The ability to express oneself clearly and accurately in written language is a reasonable requirement for the holder of a Masters degree. Subject matter is interesting and informative to the reader only to the extent that the mechanics of the written presentation permit. Mechanical errors disrupt the reader's attention to the subject matter and may lead to misinterpretations ranging from slight to extreme. Accordingly, graduate degree candidates in music may expect written assignments to be graded for content and mechanics as follows:
Subject content: The content of written assignments should be logically organized, thorough, accurate and well documented. Evidence of plagiarism, whether by direct quotation or paraphrase, will result in a failing grade for the paper in which it occurs and report to the Office of Student Conduct.
Mechanics: Mechanical errors such as misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, disagreement of tense, number or gender, use of ambiguous or incoherent phrases or sentences, incomplete sentences, failure to conform to a style guide and similar mistakes will result in a substantially lower grade.
Students who struggle to communicate clearly in writing or who simply want to improve their writing are urged to avail themselves of the free services of the University Writing Center beginning early in their degree program. Regular attention to one's writing throughout the degree program is likely to make those final writing assignments less stressful.