Jun 12, 2021  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Music in Vocal Performance

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Department of Music, Theatre and Dance
207 Varner Hall  (map)
(248) 370-2030 • Fax (248) 370-2041

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Joseph L. Shively
308 Varner Hall
(248) 370-2287


Program description

The Master of Music in vocal performance is a 36-credit program for highly experienced singers designed to enable them to expand their knowledge of repertoire and technique, and to further their personal performance skills and musical understanding.

Admission terms and application deadlines

Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the semester deadlines listed below. Incomplete applications will not be sent to departments for admission review.

  • July 15 for fall semester
  • November 15 for winter semester
  • March 15 for summer semester
Readmission and program transfer

Requests for readmission and program transfers must be completed and approved prior to the beginning of a semester.

International application deadlines

International applications are reviewed for fall and winter admission only. To ensure adequate time for review, international applications must be completed at least six months before the desired date of intended enrollment in the University. All international application materials must be submitted by May 1 for fall admission and by September 1 for winter admission. International applicants are not eligible for Special Graduate classification.

Special Graduate classification

Applicants who are seeking a graduate degree or graduate certificate, but are unable to meet the deadline for filing all required application materials or credentials for graduate admission, may contact the department and request Special Graduate temporary admission.  The applicant must submit an Application for Admission to Graduate Study, plus a copy of a transcript providing evidence of a bachelor’s degree awarded and any specific evidence concerning their qualifications for graduate study as required by the department.  Up to 12 credits may be earned in the Special Graduate classification. Admission as a special graduate student in no way assures subsequent admission to a degree or graduate certificate program.

Students may request special graduate classification beginning  with the dates below.

  • August 1 for fall semester
  • December 1 for winter semester
  • April 1 for summer semester

Note: Special Graduate classification will not be granted after the first week of classes in a semester.

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all of the following University and Program application documents by the published application deadlines.

University application requirements 
  • Application for Admission to Graduate Study         
  • Official transcripts providing evidence of an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. institution, OR a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. baccalaureate degree from a college or university of government-recognized standing.
  • Official transcripts for all post-secondary educational institutions from which the applicant earned a degree (beginning with the first baccalaureate) and for all enrollment in graduate-level coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree. International university transcripts must be evaluated by a professional credential evaluation service.
    • As part of the admission requirements, graduate programs may require official transcripts from post-secondary educational institutions from which the applicant earned an associate’s degree and all enrollment in coursework both pre- and post-bachelor’s degree.
  • Two official and original Recommendation for Graduate Admission forms.
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • International supplemental application and supporting documentation must be submitted before international applicants can be issued the Certification of Eligibility (I-20). This certificate is required to apply for a student visa from the U.S. embassy or consulate. 

Program application requirements and admission criteria
  • Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree in music from a regionally accredited institution or proof of a U.S. equivalent degree for foreign educated applicants.
  • Two years of music theory, one year of music history, and vocal performance ability; OR background equivalent to these requirements
  • Applicants must submit a written statement of professional goals by completing the “goals section” on the online Application for Admission to Graduate Study.
  • Applicants must schedule and perform a successful audition that shows an appropriate level of prior experience and potential for success in the program.
          For voice performance, contact Professor John-Paul White (jpwhite@oakland.edu) 

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate study at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to the Master of Music in vocal performance program, the department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, goal statement, letters of recommendation, audition, and any other admission requirement established by the academic program.

Music history and theory assessments

During the first year of graduate study, students participate in both music history and theory assessments to determine placement in graduate-level history and theory courses.

Assessment takes place during the week prior to the first semester of graduate study (Fall, Winter and Summer). Students are encouraged to review the preparation materials posted on the department web site prior to taking the assessments. Students may also contact the history and theory faculty for guidance about preparation materials and expectations.

Students whose work on the assessments indicates that they need further preparation should review the online materials again and, at the beginning of the following semester, retake the portions of the assessments that were not satisfactory. Following the retake, students who need further remedial work are required to enroll in the respective continuing-education course(s) in theory and/or history offered by the department annually. Students whose work in the continuing-education courses is satisfactory may then enroll in graduate history and theory courses. The continuing education courses are not graduate courses and do not count toward the graduate degree.

Regardless of the results of these assessments, students may enroll in MUS 500 or any other music or music education graduate course during their first semesters. Enrollment in graduate-level music history and theory only is monitored by these assessments.  For information about these assessments, contact Professor Joseph Shively, coordinator of the master’s program at shively@oakland.edu.

Degree requirements

The Master of Music in vocal performance degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 36 credits in an approved program of study, successful completion of a culminating project and successful performance on an oral examination.

Course requirements

a. Core requirements (12 credits)

Students may not use courses required for their major to fulfill core requirements.

b. Major requirements (22 credits)

c. Exit

Culminating project

For candidates for a Master of Music in vocal performance, the culminating project is a master’s recital.

Students are urged to plan ahead for the recital. Obtain information about the expectations from your adviser early in the degree program.

Oral examination

After completion of the written master’s project, the student will be asked to make a 10- to 15-minute presentation to his or her master’s project committee. This might include discussion of interpretation, editions chosen, historical aspects of the works chosen, and so on.

A satisfactory presentation of material reflective of a satisfactory written master’s project constitutes passing the Oral Examination for the degree of Master of Music. Any student who does not pass this examination may be offered the examination again one semester later, upon the approval of the student’s adviser.

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.

Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

Department requirements:  Because of the nature of graduate education, a high standard of work is expected.

  • A minimum grade of 3.0 is required in all courses.
  • Any student earning a grade below 3.0 will be placed on probationary status through a letter from the department indicating that earning second grade below 3.0 in any course will result in dismissal from the program.
  • In any course where a student earns a final grade lower than 3.0, the student must seek approval to repeat the course by submitting a Petition to Repeat a Course form OR seek approval to substitute a different course, appropriate to the degree requirements, by submitting a Petition for Course Waiver/Substitution.

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Plan of study

All accepted applicants, in consultation with their assigned faculty program adviser, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the students will use to satisfy their degree requirements. The plan of study must be approved by the faculty program adviser and submitted by the student to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.

Master’s and graduate certificate students must submit a department-approved plan of study by the end of their first semester of graduate coursework. Doctoral students must submit an approved plan of study prior to completion of the first year of coursework.

Note:  Credit granted for successful completion of a course toward an undergraduate degree program may not be repeated for a graduate degree. If a substitution is approved, the minimum number of program-approved graduate credits will be required. A Petition of Exception - OU Course Waiver/ Substitution requesting the substitution must be approved.



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