Evaluation Form is provided in Appendix A.

  1. Guidelines for Private Tutoring While Employed as a Teaching Assistant

If you receive a request for private tutoring (i.e. outside of your official duties as a TA) from a student enrolled in a class for which you are a Teaching Assistant, you must follow the following guidelines:

  1. All private tutoring should take place outside of your official office hours, and not in School of the Arts buildings.

  1. You must inform your faculty supervisor if you are tutoring any student in a class for which you are a TA. If the professor deems it necessary to remove you from a grading task for that student, he/she will do so.

  1. Inform the students you are tutoring that you will not enable them to violate the UCI policy on academic integrity <>. That is, tell them that you cannot sit next to them and correct all mistakes on homework assignments they are supposed to do on their own. If needed, you could create a similar task and work on it with them to demonstrate method, after which the student can complete the course assignment alone.

  1. MFA Emphases, ICIT PhD, and Curricula

  1. MFA Emphases and Links to Curricular Requirements

The Department offers the degree of Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in the following emphases:

Choral Conducting

Collaborative Piano

Guitar/Lute Performance

Instrumental Performance


Piano Performance

Vocal Arts

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is offered in the following areas:

Integrated Composition Improvisation and Technology (ICIT)

The normative time-to-degree in each of the MFA areas of emphasis is two years. The normative time to degree for the PhD in ICIT is four years.

For the MFA, the specialized curricula that distinguish each area of emphasis–with the exception of Musicology–all include private tutorial study every quarter, completion of one or more research seminars, a substantial performance requirement, and a comprehensive exam; these aspects of the curricula, however, are designed in accordance with the imperatives of the various specialties. For full details on the curricular requirements for each area, please consult the UCI General Catalog for the year in which you entered the MFA program. In the Music Department section, select the “GRADUATE” tab and find the heading labeled “Master of Fine Arts Program.” Look under "General Degree Requirements" to find the official curricular requirements for each MFA emphasis.

For full details on the curricular requirements for the PhD in ICIT, consult the UCI General Catalog for the year in which you entered the PhD program. In the Music Department, select the “GRADUATE” tab and find the heading labeled “Doctor of Philosophy Program.” Review the subsection labeled “Required Courses.”

  1. Committees and Exams

MFA students will form a thesis committee and will take a comprehensive exam. Membership in the student’s graduate committee is determined by the end of the first year in consultation with the faculty in the student's area of emphasis. Committees have three members, at least two of whom must be members of the Academic Senate; special exceptions to this policy may be requested but must be approved by the Graduate Dean, and requested in writing through the Department Chair. The chair must hold a primary or joint academic appointment in Music. Of the remaining two members, at least one must be Music Department faculty. All students must pass the Comprehensive Examination (normally taken during the fifth quarter in residence) and perform one or more public recitals. Further details on comprehensive exams for each area of emphasis are listed in the UCI General Catalogue. For a list of Music Department faculty who are members of the Academic Senate, see Appendix B.

PhD students will form committees for both the qualifying exam and the dissertation project. As part of the dissertation project process, PhD students will also produce a dissertation prospectus. Details can be found in Music Department section of the UCI General Catalog. Review the relevant subsections under “Doctor of Philosophy Program.” Consult with the Graduate Advisor and/or ICIT faculty for complete details regarding the qualifying exam, the dissertation prospectus, and dissertation project.

  1. Language Proficiency Requirements

Students enrolled in the emphasis in Choral Conducting, Collaborative Piano, Musicology, Piano Performance, and Vocal Arts must fulfill a foreign language requirement, as described in the individual emphasis descriptions. This requirement may be met either by earning a grade of B or higher in level 2A of an approved undergraduate language course.

Students enrolled in the ICIT program are also required to fulfill a second language requirement. If fulfilled by coursework, the ICIT student must receive a grade of B or higher in level 2C of an approved undergraduate language course.

Both MFA and ICIT students have the option to fulfill the requirement by attaining a passing score in the departmental examination. The departmental examination tests reading competency in a language of the student’s choice from among those approved for the various graduate-degree tracks in a music-related context. Two hours are allotted, with a dictionary, to translate into formal English a passage of at least 500 words from a longer text, which can be an article, review, record liner notes, a letter, or even a singing text or performance instructions in a score. Normally the Department offers this examination once each year, as scheduled during Welcome Week preceding the Fall Quarter. The examination may be taken a maximum of two times.

Appendix A: TA Evaluation Form example

TA Evaluation Form

This form is used by the Music Department to help evaluate the growth, development and performance level of the graduate teaching assistant (TA).

Name of TA:        Date:        

Quarter:        Year:        

On a scale of 1 (very poor) to 7 (exceptional) please rate TA on the following: Please circle only one number.

  1. Punctuality.        1        2        3        4        5        6        7

(Was present and on time)

  1. Leadership.        1        2        3        4        5        6        7

(Led when appropriate and took initiative as necessary)

  1. Fulfills Guidelines and is Prepared          1        2        3        4        5        6        7

(Carried out expected duties and met due dates)

  1. Growth and development.                1        2        3        4        5        6        7

(Met or exceeded expectations in fulfilling duties)

  1. Overall rating.        1        2        3        4        5        6        7

Please make any other comments you feel would be useful and relevant. Be as detailed as possible. (Use otherside if necessary).

Faculty Signature        TA Signature

(Signature is acknowledgement that student has read document. Signature does not signify agreement with evaluation)

Appendix B: List of Academic Senate Faculty in the Music Department (updated October 2019)

Kei Akagi, UCI Chancellor's Professor (Jazz Studies)

Amy Bauer, Associate Professor (Theory)

Haroutune Bedelian, Professor (Violin)

David Brodbeck, Professor (Musicology)

Michael Dessen, Professor (ICIT)

Christopher Dobrian, Professor (ICIT), Graduate Advisor

Lorna Griffitt, Professor of Teaching (Piano)

Nicole Grimes, Associate Professor (Musicology)

Stephan Hammel, Assistant Professor (Musicology)

Mari Kimura, Professor (ICIT)

Lukas Ligeti, Assistant Professor (ICIT)

Hossein Omoumi, Maseeh Professor of Persian Performing Arts (Ney, Persian Classical Music)

Colleen Reardon, Professor (Musicology), Undergraduate Advisor

John Schneiderman, Professor of Teaching (Guitar/Lute)

Nina Scolnik,  Professor of Teaching (Piano)

Darryl Taylor, Professor (Vocal Arts)

Stephen Tucker, Associate Professor (Orchestra), Robert and Marjorie Rawlins Chair

Kojiro Umezaki, Professor (ICIT)