All entering graduate students will take proficiency examinations in Music History, Music Theory, and Aural Skills. Students must take the examinations just before the beginning of their first semester. The exams are usually given three or four times a year: just before fall semester, near the end of fall semester, just before the beginning of spring semester, and if students still need to complete the exams, in late February.
Music theory and history faculty will give study suggestions to any students who do not pass the exams. Performance students must pass all exams by March 1 of their first year in order to be offered an assistantship for the second year. Music therapy students need to pass all exams by the end of their first year. A student is not permitted to take the comprehensive examinations or participate in an internship until any deficiencies have been removed.
In addition to the proficiency examinations in music history, music theory, and aural skills, board-certified (or board-eligible) graduate students will take a written music therapy proficiency exam and playing exams demonstrating skills for professional music therapists. These will include accompanying one's own singing on guitar, accompanying one's own singing on piano, and meeting and helping to develop another's improvised music through piano improvisation. The playing exams may be waived, if the student intends to take the course in the respective area (MUS 3060 Functional Piano, MUS 1053 Functional Guitar II, and MUS 4060 Piano Improvisation for Music Therapy, respectively).