The faculty requires that you notify the Music Office when you will be missing classes. You should call as soon as possible after 8:00 (753-1551). For ensembles, messages should be sent directly to the ensemble director. Each instructor decides whether to excuse class absences and determines whether to permit makeup work.
If a student will be absent from classes for a week or more because of an accident, illness, or other emergency, instructors will be notified of the absence only if the student or his/her parent requests it through the Campus Information Center, 815-753-1157. The University Health Service will not release information about students without a written request.
The School of Music is committed to timely and efficient advising of all music majors. Dr. Hathaway, Assistant Director & Coordinator of Graduate Studies, and Mr. Brown, Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising, are the principal advisors for all students.
Matters such as scheduling problems, course substitutions, proficiency credit, transfer credit, late add/drop, grade changes, and graduation evaluations should be handled through them.
Advisors are committed and prepared to provide appropriate, accurate, and timely information at every stage of the student's career. The student must realize, however, that the ultimate responsibility for understanding university regulations and for meeting graduation requirements resides with the student.
Good academic work must be based on honesty. The attempt by any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work of another during an examination or turn in a paper or an assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy materials from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of "F" for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.
A faculty member has original jurisdiction over any instances of academic misconduct that occurs in a course that the faculty member is teaching. The student will be given the opportunity to resolve the matter in meetings with the faculty member and the Director of the School of Music. If the facts of the incident are not disputed by the student, the faculty member may elect to resolve the matter at that level by levying a sanction no greater than an "F" for that course. The faculty member shall notify the student in writing whenever such action is taken, and the University Judicial Office shall receive a copy of an Academic Misconduct Incident Report indicating final disposition of the case, which will be placed in the student's judicial file. In all matters where the charge of academic misconduct is disputed by the student or if the faculty member feels a sanction greater than an "F" in the course is appropriate (such as repeated offenses or flagrant violations), the faculty member will refer the matter to the University Judicial Office, making use of the Academic Misconduct Incident Report. Additional sanctions greater than an "F" in a course can be levied only through the University Judicial System.
Undergraduate students who have established commendable scholastic records in the University (ordinarily at least a cumulative 3.00 GPA) may petition to take up to 21 semester hours of work during the semester and up to 12 semester hours in the summer. Petitions for undergraduate overloads can be obtained at the office of the Associate Dean, Room 302.
A full-time load for graduate students is 9 hours (6 in summer). Graduate Assistants, international graduate students attending NIU on an F-1 or J-1 visa, and recipients of graduate tuition waiver scholarships must enroll for a full course load every term. Graduate students who wish to take more than a full course load should see Dr. Hathaway, who is authorized to approve reasonable overloads and, if necessary, forward special requests to the Graduate School. Graduate students on academic probation are not eligible for overloads.
Each year the University honors three outstanding faculty members with the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Any undergraduate student or faculty member can nominate candidates for this award. Recommendations should be made early in the second semester through the Student Advisory Committee or the School Director. The following School of Music faculty members have received this prestigious award:
Any change of undergraduate major or emphasis requires the processing of a new major request form. Please see the Undergraduate Advisor to complete a Change of Major form.
To change to a major other than music, see the Assistant Director or Undergraduate Advisor of the department to which you wish to change.
Complete the following steps:
Convocations, scheduled at 11:00 Tuesdays and Thursdays, take place in a reserved time slot that all undergraduate music majors have in common. All-School Convocations, lectures, performances, as well as area meetings, master classes and performance classes are scheduled during these times. Attendance at every All-School Convocation is required of all undergraduate students and is considered a part of the MUSC 99 grade. Absence from an All-School Convocation will result in a debit of two recitals from your current recital total. Incompletes and absences will be resolved in consultation with the Director of the School of Music.
Area Convocation attendance is considered part of applied music study and is not included in the MUSC 99 grade.
Graduate students are welcome to attend All-School Convocations, but attendance is not required.
Each specific area will announce its own schedule of master classes and meetings to be held during this time. To repeat, this is not part of the recital requirement, but does influence the applied music grade. Each area usually holds 5 to 10 classes per semester.
The purpose of the Honors Convocation is to recognize an individual student or group at an All-School Convocation performance from the following areas: Voice, String, Keyboard, Woodwind, Brass, Percussion, Guitar, Jazz, Steel Pan and Composition. Students or groups are selected by their areas.
Honors Convocations will be held during the Convocation hour on the last Thursday of the Fall and Spring Semester. The areas are divided into two groups which will alternate semesters each year. The groups are composed as follows:
Each area or studio will choose one student or group to represent their area, which will perform one piece not to exceed eight minutes in length. The area coordinator or the studio teacher will provide program information on a form provided by the Convocation Committee. Program information must be turned in to the committee by 4:30 the Thursday prior to the Honors Convocation. Areas that choose not to participate in the Honors Convocation must notify the committee before the program information deadline.
It is understood that students or groups are selected to perform a specific work, which is submitted with the program information. Program substitutions are not allowed.
Formal application for a specific curriculum of undergraduate study must be made through the Undergraduate Advisor's office prior to or during the first semester in residence. A major request form must be signed by the student before he or she is a declared music major. Graduate students are admitted to a degree or certificate program with a particular specialization. See the Coordinator of Graduate Studies for information about changing from one specialization to another.
The University mandates that all classes must be evaluated within the last four weeks of each semester. The forms remain confidential and the faculty member receives them after the end of the semester. It is extremely important that every student complete every form since they are used, in part, to evaluate faculty members for merit, tenure, and promotion. Your opinions count!
The University has detailed procedures for arbitration of grade appeals. Students should consult those procedures, which appear in the Appendices to this document, for guidance. Generally, it is hoped that a face-to-face meeting with your instructor will solve the problem. If not, the School of Music Director should be consulted.
Students are entitled to, and should ask for, a detailed syllabus and list of course guidelines at the beginning of each semester in each of their classes, including ensembles and private lessons.
A graduate student in a Master of Music area of study who has formally begun the thesis or its equivalent must register in MUSC 699 in each subsequent term, including summers, until the work is approved by the Graduate School. A graduate student in the Performer’s Certificate program must register in MUSC 799 in each term, including summers, until the work is approved by the Graduate School. Registration in 699/799 may be in absentia. After a student has registered for the maximum number of hours of credit that can be earned in 699/799, he or she should register as an auditor in each term until the work receives final Graduate School approval.
A signed 699/799 Information Form must be submitted to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies before permission will be given to register. All work done under 699/799 must be in consultation with a project director, who, along with a majority of the student’s committee, must sign a Graduate School approval form when the work has been satisfactorily completed.
While Master of Music in music education students may choose either MUSC 699B (Thesis) or MUSC 699D (Final Project), those who intend to pursue doctoral studies at another institution should complete the thesis option, in order to be appropriately prepared for the research and writing demands of doctoral study in music education. In addition, prospective music education doctoral students are encouraged to include advanced coursework in such areas as quantitative and qualitative research in their master of music degree plan.
Normally, all Music Education graduate students should complete either a thesis or a final project. Prior to beginning work on the thesis/final project, students must successfully complete MUSC 684. The following is a list of procedures for preparing and completing the music education thesis/final project:
All Committee members must approve the thesis/project before it can be submitted to the Graduate School.
All Music Theory graduate students must complete either a thesis or final project. Students who intend to pursue doctoral studies should complete the Thesis option in order to be appropriately prepared for the research and writing demands of doctoral studies in music theory. Prior to beginning work on the thesis/final project, students must successfully complete MUHL 633 (Seminar in Musical Research). The following is a list of procedures for preparing and completing the music theory thesis/final project:
Graduate students must apply for graduation using MyNIU by the published Graduate School deadline (usually in the term prior to the expected graduation semester), and must also confirm with the Coordinator of Graduate Studies that their official Program of Courses has been filed with the Graduate School. In addition, all graduate students in the Master of Music program must successfully complete the School of Music Comprehensive Examination, usually taken during the final term. (Performer's Certificate students do not take the Comprehensive Examination.) The Graduate School annually publishes a calendar with important deadlines, which is posted on the Graduate Bulletin Board outside the music office and is also available on line at http://www.grad.niu.edu/grad/audience/current_students.shtml
When a student is unable to complete the requirements for a course due to catastrophic circumstances, s/he may request a grade of Incomplete from the instructor. University and Graduate School policies regarding incompletes appear in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs, and are reproduced HERE.
For undergraduate students, grades of I (incomplete) must be cleared within 200 days from the end of the term in which the grade was given. For graduate students, the grade of I must be cleared within 120 days from the end of the term in which the grade was given. If a change-of-grade form has not been submitted before the deadline by the instructor who assigned the incomplete, then it will be administratively changed to an F.
The School of Music prides itself in being able to fill the individual needs of a wide number of students through our independent offerings. The procedure for registering for an independent study course is simple, but must be followed or you will not receive credit for your work.
Students are encouraged to complete independent study applications as early as possible (in the previous semester, if feasible). All independent studies must be arranged by the tenth day of the semester.
There is a limit to the number of independent study credits allowable in the program of courses for all Master of Music candidates. Students in the Music Education and Performance Specializations may only count 6 hours of independent study in their programs of courses. Students in an Individualized Specialization may count up to 12 hours of independent study in their programs of courses.
International students enrolled at NIU under an F-1 or J-1 visa are subject to federal rules and regulations governing F1 and J1 students. Unauthorized off-campus employment causes a student to go out of status, and this can only be resolved via an expensive and time-consuming process. Sometimes it is not resolved. Authorized off-campus employment can only be accepted by an F1 and J1 international student if approval is granted in advance through an application process administered by the International Student and Faculty Office (ISFO) in Williston Hall 406. If an International student wishes to work on-campus, paid through NIU, it is not necessary to obtain special permission via the ISFO. When in doubt about work, whether on- or off-campus, go to the International Student and Faculty Office for assistance.
Music majors of graduate or upper-division standing are eligible to submit an application for a cooperative education/internship experience to the NIU Career Services Office and contact the Director of the School of Music to request permission to receive credit by enrollment for the experience. The School of Music formula for determining the number of credit hours for registration in a variable-hour cooperative education/internship (MUSC 390, MUSP 463, MUSC 790) is 40 hours of work per semester hour of credit. While the actual time frame of the cooperative education/internship need not conform to the university calendar, all necessary paperwork must be completed with the NIU Career Services Office and employment information (employer contact, dates of internship, and total number of work hours planned) provided to the Director of the School of Music prior to the beginning of the experience, or the beginning of the term of enrollment for credit, whichever comes first. Exceptions will be made only with the approval of the Director of the School of Music.
Students may add or drop courses from their schedules on MyNIU during a limited period at the beginning of each term, after which special permission must be received to add or withdraw from a course. The Semester Calendar contains the important dates and deadlines for both undergraduate and graduate student schedule changes.
Undergraduate student course adds, section changes, or grading basis changes after the regular add/drop period may be initiated by printing and completing an Undergraduate Current Term Schedule Changes Request and returning it to the Music Office. This form is not used to drop a course. Course drops are not accepted after the published add/drop period. To withdraw from a class, you must go to the College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean's Office and complete a withdrawal form.
Graduate students who wish to add or withdraw from a course after the regular add/drop period should print and complete a Graduate Permission to Withdraw and/or Add After Deadline form, get the required signatures, and return it to the Music Office or the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.
In 1725, the theorist and composer Johann Joseph Fux published an extraordinarily influential treatise on the study of counterpoint, under the title Gradus ad Parnassum (Steps to Parnassus). The title of Fux’s text was chosen with care; the muses who were thought to inspire all artistic creation were believed by the ancient Greeks to live atop Mount Parnassus. In seeking to attain the heights of artistic skill and achievement, Fux reasoned that the student must master a prescribed sequence of graduated steps that both established the necessary foundations of specialized study and carefully regulated the requisite challenges. This principle of progressing through an ordered sequence of foundation skills to more advanced levels of study underlies both the core curriculum in music at NIU and the concept of a “Sophomore Proficiency,” which requires that undergraduate music majors must achieve a minimum grade of “C” in all 100- and 200- level music courses needed for graduation. This assessment process was designed to evaluate whether music students who have completed the first two years of required course work for a baccalaureate major in music (at NIU or elsewhere) are artistically and academically prepared to begin upper division study. The Sophomore Proficiency includes the applied jury, witnessed and evaluated by the appropriate performance area faculty, resulting in an assessment of whether the levels of technical and interpretive achievement attained by the student are indicative of readiness to begin upper division applied study. Similar sophomore year examination processes and minimum grade requirements are found in many comparable baccalaureate music programs throughout the United States.
The faculty approved the “minimum C” policy on the basis of data correlating enrollment, grades, and retention patterns during a four-year period. This data demonstrated that the earning of one or more grades below “C” in lower-division music courses required for the baccalaureate degree was strongly predictive of either imminent or eventual failure or withdrawal from the university. An important segment of the courses in this category form the “core” curriculum, consisting of sequential course work in music theory and aural skills that extends throughout the first four semesters of study. The faculty determined that requiring music majors to attain the minimum grade of “C” in these and other 100- and 200- level required courses (including applied study) would help insure a sound course of study, based on solid foundations, and insure the attainment of necessary levels of competency at each critical stage before proceeding to the next. The faculty also hopes that the importance which this requirement attaches to these foundation courses will be reflected in a corresponding prioritization by our students, who would ultimately benefit from increased academic achievement, surer progress toward graduation, and enhanced prospects with respect to professional employment or graduate school admission.
Graduate students do not receive credit for any graduate course in which a grade lower than C has been earned.
MUSC 99 is a zero-credit course requiring attendance at All-School Convocations (see below) and 12 concerts or recitals per semester that provides students with an exposure to and acquaintance with a wide selection of solo and ensemble literature, including the principal eras, genres, and cultural sources. Professional and/or collegiate level concerts only will count toward MUSC 99 requirements. Students may not count concerts in which they perform toward this requirement. The School of Music requires all undergraduate music majors to satisfactorily complete seven semesters of MUSC 99 - Recital Attendance, and transfer students who complete degree requirements in fewer than seven semesters must enroll in MUSC 99 each semester they are completing other music degree requirements. Students should enroll in MUSC 99 each semester, until seven enrollments have been completed. Those students who have enrolled in fewer than seven semesters of MUSC 99 will be enrolled administratively.
Undergraduate students who do have record of attendance for fewer than 12 performances for a semester will receive a grade of "U" (unsatisfactory) for that semester. There is no alternative method of satisfying course requirements other than record of attendance at appropriate performances. If a student has record of attendance for more than 12 performances in a semester, the extra performances will be counted toward any deficit (grades of U) for previous semesters.
Attendance is recorded at concerts and recitals by a student aide (scanner) who will scan NIU student IDs 10 minutes before the performance begins and again immediately after the performance ends. Students scan in and scan out for each recital/All-School Convocation. Late arrival, early exit, or forgetting to bring an ID card will negate a student's attendance, and because the system is computerized, no exceptions are made to this policy. If no scanner is present, programs may be turned in to the Music Office no later than the next school day. Programs submitted to the Music Office prior to the conclusion of a performance will not be counted toward the MUSC 99 requirements. Students who need new or replacement NIU IDs should obtain them from One Card ID Services in the Holmes Student Center.
A performance at which no scanner is present or that is held off-campus will be counted toward MUSC 99 requirements when proof of attendance (program, ticket stub, etc.) is turned in to the Music Office no later than the next school day. Attendance at a DeKalb-area restaurant/cafe/bar performance will normally require confirmation of attendance by a School of Music faculty member.
Performances attended anytime after the student begins first enrollment in MUSC 99 can be counted, including holiday breaks and the summer. Evidence of attendance between fall and spring semesters and during the summer must be received in the Music Office no later than the first week of classes of the following fall or spring semester to count towards MUSC 99 requirements. Students are also invited to submit evidence of attendance during breaks and summer via mail to: Director, NIU School of Music, 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, IL 60115-2825.
Evidence of attendance received later than Monday of the week prior to final examinations may not get processed and submitted to Registration and Records until the following semester. Any student who fraudulently attempts to receive attendance credit for an event will be subject to sanctions as determined by the School of Music Director.
Grades assigned in each course are intended to reflect achievement relative to a defined level of competence or performance. Faculty members are expected during the first week of a semester to indicate clearly the requirements in a course and the level of competence/performance to be associated with each of the possible letter grades. It is important that the grades assigned by individual faculty agree with the university’s meaning or level of competence/performance as described in the current catalogs.
NIU Registration and Records Grading Information can be found HERE.
Piano proficiency examinations are designed for students who have had substantial previous training, or who have studied on their own over a period of years. Students are required to demonstrate ability in sight-reading, keyboard harmony, and repertoire appropriate to each specific level. Students requesting proficiency credit should meet with the coordinator of secondary piano studies to select materials and arrange the examination time.
The School of Music faculty has established a set of academic standards, including prerequisites, corequisites, and minimum grade requirements. These and other academic standards represent the best collective professional judgment of the faculty concerning the optimum preparation of our students for advanced study and musical careers. The faculty and administration are committed to upholding these as consistently as possible, while still retaining the flexibility of responding to extraordinary situations. Therefore, established prerequisites and corequisites will be upheld in all but the most exceptional circumstances.
INDIVIDUAL FACULTY MEMBERS DO NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO WAIVE PREREQUISITES OR COREQUISITES FOR THEIR CLASSES. Students must follow the procedure below to request a waiver of prerequisite or corequisite course requirements:
Registration is done using the MyNIU system. If you need help using this system, visit the MyNIU Training page.
Please refer to the “Repeating a Course” under “Academic Regulations” in the current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and “Special Repeat Option” under “General Regulations” in the current Graduate Catalog.
An undergraduate music major who fails to achieve the minimum grade required in a School of Music course must meet with the Director or Undergraduate Advisor no later than the Friday before the subsequent semester classes begin to discuss the student’s performance in the class, and to have an advising hold on their university account released. The Director/Undergraduate Advisor will document any extraordinary circumstances that contributed to this first unsuccessful attempt, such as illness, death in the immediate family, or other unusual and unforeseeable circumstances not encountered by the other students in the class.
Conditions will be attached to the student’s second enrollment in order to maximize his/her chances of success. Such conditions may include: ongoing, documented tutoring sessions; limited ensemble participation and/or other course load reductions; auditing related courses that will increase the chances of success in the second enrollment; maintaining an exemplary record of class attendance in the second enrollment; regularly-scheduled appointments with second-enrollment instructor and/or tutors; other stipulations deemed appropriate. It is in a student’s best interest to meet with the Director/Undergraduate Advisor as soon as possible in support of successful continuation in the degree program.
An undergraduate music major who fails to achieve the minimum grade required in a School of Music course for the second time must meet with the Director or Undergraduate Advisor no later than the Friday before the subsequent semester classes begin to discuss the student’s performance in the class, and to have an advising hold on their university account released. The School of Music will only consider third enrollments when previous attempts were unsuccessful due to extraordinary circumstances such as illness, death in the immediate family, or other unusual and unforeseeable circumstances not encountered by the other students in the class. A third enrollment, if permitted, will be the final enrollment granted. If permission for a third enrollment in a course is denied, or if an approved third enrollment is unsuccessful, the student will not continue in the degree program. All prior enrollments in a given course are counted, including withdrawals.
To request permission for a third enrollment, a student must complete a "Permission for a Third Enrollment" form in the Office of the Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (MB 304A), and provide a written statement documenting the extraordinary circumstances that justify the request. The Associate Dean will then confer with the School of Music Director and/or Undergraduate Advisor, who will evaluate the petition; if deemed necessary, appropriate members of the School of Music faculty will be consulted in this process, normally the instructor(s) of the course(s) in which the student was unsuccessful, his/her applied teacher, and the Area Coordinator of the student’s major area of study. The School of Music Director and/or Undergraduate Advisor will determine whether or not to grant a third enrollment, and communicate this to the Associate Dean and student.
When granted, permission for a third enrollment usually includes multiple stipulations, such as limited ensemble participation and/or other course load reductions; auditing related courses that will increase the chances of success in the third enrollment, maintaining an exemplary record of class attendance in the third enrollment; regularly-scheduled appointments with third-enrollment instructor and/or tutors; other stipulations deemed appropriate. Failure to comply with such stipulations will result in the previously granted permission being summarily withdrawn. It is in a student’s best interest to meet with the Director/Undergraduate Advisor as soon as possible after the second unsuccessful enrollment in a course in support of successful continuation in the degree program.
Undergraduate sponsored admission students will be advised by the Undergraduate Advisor throughout their first year of enrollment. Students are required to make 3 appointments per semester and make every effort possible to communicate thoroughly regarding schedule, academic progress, musical activities and other concerns.
All transfer undergraduates should make an appointment with the Director or Undergraduate Advisor for transfer credit evaluation. Graduate students should see the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. Please make arrangements to have an official transcript sent directly to the School of Music Office prior to your appointment.
The NIU policy concerning proficiency examinations is included in the Undergraduate Catalog. The NIU policies concerning transfer credit are included in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs.
The Music Theory and Composition Area Coordinator is responsible for determining the eligibility of individual students to receive proficiency credit for courses in that area, and will consult the area faculty whenever appropriate. A student may attempt to gain proficiency credit for a particular course only once. Students wishing to request proficiency credit for a course in which they are currently enrolled must do so within the first three weeks of class. Proficiency examinations will not be granted for a course in which a student has previously enrolled, including those from which s/he may have withdrawn.
Diagnostic examinations in music theory and aural skills are administered to all new undergraduate transfer students for the purposes of determining eligible transfer credit and placement in appropriate level courses. Transfer credit for courses in the Music Theory and Composition area can be applied toward the student's degree only with the approval of the Area Coordinator, who will consult the area faculty whenever appropriate.
The Music History and Literature Area Coordinator is responsible for determining the eligibility of individual students to receive proficiency credit for courses in that area, and will consult the area faculty whenever appropriate. A student may attempt to gain proficiency credit for a particular course only once. Students wishing to request proficiency credit for a course in which they are currently enrolled must do so within the first three weeks of class. Proficiency examinations will not be granted for a course in which a student has previously enrolled, including those from which s/he may have withdrawn.
Diagnostic examinations in music history and literature are administered only to those transfer students who have passed similar history courses at their previous institution, and serve to determine eligible transfer credit and placement in appropriate level courses. Transfer credit for courses in the Music History and Literature area can be applied to the student’s degree only with the approval of the Area Coordinator, who will consult the area faculty whenever appropriate.
In those cases where a student is granted transfer credit for a Music History and Literature class but has yet to complete the NIU prerequisites for upper level study, before s/he can continue with Music History and Literature course work a thorough review of the student’s entire academic record will be made. The student must have demonstrated outstanding success in all core curriculum course work before permission to enroll in subsequent Music History and Literature courses will be considered.