Thesis Checklist

Checklist for Writing an Honors Thesis in Music 

A student wishing to write a thesis in music will choose an area of concentration: academic, performance, or composition/sound art. An academic thesis should be 50-60 pages in length, a performance thesis should be 25-30 pages, and a composition thesis should consist of a short performance program and a portfolio.

A composition/sound art thesis should consist of either a public performance of an original and substantial piece of acoustic or electroacoustic music; a public presentation of an original and substantial piece of music (or EP/album) produced with software or in a studio; or a public exhibition of an original sound installation. All composition/sound art theses must additionally be accompanied by a portfolio that documents the creative work in an appropriate manner (such as a score, in-depth program notes of 5-6 pages at least, a set of recordings, a bundle of software files, audio or video documentation, or the like, to be determined in consultation with the thesis advisor.) 

The performance thesis subsumes enrollment in the Advanced Performance Seminar (MUS 344) or in Performing Music (Jazz Improvisation) Advanced (MUS 398).  Both the composition and performance theses include a performance of the work(s) discussed in the thesis.  All theses will normally be presented at the Ruhlman Conference in April of the thesis year.  All thesis students can apply for funding from the Jerome A. Schiff Fellowship; additional support is available from the Music Department for those who do not receive a Schiff Fellowship.

Significant Dates:

March/April (Junior Year)

Provide your potential advisor with a copy of your transcript to be sure that you have a GPA of 3.5 in the major.

April/May (Junior Year)

Provide your advisor with a working title for the thesis, one paragraph elaborating on the thesis title, and a Bibliography by the end of the Spring Term classes.  Once this is approved, your advisor will ask the Program Coordinator and the Chair to register you for MUS 360. 

September (Senior Year)

Begin research for the thesis.

November (Senior Year)

The Music Department Faculty will meet to determine that sufficient progress has been made in Senior Thesis Research (MUS 360) to merit continuing into MUS 370.  If so, we will register you for the Senior Thesis (MUS 370).

March (Senior Year)

A working draft of the entire thesis must be handed in to your advisor by the beginning of Spring Break.

April (Senior Year)

Thesis completed by the end of the month and Ruhlman Presentation.

May (Senior Year)

Thesis defense during Reading Period. The committee shall consist of at least the advisor, another reader, and the Honors Visitor (a tenured faculty member from another department).

The following are recent thesis titles: