School of Music undergraduate and graduate curricula and information for all academic programs, including comprehensives and outreach for the graduate Master of Music program, can be found on the Current Students page.
A checklist version of your curriculum is always available on the Current Students page. Use it, along with an academic audit, to determine your progress towards completing the requirements for your degree. You can view and print your academic record, including an academic audit, along with other information, at any time at the HUB.
Required Major Studio and Major EnsembleTo be defined as a music major, you must register for major studio during each semester in residence. In addition, if you are an undergraduate music major or a graduate orchestral instrument major, you must also register for a major ensemble during each semester in residence.
Major studio and major ensemble are co‐requisite courses. This means that if you are an undergraduate music major or a graduate orchestral instrument major, you must register for both courses each semester. If you drop one of the courses, you must also drop the other course. However, you could conceivably pass one of the courses (for example, Major Instrumental Ensemble) and fail the other course (for example, Major Studio).Chamber Music
If applicable, you must complete and submit an online Chamber Music Request Form for either a group or string quartet. The School of Music will add the course to your schedule. Chamber Music study may be arranged only with a coach approved by the School of Music.
You must complete and submit a Collaborative Piano Request Form (available under Registration Forms and in HOA 141). The School of Music will add the course to your schedule.
Elective Private Studio Lessons
Elective private studio lessons are available to music majors through the Music Extension Division and involve additional fees. Studio lessons mandated by your curriculum do not involve additional fees.
You must complete and submit an Independent Study Permission Form (available under Registration Forms and in HOA 141). The School of Music will add the course to your schedule. Independent Study may be arranged only with a full-time faculty member.
Independent Student Performance Projects
Music majors may organize independent performance projects. These projects are defined as voluntary and do not carry course credit. Independent Student Performance projects must be submitted to the Head of the School of Music for approval, and must have a faculty advisor. Independent Student performance projects may use School of Music facilities on a space-‐available basis, and cannot displace classes, studio lessons, and other regularly scheduled School of Music activities.
Casting for fully-staged productions and opera scenes may be modified in light of a student’s grades and academic standing. Any change in casting will take place in consultation with a student’s studio instructor, academic advisor, and school head.
Solos with Ensembles
The offer of a solo role with any of the School’s major ensembles may be modified or rescinded in light of a student’s grades and academic standing. Any such change will take place in consultation with a student’s studio instructor, academic advisor, and school head.Advanced Placement/Transfer Credit
Acceptance of AP credit is based on Carnegie Mellon University guidelines. Acceptance of transfer credit is based on equivalent content with a Carnegie Mellon course (based on a comparison of the course descriptions), a grade of C or better, and approval of the subject teacher if the proposed transfer involves a core music subject (i.e., solfege, theory, etc.). Advance approval by the Director of Student Services is required to guarantee the transfer of credit.Waiver of Credit
On rare occasions, a student may qualify for a waiver of a required course. (For example, a student may have taken a high school theory course that is not acceptable for transfer credit but that has qualified the student to register for Harmony II without taking Harmony I.) The student may be excused from taking the required course in question, but must replace the waived course’s units by taking another course. (For example, a student who is excused from Harmony I must take another 9-‐unit course.)Graduation
Students are responsible for ensuring that the degree requirements (as listed in the appropriate catalog at the time of their matriculation) have been met.
Please take full advantage of the assistance provided you by the Director of Student Services (HOA 141) or the Director of Graduate Studies (HOA 131) in planning your class schedule and determining your remaining requirements for graduation.Procedure
Detailed instructions for registration are always available on the Current Students page or in HOA 141.
Especially note these general rules:General Rules for Graduate Degree Students:
- DO stay on schedule for fulfilling your Music Support requirements. (You should plan to take an average of one Music Support class every semester).
- DON'T get behind with your units. (You must have completed a total of 144 units to graduate).
- DON'T overload. (You must request special permission if you wish to register for more than 48 units).
- DO petition (form found here or in HOA 141) for approval to register for less than 36 units. (Graduate students are required to register for 36 units each semester in residence).
- DO petition (form found here or in HOA 141) for approval to register for undergraduate level classes beyond the 12 undergraduate units (restrictions apply) permitted to count as elective units.
- DO stay on schedule for fulfilling your Music Support and General Studies requirements. You should plan to take an average of two Music Support classes every junior and senior semester and one General Studies class every semester.
- DON'T get behind with your units. (You must have completed the total number of units required in your curriculum to graduate).
- DON'T overload. (You must request special permission if you wish to register for more than 58 or 70 units. The number of units is based on your QPA).
- DO petition (form found here or in HOA 141) for approval to drop required School of Music classes.
- Take what you've forgotten to first, then take what you're supposed to second, then take what you want to third.
- Required classes take priority over elective classes, which take priority over nonacademic appointments.
- Submit a General Petition form to request permission to delay or drop a required music course. (form found here or in HOA 141).
Undergraduate Financial Aid
Financial aid for undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon University is need-based. If your financial situation changes, adjustments may be made in your financial aid package. You should see one of the financial aid specialists at The Hub for help with any financial problem. The School of Music has extremely limited financial resources to help with financial problems.
A limited number of prizes are awarded each year to School of Music students in good academic standing. These awards have specific requirements and are administered by the School Head in consultation with the faculty. All students who are eligible for special scholarships are considered; students need not apply.
Graduate Financial Aid
School of Music Assistance
School of Music graduate financial aid is divided into two categories: fellowships and assistantships. Fellowships are awarded on the basis of merit. Assistantships are awarded on the basis of qualifications for assistantship positions. An assistantship position is meant to enrich the educational experience by allowing students to work closely with the graduate faculty and administrators, using and developing the student’s abilities and interests to advantage. No assistantship should interfere with classes, study, or practice, nor require duties other than those specified for the assistantship position. Assistantships should not require more than 10 hours per week.
Limited need-based graduate financial aid is available from Carnegie Mellon University.
Jobs in the School of Music
The School of Music employs a number of students in work-study positions during the academic year. Available positions are announced at the beginning of the fall semester and as needed during the school year. Preference is given to music majors. Students need not have a work-study subsidy included in their financial aid packages to apply.
Work-study positions in the School should not interfere with study and practice. A position that requires more than 10 hours per week is subject to administrative review. Rate per hour and raises are determined by qualifications, task difficulty, and job performance. Work-study students are paid bi-weekly during the academic year. Students will log hours in the Carnegie Mellon Workday system and hours will be approved by their supervisor. It is the responsibility of the student to keep track of hours and log them before the end of the pay period.
Jobs on Campus
Information about other employment opportunities on campus is available through the Career Center.
Transfer Credit (Undergraduate & Graduate)
Undergraduate Policy for Transfer Credit at Carnegie Mellon University
Click here. Click on "Grades, Transfer Credit, Advanced Placement" for the University Policy.
Graduate Policy for Transfer Credit in the School of Music
Normally, graduate credit earned at other institutions will not be accepted toward a graduate program at Carnegie Mellon. Students may petition for an exception to this policy to the Curriculum Committee. The petition must include the approval of the applicable faculty. No more than 36 units total and no more than 9 units of Major Studio may be transferred for graduate credit at Carnegie Mellon. A candidate for the Master of Music degree must complete at Carnegie Mellon a minimum of three semesters of full-time study, or the equivalent of part-time study, comprising at least 108 units of course work.
Double Counting (undergraduate)
Undergraduate music students may double count any course for their music major simultaneously with a second music major or a music minor, while in the process of completing the requirements for all of the major(s) and/or minor(s).
- Double-counting is not permitted with a major or a minor that has been completed.
- Double-counting is not permitted between different performance areas of the same music major, for example, between Music Performance (Clarinet) and Music Performance (Oboe).
All music courses that are unique to a music major or a music minor must be completed as specified in the major or the minor curriculum without double-counting or substitution.
All non-music courses that could count towards a music major or a music minor (and towards a non-music major or a non-music minor), may be double-counted as determined by the home academic department of the non-music major or non-music minor.
School of Music students are expected to adhere to all attendance policies for those classes for which they are registered and all final examinations required for those classes at the times scheduled by the University and by the School of Music. Each member of the School of Music faculty has an attendance policy specific to his/her classes, which are made available at the start of every semester. You may request a clarification of the attendance policy if questions remain; however, under no circumstances should attendance in School of Music classes ever be considered optional. All required courses are essential for your professional development. Classes may not be missed for rehearsals, lessons, or coachings. You must not assume that either private work with a faculty member or attendance at a master class is automatically constitutes an excused absence. To petition to be excused, you must submit a Petition (Excused Absence) (also available in HOA 141).
Private Studio Attendance
Students are guaranteed the opportunity to take 14 fifty-minute private studio lessons per semester. It is never acceptable to miss a lesson without contacting the professor in advance. Studio instructors are under no obligation to make up missed studio lessons, and unexcused absences will adversely affect the students' grades.
All Carnegie Mellon music majors will be held to a professional standard of behavior, and this includes while participating in ensembles. Grading for ensembles depends in part upon attendance, dependability, overall cooperation, and musicianship. The director of each ensemble will state the specific attendance policy for the group at the beginning of the academic year. Policies on excused absences vary within the various activities of the School, and should be clearly understood at the outset. Students are responsible for knowing these policies and following them.
Convocation / Graduate Forum Attendance
School of Music Convocations and Graduate Forums take place each Thursday from 1:30-2:20pm in Kresge Recital Hall. These meetings bring the School together for special programs, designed to enrich the educational experience. The yearly schedule of convocations includes guest artists, guest lecturers, career seminars, and departmental meetings. All undergraduate Bachelor of Fine Arts music majors are required to attend Convocation every Thursday during every semester in residence as a graduation requirement. All graduate Master of Music majors are required to attend Graduate Forum as announced during every semester in residence. Attendance is taken.
School of Music students are expected to attend all classes and final examinations, studio lessons, rehearsals, performances, convocations, graduate forums, and to complete all scheduled work-‐study assignments. However, there is always the possiblity of unforseen, unavoidable circumstances. Please see the guidelines below to help you navigate your situation.
A student who experiences a death in the family will be excused from all classes for as long as is personally necessary. The School of Music office should be notified immediately. The faculty will do everything possible to help the student through this difficult period; however, if the absence is so long that the student is unable to make up the work missed, a leave of absence will be recommended. Upon returning to campus, the student will be encouraged to seek help from the Counseling and Psychological Services center in working through any personal problems that result.
If a faculty member must miss a regularly scheduled class, a sign will be posted on the door of the classroom or studio as early as possible. When faculty must be out of town (typically due to professional performing commitments), arrangements will be made for a qualified substitute teacher. If an absence must continue for an extended period of time, a new person will be hired to replace the faculty on leave. Classes are rarely cancelled in the School of Music, or the University.
Student Leave Of Absence
A leave of absence should be taken when a student is, for any reason, unable to participate fully in the professional program of the School for an extended period of time. A Leave of Absence form, which can be found here, must be submitted.
If the leave is taken before the drop deadline for a semester, all courses will be dropped from the student's transcript for that semester and this will not reflect adversely on the student's record. All payments will be refunded if a leave is taken before the first day of the semester. Click here for information about tuition adjustment after a semester begins.
Student Professional Opportunities
Musical performance opportunities do not wait until you’re out of school to present themselves, but all are not equally important. Your private instructor is your primary source of information on the value of an opportunity. Or, if the opportunity conflicts with your School responsibilities, the affected instructor’s approval must be obtained.
If an opportunity arises that does not conflict with any of your School responsibilities, check with your studio teacher for advice. If an opportunity comes up that conflicts with your responsibilities either during the semester or at the beginning of the semester or at the end of the semester, but it appears to be a rare opportunity, check with your studio teacher and with the professor(s) whose class(es) or rehearsal(s) you would need to miss. You must not commit yourself until you have received permission to participate from the School, and in the case of an audition opportunity, until you have contacted the applicable organization about scheduling your audition to minimize conflicts with your School of Music responsibilities. You must submit a Petition (Excused Absence) (also available in HOA 141).
Class and Ensemble Grades
Grading for School of Music classes and ensembles follows the University Policies for Grading. Specifically, grading for School of Music classes is based on the requirements outlined in the syllabus for the class; grading for School of Music ensembles is based on the requirements stated in the written policies for the ensemble, which may include attendance.
Studio is the heart of your professional training as a musician. The studio grade is based on your fulfillment of the requirements outlined by your studio teacher for the semester as demonstrated by the product of both your talent and effort. The following scale reflects what each grade means:
A - To receive an “A”, you must be demonstrating the highest level of proficiency based on the standard expected at your particular level of studio training. You must have an excellent record in the following areas:
- performance in juries and/or recitals,
- progress during the semester,
- with mastery of required work
B - To receive a “B”, you must be demonstrating an above-average level of proficiency based on the standard expected at your particular level of studio training. You must have a good record in the following areas:
- performance in juries and/or recitals,
- progress during the semester,
- with effective completion of required work
C - To receive a “C”, you must be demonstrating an average level of proficiency based on the standard expected at your particular level of studio training. You must have a satisfactory record in the following areas:
- performance in juries and/or recitals,
- progress during the semester,
- with minimum completion of required work
Since "average" playing or composing may not be enough to sustain a career in music performance or composition, the faculty considers a "C" grade in the major studio area as an indication of either insufficient ability or undistinguished work as demonstrated during the semester.
Upon the recommendation of the studio teacher, a student may be placed on academic warning or receive a letter of concern whenever he/she receives a "C" in the studio area.
D - To receive a “D”, you must be demonstrating a poor level of proficiency based on the standard expected at your particular level of studio training. You must have a
passing record in the following areas:
- performance in juries and/or recitals,
- progress during the semester,
- with partial and/or ineffective completion of required work
A student will be placed on academic action whenever he/she receives a "D" in the studio area. The student may, at the discretion of the faculty, be dropped from the program.
R - To receive an “R”, you must be demonstrating an unacceptable level of proficiency based on the standard expected at your particular level of studio training. You must have a failing record in the following areas:
- performance in juries and/or recitals,
- progress during the semester,
- with failure of required work
A student will be placed on academic action whenever he/she receives an "R" in the studio area. The student may, at the discretion of the faculty, be dropped from the program.
CFA Undergraduate Academic Actions/Music Guidelines
College of Fine Arts Academic Actions
School of Music Guidelines
Warning: For failure to maintain professional standards in a required course; or insufficient evidence of serious application to the professional standards of the School; or an overall quality point average below a satisfactory level. Warning action is intended to notify the student of unsatisfactory performance, and to suggest that the student take steps to determine and correct the cause of the difficulty.May be imposed for one or multiple D grades in School of Music classes, and/or for the first C grade in a School of Music Major Studio, and/or for an R grade in a non-music class that affects the student’s academic progress.
Probation: For failure to pass any professional course as outlined by the faculty of the School; or failure to meet the professional standards of the School although no failing grades are given; or failure to earn the minimum quality point average required to continue in the School. A student on Probation may be required to achieve a specified quality point average. The student must improve scholastic standing to an acceptable level in order to be removed from Probation. A student not doing so may be Suspended or Dropped from the School at the end of the semester.May be imposed for multiple D grades in School of Music classes, and/or for one or multiple R grades in School of Music classes, and/or for a subsequent C grade in a School of Music Major Studio.
Final Probation: For significantly poor performance, or for continued failure to meet the professional standards of the School. The student must improve scholastic standing to an acceptable level in order to be removed from Final Probation. A student not doing so may be Suspended or Dropped from the School at the end of the semester. This action may be taken without previous academic action.May be imposed for multiple D grades in School of Music classes, and/or for one or multiple R grades in School of Music classes, and/or for a subsequent C grade in a School of Music Major Studio; following a significantly poor semester, or a previous semester or semesters in which the student has been on academic action.
School Suspension: For poor performance, or for personal problems that create an impediment to professional achievement in the School. A student is suspended from the School, but not the University, when it is deemed in the best interest of the student to allow continuation of study outside of the School during the period of the suspension. The student is not permitted to take courses in the School for a period to be determined by this faculty action, but will be re-admitted at the end of the period of School Suspension specified by the faculty after the condition of the School Suspension is satisfied.May be imposed following a significantly poor semester, or a previous semester or semesters in which the student has been on academic action, if the faculty feel that a student with the potential for success as a music major needs to address the issues impeding his or her academic achievement while taking classes in another department at Carnegie Mellon.
University Suspension: For exceptionally poor performance, or for personal problems that create an impediment to any academic achievement. The student is required to withdraw from the University for a period to be determined by faculty action. Re-admission is subject to conditions specified in each case by the School faculty concerned. An application for Withdrawal/Leave of Absence form is enclosed with the letter notifying a student of this academic action.May be imposed following a significantly poor semester, or a previous semester or semesters in which the student has been on academic action, if the faculty feel that a student with the potential for success as a music major needs to address the issues impeding his or her academic achievement while absent from Carnegie Mellon.
Drop from the School: A student is Dropped from the School when it is clear that the student’s progress in professional training is insufficient to warrant continuing in the current professional field of study in this College. This action is taken in the case of a student who has been lacking in some essential requirement in the chosen professional field, but whose general scholastic ability, habits and character justify an opportunity in some other field of education. This action terminates the student’s enrollment in the current School, but is not intended to prejudice admission to another Department, School, or College of the University, or to another institution.
May be imposed following a significantly poor semester, or a previous semester or semesters in which the student has been on academic action, if the faculty feel that a student does not have the potential for success as a music major at Carnegie Mellon University.
Drop from the College: A student is Dropped from the College when is it clear that the student shows no indication of being able to reach an acceptable level of performance or maintain steady progress toward completing graduation requirements. This action terminates the student’s enrollment in the College of Fine Arts, but is not intended to prejudice admission to another College of the University, or to another institution.
The School of Music does not use this academic action.
Graduate Academic Requirements/Music Academic Actions
School of Music Master of Music General Academic Requirements and Academic Actions
Students who are accepted to begin work in the master of music program at Carnegie Mellon University are not automatic candidates for the degree. They must complete 36 units (12 credit hours) of graduate courses with a cumulative QPA of at least 3.0 before they may be considered as candidates for the master of music. Furthermore, the grade of at least a B must be earned each semester in the student’s major area.
All master of music candidates are required either to pass basic competency examinations in music history and theory, or if failing to pass the examination, then to pass with a grade of B- or better the appropriate graduate courses before they may receive the degree. All competency examinations and/or coursework must be completed before registering for the third semester of study at Carnegie Mellon.
Master of music candidates in performance must perform a minimum of one full recital. All master of music candidates must pass a comprehensive review in their major area. Successful completion of this review is a requirement for graduation.
Students will complete all requirements for the master’s degree within a maximum of seven years from original matriculation as a master’s student, or less if required by a more restrictive department, school or college policy. Once this time-to-degree limit has lapsed, the person may resume work towards a master’s degree only if newly admitted to a currently offered master’s degree program under criteria determined by that program. Under extenuating circumstances, such as leave of absence, military or public service, family or parental leave, or temporary disability, a college/school may, upon the relevant department's recommendation and with the written approval of the dean (or designate), defer the lapse for a period commensurate with the duration of that interruption. Students who are pursuing the master’s degree as part-time students for all semesters of their program, as approved by their program, may also appeal to their program or department for extension of the time to degree limit. This rule will apply to all master’s students matriculating at Carnegie Mellon University beginning in Fall 2012. The applicable previous Master’s Student Statute of Limitations policy will apply to a master’s student who matriculated at Carnegie Mellon University previous to Fall 2012.
Normally, graduate credit earned at other institutions will not be accepted toward a graduate program at Carnegie Mellon. Students may petition for an exception to this policy.
Students will receive a “WARNING” if they fail to maintain professional standards in a required course or a cumulative 3.0 QPA. Warning action is intended to notify students of unsatisfactory work, so that they may take steps to determine and correct the difficulty. Graduate students may be dropped from their programs at any time if the faculty believes that they are failing to maintain the professional standards of the school or failing to make sufficient progress during any semester.
Revision adopted by the Academic Division, 3/21/13
Graduation and Honors
To be eligible to receive your diploma, you must have accomplished the following:
- completed all of your required classes with final passing grades posted on your transcript and with a minimum 2.00 cumulative QPA (for undergraduate students) or a minimum 3.00 cumulative QPA (for graduate students)
- performed all of your required recitals
- passed all of your required proficiency tests
- completed all other requirements, if applicable
- cleared your financial account
You can check the status of your classes and your financial account on Student Information Online at any time. A record of your completed recitals, proficiency tests, and other requirements, if applicable, is on your transcript.
Students are eligible for the College of Fine Arts Dean’s List for the applicable semester when their Q.P.A. for that semester is at least 3.50 and is in the top 35% of the School of Music students for that semester by Q.P.A. rank.
To qualify for College Honors a School of Music student must have a cumulative QPA of 3.00 and have won a School of Music Award. Awards include:
Lauren Eshbaugh Memorial Award in Voice
Mary George Wilkins Scholarship for Cellists
Silberman Clarinet Award
CMU School of Music Violin Award
Sigma Alpha Iota Collegiate Honor Award
Sigma Alpha Iota Scholastic Award
Theodore Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award
Graf Scholarship for Music Education
Harry G. Archer Award
Pittsburgh Female College Association Prize Winner of the Concerto Competition
A member of the winning group in the Silberman Chamber Music Competition
First prize winner of the Baroque Ensemble Concerto Competition
First prize winner of the Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition
First prize winner of the Orchestra Composition Contest
First prize winner of the String Quartet Composition Contest
Election to membership in Pi Kappa Lambda
Alternativley, a School of Music student can be nominated for College Honors by any member of the School of Music faculty, full or part time. The nominating faculty member, if not the student’s studio instructor, must obtain the studio instructor’s approval of or acquiescence to the nomination. The student’s case does not move forward in the event of an objection by the studio instructor. The nominating faculty member will take the student’s case to the relevant School of Music division where the case will be discussed, and a vote taken. A simple majority of ‘yes’ votes will move the case to the school's Division Chairs committee. The nominating faculty member will present the case regarding the student to the Division Chairs committee. This will be followed by a report from the chair of the division in which the case began regarding the discussion and final vote. Further testimony regarding the student’s case can be given by any faculty member. The chair will entertain motions to award College Honors. A simple majority of ‘yes’ votes in the Division Chairs committee will cause the student to be awarded College Honors.
No faculty member should inform the student of the nomination until the process is finished and College Honors are awarded. If the case fails, the student should not be made aware of the effort.
Graduation with University Honors
A student is eligible for graduation with university honors when his/her cumulative
Q.P.A. is at least 3.5.